Friday, March 25, 2016

Allergic to the plant does not mean allergy to the oil

I've heard this question numerous times so thought it would be a great time to discuss it here.  That question is:
"I'm allergic to (insert plant or herb name), so I must not be able to use that oil."  
This is a common idea that isn't necessarily true!
As with most allergies, the allergen is pollen, dust, dander, or other substances.  Those substances are proteins or polypeptides.  Both of those are large molecules that are made up of strings of amino acids.  Some polypeptides contain just a few amino acids.  Proteins contain dozens, hundreds, or even thousands of amino acids.  BUT........the bottom line is that they are LARGE molecules.   
Essential oils are manufactured by a process of distillation which only allows for extremely small molecules in the finished product.  Most proteins and polypeptides are from 100 to 1000 times bigger than the largest compounds found in essential oils.
So, the absence of the polypeptides and proteins in essential oils explains why many people are able to use (without any problem) the essential oil of a plant to which they are allergic.  I have a friend who is allergic to Cinnamon but has no problem using Thieves Essential Oil (which contains Cinnamon) when she is fighting a cold.
So, does this mean that you will never have an allergic reaction to an essential oil?  No, as some do contain phenols which 'could' cause a reaction.  Each person is different!  The safe way to try an oil is to dilute it with a carrier oil.  See this post on Young Living's site about oil safety, carrier oils and 'hot' essential oils.  Click Here.  

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