Friday, August 13, 2010

Essential Oils to Avoid During Pregnancy

There is a lot of information out there about which essential oils to use and to avoid during pregnancy. Many different sites and aromatherapy books list essential oils to avoid during pregnancy, but unfortunately, much of this information is conflicting and unclear. Why does one list say a particular essential oil is okay, while another list says "avoid when pregnant?" Does the "avoid" mean internally or externally, too? The aim of this series of articles is to clear up the confusion and specify the particular risks involved with certain essential oils based on chemistry and toxicology data, and not just rumors and folklore.

Essential Oils Everyone Should Avoid At All Times, Internally and Externally
These essential oils contain dangerous compounds. Avoid them in aromatherapy, personal care products, and internally.

Cade (Contains Benzo[a]pyrene, a known carcinogen.)
Sassafras (Contains Safrole, a possible carcinogen.)
Ravensara anisata (Contains Estragole, a possible carcinogen.)
Basil (Contains Estragole, a possible carcinogen.)
Tarragon (Contains Estragole, a possible carcinogen.)
Camphor (Contains Safrole, a possible carcinogen, and contains Camphor [the compound] which is a neurotoxin and convulsant.)
Calamus (Contains Beta-asarone, a possible carcinogen.)
Tarragon (Contains Estragole and Methyleugenol, possible carcinogens.)
Snakeroot (Contains Methyleugenol, a possible carcinogen.)
Malaleuca bracteata (Contains Methyleugenol, a possible carcinogen.)
Bitter Almond (Contains Hydrocyanic acid, which is highly toxic.)
Armolse (Contains Thujone, a neurotoxin known to cause convulsions.)
Sweet Birch (Contains Methyl salicylate, which is highly toxic.)
Boldo (Contains Ascaridole, which is extremely toxic.)
Buchu (Contains Pulegone, which is toxic to the liver.)
Cassia (Contains Cinnamaldehyde, a liver toxin and skin sensitizer.)
Cinnamon Bark (Contains Cinnamaldehyde, a liver toxin and skin sensitizer.)
Costus (Contains Costuslactone, a strong skin sensitizer.)
Elecampane (Contains Alantalactone, a strong skin sensitizer.)
Horseradish (Contains Allyl isothicyanate, extremely toxic and irritating to skin and mucous membranes.)
Lanyana (Contains Thujone, a neurotoxin known to cause convulsions.)
Mustard (Allyl isothicyanate, extremely toxic and irritating to skin and mucous membranes.)
Pennyroyal (Contains Pulegone, which is toxic to the liver.)
Dalmatian Sage (Contains Thujone, a neurotoxin known to cause convulsions.)
Tansy (Contains Thujone, a neurotoxin known to cause convulsions.)
Thuja (Contains Thujone, a neurotoxin known to cause convulsions.)
Wintergreen (Contains high amounts of Methyl salicylate, which is highly toxic.)
Wormseed (Contains Ascaridole, which is extremely toxic.)
Wormwood (Contains Thujone, a neurotoxin known to cause convulsions.)

Essential Oils to Avoid During Pregnancy, Externally or Internally

Balsamite
(Contains Camphor, a neurotoxin and convulsant.)
Ho leaf (Contains Camphor, a neurotoxin and convulsant.)
Hyssop (Contains Pinocamphone, which is generally toxic, a neurotoxin, and convulsant.)
Indian Dill Seed (Contains Apiol, which is generally toxic, an abortifacient, and toxic to the fetus.)
Juniperus Pfitzeriana (Contains Sabinyl acetate, known to be an abortifacient.)
Parsley Leaf (Contains Apiol, which is generally toxic, an abortifacient, and toxic to the fetus.)
Parsleyseed (Contains Apiol, which is a generally toxic, an abortifacient, and toxic to the fetus.)
Plectranthus (Contains Sabinyl acetate, known to be an abortifacient.)
Sage (Spanish) (Contains Sabinyl acetate, known to be an abortifacient.)
Savin (Contains Sabinyl acetate, known to be an abortifacient.)
Annual Wormwood (Contains Artemisia ketone, which is possibly toxic and a neurotoxin)
Cangerana (Contains Safrole, a possible carcinogen.)
Lavandula Stoechas (Contains Camphor which is a neurotoxin and convulsant.)
Lavender cotton (Contains Artemisia ketone, which is possibly toxic and a neurotoxin.)
Oakmoss (Contains Thujone, a neurotoxin known to cause convulsions.)
Perilla (Contains Perilla ketone, which is potentially toxic.)
Rue (Has a strong folk history of being an abortifacient with a small amount of clinical evidence to back it up. It is not known which compounds are to blame, but it is likely that its general toxicity is to blame for its possible abortifacient nature.)
Treemoss (Contains Thujone, a neurotoxin known to cause convulsions.)

