Safety issues page posted on August 5, 2013 from:
learningabouteos.com

Below is the information that was on the above site. It is typical of the
incorrect and misleading pseudo science which originated over 20 years ago
from 2 or 3 people in France. That wrong information has been parroted ad
infinitum by other teachers. Their claimed therapeutic uses and safety are
based on organic chemistry not phytochemistry (which these people knew
nothing about). Their invented data is endemic in aromatherapy courses. The
trade associations who approve teachers do not want it known that they are
peddling garbage, but would rather students heads are filled with the fairy
tales which unfortunately most therapists seem to desire.
-----------------------
Claims made on this site are marked with "..."
The incorrect or misleading information I have commented on in blue.
“Chemical Families, Therapeutic Properties,
and Safety Considerations”


"Monoterpenes”
“This chemical family is made up of components which evaporate quickly and
are considered 'top notes' as they are the first aromas to hit your nose in a
blend”.

“Monoterpenes generally are:
antiseptic - great for cuts
analgesic - relieves pain
rubifacient - increases blood circulation
decongestant - relieves respiratory congestion
antibacterial (some also antiviral)
excellent for diffusing - they kill airborne germs
skin penetration-enhancers - great for getting deep into sore muscles,
tendons, and ligaments".
This is ludicrous as there are at least 600 monoterpenes of vastly
varying properties. Thus no reliable general properties can be
attributed to them.


"Essential oils with more than 60% monoterpenes include: Bergamot, Black
Pepper, Cypress, Frankincense, Grapefruit, Juniper Berry, Lemon, Opopanax,
Sweet Orange, Ravintsara, Rosemary, and Siberian Fir". So what, that tells
you nothing about their properties, look at the massive difference between
bergamot & black pepper oils.


"Safety Considerations: Monoterpenes are prone to oxidation and have a shelf
life of only 1-3 years. Once oxidized, they can cause skin irritation, and are
best discarded (or diffused)". This is dangerous advice as a & b pinene and d-
limonene (common in many essential oils) can oxidise and develop sensitising
chemicals within months. Therefore, advising 1-3 years is hazardous.


"Sesquiterpenes”
“This chemical family's therapeutic properties are difficult to generalize”.
So don't generalise!!

“Here are some therapeutic actions and the Sesquiterpene-family essential oils
associated with them:”

Anti-fungal: Myrrh, patchouli, spikenard
Analgesic: Black pepper, German chamomile, ginger, myrrh, ylang ylang" ++
+Analgesic means to relieve pain, but no indication is given on mode of use++
+.
"Antiseptic: Cedarwood, ginger, myrrh, vetiver".

Antiseptic is usually associated with a substance that kills most organisms
capable of causing ill health. That is not something which most essential oils
are capable of. Some are antibacterial, some anti fungal, some both, but the
oils mentioned are not the best for such purposes. Also, the + signs are an
indication of someone who has


"Anti-inflammatory: Cedarwood, German Chamomile, -Ginger-, Myrrh,
Patchouli, Spikenard, Ylang ylang". Ginger is a rubefacient not anti-
inflammatory, you can't have it both ways, it has to be one or the other.


"Antispasmodic: German Chamomile, Ginger, -Opopanax-, Spikenard".
Opopanax is a skin sensitiser.

"Sedative: German Chamomile, Myrrh, Patchouli, Spikenard, Ylang Ylang".
Relaxant maybe but not sedative.

"There are really no safety concerns with Sesquiterpenes other than they can
be irritating if oxidized." It is 100 percent wrong to make such generalisations
based on broad chemical groups. That is not the way essential oils work. Each
oil is a chemically complex individual substance and making such sweeping
generalisations is not only stupid it can be dangerous.


"They have a long shelf life of 6-8 years".
An incorrect generalisation. for example, black pepper can contain a lot of a &
b pinene which degrade into skin sensitising agents. Delta 3 carene is also a
skin sensitiser. Ylang oil is well recognised for its fast oxidisation rate and loss
of fragrance.


"Monoterpenols”
“The chemical structure of Monoterpenols are similar to that of Monoterpenes.
The difference? A hydroxyl molecule. The location of this molecule determines
the therapeutic property of the oil (isn't that fascinating?)." This is not correct.
No single molecule can be held to determine the properties of an essential oil
which can contain hundreds of different molecules. It is fundamentally unsound
pseudo science.


