Are essential oils safe? Local doctor weighs in

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YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – You may have seen or heard of the craze on social media involving essential oils. But do they actually work, and do doctors approve?

Stephanie Hann is a wellness advocate for doTERRA, a company that sells essential oils and other related products. She says she can’t imagine her life without essential oils. But, she admits, she was skeptical about the product when first introduced to it.

Hann talked about her daughter waking up with a lot of ear pain. She used a mixture of Melaleuca and lavender to help ease the pain.

“I placed this in her ear and just held her for quite some time, and in a matter of minutes, she had calmed down and the pain was gone, and it bought me that amount of time as a mom to be able to get her to the doctor the next morning,” she said.

Hann said oils offer a variety of health benefits. One of her favorites to use is lemon oil, which she says helps detoxify the body.

“I put one to two drops in a glass bottle or glass cup every single day,” she said.

Debbie Armbrecht is also a proponent of using the oils, saying they can help congestion.

“I haven’t used over-the-counter drugs in quite some time,” she said.

doTERRA says you can use its oils aromatically, topically and internally. But how do experts feel about the craze?

The Centers for Disease Control confirmed that lemon eucalyptus oil can be as effective as DEET in repelling mosquitoes.

Dr. Michael Sevilla, of the Family Practice of Salem, said a lot of his patients use essential oils to help with headaches and stress.

“I recommend all of my patients, whether they start essential oils or herbal medicines or over-the-counter medicines to talk to me about them first, because sometimes they can interfere with some of your prescription medicines and that’s something that’s very important to talk to your doctor about,” he said.

Dr. Sevilla said people who have lung problems, like asthma, emphysema or with skin conditions, should use caution because the oils can cause irritation.

“I definitely do not recommend that in people who are pregnant, because sometimes it can interfere with their pregnancy,” he said.

Dr. Sevilla says oils should not replace a trip to the doctor’s office if there are serious health concerns.

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