AAA: Can I Diffuse Essential Oils In Public?

by Bella Martinez October 07, 2020

AAA: Can I Diffuse Essential Oils In Public?

For us essential oil lovers, one thing that could make our work days better and more productive is adding some aromatherapy to our space. But what if you share your workspace with coworkers, students or clients? Can you diffuse as you please?

The topic of whether or not you can diffuse essential oils in public is often debated and has even become controversial in some cases.

Where does EG stand on the issue of whether or not you should diffuse in public? Before we give you our take, let’s look at the many complexities surrounding this issue. 

Drug Interactions

Can essential oils affect the medications that those around you are taking? 

The short answer is yes, and according to aromatherapist Robert Tisserand, there are a few leading reasons why. Essential oils could compete to bind to tissues and plasma proteins where medications would typically bind. Furthermore, essential oils could cause a change in gut flora and motility, preventing medications from working properly. Lastly and most likely, essential oils can cause enzyme induction and inhibition resulting in an interference with medications. For example: 

  • Chamazulene, farnesene and a-bisabolol (all components found in German Chamomile) are known to inhibit the CYP2D6 enzyme. Thus, German Chamomile should be avoided by those taking drugs metabolized by CYP2D6. 

  • Citral and geraniol (components found in Lemongrass) inhibit CYP2B6. Therefore, Lemongrass should be avoided if taking medications metabolized by this enzyme. 

  • Methyl salicylate, found in Birch and Wintergreen, inhibits platelet aggregation and exacerbates blood-thinning. Therefore, those taking anticoagulant medication, such as warfarin, aspirin and heparin (as well as those with hemophilia, bleeding disorders and those who are about to/have gone through major surgery) should avoid Birch and Wintergreen.[1]

In other words, not knowing what medications those around you are taking and how the essential oils you’re diffusing could affect them, can result in big problems. 

Allergies & Asthma

Do you keep a list of what your peers are allergic to? Most don’t, which means, if you plan on diffusing essential oils around others, you must take on the tedious task of asking those around you if they’re allergic to the essential oil. This becomes more difficult if you plan on diffusing a blend and nearly impossible (and impractical) if you choose to diffuse in an area where new people come in everyday. 

Asthma is another factor that should be considered. Affecting 1 in 13 people, you are likely to have at least one peer with asthma. Essential oils have been known to benefit people with asthma, as well as set off an asthma attack. If those around you have asthma, you should not be the one to introduce them to new aromas and test whether or not it is a trigger to them.

Aroma Preferences & Sensitivities

Another concern when diffusing in public spaces is, does everyone around you enjoy the essential oil you’ve chosen to diffuse? Imagine working a full eight hours while inhaling a scent that you detest, let alone sitting in a waiting room for 20 minutes and being accosted by a disagreeable fragrance. 

Unless everyone around you can get onboard with the essential oil you’ve chosen to diffuse, it’s best to be considerate and keep your favorite essential oils to yourself. You wouldn’t want to irk your peers or potentially lose customers over what you put in your diffuser. 

Additional Safety Concerns

Further safety precautions should be taken when diffusing certain essential oils around the following:

  • Pregnant and nursing individuals

  • Children

  • Elderly

  • Animals

  • Those with autoimmune diseases

  • Those undergoing chemotherapy

  • Those with bleeding disorders

  • Those with endometriosis

  • Those with cancer

  • Those with weakened immune systems

  • Those who’ve recently undergone or are soon to undergo surgery

Should You Diffuse In Public? 

Essential oils have the ability to better our lives in so many ways, and as such. They are powerful substances, and as such should be respected and treated as you would medications. With that said, just as you shouldn’t be casual about giving people medications, you shouldn’t be quick to turn on the diffuser when in a public setting. 

While there are exceptions–say you share an office with a few people who agree on using an essential oil diffuser–in many cases diffusing in public should be avoided. 

How to Enjoy Essential Oils in Public

The good news is, you can still enjoy your essential oils in the office, at school and on-the-go without affecting those around you. Here are a few of our favorite ways how.

Apply EOs Topically: You can still obtain the benefits of essential oils through topical application and those around you are much less likely to notice. What’s more, there are multiple ways this can be done.

  • Use your EOs quickly and conveniently with a prediluted roll-on

  • Moisturize while enjoying your favorite aromas with a body oil

  • Dilute your favorite EO with a carrier oil and apply

Jewelry Diffuser:
Enjoy your essential oils in style with the help of an essential oil jewelry diffuser. Simply apply your essential oil to the jewelry’s porous lava stones and allow the oil to soak in before wearing. 

Personal Pocket Inhaler: The personal pocket inhaler is essentially a tube that you can add EOs into. When you want to enjoy your essential oil, take it out for a burst of aroma! While you are less likely to inhale your essential oil as often as you would using an electric diffuser, the personal pocket inhaler delivers an intense aroma experience with each use, making it as effective as an electric diffuser. 

Can’t Get Enough Essential Oils? 

Neither can we! From bath salts to perfumes and bar soaps, we’ve made it easy for you to enjoy essential oils in a variety of ways. The best part is, all of our products are cruelty free and non-toxic, so you can feel good inside and out. So what are you waiting for? Find more goodness at Edens Garden today. 


  1. Tisserand, Robert, and Rodney Young.Essential Oil Safety.2nd ed., Churchill Livingstone, 2014.

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