Essential Oils that are Safe for External, but not Internal Use During Pregnancy

Anise (Contains Trans-anethole, which displays weakly estrogenic activity. The amount absorbed through skin when used in a cosmetic item would not affect hormonal levels, however, an oral dose could have an effect.)
Fennel (Also contains Trans-anethole.)
Lavandin (Contains a small amount of Camphor. The amount that would be absorbed through the skin in a personal care product is 500 times less than the amount needed to cause a deleterious effect, so it is considered safe for topical use, but it would be prudent to avoid an internal dose.)
Nutmeg and Mace (similar chemically) (Animal studies have proven no ill effects to the mother or fetus when applied externally. There is one case study of a pregnant woman who ate a high amount of nutmeg in a cookie; she and her baby started having heart palpitations. Everything returned to normal after 12 hours. It is thought that the stimulant effect of the Myristicin in the spice was to blame. The amount of Myristicin that would be absorbed through a properly diluted personal care product containing nutmeg or mace would not be great enough to cause this effect.)
Rosemary (Contains a small amount of Camphor. [See lavandin.])
Spike lavender (Contains a small amount of Camphor. [See lavandin.])
Yarrow (Contains a small amount of Camphor. [See lavandin.])

Your Questions Answered

I have heard that lemongrass is not safe during pregnancy. Is this true?

Rumors about Lemongrass being unsafe started with a study about citral, the main component of lemongrass essential oil. Doses of citral were injected in to lab rats, and the rats became less fertile at a dose of .3 g/kg. This is equivalent to injecting around 30 ml (2 tbs) of lemongrass essential oil in to the abdomen every 4-5 days for 60 days. Wearing a lotion or product with lemongrass in it doesn't provide the dose to see any side effect.

Are there any essential oils I should avoid when I'm trying to become pregnant?
Follow the same guidelines and lists that I've outlined above.

Are there any essential oils that help increase milk production during lactation?

No. There is no scientific data to suggest that any essential oil used externally would increase lactation.

What's the truth about Lavender & Tea Tree? Are they really estrogenic?
They are not! Check out my previous article on the subject.

Some lists say citrus oils should be avoided during pregnancy. Is this true?
There is no reason to avoid citrus oils during pregnancy. The only side effect of a citrus essential oil is that it if left on skin in a high concentration and then exposed to strong sunlight, it can increase sunburn or cause a rash. This reaction varies from person to person and depends on their own sensitivities.

What about ________ essential oil? I've read it should be avoided during pregnancy.
Everything but those on the lists above are safe to use for aromatherapy purposes (lotions, soaps, in diffusers, etc) during pregnancy. All essential oils are very powerful substances. Essential oils should always be diluted properly (.5% to 5% depending on the oil) in a carrier oil. Do not use undiluted on skin. Always consult a reputable healthcare provider, herbalist, or naturopath before using any essential oil internally.

If there is a particular essential oil you're concerned about, write it in the comments below and I'll be happy to give you an analysis!

348 comments:

1 – 200 of 348   Newer›   Newest»
ponnie said...

thanks so much for this extremely helpful information!

Charlotte said...

No essential oils improve lactation? Huh. My friend swears by fennel EO.

Thanks for the info! I did not know wintergreen oil should be avoided!

Stephanie Greenwood said...

@Ponnie Thanks!

@Charlotte--is she taking it internally or applying it on her skin?

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for this important information. As an RN that works with 1st time Mom's and their babies it will be very useful!

Anonymous said...

Ever since you mentioned that you were looking into this topic I've been eagerly awaiting this post. Thank you so much!!!

Anonymous said...

Don't we eat the oils of basil when we use it as an herb? Is it toxic because it is so concentrated in the oil as compared to a leaf??

Stephanie Greenwood said...

Re: Basil

Yes. It is because the basil essential oil is so concentrated. And with eating basil, there are other antioxidants in the plant that counteract the estragole.

kyra said...

I know that Jasmine oil is frequently used in the Labor and Delivery room in France. This would lead me to NOT use Jasmine during pregenacy.

Andrea said...

Hi Stephanie,

Re: Malaleuca bracteata
Do you know of topical or internal/ingested products which contain bracteata? Is there concern that if one buys a tea tree oil product that, unless specified, it may contain bracteata instead of alternafolia?

Is Malaleuca alternafolia safe as a topical and/or internal (eg. mouthwash) ingredient?

Thanks! Excellent reference list.

Anonymous said...

I appreciate the work that went into these lists; however, I think that you need to check your facts. I found this info about cinnamon that contradicts what you are saying: www.appliedhealth.com/nutri/page8273.php

"The ingestion of large amounts of cinnamon oil can have dire consequences for the kidneys and liver. Ingestion of raw cinnamon bark or cinnamon 'toothpicks' can irritate the mucous membranes.

Cinnamon is nontoxic in therapeutic doses, and is generally regard as safe by the FDA."

This would be worth checking out. I've used herbs for many years, and I know that some herbs that are helpful (like goldenseal) can also be dangerous in large amounts or if taken for too long a period.

D. Douglass

Anonymous said...

Are there any essential oils you would recommend to boost fertility?

Anonymous said...

and now you know how to off someone with essential oils! ;p

Adriana said...

