Friday, October 28, 2016

One Woman's Nightmare

We received a message today.  the dialogue that followed is quoted below, with some additional comments from me.

 Hi, Marge!
My daughter is 31 weeks pregnant, did *not* get a flu shot or the pertussis shot (nor did I but hubby just got a flu shot), so I'd like to do whatever I can at home to keep the environment free of nasties and keep her (and us) protected.  I've used Germ Beater in the past but I have become extremely sensitive to clove and cinnamon oils (at least topically--have avoided aromatically just to be safe), and I also understand that these oils are contraindicated for use during pregnancy. Could you recommend a blend I could put together that might offer a similar surface/air protection but would be more mom/fetus friendly?
 Many thanks,  

my first reply:

She also needs to avoid the Lemon Myrtle that is in both of our Germ Beaters...
I am thinking that safer and milder antibacterials would be geranium,  palma rosa..   tea tree with rosalina...     they are not the heavy artillary that you see in the high citral oils and the spices, but they would be effective, and safe.
maybe also add some ravensara aromatica and/or ravintsara for the anti-viral effect?
Also... look at our FluFoil  ingredients... 

and I am applauding you.. so many just charge in without thinking!

- - - -

At 10:20 AM 10/28/2016, she wrote:

Thank you so much, Marge!!  My personal experience with EOs (ended up developing a very serious allergic reaction to many of them, particularly the spice ones, that landed me on a immunosuppressant to control my reactivity) has taught me to have greater respect for them and to use them with greater caution.  :)

My reply:

oh WOW...     I wish you would talk to Robert Tisserand... he does so much with safety and needs to hear the specifics of your situation.
I'm curious tho... were you using the spice oils topically?  We have always advised against that,  esp. cinnamon bark and cassia...    clove and cinnamon leaf as well, with some very specific exceptions....   What oils and blends did you use topically. (I am guessing Thieves or it's equivalent...which is irresponsibly recommended for topical use...  and should never be!)

- - - - -

At 12:48 PM 10/28/2016, she wrote:

Well, I'm a massage therapist and I was using the oils quite a bit in my practice, both diffused and mixed in massage lotion.  A lot of my folks seek pain relief/management so I was using blends with clove, cypress, balsams (YL Thieves, Panaway, AromaLife) as well as singles like lemongrass, balsam, pine. Plus I was using Thieves room spray, hand sanitizer, and cleaning solution at home.  And ImmunoPro and Inner Defense internally.  The rash and itching were so bad, but for the longest time no one could pinpoint what it was.  One of my practitioners even thought it was parasitic and had me on an intense clove supplement, which just sent me over the top.

I finally had patch testing done and it showed I was highly reactive to fragrance blends--particularly clove, cinnamon, balsam. Once I eliminated EOs, I started to improve. But I still kept having exacerbations because my system had been so beaten up and I guess the oils had gotten so deeply into my tissues that I needed to be put on an immunosuppressant (Xolair) to control/prevent the debilitating flareups as the stuff continued to be processed out of my body.

 So yes, very powerful substances our plant oils are...

- -  - - - -

(comment... I am appalled at the aromatic overload... at the gross misuse of oils that really should
never be used topically, in spite of what the MLMs advise.  Even a quick browsing of Tisserand's safety  manual, or any book that focuses on safe and appropriate use, or any supplier's website that emphasizes safety... would recommend against the topical use of Clove,  the components of Thieves, Panaway, etc.    And the regular internal use of these blends...rather than balancing a person's immune system they seem to overwhelm it.  )

My response:

  Reading this has me on the verge of tears...    the harm that was done you...     I have always been taught that massage therapists are at greater risk and need to exercise MORE care and caution because of the exposure...  and you were...  immersing yourself, internally and externally...    because you were taught to use the oils this way.

Did no one ever teach you that cinnamon and clove are KNOWN sensitizers and should not be used topically? (of course not... they would have sold less...  )

I'm sorry, .... sorry that this happened to you...   and that you are still suffering the consequences..  Reading and rereading your experience makes me want to cry, AND makes me angry enough to throw things...  And it was all preventable... just common sense safety precautions.

There's a REASON Nature's Gift bottles say 'always dilute" and "not for internal use".....  I sometimes will use a specific eo or blend internally, for a very brief period... for a specific ailment...  but I've been trained in aromatic medicine...  and never just routinely.

 I would love permission to share your story...   in a blog article and on Facebook..   not with your name...     but so, hopefully, at least someone can learn from your experience.

There are people collecting "adverse reaction' reports... your experience should be added.  Do I have permission to share...without using your name or anything that would identify you...    but using the product names that you used?

And she wrote back,  Marge, I really appreciate your compassion and sensitivity to my situation...but even though YL marketing tactics and claims provided me with sense of security in using their products, I have to accept some of the blame. I know that their products are concentrated and one drop is usually enough therapeutically but I would sometimes use 2 or 3 drops for a more aromatically pleasant experience with my clients. I should have been more conservative in my use.  As far as internal use, well, I always followed stated recommendations but that may have been the tipping point for hindsight, I would have skipped internal use completely.

That all being said, yes you have my permission to share this information with your readers. They need to know that there is indeed a downside to improper EO use.

And not sure if you'll be able to view these attachments, but I'm including a few pictures of what things looked like at their worst...wouldn't wish this on my worst enemy...

Oh My Goodness!   Now,  *I* get contact dermatitis from unwise neat use of lavender on broken skin....but it is normally confined... never to the extent of yours.    This is a horror story... yes.. we will blog it... and share it.     Thank you!

