Thank you so much for this! I often see that an oil is both a stimulant and a relaxant, which can happen with different dosages, but they don’t say that! Basil essential oil contains high amount of estragole, a compound that can lead … This technique might be especially helpful for postpartum moms. According to Esoteric Oils: "Lavender oil has a soothing and calming effect on the nerves, relieving tension, depression, panic, hysteria and nervous exhaustion in general and is effective for headaches, migraines and insomnia.". Journal of Alternative & Complementary Medicine 6:141-147, Culpeper N 1652 The English Physitian, or an Astro-physical discourse of the vulgar herbs of this nation. However, there is no evidence that lavender oil has any adverse effects on human hormonal activity. For example your phrase “Lavender oil is a uterine stimulant” has only 8 exact matches in Google’s index (perform the search with inverted commas to see only the pages that include that phrase with those words in that order), not 15,800; whereas pages that include all those words, in any order, number around 15,800. No evidence of harm to either mother or baby was seen in a single study of 250 pregnant women using one of the following essential oils during labour: lavender… Researchers found the use of lavender oil made a significant improvement in perineal and physical pain, fatigue, mood and distress. Happy searching! Thank you SO much…I had an IUI two days ago followed with Endometrin twice daily, and the Endometrin is giving me horrible headaches. Use of essential oils in labour. Sadly, this fact has been created because search engines, for all their greatness, cannot tell the difference between well researched and poorly researched writing – and that web site creators have thus grasped the notion that one can often make more ad revenue with a million bad web pages covering innumerable keyword combinations, than with a hundred good ones that remain ostensibly ‘buried’ by the morass. I have linked it to my blog article regarding the use of essential during pregnancy. Lavender essential oil makes you feel calm and relaxed during the most stressful moments of your pregnancy. A 2017 study was conducted to determine the effect of lavender oil aroma during the postpartum period on maternal pains, mood and fatigue. The lavender and rose oil formulation was prepared by diluting 2 drops of an essential oil blend containing 75% lavender oil and 25% rose oil diluted in 5 mL of jojoba oil. Thank you for publicly and knowledgeably addressing this nonsensical non-issue! To answer your question, there is zero risk of an embryo or fetus being feminized or otherwise altered from the use of lavender oil or tea tree oil in hygiene products, or personal care products by a pregnant woman. When discomfort in the legs … Finally…while searching the internet for the alleged dangers of lavender oil in pregnancy, I came across this advice on a Vitamins and Health Supplements Guide page: “Pregnant and breastfeeding women should avoid using lavender, as it is a uterine stimulant.” What, breastfeeding women too? Aromatherapy did, however, reduce the need for pain medication. We are commonly using this for women in labour and I wondered if in fact it is this oil we should be avoiding in the first trimester? In fact the amount of camphor in true lavender oil is very small and camphor only presents a risk in pregnancy in massive doses (see below). In his 1964 text, Dr. Jean Valnet refers to lavender oil as an emmenagogue when internally used, though he gives no contraindication for pregnancy. I was in San Francisco about a year ago in an organic baby shop selling my “wares” and the owner said they were not carrying any products with lavender (or tea tree) in them and advising their pregnant customers to avoid products with lavender because of new reports on it’s strong estrogenic action. It  seems likely that Davis was picking up on Valnet’s use of “emmenagogue” and that her mention of first trimester avoidance was an assumption on her part. Franchomme and Pénöel (1990) give no contraindications at all for lavender oil, and do not mention menstrual stimulation but they do list an antispasmodic action for the oil. The Commission E Monographs are generally regarded as the most authoritative source on the safety of herbal medicines. “Lavender oil emmenagogue” – 31,200 hits. My mind is eased, and I don’t have to toss my lavender tea or make new skin balm now! The high dose is equivalent to an adult human ingesting 70 g of linalool, or approximately 200 g (7 oz) of lavender oil. I believe aromatherapy is pushing up to a new level of credibility, for those who take the trouble to delve into the research. Healer – the degree of online concern about lavender oil, tea tree oil and hormones has been blown up to ridiculous proportions since the Henley et al paper was published in 2007. I also see the same properties being attributed to essential oils that are attributed to herbs – and that is not always the case. That's because lavender can be used to regulate periods. Bartram T 1995 Encyclopedia of herbal medicine.  