Thank you Stephanie!

Does this mean eating fennel or rosemary is not safe during rosemary or only when used as an essential oil?

Based on the the one case study, should pregnant women avoid nutmeg altogether as well?

Sorry if the answers are obvious...I'm pregnant and my brain doesn't work very well : )

huggyface said...

We've used bubble & bee products and are happy customers :-)

but... I have to say I'm a little skeptical with some of the statements in the posting. For example, in a few cases it states that an oil is 'possibly' toxic... This doesn't sound like we have enough solid evidence to say we need to avoid it, if it's only 'possibly' toxic.

As all good research needs reference and credibility, I'd like to see the source of your information. And, what sample size did they use? two drops or 50?

Anything at a high enough dosage is toxic.....even pure water :-)

Stephanie Greenwood said...

@Huggyface Thanks for your support! This article is meant to be a quick synopsis, and there are too many sources to cite in this small space. Each essential oil has about five studies to back up the claim, so my list of sources would be longer than the article. However, per readers request, I can back up whatever I have posted and expound upon some of these essential oils and the claims here. Which essential oil in particular are you concerned about?

@Adriana I can't give you medical advice because I'm not a doctor, so always consult your ob/gyn if you make any dietary changes. But, I can tell you that from the studies I have available, you shouldn't have to avoid nutmeg, rosemary, or fennel in your diet, as long as they are small amounts.

re: boosting fertility--there is no solid evidence that any essential oils could boost fertility. However, there are some herbs like dong quai, cramp bark, and vitex that can support your reproductive system and balance hormones. (Flax seeds are another great way.) Usually, infertility and reproductive issues are caused by an excess of estrogen. These herbs can help create balance, along with an organic diet and avoiding xenoestrogens in your environment.

@D. Douglas Re: Cinnamon---I'm not seeing how the information you're linking to is contradicting the information I have posted...we're both saying that cinnamon essential oil can be toxic to the liver. I'm not saying to avoid cinnamon altogether (it can be very beneficial) just the essential oil of the bark because it is so concentrated.

@Andrea--I haven't heard of any problems with the essential oils being switched--but if there was a concern about it, contact the manufacturer of the product for verification. Melaleuca bracteata is known as river tea tree, and I have not seen it used before.

Anonymous said...

I've read that peppermint can cause contractions of the uterus - and I don't see it listed at all. I hope I'm wrong because it's such a great stomach soother, I'd love to be able to start using it again!

Anonymous said...

Hi, Thanks for the huge work on this! My husband uses a natural soap made with sassafras root and cinnamon bark (and other ingredients). The ingredient list doesn't mention them as essential oils, though. Should I be concerned? Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Hi Stephanie,
Do you think that we should avoid clove EO? Skin deep rates it as a 5. Thanks!

Stephanie Greenwood said...

The only contraindications clove has is when used at high concentration it can be irritating to skin, and when taken internally it can prevent blood clotting in individuals taking blood-thinning drugs.

At concentrations lower than 2% on normal skin, it causes no problems of irritation. As long as it is diluted properly, clove can be highly beneficial as an antiseptic and aroma-therapeutic oil.

Stephanie Greenwood said...

re: sassafras and cinnamon bark--I would e-mail the manufacturer and ask if it is the essential oil they're using or the actual herb. There is a big difference!

re: peppermint---no scientific evidence points toward peppermint causing miscarriage or uterine contractions. You are safe to drink peppermint tea during your pregnancy and use aromatherapy products (lotions, soaps, etc) containing peppermint.

Laura said...

WOW! Thank you for supplying so much information. I learn so much from reading your blog.

LauraJayne said...

This is such a helpful list! Thank you!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this list, is was really helpful!! But I have a question I've read that essential oils shouldn't be used during the first 3 months of pregnancy, does this claim apply to Aromatherapy only?? Because I don't think that essential oils (those that are in your list of safe for external use)used in personal care products should be avoided during the first 3 months of pregnancy, I mean they are blended with so many other ingredients that their effect would be really small, am I right?. I use only organic products but most of them contain essential oils (and there is a no a fragrance-free version of some of them) so what am I supose to do, avoid them during the first 3 months or what??

Stephanie Greenwood said...

@Anonymous--You're right-you don't have to avoid all essential oils during your first trimester. And those that I've listed above as safe for external, but not internal, use when diluted properly in a personal care product, are safe, no matter what trimester.

moneysaver said...

Would you stay away from Lemon essential oil internally (in drinking water?)
Thank you

Stephanie Greenwood said...

Ingesting small amounts of lemon essential oil isn't bad at all. But, in water, it's not going to dissolve, but sit on top of the water. Then, you could end up with straight lemon eo on your lips, and that could cause some irritation. For lemon flavored water, lemon juice is much better.

However, lemon eo in oil-soluble products is fabulous. I made an awesome coconut frosting for some scones once. It was sooo good. Organic extra virgin coconut oil, organic powdered sugar, 1-2 drops lemon eo..it was fabulous.

