You can become addicted to essential oils

Poisoning from essential oils

Not all herbal medicines are harmless. This also applies to essential oils. The highly potent cocktail of active ingredients can cause serious poisoning in children.

With their familiar smell of cough drops, peppermint, eucalyptus and camphor oils act like harmless home remedies. But appearances are deceptive. They can easily lead to poisoning, especially in children. "Just a few drops of an undiluted essential oil in the mouth or nose can cause life-threatening spasms of the larynx and then even lead to respiratory arrest," warns Heidi Günther, pharmacist at Barmer GEK. Applied undiluted, the oils cause skin and mucous membrane irritation. If they are ingested, vomiting and movement disorders occur, according to the expert.

Essential oils in children

Essential oils can be found in cold ointments, bath additives and inhalation preparations. Products of this type should be kept in a well-locked medicine cabinet out of the reach of children. "Anyone who does not want to do without the effect of the oils in older children and adolescents should absolutely adhere to the prescribed method of dilution and not apply the oils directly to the skin, and certainly not to the face, because the skin is then too irritated," warns Günther, pharmacies offer age-appropriate preparations made from thyme or myrtle oil for babies and toddlers.

What to do in case of poisoning

Contact with essential oils cannot always be avoided. As a precaution, parents wash off affected areas of skin with water. Then they contact the poison control center. "If the child has swallowed some oil, it should drink as much as possible to dilute it," advises Günther. "Tea, water or juice are best. If the substance swallowed is camphor oil, a visit to the children's clinic is essential. The doctors there can monitor the child for a short time if necessary to rule out complications, ”explains the pharmacists. "If essential oils cause a child to breathe, convulsions or changes in consciousness, parents should call the emergency services immediately," advises the expert.


Susannne Schmid / BARMER GEK | last changed on at 08:26