Grace Publishers, Christchurch UK, p166, Blumenthal M, Busse WR, Goldberg A et al 1998 The complete German Commission E monographs: therapeutic guide to herbal medicines. Relieve tension. • To treat hemorrhoids: Tea tree, cypress, geranium, lavender. Lavender essential oil is considered to be one of the safest essential oils sold today, and can be used for burns, headaches, muscle pain, skin healing, relieving stress and promoting relaxation. Phytotherapy Research 13:540-542, McGuffin M, Hobbs C, Upton R et al 1997 Botanical safety handbook. Surely a woman wants her uterus to contract back to it’s normal size after childbirth. Thank you again on the quality of your articles. Congratulations! That’s very reassuring, especially I’m 8 weeks pregnant and have broken out in rashes last night all over my body and it was so bad I couldn’t sleep. When it was administered by stomach tube to pregnant rats at 250, 500 or 1,000 mg/kg/day, on gestational days 7-17, no fetal toxicity or teratogenicity occurred at any dose level (Politano et al 2008). I sometimes put a drop on my baby’s cot sheets when she really restless. Lavender oil works wonders for your body during pregnancy. One of the most gentle and mild essential oils, lavender can be used for a myriad of pregnancy symptoms, including easing stress and anxiety. Lavender, ginger, peppermint, and lemon essential oils relieve symptoms of morning sickness and … I’m just voicing my frustrations and am thankful that you address many of these issues yourself. Oils that aren’t safe for you to use Don't use the following essential oils while you’re pregnant… That's because lavender … Ah, thank you once again for dispelling these myths. I think developmental toxicity from lavender oil through breast feeding is very unlikely, especially as it is not neurotoxic. It all goes to show that the old quote “a lie gets halfway round the world before the truth gets its pants on” is more true than ever in the internet age. To know if you can use lavender oil when pregnant… Oils often require a carrier oil, such as coconut or almond oil, to dilute the oil and avoid skin irritation. Thank you for posting this. Lavender is one of the best oils to use to combat the daily stresses and strains of late pregnancy. Warning: Lavender should not be used in labor at the same time as Pethidine, or epidural, or with Oxytocin/Pitocin infusions, as it may interfere with their function. Although not all side effects are known, lavender … And, lavender oil has no apparent adverse effects during childbirth. Glad to know it’s safe & I haven’t done any damage. It can also act as a natural antiseptic and insect repellent which is useful as you will find many pharmaceutical ointments come with a warning to be avoided during pregnancy. The best way to go about using lavender essential oil is it to dilute 1 to 2 drops in 2 to 3 tablespoons of carrier oil (coconut, sesame, almond oil, etc.). Your pregnant body can experience aches and pains. Thomas Kelly, London, Davis P 1999 Aromatherapy an A-Z. © 2015 - 2020 Robert Tisserand | All Rights Reserved, Vitamins and Health Supplements Guide page,,, How To: Botanical Belly Oil Recipe for Expecting Mothers «. I wondered what you thought about Clary Sage in the first trimester? I now feel even more confident to use it with my pregnant and breastfeeding clients. Lavender is probably the most adaptable of all essential oils. by Robert Tisserand | Jul 22, 2011 | Myth-busting, Safety | 39 comments. Based in the UK, Alison Boots has been writing professionally since 2007. Patricia Davis, I’m sure, felt her caution was well-founded, but with the benefit of hindsight we can see that it was an over-reaction. It’s super relaxing and calming and great for sleep support. She is also the editor and designer of a 16-page monthly magazine. There are a number of chemotypes – 5 I reckon – and if the research does not identify the composition of the oil used, it’s close to worthless. “Stimulant” and “relaxant” is indeed a minefield, especially as there can be potentially conflicting physiological and psychological responses. Other Google search results about lavender in pregnancy include: “Lavender oil uterine stimulant” – 31,900 hits. Not used in pregnancy, except when a practitioner has good cause to do so in the first few weeks.” Bartram goes on to list 54 herbs, though lavender is not one of them. American Botanical Council, Austin, Texas, p160, Burns EE, Blamey C, Ersser SJ et al 2000 An investigation into the use of aromatherapy in intrapartum midwifery practice. Lavender, Ginger, Ylang ylang, Sweet Orange and Grapefruit essential oils are five specific essential oils that can be extremely useful for a healthy, happy pregnancy. Google ‘cuts the results off’ in my browser at around 800 – not 10,500. Visit The Tisserand Institute for the latest from Robert Tisserand in the science and the effective, safe and sustainable use of essential oils in all aspects of aromatherapy. At last, some good-sense among all the non-sense, relative to the clinical benefits of lavender. Its added benefits include fresh and healthy-looking skin and reduced stress. Some feel nauseous throughout their entire pregnancy. Of all the essential oils, lavender is one of the most