Use of essential oils for transplant patients

Posted by amandajeffersaz @amandajeffersaz, Mar 9, 2017

Hi!

I am curious about the use of essential oils when I have issues that might be helped by their use.

I had a living donor kidney transplant in August 2009. I am healthy and active, but do have the occassional ache, or pain, etc. I have ( self-diagnosed) plantar fasciitis, sore sometimes from a personal training session, occassional insomnia etc. Oh, I also have a “mild” case of valley fever (diagnosed at my 1 year post transplant anniversary).

I’m on the normal anti-rejection meds (prograf, cellcept, prednisone), plus itraconazole (for the valley fever, am allergic to fluconazole/diflucan).

I’m curious about others’ use of essential oils and whether it’s ok to use them.

Honoring the gift.

Thanks.

Liked by Jamie Olson

@amandajeffersaz Good Morning and Welcome to Connect. It is always an honor to meet and greet a fellow transplant recipient! Thank you for coming to Connect with this discussion question. We strive to help and to encourage each other by sharing our experiences. I hope that you will soon hear from some of our members who might have something to share about essential oils.
I have no knowledge or experience with the use of essential oils. I am eager to learn about this topic as it relates to transplant recipients. I will be reading with you, as our members join the discussion.

Does your medical team have any thoughts on this, or have they left it up to you?

@jamienolson, do you have any resources or information that might be related to this question?

@amandajeffersaz, I hope that you continue to do well. I invite you to look at some of our other transplant discussions and to join in wherever you feel comfortable.
Rosemary

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@amandajeffersaz, thanks for posting this question. With the popularity of essential oils increasing, I suspect you aren’t the only person who is wondering about the safety of using these after you have had a transplant.

We spoke with our pharmacy staff today about this topic. They recommended that all patients check with your transplant center about adding any herbal, dietary supplement, or essential oil to your medication regimen. Unfortunately, there are very few over the counter herbal preparations that have been studied well enough and deemed safe for use after transplantation.

Our pharmacy staff says there have been reports of essential oils used on the skin interacting with prescription medications in unsafe ways. There is not a lot of science done yet on essential oils and prescription medications, so in most cases we do not know if mixing them together is safe or not. If you are using these or wish to do so, you should talk with your transplant care team and your pharmacist. For those who are using the oils, our pharmacy staff recommends always diluting them before putting them on your skin. They also recommend that transplant patients do not use these orally, meaning do not ingest any of the essential oils.

Does anyone else have any thoughts about essential oils? Has anyone asked their care team about these? What was their response?

Liked by ladydidehart

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Thank you for all the responses.

The Mayo Clinic is my transplant center. However after 5 years, I dont get annual check ups anymore, but if course do see my nephro every six months. I dont think he would really know.

@keggebraaten
@jamienolson
@rosemarya

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@amandajeffersaz
I found this article through a Google search about organ transplant and essential oils

Use of essential oil therapies in immunocompromised patients
John. P. Cassella S. Cassella R. L. Ashford
J Antimicrob Chemother (2000) 45 (4): 550-551. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1093/jac/45.4.550
Published: 01 April 2000
https://academic.oup.com/jac/article/45/4/550/727715/Use-of-essential-oil-therapies-in
The language is quite medical. I couldn’t find any plain language interpretations. However, the article supports what @keggebraaten wrote, namely that there isn’t enough research yet and that the evidence “should dictate caution in the circumstances of their use, until further research can clarify the situation.”

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I have never considered this question because I am not a huge fan of essential oils in general. I do, however, use natural products that have known health benefits, such as: ginger, licorice tea, chamomile tea, lavender tea, cinnamon, and peppermint. I tried honey, but I just don’t like the taste, found the caloric intake unnecessary, and didn’t realize any promised benefits.

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@amandajeffersaz

Thank you for all the responses.

The Mayo Clinic is my transplant center. However after 5 years, I dont get annual check ups anymore, but if course do see my nephro every six months. I dont think he would really know.

@keggebraaten
@jamienolson
@rosemarya

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@amandajeffersaz, @rosemarya and @keggebraaten– Hello!! I apologize for not seeing this post and replying earlier.

I cannot give you any advice for using Essential Oils for medical or transplant purposes.

However, personally I do dabble in the use of oils in my own home. There are therapeutic grade oils. From what I have learned so far- there are lots of different grades of oils, distilling processes and ways to use oils. Essential Oils are really popular right now but I have read quite a few stories on people not using them correctly. Some oils are very potent and need to be used with a carrier oil or will burn your skin, some shouldn't be blended together, some shouldn't be put on the skin at all, some can be diffused into the air. I have to stress how important it is to do your research and know what you are using before using, applying or diffusing. I hope this helps a little. I will say using lavender at night for relaxation and peaceful sleep has become a regimen in our house. Good luck with your research!

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@keggebraaten

@amandajeffersaz, thanks for posting this question. With the popularity of essential oils increasing, I suspect you aren’t the only person who is wondering about the safety of using these after you have had a transplant.

We spoke with our pharmacy staff today about this topic. They recommended that all patients check with your transplant center about adding any herbal, dietary supplement, or essential oil to your medication regimen. Unfortunately, there are very few over the counter herbal preparations that have been studied well enough and deemed safe for use after transplantation.

Our pharmacy staff says there have been reports of essential oils used on the skin interacting with prescription medications in unsafe ways. There is not a lot of science done yet on essential oils and prescription medications, so in most cases we do not know if mixing them together is safe or not. If you are using these or wish to do so, you should talk with your transplant care team and your pharmacist. For those who are using the oils, our pharmacy staff recommends always diluting them before putting them on your skin. They also recommend that transplant patients do not use these orally, meaning do not ingest any of the essential oils.

