StandardHow Can I Safely Use Essential Oils If I Have Epilepsy

July 14, 2021by The CBD0


At Edens Garden, we get questions from people with various health conditions asking us how to safely and effectively use essential oils as a complementary therapy. One condition we’re often asked about is epilepsy.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll outline what we know about essential oils and epilepsy and our biggest aromatherapy safety tip for those with this condition. Read on to learn more. 

What Is Epilepsy?

Epilepsy is a disorder in which individuals experience two or more unprovoked seizures due to abnormal electrical activity in the brain. According to the Epilepsy Foundation, epilepsy is the fourth most common neurological disorder and is synonymous with seizure disorder. 

A spectrum disorder, individuals with epilepsy may experience different types of seizures such as:

Generalized Onset Seizures

These seizures affect both sides of the brain at the same time and may be characterized by rhythmic jerking, muscles becoming rigid, muscles becoming weak, twitching or body spasms. It may also look like staring off into the distance and twitching.

Focal Onset Seizures

These seizures occur or begin in one side of the brain and may occur when a person is aware of what is happening or has an impaired awareness. Symptoms may also include rhythmic jerking, muscles becoming rigid, muscles becoming weak, twitching, body spasms, or repeated automatic movements such as clapping, running, chewing, hand rubbing or lip-smacking. Those with focal onset seizures may also experience changes in emotions, thinking, sensation or a lack of movement. 

Unknown Onset Seizures

If the beginning of a seizure is unknown and can’t easily be described, it may be classified as an unknown onset seizure until doctors are able to classify the seizure as a generalized or focal onset seizure. However, symptoms usually still include muscle rigidity (tonic), rhythmic jerking (clonic), epileptic spasms or a lack of movement. 

Knowing which type of seizures you experience helps doctors to assess how best to treat and manage your type of epilepsy. 

There are various causes of seizures, including: 

  • Head trauma

  • Genetics

  • Infection

  • Brain tumor or stroke

  • Developmental disorders

If you have had a seizure, please seek medical attention. 

Epileptic Seizure Triggers

Seizure triggers can vary widely from person to person, but in individuals with epilepsy, the following are generally well-known triggers:

  1. Missed Medication: Not taking your epilepsy medication is the primary seizure trigger of those with epilepsy. Even if you miss a dose once or twice and nothing happens, it’s important to always take medication on time.

  2. Sleep: While those with epilepsy have been known to suffer from a lack of sleep, sleeplessness can adversely trigger seizures. A full 7-9 hours of sleep is recommended for those with epilepsy. 

  3. Alcohol: Often added to the “substances to avoid list” by doctors of epileptic individuals, when leaving one’s system, alcohol may cause seizures especially when drinking more than 1-2 standard drinks anywhere from 6-72 hours after drinking. Epilepsy medication can also lower one’s alcohol tolerance. 

  4. Stress: As with most people, stress can take a toll on our bodies and in those with epilepsy, it may cause seizures. It is believed that stress causes abnormal brain activity which may cause a seizure. 

  5. Illness: Side effects of illness may include fever, stress, dehydration and lack of sleep which can all lead to a seizure in epileptic individuals. Medications for common illnesses may also be a trigger. 

  6. PMS: As your body undergoes hormonal changes around the time of menstruation, seizures may increase in those with epilepsy. According to Penn Medicine, high amounts of estrogen can worsen seizures whereas progesterone can protect against them. Certain types of birth control may also trigger seizures. 

Essential Oils

The following essential oils are recommended to be avoided if you have epilepsy. Note that this is not a full and complete list: 

  • Eucalyptus essential oil

  • Fennel essential oil

  • Lavender- Spike essential oil

  • Sage essential oil

  • Yarrow essential oil

  • Rosemary essential oil (all types)

  • Oils containing a significant amount of 1,8- cineole

  • Oils containing a significant amount of camphor

How Can I Safely Use Essential Oils If I Have Epilepsy? 

For those with epilepsy, triggers of seizure activity can vary widely from individual to individual. And when it comes to pinning down which essential oils may be triggering or beneficial to epileptic individuals, the safest advice we can give is to work with a doctor and aromatherapist who can provide you with safe guidelines that meet your individual needs. 

For some epileptics, aromas can be triggering, regardless of the quality of the oil or brand. 

Studies on aromatherapy are growing every day and that which we once believed about essential oils may no longer be true. For example, Eucalyptus oil was not widely believed to cause epileptic seizures, but recent studies have shown that there may be reason for concern when it comes to epileptics using Eucalyptus oil.   

The bottom line – epilepsy is a complex condition and aromatherapy safety guidelines for those with epilepsy cannot be one-size-fits-all. We recommend avoiding the essential oils listed above and creating a plan to effectively and safely use essential oils with your doctor and an aromatherapist. 

Find More Goodness

Want more goodness in your life? Edens Garden offers 100% pure, undiluted essential oils that are of the highest quality. We guarantee this through rigorous testing and verification through leading essential oil chemists and aromatherapists. The best news? Our products are practically priced and affordable because we believe everyone deserves to experience the natural, healing benefits of essential oils. 

Sources:

  1. Epilepsy. https://www.lexico.com/en/definition/epilepsy

  2. What is Epilepsy? https://www.epilepsy.com/learn/about-epilepsy-basics/what-epilepsy

  3. Types of Seizures. https://www.epilepsy.com/learn/types-seizures

  4. Epilepsy. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/epilepsy/symptoms-causes/syc-20350093

  5. The Curious Case of Epileptic Seizures: What Triggers a Seizure? https://www.pennmedicine.org/updates/blogs/neuroscience-blog/2019/august/surprising-epilepsy-seizure-triggers

  6. Can Eucalyptus essential oil cause seizures? A video by Robert Tisserand https://tisserandinstitute.org/eucalyptus-seizures/



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