Melissa Whitman said...

I see that spanish sage is listed in the "avoid during pregnancy" list. Does this also include common sage?

Stephanie Greenwood said...

Common Sage, also known as Dalmatian Sage (latin name Salvia officinalis) does not contain sabinyl acetate like Spanish sage, however, it does contain camphor and thujone. I would avoid it not just during pregnancy, but in general. Looks like I need to add it to the list!

Stephanie Greenwood said...

Oh wait--it's there on the list to avoid. Ok good.

Johnson Fam said...

Thank you so much for this list! I have had the hardest time finding organic (or even natural) face wash that had ingredients safe to use during pregnancy, and this list not only helped me narrow down the essential oils, but it lead me to Bubble and Bee's website where I found some face wash! Hooray! I hope it treats me well! ;) Thanks again!

Anonymous said...

Hi Stephanie! I am currently 23 weeks pregnant and unfortunately got lice from one of my kids. I had heard that rosemary oil is great in repelling them. I had used some undiluted in my hair a couple of times. I happened to read after that it is very harmful. My doctor said chances of something happening are rare. What are your opinions??? I am very nervous now. Thank you!!!

Stephanie Greenwood said...

As you've found out, using essential oils straight on skin is not recommended. One of the problems, in addition to skin irritation, is a problem called sensitization, where if you're exposed to too much of one essential oil, it can make you allergic/sensitive to any exposure to it in the future. So, it's definitely something to avoid doing in the future. As far as some kind of permanent harmful hidden effect from putting it on your scalp--you should be just fine. The amount of camphor in rosemary is quite small, and the amount that you would have absorbed from applying it to your scalp is also small. It should not have caused any kind of permanent problem--your doctor is right.

Emma said...

Stephanie,

What about citrus oils being photosensitizers? I personally avoid every citrus oil, but I've seen they're freely used in many creams and body lotions, they might not be a problem on cleansers but in leave-in products... I also read in a place where I buy essential oils that they point on the description of most citrus oils that you should avoid sun exposure in the next 48 hours of application, so they're not even safe on night products.
What do you think?

Stephanie Greenwood said...

Some citrus oils, as you mentioned, do have the potential to cause sunburn when applied to skin and then exposed to sunlight....however, a number of different factors come in to play.

First, photoreactivity is dependent upon the timing. The first 15 minutes after application are always the most active, and as time goes on, it becomes less reactive. Second, is each person's sensitivity to the ingredient. Some people can't use citrus oils at all; others can use them without problems. Studies have found that some people are more genetically predisposed to sensitivity to citrus than others. Third, as you know, is the concentration used. Fourth, is the presence of other compounds that may counteract the effects of the bergapten (the component of the essential oils that causes the sunburn) For instance, lipids (oils). Fifth is the essential oil itself, the constituents of which can vary from supplier to supplier, how the essential oil is extracted, and where it is grown.

The concentration of citrus oils we use in our products is well within the safe limits for the product as used. We are always keeping the safety of our customers in mind as we develop our products. Over the last three years and selling tens of thousands of lotion sticks, lip balms, and other products with citrus oils, we have had only one documented case of photoreactivity, and this was in the Sunflower lotion stick, It happened when a person used it not as directed. She applied the lotion stick as a lip balm right before she went in to a tanning bed and ended up getting a sunburn around her lips. Because she exposed herself to strong, direct UV light right after application, and used it on a part of her body that the product was not designed for, she had a reaction. Used properly on hands, elbows, and feet, with incidental daily exposure to sunlight, this product poses no risk. Perhaps if you were slathering it on all over right before sunbathing it wouldn't be a good idea. But, like I said, this has been the only single case of a problem.

When used as directed and properly diluted, citrus essential oils, in addition to smelling wonderful, can be highly beneficial. Numerous studies have found it to have free-radical scavenging abilities:
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10995330

d8dcb008-d8bd-11e0-a789-000bcdcb5194 said...

I know that the essential oils listed are not good for pregnancy or those who are trying to conceive, but what about the PHYSICAL plant? For example, i have lots of wormwood growing in my garden...is it safe to handle? This maybe a dumb question, I know essential oils are concentrated, but even so...better safe than sorry?

Stephanie Greenwood said...

It should be fine to handle on an incidental basic, pulling weeds, trimming, etc.

Anonymous said...

Hi Stephanie,
Are floral waters such as rose geranium, rose, and neroli used as part of a cream, safe to use with pregnant and/or nursing moms?

Anonymous said...

I've made a couple of creams that my friends love - they shared the creams with their friends and well, you get the idea. Before I consider making these available to a larger audience I'd like to consult with a certified aromatherapist. How would I go about finding one?
I'm in Flemington, NJ. Thanks!

Stephanie Greenwood said...

I suppose that would be dependent upon your purpose of the consultation. Are you looking to make arometherapy claims on your products, or just considering safety? Also to consider are challenge testing and stability testing, especially if you're looking at producing water-based products that require preservatives.

Stephanie Greenwood said...