Does anyone else have any thoughts about essential oils? Has anyone asked their care team about these? What was their response?

Jump to this post

Good day.
My transplant t team couldn't give me an answer. I would love to know too. My tacrolimis levels have shot sky high and i am wondering if this might be it.

REPLY
@keggebraaten

@amandajeffersaz, thanks for posting this question. With the popularity of essential oils increasing, I suspect you aren’t the only person who is wondering about the safety of using these after you have had a transplant.

We spoke with our pharmacy staff today about this topic. They recommended that all patients check with your transplant center about adding any herbal, dietary supplement, or essential oil to your medication regimen. Unfortunately, there are very few over the counter herbal preparations that have been studied well enough and deemed safe for use after transplantation.

Our pharmacy staff says there have been reports of essential oils used on the skin interacting with prescription medications in unsafe ways. There is not a lot of science done yet on essential oils and prescription medications, so in most cases we do not know if mixing them together is safe or not. If you are using these or wish to do so, you should talk with your transplant care team and your pharmacist. For those who are using the oils, our pharmacy staff recommends always diluting them before putting them on your skin. They also recommend that transplant patients do not use these orally, meaning do not ingest any of the essential oils.

Does anyone else have any thoughts about essential oils? Has anyone asked their care team about these? What was their response?

Jump to this post

My transplant team advised me against ingesting essential oils but said nothing about using them topically or diffusing them. I sometimes struggle with a stiff, aching neck that Tylenol won’t touch but have found some relief with Panaway and Copiaba applied topically with almond oil. I also diffuse lavender and peppermint as a sleep aid. I’m only 5 months post kidney transplant so I appreciate you sharing this information.

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@vashti

Good day.
My transplant t team couldn't give me an answer. I would love to know too. My tacrolimis levels have shot sky high and i am wondering if this might be it.

Jump to this post

@vashti, Welcome to Mayo Connect. We are an online community of patients who share our experiences to help each other as we support and encourage each other. This is a good question.

Whenever my tac levels, or anything, goes out of my normal, I begin to self examine any possible causes. Since you have identified essential oils as a possible culprit, I highly urge you to STOP and to have a follow-up lab to find out if the essential oils are causing this. Remember that your transplanted organ needs a targeted level to prevent rejection. Each of us has an assigned target level, determined by our transplant team.
The only way you will know for certain is to quit the essential oil, ane get a repeat lab.

Has your transplant team ordered a repeat lab and tacrolimus test? Have you stopped the essential oil?

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@ladydidehart

My transplant team advised me against ingesting essential oils but said nothing about using them topically or diffusing them. I sometimes struggle with a stiff, aching neck that Tylenol won’t touch but have found some relief with Panaway and Copiaba applied topically with almond oil. I also diffuse lavender and peppermint as a sleep aid. I’m only 5 months post kidney transplant so I appreciate you sharing this information.

Jump to this post

@ladydidehart, I see that you have read the information that @keggebraaten has posted. Does this go along with what your transplant team advised and with what you are using? Another member, @vashti, mentioned elevated tacrolimus levels. Have any of your labs been affected?
Has your transplant team approved the use of Tylenol ?

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@rosemarya

@ladydidehart, I see that you have read the information that @keggebraaten has posted. Does this go along with what your transplant team advised and with what you are using? Another member, @vashti, mentioned elevated tacrolimus levels. Have any of your labs been affected?
Has your transplant team approved the use of Tylenol ?

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Hi Rosemary – as I mentioned my transplant team only advised me not to ingest them. I’m not on tacrolimus. I get a belatacept infusion monthly instead. I haven’t been advised of any levels being elevated. Also, yes they told me I could take Tylenol which I’ve tried only once since taking it right after my surgery. It doesn’t help with the neck pain and stiffness anyway.

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@rosemarya

@ladydidehart, I see that you have read the information that @keggebraaten has posted. Does this go along with what your transplant team advised and with what you are using? Another member, @vashti, mentioned elevated tacrolimus levels. Have any of your labs been affected?
Has your transplant team approved the use of Tylenol ?

Jump to this post

I only use Panado.
My transplant team did not know anything re essential oil use. My one doc said it could be beneficial and another said i need to check my tacrolimus levels. So i figure its due to the use of essential oils perhaps.

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@vashti

I only use Panado.
My transplant team did not know anything re essential oil use. My one doc said it could be beneficial and another said i need to check my tacrolimus levels. So i figure its due to the use of essential oils perhaps.

Jump to this post

@vashti, I is good to hear that you have communicated this with the transplant team. In the very beginning with my transplanted liver and kidney, my team stressed the importance of contacting them with any questions. Even now, my PCP tells me to check with my transplant team when he is not 100% certain about something.
When will you be having your next labs? Will you let me know what you find out?

Vashi, I want to introduce you to other new transplant recipients in a discussion that was recently started by new recipients: Post Transplant Surgery and Early Recovery: What's normal? This link will take you directly to the discussion where you read and say "Hi", and tell us about yourself.
https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/post-liver-transplant/

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I’m 20 years out, thriving with my son’s strong kidney. My transplant team is long in the past… I checked with my Nephrologist, He said, don’t ingest essential oils (he also said I cannot get a tattoo near my transplant site, lol). I trust him and now I use essential oils. I would never ingest them though. I use a combination of oils to make up Thieves Oil and diffuse it in the house. I use eucalyptus oil (diluted in carrier oil) for breathing issues. I use diffused Lavandar and other oils too relieve stress. There are lots of uses! As someone above said, use therapeutic grade oils and get a good book about them. I use “Modern Essentials Handbook”. It is published and distributed by AromaTools. This book is a comprehensive guide to using essential oils: caveat: Do Not Ingest Essential Oils.

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