Critical incident: idiosyncratic allergic reactions to essential oils

Complement Ther Nurs Midwifery. 2004 Feb;10(1):58-60. doi: 10.1016/S1353-6117(03)00084-2.


Essential oils have the potential to initiate allergic reactions due to their volatile and skin absorbent nature. Practitioners and aromatherapy teachers need to be aware of the potential for allergies and be equipped to deal with them if they should arise. Two cases are presented of potentially serious reactions that occurred within a learning situation along with a brief literature critique about allergic reactions to essential oils.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Inhalation
  • Administration, Topical
  • Adult
  • Aromatherapy / adverse effects
  • Aromatherapy / nursing
  • Chamaemelum / adverse effects
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypersensitivity, Immediate / etiology*
  • Juniperus / adverse effects
  • Lavandula / adverse effects
  • Oils, Volatile / administration & dosage
  • Oils, Volatile / adverse effects*
  • Origanum / adverse effects


  • Oils, Volatile