You may want to consider joining the Indie Beauty Network to speak with other small business owners and maybe even meet aromatherapists that could help you.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Stephanie,
The consultation would be for the purposes of safety, i.e. the effect of ingredients in combination and any potential side effects, warnings etc. Maybe I should try to find a chemist as well. Thanks for your sugestions - I'm going to pursue all of them!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this great information!

What are your views on using, say a rosemary hydrosol daily? Or a basil hydrosol. Safe?

Anonymous said...

My sister in law is pregnant and she and her 1.5 y/o daughter are fighting with mosquito, in this hot weather. There's a spray which calls for citronella, lemon balm, lavender, peppermint diluted into witch hazel. I saw peppermint on another site that claimed it was an Emmenaogue and I'm concerned with the safety of using this tonic externally since a lot of these recipes are for lotions or massage oils and not a tonic.

Stephanie Greenwood said...

If perhaps she was drinking straight peppermint essential oil it could be a problem, but there is no evidence to suggest that topical application of peppermint essential oil would have any effect on her pregnancy.

Anonymous said...

Hi,
I have ringworm on my body now but i like to try for baby. Currently using a tea tree oil on the affected area. Is that okay?
I've also placed order for some essential oil bodycare products (seaweed fennel or something?) but are essential oil skincare/lotion/liquidsoap/bar soap ok for pregnant/others intending to try for baby?
What about those that are lighted up? I'm thinking that as nebulizer breaks down the essential oil into small molecules, its easy to get them absorbed via the skin and its 100% essential oil so the impact will be much bigger? So its not advisable to use such product during pregnancy/trying for baby?

Thank you

Stephanie Greenwood said...

I do always recommend diluting essential oils before applying them to skin, but no, applying tea tree won't be a problem for your fertility or cause any other issues.

Essential oil skin care products--their safety would depend on the particular essential oils used. Same with the nebulizers...it's all about which essential oil you're using.

Antoinette said...

I used rosemary in a burner during a facial even thou I told the lady I was pregnant.. She burned it- I didn't drink it/ I was a little over 4 mnths pregnant... I am very worried now;-((

Stephanie Greenwood said...

@Antoinette--that shouldn't be anything to be concerned about. As long as you didn't ingest it, you'll be fine!

Anonymous said...

I read that arrowroot powder is contradicted in pregnancy, but it does not say internal or external. Is it okay externally? Also, to clarify, essential oils diluted in your products are safe during the first trimester?

Stephanie Greenwood said...

@Anonymous: Arrowroot powder contraindicated in pregnancy? I would assume that would be dietary, if at all. It's an innocuous substance that shouldn't have to be avoided. If you have a link to the information you're reading, I'd love to take a look at it. E-mail me at stephanie@bubbleandbee.com

Yep, all of our products are safe for use during all stages of pregnancy, conception, and breastfeeding.

Laci Karp said...

I recently had a friend tell me that basil oil used topically can increase milk production. Is this true? Safe? If so, how? And how should it be diluted? She said that the day after she applied it that she had a lot of milk.

Stephanie Greenwood said...

No! I would definitely NOT use basil oil, full strength or diluted. As mentioned in the article, it's one that I recommend avoiding due to the high content of the possible carcinogen estragole.

Anonymous said...

What about avocado oil? I have been using it as a natural 'sun protector' and facial moisturizer. It is undiluted.

Stephanie Greenwood said...

Avocado oil is actually not an essential oil, but a vegetable, or carrier oil. What's the difference? An essential oil is not actually a true oil, but a concentrated blend of aromatic substances from a plant. A vegetable/carrier oil is made up of fatty acids, and lacks the concentration of aromatic compounds. Carrier/vegetable oils are used for moisturizing, whereas essential oils do not moisturize, but add scent and aromatherapy benefits to a product. Avocado oil is safe to use and is a great moisturizing oil.

Anonymous said...

I'm curious about chamomile. I've heard the same about peppermint oil and chamomile having an emmenagogue effect. Do you know anything about this?

Laci Karp said...

Thank you!

Laci Karp said...

Would you know of any possible uses for basil oil? Around the house even?

Stephanie Greenwood said...

In regards to chamomile & peppermint oil being an emmenagogue, there is no real evidence to support this. It's published in folk medicine websites and books, but there is no scientific, clinical, or chemical basis for this assertion.

Lea Dransfeld said...

Hi Stephanie,

I'm 16 weeks pregnant and am just learning about what essential oils are safe and unsafe during pregnancy. I'm really overwhelmed and confused by all the contradicting information I'm finding online. I wear perfume oil (Body Shop's Woody Sandalwood that contains the following: cedar, sandalwood, cloves, patchouli, amber, musk, tonka bean, vanilla and french labdanum). Is this safe to wear in small amounts? Also, I use Rocky Mountain Soap Company's Shave bar and Patchouli bar, and on the company's website, it advises to use both products "with caution" when pregnant. Can soaps and perfume oils really harm my unborn child? Thanks so much!

Stephanie Greenwood said...

