Have you ever used an essential oil and wondered why you seemed to get an allergic type reaction? Sometimes upon beginning with essential oils people will experience reactions including rashes, headaches and fatigue and worry that they are allergic to the oils and quit. The exciting news is that these are not allergic reactions but are actually signs of detox. These detoxing signs can be frustrating to deal with, but they do eventually go away and are so worth pushing through with how amazing you can feel when these harmful toxins are cleansed from your body. Thankfully, as the oils are breaking up these toxins there are some safe ways to help your body rid itself of these toxins more quickly and reduce, eliminate or bring these negative reactions to a quicker end. On this page I want to cover a little bit about why you can’t be allergic to pure essential oils, detoxing, and how to support your body while it is cleaning out the junk.
Allergic Reactions to Essential Oils
This is a topic that interested me a lot as I had heard many times that you cannot be allergic to essential oils. Me being the information geek that I am, I had to research this to understand it a little better.
Essential oils are the volatile oils of a plant. With the exception of citrus oils which are cold pressed from the rind, these oils are ideally steam distilled at low temperatures to extract the oils from the plants as gently as possible creating a pure essential oil.
An allergen is a substance that generally contains proteins and polypeptides which are made up of amino acids. In order for an allergic reaction to occur, the substance would generally contain these amino acids and your body would have already been introduced to the substance which would have allowed your body to build antibodies against that substance which is what would cause the allergic reaction.
Essential oils (with the exception of citrus oils) do not contain amino acids. Because of this there is nothing in true pure oil that could cause an allergic reaction. The exceptions to this would be essential oils that are premixed with carrier (fatty) oils as the carrier oils do contain proteins and also oils that are not pure essential oils but that contain chemicals. According to the FDA rules an essential oil only has to contain only 5% pure oil to qualify it to be labeled 100% pure so definitely know your supplier! Therefore if you are certain your oil is completely pure without any additives there should not be an allergic reaction.
So, if you can’t be allergic to the oils, then what would cause this type of reaction? Detoxing!
Our bodies take in and work hard to eliminate so many toxins on a daily basis. From the toxins in our food, environment, pharmaceuticals, household cleaners and beauty products, it is a daily battle to avoid chemicals that can harm our bodies. These toxins can cause so many issues in our bodies and can contribute to so many sicknesses that people struggle with. For example, things such as eczema, allergies and fibromyalgia can be rooted in liver toxicity which is the organ mostly responsible for eliminating these chemicals. High cholesterol can be partially caused by cell receptors that are unable to do their jobs due to being clogged with toxins. Toxins can contribute to ADD/ADHD, autism, inability to focus and concentrate, headaches, PMS and the list can go on and on..
When you begin to cleanse your body of the toxins they have to come out and this can sometimes cause the uncomfortable detox reactions. These reactions are just the toxins trying to come out any way that they can as the oils work to break them down and flush them out. For some people depending on the load of toxins they are carrying, these reactions can be short term or they can last a little longer and though it is hard to get through it is so worth the results of feeling amazing when the detox is over! Thankfully there are some great and natural ways to help your body eliminate the toxins more quickly and efficiently and aid the oils in their work.
Dealing with the Detox
Dealing with detox can be frustrating but here are some natural ways to help your body eliminate the toxins!
-Slow Down: If you began oiling at a frenzied rate, you may want to slow down a little and allow your body to cleanse at a little slower rate. Perhaps just using a fewer amount of oils if you are using many varieties at once or using them once less a day. Then as your body cleanses you can work up to the amount you feel you need while allowing your body time to cleanse and heal.
Taking a detox bath is a wonderful way to not only soothe your body but it also works to pull those toxins out through the skin allowing your body to eliminate them in a gentle way.
To take a detox bath: Run a tub of water at as warm of a temperature as you are comfortable with. While the tub is filling pour in 4 cups each: Epsom salts, baking soda and hydrogen peroxide. You can also add in a soothing oil or herb to make your bath extra luxurious such as Lavender or Chamomile.
Soak in the tub for at least 30 minutes.
This bath is soothing and if I were experiencing heavy detox reactions, I would probably take one at least once a week or more if I felt it was necessary. These baths are considered safe for children as well though I would do half the amount of ingredients since they are smaller.
Bentonite clay is an amazing substance that can pull toxins and heavy metals from our bodies. It is a mineral that has an electrical charge to it. Upon mixing it in water it works as a highly porous sponge that attracts the toxins, absorbs them and gently flushes them from the body.
You can buy bentonite clay in loose powder form or at health food stores in capsules. I like to buy it loose and then I can either put some in an empty capsule or I prefer to mix about 1 teaspoon in water and swallow it down. You want to make sure to never put bentonite clay in contact with metal as it will begin to absorb those metals so I like to always put it in a glass cup. Also make sure to drink plenty of water to help flush it through. You want to make sure you are buying good food grade bentonite clay. I order mine from the Bulk Herb Store.
It is also great to mix it into a warm bath allowing it to flush the metals and toxins out through the skin. If you use it in a bath you want to let the water stay in the tub overnight allowing the clay to settle to the bottom. You can then drain the water and scoop out the clay so that you don’t just drain all of that clay into your pipes.
Always make sure you are drinking plenty of water as it helps cleanse your body and also keep it hydrated as your body cleans out.
Herbal teas can be loaded with bioavailable nutrients that help to keep your body healthy and supported while cleansing or even just on a daily basis. You want to be sure that your body is getting plenty of healthy benefits to build it up while cleansing and teas are a great way to do that. Some of my favorite herbs would be Red Raspberry Leaf, Nettle, Oatstraw, Mullein, Alfalfa and Peppermint. These herbs are generally considered safe for anyone and are loaded with minerals and nutrients.
Herbal salves and balms with completely natural ingredients can help to soothe rashes while drawing out the toxins. Making balms is a very simple process and herbs such as Plantain and Calendula are wonderful for removing poisons and toxins while soothing irritating rashes.
One other type of reaction to consider is one that is not physical but rather is emotional. Our sense of smell is the only one of our senses that is directly connected to the limbic system and thus the memory and emotions. It is because of this that a familiar smell can very quickly trigger a memory, some good and some bad. Many people can have a quick and strong dislike or emotional reaction to an oil because of a negative emotion that has been ignored. Because our physical health is very much connected to our emotional health, these are things that need to be dealt with just as much as the physical issues. This is where prayer and using the oils is hugely important helping our bodies to heal emotionally and physically.
Start with the Colon
One other thing to remember is that if you are starting a heavy detox or are experiencing heavy reactions is to look at the colon. The colon is an area of the body that can easily get a little overloaded and since this is one of the first sources of elimination it is a good place to support. Doing a gentle colon cleanse before doing any kind of detox is always a good idea and offering the colon support during any detox reaction is a good idea. Finding a good supplement that supports colon cleansing is a great way to accomplish this. One I have used and trust is ComforTone capsules from Young Living which has some great herbal cleansers such as bentonite clay, psyllium husk and burdock root.
Hopefully these suggestions will help support your body as it rids itself of harmful chemicals and help on the road to better health and wellness!
Note: One of my favorite books that has information on this topic is The Chemistry of Essential Oils Made Simple by David Stewart. This book explains simply the topics of oils and allergic reactions as well as so many other great information about essential oils! It is one of my favorite oil books!