well researched and most promoted options that is also widely available for pregnant women to use. Essential oil myths and scare-mongering are so prevalent – in print, cyberspace, and debate – which your balanced and well-referenced article helps to contextualize. Set it apart from the rest and make it very favourable to use during your pregnancy period. The chances of any fragrance ingredient in a personal care product causing a hormonal effect are extremely small. Three herbal safety texts have concluded that lavender flowers are safe to use in pregnancy, and one of theses includes the essential oil. As for tea tree oil, we know that none of the constituents of tea tree oil that are absorbed by human skin are estrogenic, and that anyway, only a vanishingly small amount of any essential oil is absorbed from a shampoo or hair gel (see my article on gynecomastia on this page: International Journal of Preventive Medicine, Ruth Toal: Expectancy: Using Aromatherapy in Pregnancy and Labour, International Federation of Aromatherapists: The Role of Aromatherapy in Maternity Care, Esoteric Oils: Lavender Essential Oil Information, International Journal of Preventive Medicine: Effect of Lavender Oil Aroma in the Early Hours of Postpartum Period on Maternal Pains, Fatigue, and Mood: A Randomized Clinical Trial, The Side Effects of Eucalyptus Lavender Oil. In pregnancy Lavender oil can be added to a bath to help soothe away pregnancy aches and pain and relieve stress. If it is either or both of these, what is the dose threshold? Thank you for writing this. Add a total of 12 drops of essential oil to 2 tablespoons of a base oil, like jojoba or almond oil, Galper advises. I can only heartily agree with their accolades. Lavender can be a great help to a pregnant mother, but it is a powerful oil and care should be taken when using it during pregnancy. Ah, real research! I know you know all this. No adverse fetal effects were seen from feeding camphor to pregnant rats at 1,000 mg/kg/day, or pregnant rabbits at 681 mg/kg/day (Leuschner 1997). One in vitro study found that lavender oil had a very weak estrogenic action in MCF-7 breast cancer cells (Henley et al 2007). A Google search for “Avoid high doses of lavender oil during pregnancy because it is a uterine stimulant” produces 1,110,000 hits, though none of these will tell you how much constitutes a “high dose”. Jollois, Limoges, p364, Henley DV, Lipson N, Korach KS, Bloch CA 2007 Prebubertal gynecomastia linked to lavender and tea tree oils. If you are pregnant and would like to try essential oils… According to Esoteric Oils : "Lavender oil has a soothing and calming effect on the nerves, relieving … Librairie Maloine, Paris, p225 (English translation: Valnet J 1990 The practice of aromatherapy. I do not think lavender is harmful to pregnant women. We do now know that lavender oil is not estrogenic when applied to the skin and this strongly suggests that the in vitro effect seen had nothing to do with lavender oil. I’m so glad to see that it is fine, because lavender has such a positive effect on my well-being. So – thank you once again. Boots holds a diploma in holistic therapies from Thanet College in Kent. New England Journal of Medicine 365(5): 479-485, Lawless J 1992 The encyclopaedia of essential oils. Do you know if rosemary oil should be avoided during pregnancy? However, these risks do not go away after three months, and so limiting avoidance of a reproductively toxic substance to the first trimester only makes sense if there is evidence to support this guideline. If you suffer from pregnancy headaches or migraines, you can use lavender essential oil … Internally. NAHA Certified Aromatherapist, A wonderful clear concise explanation that gives answers to all the myths and hearsay And I love research! Doing research on Rosemary drives me crazy! I am interested on your views if there are commonly used oils that really should be avoided in pregnancy? Molecules 15:3200-3210, Oh my goodness…I don’t know WHAT I would have done without LAVENDER during my pregnancies. Thank you Ann, and I think I may adopt the tagline – “the voice of educated and diligently researched reason”! Is lavender oil safe to use in pregnancy. An assumption was then made that this was due to a uterine stimulant effect, and a further assumption was made that therefore lavender oil could pose a risk of miscarriage in pregnancy. The ease of its application makes it a very favourable skin treatment for all stretch marks and so on as well during your pregnancy. Element, Shaftsbury, p118, Lis-Balchin M, Hart S 1999 Studies on the mode of action of the essential oil of lavender (Lavandula angustifolia P. Miller). Oils that may be safe for you to use As long as your pregnancy is going well, it's probably fine for you to use: neroli; tangerine; German and Roman chamomile; common lavender; peppermint; ylang-ylang; There is a lot of confusion over the safety of lavender essential oil in pregnancy. Reposting! Thanks for your wisdom Robert! Thanks a lot. Thank you for this information! It should not be concluded therefore that there are 15,800 pages in the index reporting that lavender oil is a uterine stimulant: Look down through the results and you will quickly find this to be confirmed. Stretch marks can appear in the later stages of pregnancy on the upper thighs and the abdominal area. 