Thanks for your question, Lea!

In regards to your Body Shop perfume...while these aren't any that I recommend avoiding, some of them aren't true essential oils. There's no such thing as amber essential oil or musk essential oil. While it may sound natural it is a synthetic perfume that can contain anything from a list of over 3000 chemicals, including endocrine-disrupting phthalates and neurotoxins. I recommend avoiding synthetic fragrances, not just during pregnancy, but at all times.

As far as the patchouli bar, patchouli is fine during pregnancy. Are there any other essential oils in there, or synthetic fragrances?

Lea Dransfeld said...

Hi Stephanie,

Thanks for the response! I’m glad to know that the Body Shop Oil is okay to use (I’ve heard before that both cedar oil and clove oil were both no-nos for pregnant women, so I was a bit worried). As for the synthetic stuff, I totally agree and will use in moderation only.

Here is the list of what is in the Shave bar and Patchoulli bar:


In the Patchoulli bar:

Pogostemon Cablin (Patchouli) Oil, Cannabis Sativa (Hemp) Seed Oil, Illite (Green Clay), Spinacia Oleracea (Spinach), Mentha Arvensis (Peppermint) Leaf Oil


In the Shave bar:

Solum Fullonum (Fuller's Earth), Citrus Medica Limonum (Lemon) Peel Oil, Theobroma Cacao (Cocoa) Seed Butter, Titanium Dioxide, Lavandula Stoechas (Lavender) Oil, Coriandrum Sativum (Coriander) Seed Oil, Citrus Nobilis (Mandarin Orange) Peel Oil, Salvia Sclarea (Clary Sage) Oil


Thanks again for your help!


Lea

Anonymous said...

concerned:
Thank you so much for this post. I am 10 weeks pregnant. My daughter is school age, and I apply organic products to her hair, which contain a mixture of some of the oils that you mention (some say "bark", or oil), one of which Rosemary which repels head lice, and citronella. There is a detangle spray I use every day, and there is also a shampoo/conditioner with those ingredients. Should I not use these products on her because of potential exposure to me/baby? Or what precautions can I take?

Anonymous said...

Hello again - I just posted a question about organic hair care for children, the product does not contain citronella, but does include witch hazel, as well as some extract of the oils (safe for external) listed in your list. It is a hair care line for children.

Stephanie Greenwood said...

It sounds like it should be fine, then. If you want to post the full ingredients list, I'd be better able to assess the safety for you.

Kristi said...

I am trying to figure out if I can use oil blends like On Guard from DoTerra and Deliverance from Butterfly Express on my feet while pregnant? What are your thoughts? They contain oils such as cinnamon bark, clove, eucalyptus, lemon, oregano, oregano wild, rosemary, thyme, wild orange.

Stephanie Greenwood said...

From the ingredients you've listed here, it seems like it would be fine.

Anonymous said...

I have been using tansy externally for 2 days now it is made w a blend, so not sure how much im getting. I just read to not take during pregnancy or if u have seizure disorder. I am 32 weeks pregnant and I have a controlled seizure disorder, do u think im ok? Of course I took it straight to trash and will never use again!!!

Stephanie Greenwood said...

I think you'll probably be okay, but if you start to see any symptoms, of course, talk to your doctor. But yes, definitely discontinue using that product.

Anonymous said...

Hi stephanie,

I literally just got done deep conditioning my hair with a tingly conditioner containing safflower, lavendar, rosemary, mint, chamamlie tea tree oils. Of all times to use this, I used it at 6 weeks pregnant. As soon as my hair was saturated with it, something made me question was it safe! I left it on about 15 minutes and detangled and then rinsed. Its been about 30 min. And. My scalp is still tingly. Will the baby be ok from this one time of using a conditioner with those oils as well the amount of tingling I'm feeling??? My first ultrasound is in a few days!

~kimmy

Stephanie Greenwood said...

You're going to be fine, Kimmy! None of these oils will be toxic to you or your baby when used in a conditioner.

Ria said...

I confused can I use cinnamon bark or not? I've seen cinnamon essential oil in bubble and bee products. Is that different than cinnamon bark eo? I just want to use it in a diffuser.

Ria said...

I'm not pregnant. Can I use cinnamon bark in a diffuser? Is it different than the cinnamon eo bubble and bee uses?

Stephanie Greenwood said...

Yes, we use cinnamon leaf essential oil instead of the bark, which is safer. I think that in a diffuser, cinnamon bark eo would be okay, depending on your own personal sensitivities.

Lisa said...

Hi Stephanie I'm 21 weeks pregnant and very sick with bronchitis-onset was about 6 days ago and it hit severely about 4 1/2 days ago.....during my teenage yrs I had bronchitis every year that would take me out for about a month or more-couldnt even exercise, etc but its been 3-4 yrs since I have gotten it, let alone been this sick....I'm counting my blessings! I'm just worried this thing will hang on that long. I hit it hard with a very good multi vitamin and was recently introdcued to do terra essential oils- the melaleuca and onguard blend. I ran out of the onguard last night and have not slept well nor been very functional today and the mucus is more out and about- onguard seemed to really clear out the thick mucus- my question is- 1) is the onguard oil blend, which has cinnamon in it, safe for my pregnancy, and if so, can I take it internally as well? On the website its recommended to take it internally in veggi capsules 4x day- is that safe for me as well? I just don't know what to do...and I don't want to go to a dr cuz they will either do nothing or give me antibiotics....

