Cold treatment: are essential oils really a safe solution?

Winter, the hunting ground for viruses. During this time, it is not uncommon to come across a colleague or friend with a runny nose or coughing. There are many solutions to overcome it, but how should you treat a bad cold? The Medicines Agency now recommends against medications such as Actifed or Dolirhume because of their potential side effects. Result: many people fall back on natural solutions, particularly based on essential oils. But UFC Que Choisir now warns us against these products. So what are the risks? For who ?

Beware of contraindications

In spray, stick or inhalation, at the slightest “blocked nose”, Colette, a young Parisian retiree, turns, without thinking, to essential oils. “I have already managed to stop the onset of bronchitis in this way. I prefer to start there before getting to medications. I think it has much fewer harmful or side effects,” explains She. And yet be careful, who says “natural” does not necessarily mean safe.

Since plants like eucalyptus or menthol can cause allergies or even convulsions, there are contraindications, specifies Dr Françoise Couic Marinier, specialist in aromatherapy. “We do not recommend them for pregnant women, moreover, it is clearly marked on the boxes; but also for children. So we are careful before six years of age. We will not give this product either more in asthmatics and epileptics in particular,” she explains.

“I think we need to give ourselves the means to treat ourselves with aromatherapy, with quality products and good advice,” adds the specialist. The ideal way to use essential oils safely is to always ask your pharmacist for advice. And don’t forget that a cold, even if it is very unpleasant, disappears in seven to ten days, with or without treatment.

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