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A 24-year-old female asked:

can 2/3 drops of undiluted peppermint oil, and the same amount of undiluted lavender oil, cause any serious systemic effects when applied topically?

1 doctor answer1 doctor weighed in
Dr. Susan Rhoads
Family Medicine 38 years experience
Depends.: If you are putting it on an open sore or cracked skin, it may not help and may make things worse. Any break in the skin increases absorption into the system of anything put on the skin. Also, a person can be allergic to either one and that is bad, too and this can have systemic effects. For the proper use of herbal products, make sure there is good, unbiased, ad-free research to justify it.
Dr. Susan Rhoads
Family Medicine 38 years experience
Provided original answer
I go to NYU-Langone's website for summaries of evidence about effectiveness and a few other sites. When you put the terms "clinical studies" in quotes in google and the name of the herb, you will be led to helpful sites. If the sites are by a .edu or a .gov or a .org, then it increases reliablilty and there may be good scientific data. If you only see sites with .com or with a lot of ads, not!
Jun 18, 2015
Dr. Susan Rhoads
Family Medicine 38 years experience
Provided original answer
Also wikipedia is pretty good on medical stuff, because they are mandated to give both pros and cons. While wikipedia can be "ickipedia" for history and popular culture, on the medical stuff they are quite good, because the 16 year old contributors are not as prevalent there. But with any research article double-check the footnotes. Lies happen there! Also a small study size is almost worthless.
Jun 18, 2015

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