How Can I Safely Use Essential Oils If I Have Epilepsy?

by Bella Martinez July 14, 2021

How Can I Safely Use Essential Oils If I Have Epilepsy?

At Edens Garden, we get questions from people with various health conditions asking us how to safely and effectively use essential oils as a complementary therapy. One condition we’re often asked about is epilepsy.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll outline what we know about essential oils and epilepsy and our biggest aromatherapy safety tip for those with this condition. Read on to learn more. 

What Is Epilepsy?

Epilepsy is a disorder in which individuals experience two or more unprovoked seizures due to abnormal electrical activity in the brain. According to the Epilepsy Foundation, epilepsy is the fourth most common neurological disorder and is synonymous with seizure disorder. 

A spectrum disorder, individuals with epilepsy may experience different types of seizures such as:

Generalized Onset Seizures

These seizures affect both sides of the brain at the same time and may be characterized by rhythmic jerking, muscles becoming rigid, muscles becoming weak, twitching or body spasms. It may also look like staring off into the distance and twitching.

Focal Onset Seizures

These seizures occur or begin in one side of the brain and may occur when a person is aware of what is happening or has an impaired awareness. Symptoms may also include rhythmic jerking, muscles becoming rigid, muscles becoming weak, twitching, body spasms, or repeated automatic movements such as clapping, running, chewing, hand rubbing or lip-smacking. Those with focal onset seizures may also experience changes in emotions, thinking, sensation or a lack of movement. 

Unknown Onset Seizures

If the beginning of a seizure is unknown and can’t easily be described, it may be classified as an unknown onset seizure until doctors are able to classify the seizure as a generalized or focal onset seizure. However, symptoms usually still include muscle rigidity (tonic), rhythmic jerking (clonic), epileptic spasms or a lack of movement. 

Knowing which type of seizures you experience helps doctors to assess how best to treat and manage your type of epilepsy. 

There are various causes of seizures, including: 

  • Head trauma

  • Genetics

  • Infection

  • Brain tumor or stroke

  • Developmental disorders

If you have had a seizure, please seek medical attention. 

Epileptic Seizure Triggers

Seizure triggers can vary widely from person to person, but in individuals with epilepsy, the following are generally well-known triggers:

  1. Missed Medication: Not taking your epilepsy medication is the primary seizure trigger of those with epilepsy. Even if you miss a dose once or twice and nothing happens, it’s important to always take medication on time.

  2. Sleep: While those with epilepsy have been known to suffer from a lack of sleep, sleeplessness can adversely trigger seizures. A full 7-9 hours of sleep is recommended for those with epilepsy. 

  3. Alcohol: Often added to the “substances to avoid list” by doctors of epileptic individuals, when leaving one’s system, alcohol may cause seizures especially when drinking more than 1-2 standard drinks anywhere from 6-72 hours after drinking. Epilepsy medication can also lower one’s alcohol tolerance. 

  4. Stress: As with most people, stress can take a toll on our bodies and in those with epilepsy, it may cause seizures. It is believed that stress causes abnormal brain activity which may cause a seizure. 

  5. Illness: Side effects of illness may include fever, stress, dehydration and lack of sleep which can all lead to a seizure in epileptic individuals. Medications for common illnesses may also be a trigger. 

  6. PMS: As your body undergoes hormonal changes around the time of menstruation, seizures may increase in those with epilepsy. According to Penn Medicine, high amounts of estrogen can worsen seizures whereas progesterone can protect against them. Certain types of birth control may also trigger seizures. 

Essential Oils

The following essential oils are recommended to be avoided if you have epilepsy. Note that this is not a full and complete list: 

  • Eucalyptus essential oil

  • Fennel essential oil

  • Lavender- Spike essential oil

  • Sage essential oil

  • Yarrow essential oil

  • Rosemary essential oil (all types)

  • Oils containing a significant amount of 1,8- cineole

  • Oils containing a significant amount of camphor

How Can I Safely Use Essential Oils If I Have Epilepsy? 