"Monoterpenols have a wide variety of therapeutic properties. Some of these
often include: strong anti-infectious agents, such as terpinene-4-ol, a chemical
component found in Tea Tree". What the heck does anti-infectious mean?

"antibacterial, antifungal, and even antiviral, thanks to linalol, a chemical
component found in Lavender and Rosewood". Linalool anti viral, i think not.

"anti-spasmodic effects thanks to menthol, a primary component found in
Peppermint
anti-fungal action found in Geranium" Comments as for monoterpenols above.

"Some of the essential oils highest in Monoterpenols are: Rose Absolute
(93%), Rosewood (91%), Palmarosa (80%), Thyme ct linalol (61%), and Basil
(56%)".

"The only safety consideration in this chemical family is menthol, which can
irritate the skin. Menthol should be avoided on children under 5 years of age.
Shelf life is 3-5 years". Incorrect. both tea tree oil and lavender (mentioned
above) are known to degrade and it can be less than one year. By the time tea
tree is 3-5 years old it is likely to be a
major skin sensitiser. There are dozens
of oils containing this chemical family and it is preposterous to generalise on
the activity of any of those.


"Sesquiterpenols”
“The oils in this chemical family are considered 'base' notes, as they are
physically heavier on a molecular level, and are the last notes to float out of a
bottle when you are sniffing a blend. Sandalwood is 85% sesquiterpenols.

General therapeutic properties of Sesquiterpenols are:
anti-inflammatory
immune supporting
sedative
skin healing
antibacterial
antispasmodic
excellent tonic for lymph system as well as veins Ludicrous" Classic beauty
therapy hype.


"There are no safety concerns with these oils. Shelf life is 6-8 years".
The question of safety depends on what other molecules occur in a specific oil
that contains sesquiterpenols; the volumes of those other constituents and
how easily they oxidise.


"Esters”
“This chemical family is not only highly antispasmodic, but are also often:
sedative
soothing
analgesic
anti-inflammatory
and helps the body deal with stress

Some of the essential oils with the highest percentages of esters are Roman
Chamomile (80%), Jasmine Absolute (52%), and Helichrysum (49%)".
Incorrect, many essential oils contain esters. Some of those oils are known to
be
sensitisers such as peru balsam and tolu balsam. the longer they are stored
the more they degrade.


"There are only two components that are best avoided: methyl salicylate
present in Birch, and sabinyl acetate present in Juniper oil. Methyl salicylate
can be poisonous if used long-term on the skin, and sabinyl acetate can cause
liver toxicity. Shelf life is 3-5 years". See above.

"Phenols”
“Phenols are very active and stimulating ' an excellent choice when you want
to nip an aggressive infection in the bud.

Clove Bud essential oil is 67% Phenols and is the 'poster child' of Phenols.
Excellent for combating infections, but should be avoided by people on blood
thinners due to its high eugenol content.

Base notes, Phenols sticking around longer and making them more apt to
irritate the skin. When using high-Phenol oils, dilute well. Use no more than 5
drops per ounce of carrier oil (1% dilution), to prevent irritation on mucous
membranes and skin”.

“Shelf life is 3 years”.
Oils that are high in phenols tend to be powerful skin irritants. The eugenol in
clove oil is a suspected sensitiser and its use is restricted in cosmetic products
to below 0.5%.


"Aldehydes”
“Aldehydes are excellent for fungal issues. Melissa, and its near-twin,
Lemongrass, are two oils right around 80% Aldehydes. Neral and geranial are
two specific Aldehydes Melissa and Lemongrass share". Genuine melissa oil is
hugely variable in composition and you can't possibly generalise on the
aldehyde content, it depends on which variety and from where in the world.


“Aldehydes usually have the following therapeutic properties:
anti-fungal
antibacterial
anti-inflammatory
antispasmodic
sedative
and can even reduce fever". That is total fabrication based on herbal
medicine!!!


"This is another chemical family where low dilution and short-term use is
strongly recommended. Dilutions over 1% can result in skin irritation.
Aldehydes are most definitely not recommended for internal use ever, even at
low doses. People suffering with glaucoma or estrogen-related cancers should
be particularly cautious". There is not a shed of sound evidence for this
warning, particularly as they say above
: "Aldehydes are most definitely not
recommended for internal use ever,". There is absolutely no evidence that
sufficient essential oil can get into the body via external application in massage
to have any effect on cancers. lemongrass oil for example is a permitted food
flavouring.


