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Aromatherapy myths & misconceptions

Ever read the claims that aromatherapy might cure cancer or at least eczema? The web is full of false claims about a lot of things, but in recent years, essential oils have become a hot-topic item. This article will help dispel common myths and misconceptions about aromatherapy.

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    Myth #1

    Aromatherapy cures cancer.

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    Truth

    Unfortunately, this is a myth. Some small and low quality studies have examined the effects of specific components of essential oils on cancer cells in a petri dish. There have been no studies to suggest that taking an essential oil can have any impact on cancer growing in the human body. In fact, it can be dangerous to use some essential oils in some ways if you are fighting cancer. Read more about the safety of essential oils.

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    Myth #2

    More is more!

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    Truth

    Many essential oil companies suggest that you use essential oils in every aspect of your life. Clean your house with them, brush your teeth, drink them, breathe them—the list goes on and on. The truth is, the body responds better when small amounts of essential oils are used intermittently. Your body can become sensitive to essential oils overtime with excessive exposure.

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    Truth

    It's also important to remember that these oils come from natural resources. They should be used conservatively just like any other natural resource. In fact, some essential oils come from endangered species of plants and should be avoided altogether. Sandalwood is one example of an endangered species that is still being harvested and added to soaps, lotions, candles and other products.

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    Myth #3

    Essential oils are natural products, so they must be safe.

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    Truth

    In reality, natural does not mean safe. Did you know that some of the first chemotherapies were also derived from plants? Lead is a natural substance, but we know that exposure to it isn't healthy for children with developing brains. Essential oils are highly concentrated potent substances. They can have therapeutic benefits, but they can also be harmful to the body and interact with medications. Read more about the safety of essential oils.

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    Myth #4

    It's a good idea to get information about essential oils from a friend or family member that is selling them.

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    Truth

    Although friends and family members are well-meaning, it is important to not confuse marketing material for medical advice. Information coming from companies that sell essential oils is not scientifically or medically sound. It is intended to sell products. In fact, the FDA has warned several essential oil companies to stop labeling products with misleading information. The FDA warns that medical advice should come from healthcare professionals, not from companies that sell aromatherapy products. The most reputable essential oil companies offer no medical advice on their websites, and their products make no health claims.

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    Myth #5

    It’s always better to use aromatherapy than the plant in its natural form!

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    Truth

    Aromatherapy is derived from plants so there are different ways to access the benefits using the plant itself. For example, lemon and ginger are readily available in grocery stores, so next time you are there, pick some up! Try squeezing some lemon juice and slicing ginger into warm water to ease nausea or wake up for the day. Love the smell of lavender? Buy a plant for your local nursery for your home. Check with a trained aromatherapist for other ideas on ways to use the plant itself.

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