For those with epilepsy, triggers of seizure activity can vary widely from individual to individual. And when it comes to pinning down which essential oils may be triggering or beneficial to epileptic individuals, the safest advice we can give is to work with a doctor and aromatherapist who can provide you with safe guidelines that meet your individual needs. 

For some epileptics, aromas can be triggering, regardless of the quality of the oil or brand. 

Studies on aromatherapy are growing every day and that which we once believed about essential oils may no longer be true. For example, Eucalyptus oil was not widely believed to cause epileptic seizures, but recent studies have shown that there may be reason for concern when it comes to epileptics using Eucalyptus oil.   

The bottom line – epilepsy is a complex condition and aromatherapy safety guidelines for those with epilepsy cannot be one-size-fits-all. We recommend avoiding the essential oils listed above and creating a plan to effectively and safely use essential oils with your doctor and an aromatherapist. 

Find More Goodness

Want more goodness in your life? Edens Garden offers 100% pure, undiluted essential oils that are of the highest quality. We guarantee this through rigorous testing and verification through leading essential oil chemists and aromatherapists. The best news? Our products are practically priced and affordable because we believe everyone deserves to experience the natural, healing benefits of essential oils. 


  1. Epilepsy.

  2. What is Epilepsy?

  3. Types of Seizures.

  4. Epilepsy.

  5. The Curious Case of Epileptic Seizures: What Triggers a Seizure?

  6. Can Eucalyptus essential oil cause seizures? A video by Robert Tisserand

Leave a comment (Comments will be approved before showing up)


Edens Garden

November 30, 2023 at 10:57 am

Hi Kristy! Please reach out to our aromatherapist for more info on essential oils and epilepsy at

Kristy Joy

November 30, 2023 at 10:56 am

Hi, I have a history of epilepsy. I started to make my own oils using olive oil. Currently I have sage oil that I started to mix 4 drops in water which has made a big difference in memory and focus for me in the last few days I started. I also have rosemary and lavender still “steeping”. When I research oils the sites mainly talk about essential oils but these are not. Can they be taken safely being epileptic? Can I take the sage oil this way? And what is the reasoning behind all those essential oils to be avoided if epileptic? How does it affect the brain that way?

Edens Garden

July 19, 2023 at 8:39 am

Hi Angela! We recommend speaking with your doctor before using essential oils if you have epilepsy. Also, we recommend diluting in a carrier oil such as coconut or olive before applying essential oils topically.

Angela Marshick

July 19, 2023 at 8:35 am

I want to use this rosemary/peppermint hair oil, but I heard that it isn’t safe for epileptics. I put it in the other night, then washed my hair right away after reading that it could cause seizures. I was really looking forward to using it, but should I just forget it. Can I mix it with coconut or olive oil?

Sue Bennett

June 8, 2022 at 11:40 am

Hi i am really interested in the information you are giving because I have had epilepsy since I was 3yrs old im now 59yrs when I was a teenager my dad read that oil of primrose helps people with epilepsy so I took a supplement every morning (oral supplement)not oil ,straightaway i started having 2 or 3 fits a day i stopped taking it and my fits lessened the following week the magazine updated their advice saying it was a mistake and alo t of readers reported the same reaction as me,so I’d suggest you add promise oil to your list of essential oils for epileptics to avoid .I am at the moment massaging lavender essential oil mixed with coconut carrier oil were i had an operation in 2020 for breast cancer would you agree that is the best oil to use thank you

Edens Garden

July 20, 2021 at 8:10 am

Hi Brittney! I’m happy to hear that your children are able to use these oils! As mentioned, everyone is different in how essential oils affect them.

Wit that said, we’d love to hear more about your experience using essential oils with your children!


July 20, 2021 at 8:00 am

Thank you for the information. Both of my children have battled epilepsy so I have researched oils that can cause seizures many times before but I wasn’t aware of the updated list. We use lavender, eucalyptus, and rosemary all the time! I need to look for the updated research regarding oils to avoid. I usually buy PT oils but am considering switching to EG and I appreciate this article.