"Aldehydes oxidize easily and have a shelf life of only 1-3 years". More like 6
months - lemongrass oil is notorious for its fast rate of polymerisation.


"Ketones”
“The primary reason to choose oils from the Ketone chemical family would be
for respiratory infections, as they are very effective expectorants and
mycolytics. Peppermint has more ketones than most other essential oils,
although Rosemary, Vetiver, and Spike Lavender have an effective amount as
well”.

“Ketones are also generally:
analgesic
antispasmodic
rubifacient
cicatrisant
wound healing

Although Ketones do have components which are non-toxic, there are very real
concerns with camphor in particular.

Pinocamphone and isopinocamphone are also neurotoxic, and these
components are found in Hyssop (Hyssop officianalis).

Also found in Hyssop (Hyssop officianalis), as well as Sage, Mugwort, Thuja,
and Pennyroyal are pulegone and thujone, potential abortifacients. Do not use
if pregnant or around children". See my article on pennyroyal. Sage is another
oil on which the aromatherapy trade still publish their nonsense about
"thujone". I dismissed that many years ago as it depends on which isomer in
which oil. However, this garbage is still taught by followers of the incorrect
chemical theories of French origin.


"Short-term use of low dilutions (1%) is considered safe. Shelf life is 3-5
years". Doubtful.

"Oxides”
"The most important Oxide component is 1,8 cineole, which is wonderful for
respiratory issues. 1,8 cineole stimulates mucous and activates the cilia found
in the mucous membranes”.

“Other therapeutic properties of Oxides generally are:

antiviral 1,8 cineole – is not in vivo. Only in isolated cells tested in a lab.
anti-fungal
antibacterial
can stimulate blood flow to the brain when inhaled"

“Eucalyptus is your best choice for an Oxide high essential oil, as it contains
around 80% Oxides. Rosemary and Laurel Leaf contain around 40% Oxides
and are also good choices”.

“Although Oxides can provide relief to asthmatics, in some people it can set off
an attack, and caution must be given. Other safety concerns are skin irritation
due to oxidation of oils”.

Oxides should be avoided on children under the age of 5. Shelf life is 1-3
years.

“Ethers”
Ethers have very effective antispasmodic properties.

Some popular ethers are: Anise, Fennel, Nutmeg, and Tarragon".

"Safety considerations for the Ether chemical family are high, so these are to
be used preferably only when Esters don't work. These safety considerations
are: liver toxicity, estrogen-like activity, neurotoxic effects, are psychotropic
(influences mood and behavior, as well as affects the brain), and genotoxicity
(interferes with DNA)". This is absolute garbage. Aniseed and fennel oils are
common food ingredients and permitted food flavourings. The mentioned
effects are from cases where people have drunk the oil in excess, or from
unreliable animal tests.


"Specific Ether components and the safety concerns they present are as
follows:

“Apiole oral doses are poisonous, and can cause an abortion in pregnant
women”. Sure if anyone drunk it.

Methyl chavicol (estragole) ' carcinogenic in rats, likely to cause cancer in
humans. High percentages of estragole are found in Tarragon, Hzvozo Bark,
and Tropical Basil. Outdated garbage; these effects on humans were dismissed
many years ago. Basil oil is a permitted food flavour.


Methyl eugenol ' high doses are carcinogenic. What does 'high doses' mean?

Trans-anethole ' Avoid if pregnant or breastfeeding. This component is found in
high concentrations in Anise and Fennel essential oils. Both oils are permitted
food flavourings with no cautions during pregnancy or breast feeding. This is
probably again based on the French style pseudo chemistry. Indeed the
hormonal effects of these oils are inconclusive and it is probably based on
consumption of the seeds which might have a hormonal component not found
in the oil.


"Of all chemical families, Ethers present the most serious safety issues. This is
concerning because many people see the names of herbs, such as Fennel,
Basil, and Nutmeg and are less concerned with dosage due to their familiarity
and often frequent use of these herbs”. This is a ridiculous statement bearing
in mind that most of the oils she mentions are permitted food flavors.
Everything depends on the volume that is likely to enter the body via external
use. Also, the toxicity depends on which specific oil, you cannot generalise on
these issues.


Excerpt taken from the e-report, Using Essential Oils Safely. FREE when you
sign up for our newsletter here". No thanks!!
8
More posts
Essential Chemistry for Safe Aromatherapy