Tea tree oil has been a home remedy staple for as long as most of us can remember. However, the risk of allergies and bad reactions is always at the back of our minds. Before you reach for your trusty bottle of tea tree oil, you might find yourself with some doubts.
For example, can you use tea tree oil if you have epilepsy? Yes, you can use tea tree oil if you have epilepsy – but it’s important to be extremely careful.
This is because some essential oils, like tea tree oil, can in fact trigger seizures in some epileptics. If you’ve ever had a bad reaction to tea tree oil, strong scents, or aromatherapy of any kind, do not use tea tree oil.
Even if you’ve used tea tree oil safely in the past, always consult your doctor before using any essential oil, if you have epilepsy.
Can Tea Tree Oil Cause Seizures?
There are many triggers that can cause seizures, and strong scents and oils that are absorbed into the skin (like tea tree oil) can also be a trigger.
Certain essential oils are worse than others and should be avoided by epileptics. We’ll discuss which oils to avoid later on in this article.
In the meantime, if you do choose to use tea tree oil, here are a few dos and don’ts:
- Use a carrier oil (like coconut or lavender) to dilute the tea tree oil
- Follow the usage instructions
- Consult your doctor first
- Stop use if you notice any reaction at all
- Use tea tree oil if you’ve had a reaction to essential oils in the past
- Continue using despite bad reactions
- Use undiluted tea tree oil
- Apply directly to your skin
- Take orally
If in doubt, stop what you’re doing and contact the emergency services. Epilepsy is an extremely serious illness, and it’s important to identify and avoid triggers as soon as possible.
What Should Epileptics Avoid?
Living with epilepsy can be difficult. Most sufferers identify triggers and take steps to avoid them, but new triggers can appear. As a rule, here are a few things epileptics should avoid
- Tobacco products and recreational drugs (this includes vaping)
- Alcohol abuse (a little alcohol may be fine, but it’s good to consider your personal needs)
- Bright, flashing lights (this is usually called photosensitivity epilepsy. Lights that flash or flicker between 16 and 25 times a second are the most likely to trigger seizures)
- Aromatherapy or other strong scents (if you want to try aromatherapy, always check with your doctor first)
This is by no means a comprehensive list of epileptic triggers. While aromatherapy and essential oils can soothe some epilepsy sufferers, this should never replace proper medical advice and treatment. If in doubt, ask your doctor.
Do Essential Oils Cause Seizures?
Some essential oils are worse than others for triggering seizures. If you suffer from epilepsy, here are a few oils you should definitely avoid:
If there’s another oil you’re concerned about, do some research and ask your doctor before you begin using it.
Warning Signs to Watch Out For
Epilepsy suffers might have little warning before a seizure, or no warning at all. If you’ve been using essential oils, topical skin reactions could be an indicator of a bad reaction. If you notice these symptoms, stop using tea tree oil and consult your doctor:
- Itching, burning, or stinging
- Localized redness
- Dry or scaly skin
- Any kind of nausea or general malaise
Remember to use the proper dilution of tea tree oil. This oil is absorbed into the skin, and it’s sold in a highly concentrated solution. One or two drops of tea tree oil mixed into a carrier oil may not seem like much, but it’s more than you think.
The Bottom Line
Identifying triggers is a good way to avoid seizures – but not a fool-proof method. Be aware of your body and listen to any advice you’re given. Aromatherapy can be good for some epilepsy suffers, but it may not work for everyone.
Never use any essential oil if you’ve had a bad reaction in the past, or if your doctor advises you against it.