🙂. My pregnancy aromatherapy CPD course i did supports using many oils that are generally contraindicated in pregnancy, so it is fantastic to see strong researched evidence to back up what i have been told regards using lavender and clary sage, thank you! The absence of lavender from Bartram’s list is not surprising since it has not traditionally been regarded as a herb to avoid in pregnancy, or as a uterine stimulant. Essential oils … The Complete German Commission E Monograph for lavender lists L. angustifolia, both flowers and essential oil, as officially “approved” and with no side effects and no contraindications. So glad I got a good education on essential oils and thank you for all you do. Camphor is neither reproductively toxic nor abortifacient except in almost fatal doses, and a lethal human dose is approximately 200 mg/kg. Thank you! Lavender essential oil is extracted by steam distillation from the flowers and tops of the herb lavender (Lavandula angustifolia). But the research is beginning to address this issue, which is great. So many of even the classic books on aromatherapy haven’t bothered to give us this information- they just say “lavender” and there are so many different lavenders with different properties! And – from what part of the plant is the oil being distilled? I have been drinking lavender tea when I feel the need for the past year, and now that I am pregnant, I was really unsure of whether I could continue to drink it. Lawless (1992) also cites lavender oil as an emmenagogue, though not limited to internal use, and there is similarly no pregnancy contraindication. During the years of the study, the use of pethidine in the study center declined from 6% to 0.2% of women (Burns et al 2000). Simply … I work with them daily and will be getting your updated book. You continuously enlighten and educate me, making me a better instructor. There‘s a lot of confusion over the safety of lavender essential oil in pregnancy. “These … There isn’t enough research to support this is safe for your baby. 3. All I could think off all day is a nice relaxing lavender bath, but of course am cautious. Basil Essential Oil. Infants & Toddlers: 1-2 drops of essential oil with 2 tablespoons of carrier oil . Don't assume that, just because they're natural, they're automatically safe.". So many contradictions written on this subject. Some women worry about using lavender during pregnancy because it is known to regulate menstruation, however, lavender essential oil is perfectly safe to use during pregnancy when used correctly. (No connection between breast growth and the use of products containing either essential oil was ever established, nor was it established beyond doubt that any of the boys had actually used products containing either of these essential oils.) From notable sources Lavender IS SAFE during pregnancy. I’m so glad you shared your knowledge on the science behind lavender and pregnancy! Kristy, one drop of lavender oil on your baby’s cot sheets is totally fine, so long as the oil does not directly come in contact with her face. I am always happy to share your well researched information with my aromatherapy and massage students. Also, how can you check every single one? Churchill Livingstone, St. Louis, p493, Politano VT, Lewis EM, Hoberman AM et al 2008 Evaluation of the developmental toxicity of linalool in rats. Although lavender is classed as one of the safest oils, it is not recommended for use during the first 20 weeks of pregnancy. For example, one 2015 study found that orange essential oil helped lessen anxiety in … (These are the only such texts in my possession – there may be others that draw different conclusions.) Another thing – the botanical name and chemotype should be required every time an essential oil is mentioned if one is making ANY claims about it. Clearly there is some concern about the safety of lavender oil during pregnancy, although there are also a number of sites where lavender is either absent from “should not be used in pregnancy” lists – in fact it is only rarely found on such lists – or where the oil is actually stated to be safe in pregnancy. Hi Morag, I would recommend avoiding these: anise, birch, carrot seed, cassia, cinnamon bark, fennel, hyssop, myrrh, oregano, pennyroyal, Dalmatian sage and wintergreen. I use lavender oil mixed with water in a spray bottle on my pillow to promote restful sleep. Citrus essential oils (orange, lemon, and grapefruit) may help to increase energy and improve mood. Many new mothers may experience changes in the weeks following their baby's birth. CW Daniel, Saffrom Walden, p322, Franchomme P, Pénöel D 1990 L’aromathérapie exactement. Therefore the camphor in lavender oil presents no risk. The one thing – are they truly educated in the science? It was probably caused by the essential oil leaching phthalates out of the plastic trays used in the testing. 