Stephanie Greenwood said...

Hi Lisa, sorry to hear about the bronchitis! I would recommend visiting your doctor no matter what, just to check for signs of pneumonia or other issues.

It is really hard to say if it's safe for internal use, during pregnancy or otherwise. We don't know the concentration of essential oils used, or if it's cinnamon bark or cinnamon leaf essential oil. Additionally, I recommend avoiding rosemary essential oil internally during pregnancy, which is used in this blend. So I would NOT use it internally. Using in a diffuser, etc, should be okay as long as it's cinnamon leaf essential oil used.

Anna from Natures Home Spa said...

Wow, Stephanie, great info here on essential oils. Thanks for dispelling the myths. I was specifically inquiring about lemongrass e.o. and pregnancy. I made a gorgeous batch of soap with a small amount of lemongrass (50 drops in 31 oz oil and 10 oz water) and wanted to know. Thanks for the work put into this list. Very helpful for natural bath and body product makers like myself. Very helpfu.
Anna

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this post! It's very helpful! I'm actually inquiring about cinnamon leaf essential oil. I'm 32 weeks pregnant and have three children (5,4,& 2 years of age). I make a Shea butter mix for us and the hubby usually without any essential oil, but I added 10 drops yesterday to a 12 oz jar I made to try containing Shea butter, cocoa butter, jojoba oil, coconut oil, and olive oil. I just wanted to know if the cinnamon leaf essential oil is safe to use particular for pregnancy and small children? Thanks in advance!

Stephanie Greenwood said...

Cinnamon leaf essential oil is better than cinnamon bark, however, in a leave-on product, you can experience some skin irritation, depending on your particular sensitivities. If you're using it on small children, do a test patch on a small area of skin before you apply it all over.

Anonymous said...

What about using Thyme while pregnant? I'm 12 weeks and survived a bad flu, but still have a deep chest cough. I've been told that a drop of diluted thyme rubbed into the chest and back is a natural expectorant, but the thyme I bought says not to use if pregnant. Further, I bought a 'throat coat' tea, and it also has thyme in it! Thank you.

Artistic Soul said...

Was wondering if a massage oil that can be used as a moisturizer is okay to use while pregnant. It has oils of: Safflower, Apricot Kernel, Sweet Almond, Jojoba, Vitamin e and fragrance. This is for a woman 3 months pregnant. Thanks so much!

Jennifer said...

Hi Stephanie!
So sorry if this is redundant. Your post is very helpful. I tried to leave a comment last night - but not sure that it went through - so if this is duplicative, please excuse me!

It's about thyme. I'm 12 weeks and survived a bad flu, but still have a deep chest cough. I've been told that a drop of diluted thyme (actually used also with two drops of lavender) rubbed into the chest and back is a natural expectorant, but the thyme I bought says not to use if pregnant.

Further, I bought a throat coat tea that has thyme in it.

I really look forward to hearing your thoughts. Thank you!

Stephanie Greenwood said...

Hi Jennifer! There's no reason that diluted thyme and lavender on your chest, as long as they are properly diluted, would pose a threat to you or your baby.

Stephanie Greenwood said...

@Artistic Soul--everything looks good except for the "fragrance." I recommend avoiding this whether or not you're pregnant. "Fragrance" is a blanket term for thousands of different chemicals, and it can contain endocrine-disrupting phthalates, neurotoxins, allergens, and a host of other problematic chemicals.

Anonymous said...

Hi Stephanie!
Thank you for all your information and research! I am hoping you can calm my fears. I recently purchased more healthy products to replace our normal shampoos/soaps/conditioners at my house. I am 11 weeks pregnant and our products seemed so full of chemicals! I purchased Dr. Bronner's classic almond soap and used for the first time last night as all over wash and shampoo. I was looking a little closer into the ingredients today; and learned that the almond fragrance used in the soap is made from Cassia Oil, which is listed as one of those to avoid in all the time, especially pregnant! I am so worried that I've used soap with Cassia oil. I look forward to hearing from you, as I am really nervous and upset that I've hurt the little one somehow. All this and I was only trying to be safer in the first place! Please advise. Thank you, Stephanie!!

Stephanie Greenwood said...

The scent that we know as almond is a compound called benzaldehyde. It's used in almond and cherry flavors and scents. They have likely extracted the benzaldehyde from the cassia oil, but left behind the cinnamaldehyde, the compound that I was saying was problematic. The only risk that it would have would be skin irritation, but, if you've been using it successfully thus far, you'll be fine.

Anonymous said...

Thank you!! You are doing great work for the pregnant mothers out there!!!
Thank you again!!

