Use important oils in protected quantities, toxicologist says


  • By Jake Chung / Staff Writer

The use of essential oils to induce relaxation has become increasingly popular, but the toxicologist Chao Ming-wei (招 名 威) suggested using diffusers that disperse the measured doses. The key to using essential oils safely is how much they are exposed to.

Essential oil manufacturers could add fixatives, essences, surfactants and ethanol-based products to essential oils, and exposure to excessive amounts of such products could damage a person’s lungs, liver and kidneys, Chao wrote on Facebook last week.

It is documented that using essential oil dispensers indoors increases the levels of carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide, as well as the amount of particles inhaled, he said.

People who use essential oils should disperse a tiny amount slowly in a designated area, and an aromatherapy diffuser would dispense a safe amount of essential oils with the least amount of stress on the liver, Chao said.

It would also be safer for infants and the sick and frail, Chao said.

A window or door should be opened to prevent the essential oils from reacting with ozone and forming formaldehyde, which if inhaled could cause dizziness, migraines and general discomfort, he said.

Some essential oils are said to help people calm down and promote memory and hormonal secretion.

They are also believed to decrease the chances of microbial aerosols entering the body and suppress bacteria that cling to the airways, thereby relieving symptoms of inflammation.

Some essential oils could also work as insect repellants.

Scientific studies of the potential benefits of essential oils have drawn mixed conclusions.

Comments are moderated. Keep comments that are relevant to the article. Comments that contain abusive and obscene language, personal attacks of any kind or advertising will be removed and the user blocked. The final decision is at the discretion of the Taipei Times.