1. I also infused flowers in coconut oil for my skin, and wanted to continue to use it as well, especially for my belly. Thank for this wonderful article. Davis (1999) says that lavender oil is helpful in “reducing…scanty menstruation” and that it should be avoided during the first trimester. I seriously think that any person who decides to put information on their website concerning essential oils should have to do or have some basic requisites in place in order to be considered a reputable source. The caveat must refer to transfer of substances from lavender to the child. I personally have used many essential oils, but my favorite is lavender. Lavender side effects. Tanya LaMothe I will surely refer all to this article if there is ever a “shadow of a doubt” on their part! Thank you Elizabeth! Do not ingest essential oils during pregnancy. To aid sleep, place a tissue with two drops of lavender oil on it next to your pillow, or add a couple of drops to a burner and place in the bedroom for 15 minutes before going to bed. Thus are myths conceived. (Yes, I checked every single one.) Most are uterine tonics and stimulants to restore normal function of the female reproductive system. This fact has slowed me down considerably in completing my task as it takes so much time, weighing and balancing all of the conflicting information. I recently read some articles and a warning about tea tree oil and lavender oil perhaps suppressing androgens, and even causing gynecomastia, in young boys. There is so much misinformation “out there” now with the internet that it drives me insane if I look at most of it, other than those aromatherapists I have had personal contact with or can tell quite quickly that they are professionals in the use of essential oils. To combat backache, combine four drops of lavender with three each of Roman chamomile and mandarin oils in a carrier of 50 ml jojoba oil. I’m worried now about the possibility of a XY fetus being feminized by such products and turning out transgender (MTF transgender women have been shown to have digit ratio on average like cis gender women do on average, suggesting that hormone exposure in utero may connect to transsexuality). (Not that lavender oil would do this anyway. Thank you to be here and adding so much on aromatherapy education. The logic of this escapes me. Lavender essential oil along with sweet marjoram, chamomile, black pepper, and cypress essential oils … And of course, the same goes for many/most essential oils. Herbal safety texts An emmenagogue, or menstrual stimulant, may act by directly stimulating uterine contractions, or through stimulating hormone production. Lavender oil. Read More: Are There Disadvantages to Aromatherapy? There is little sense of responsibility to perform even a cursory investigation of whether the ‘facts’ they are quoting have any basis – nor even to cite references. I have just one nit-pick with your report – the figures for the Google search results you cited at the beginning of the article are for “broad match” rather than “exact match” queries. According to New York University Langone Medical Center, traditional use of lavender essential oil involves external … This is the kind of thing encountered everywhere nowadays. Culpeper (1652) did say that “lavender….provokes women’s courses”, i.e. Erring too heavily on the side of safety has a downside – it creates fear, doubt and confusion. As all other respondents have already said, “thank you”! Says the website Expectancy: "Avoid using any oils in the first 3 months unless advised by an expert. Many blessings, Thank you Alex for your support, and for correcting me – I did not know about using parentheses, so very useful to know for future myth-busting episodes. Oh Robert – so good to once again hear the voice of educated and diligently researched reason. (Yes, I checked every single one.) It’s complex, time-consuming, and not cheap, but it’s ultimately rewarding. Being a compleat method of physick, whereby a man may preserve his body in health; or cure himself, being sick. Mills and Bone (2005) state that using lavender flowers (L. angustifolia and L. spica) is compatible with breastfeeding, and is safe in pregnancy: “No increase in frequency of malformation or other harmful effects on the foetus from limited use in women.”. Rub gently into the back to help relieve contractions. Is this safe? I can assume that your being a part of that committee has certainly been very helpful. Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.. Thank you! A qualified aromatherapist can give more details regarding preparation of specific oils. However, there is no evidence that either lavender flowers or lavender oil stimulate menstruation. In another in vitro study, lavender oil inhibited the growth of MCF-7 cells (Zu et al 2010) suggesting that, while it may bind to estrogen receptor sites in the body, it is not an estrogen mimic, and so does not promote estrogen. I love giving prenatal massages, and I don’t know what I would do without Lavender! The most common developmental toxins are certain industrial chemicals, heavy metals or pesticides. So great to have this article as a reference for all those women afraid of using this fantastic essential oil. Want to try them?
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