Thank you, Marge. The experience has been my private hell, and I never thought to put it out there. So I appreciate your being my conduit.  If others can benefit from this experience and lessons learned, then I am willing to share. Let me know if you need any further info or clarification for your post.

Warm blessings,


 One question.. the practitioner who diagnosed you with parasites and Rxd a clove supplement...  what sort of practitioner, what sort of licensing.. and does he/she offer essential oils from one or the other MLM's?  

We have seen practioners with no aromatherapy training Rxing the oils.. neat,  ingestion in water, etc.. known dangerous modalities.

my mantra.. "anything powerful enough to heal is also powerful enough to do terrible harm...    the power of the oils must be respected.  not feared, but respected..    "safe and appropriate use" ... for over 20 years I've preached/taught that...  and stories like yours just...   break my heart.  It is all so unnecessary...

And she answered...
The practitioner is a functional nutritionist and certified health coach, specializing in inflammatory disease and cancer.  She's a upper-tier distributor of YL oils/products and is a strong proponent of their complementary use or as an alternative to conventional allopathic treatments of certain conditions.  She's very knowledgeable, does extensive research, and always presents white papers and studies to support her recommendations for use of the products that she promotes.  She's has a great reputation so I trusted her advice and recommendations.  So not a fly-by-night, amateur practitioner.  However, she wasn't familiar with any of her clients having the kind of reaction that I had so the EOs weren't implicated as the cause...she looked at my symptoms as being parasitic or even possibly a mast cell reaction. After many erroneous  diagnoses by many different doctors, a University dermatologist finally asked the right questions and did the right testing to properly determine the trigger to be the EOs. 

why am I not surprised that the "practitioner" is a upper tier YL distributor?  "and she's a YL distributor... so has NO training in essential oil safety.  

Believe me...  any trained aromatherapist... knowing your occupation and seeing those horrible rashes would have FIRST asked about EO usage.

but YL training seems to deny that there is any risk...

*I* am a strong proponent of the oils as complements to allopathic meds... we support research projects to show their efficacy,  we work with hospital staffs, we supply clinical aromatherapy courses...   but we also stress SAFETY.    "safe and appropriate use"  because we respect their power.

Now... ingested clove might be an effective treatment for parasites... this is NOT my area of expertise...  but...   the FIRST thing she (or anyone else!) should have looked at was your overuse of the oils...

I'm sorry... but this is just... combining the tragedy!

- - - -

there doesn't seem to be anything else to add.  This woman has been put through HELL because of corporate greed and deliberate dysinformation.



Unknown said...

Holy moly. That is SO terrible. They won't ever even care, or take responsibility, or even do anything to change either. This did not have to happen. I am SO sorry for that poor woman.

Unknown said...

Thank you Marge and guest for this informative article. Wow! Wish I could blast ALL my friends who are YL reps. I do, however have a question. I have started making soaps, and not being an aromatherapist, only a follower of what I can glean from you and Sylla, etc, rely on the natural soap recipes I can find for guidelines. There are many essential oils used in soaps, and clove/cinnamon are two big ones this winter season. Any thoughts? Recommendations? Thank you for any safe soaping words you may have.

Marge said...

Shelley, don't blast them, just offer them this link... at any rate, re the soap... yes, I used to see those recipes... with the spice oils. I never made them. When the warnings on an oil say 'avoid topical use' why wash with it? If you want a spice, look at ginger, at cardamom, the more gentle ones... That's my personal opinion, of course. When I made soap, I concentrated on skin healing... both very rich formulas, and skinhealing oils and CO2s.

Paul Kiler said...

This poor woman. The body reactions however do not surprise me in the least.

KNOW your essential oil molecular constituents, and their allergenic cautions, use, and how NOT to use them.

Spice oils of clove, and pimento are filled with eugenol, isoeugenol, and methyl eugenol. ALL are heavy sensitized with cumulative reactions. Cinnamon has cinnamon alcohol, same thing...

Deb said...

I'm so sorry you went this terrible ordeal! I have been having skin reactions so had to have the patch test. I had severe reaction to Ylang Ylang and composite mix which consists of Chamomile, Tansy, Yarrow, Arnica and Feverfew along with other things that are man made chemicals. I was very surprised to see the natural things but makes sense now. Use everything with knowledge.

Unknown said...

Fighting tears. Thank you for sharing with Marge, and Marge, thank you for sharing with us.

Sheryl said...

I am an aromatherapy student and RN for 36 years. My research paper is on safe use of essential oils. May I use your story and pictures? I am also going to do seminars with my naturopath's clients on essential oil safety. May I share your story?

Marge said...

Of course you can, Sheryl. this is the damage that can be done when we don't follow safe and appropriate guidelines.

Marsha said...

Any real practioner would also do testing for the parasite. Be it blood or stool that comes first, not a blind treatment. Just my outraged 2 cents.

Jared & Shannon said...

I have a question. The oils that come with the warning to not use while pregnant or lactating... does that warning extend to using those stronger oils (clove, cinnamon) in a diffuser? Or is the warning more geared toward topical uses of the oils? I'm nursing by baby and don't want to mess with anything. My only interest in oils right now is for the diffuser, not topical use. Thanks!

Marge said...

Shannon, I would avoid it by any method.. including diffusion. ther eare always safe substitutes.

Unknown said...

My concern now, is about consuming Cinnamon or clove in food, the ground spice not EO?

As I am allergic to the entire Mint family. My response is to all parts dried herb, oils, and smells. If the flavor of the day at our favorite ice cream restaurant is Mint we can not even go through the drive thru due to the mint settling on the foods.

I would caution her to watch for symptoms with the consumption aspect as well as to the EO's.

Prayers to her and her family.