Sarah Falk said...

Hi! I'm 17 weeks pregnant and have been using Thieves mouthwash, which contains rosemary. I do spit it out instead of swallowing. Do you think it's safe to keep using? Thank you!

Stephanie Greenwood said...

Sarah--what are the other essential oils in the blend? The rosemary shouldn't be a problem, but doesn't it contain cinnamon bark?

Anonymous said...

What a great post to stumble upon. Can you make any suggestions about insect repellant when pregnant? I hate to use the nasty deet and other repellants. I found a great citronella soap and dont see it on your list but see it all over the internet as an essential oil to avoid? Thanks in advance!

Stephanie Greenwood said...

Thanks! We actually have an insect repellent that's safe for everyone, including women during pregnancy! :)

http://www.bubbleandbee.com/servlet/the-Organic-Insect-Repellent/Categories

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the info! I have a packet of Burts Bees Theraputic Bath Crystals. I would like to know if its safe to soak in them while pregnant. They contain sea salt, sodium bicarbonate, lemon oil, rosemary oil,and tocopherol. I appreciate your consideration of my question, Mindy.

Stephanie Greenwood said...

Yep! Looks fine!

Anonymous said...

Hello

We are trying for a baby I've brought weleda arnica massage balm for bruising from falling off my bike in the snow it has rosemary oil in it, there is a chance of me being pregnate should I continue to use it or get something different? :)

Stephanie Greenwood said...

Nope, you should be fine--rosemary essential oil is only a problem if you ingest it.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this information! I was wondering what essential oils are safest to use in a deodorant while one is pregnant? ie. which of your deodorants or, what refreshing florals scents would you recommend?

Stephanie Greenwood said...

@Anonymous--thanks for your question! All of our deodorants are safe for use during pregnancy. I might recommend ordering our deodorant cream sample pack so you can give a few different scents a try. The Geranium Lime is the most floral, and the Jasmint is also very nice. However, during pregnancy we can be more sensitive to smells and our perceptions and preferences change, so the sample pack would enable you to smell and try a few and find the right blend for you!

Anonymous said...

I am 17 weeks pregnant and noticed that the disinfecting wipes I use to clean the house contain oregano oil. When I looked it up I found a million articles telling me that it will cause the uterine lining to shed and miscarry the baby. I am very worried. Should I be?
Thanks!

Stephanie Greenwood said...

Of course, if you have a concern about your pregnancy, please talk to your doctor. However, there is no scientific evidence that would suggest that being exposed to a product containing oregano oil would cause a miscarriage.

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for this, it's all really useful!

I've been really craving nice, floral smells in this pregnancy ( I'm 30 wks), so recently bought some essential oils to use in oil burners, with massage oils & in homemade cleaning products.  The ones I bought were rose absolute, rose geranium, patchouli and ylang ylang.  Annoyingly, I somehow managed to get some undiluted rise absolute on my fingers and then in my month & I've since read on some sites that this oil should be avoided in pregnancy.  Can you reassure or advise?

Also, I bought some almond oil to use as a carrier and I've since read that it's been linked to premature delivery!  Do you know anything about that research and would you advise avoiding it? If so which oil would you suggest using instead?  

I'm desperate to use my new oils but now feeling a bit cautious about it!

Stephanie Greenwood said...

Thanks for your question! Almond oil isn't a problem (unless you have a severe allergy). (Sweet) Almond oil is a carrier oil, whereas Bitter Almond Oil is an essential oil that should be avoided during pregnancy.

Rose absolute can be a skin irritant, but shouldn't pose a risk for you if diluted properly (Of course, if you have a concern, visit your OB/GYN). Always dilute essential oils properly and don't ingest them, but otherwise I don't see much of a problem with this blend you've got.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, that's really reassuring. Do you think I should speak to a doctor/midwife about the rose oil? It was such a tiny amount I got on my fingers & in my mouth (just from opening the bottle) and I can still feel the baby moving; I'm not sure what the risks are from ingesting it?

Thanks again!

Stephanie Greenwood said...

Rose absolute isn't on my list to avoid so you should be fine. However, I can't give you medical advice so if you're anxious about it, maybe give a nurse in your doctor's office a call.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for all of the helpful information about essential oils during pregnancy. I have gone back to this list several times as a reference. I just realized yesterday that the Omega 3 supplement I've been taking contains rosemary extract at the bottom of the ingredient list. I contacted the company, and they claim there is a small amount, and many women in their company used the pills while pregnant and have healthy babies. Also, a man from the health food store recommended this brand because his daughter used them and has two healthy babies. After doing some more research on the topic, many women are concerned that even a small amount of rosemary extract could be potentially bad for the baby. I am about six weeks along. What are your thoughts on this? Do you think if it is a tiny amount of rosemary extract in the pills, it will be okay? Or should I find a different DHA supplement? Thank you!

Stephanie Greenwood said...

Thanks for your question! Rosemary extract is a totally different thing from rosemary essential oil, containing a completely different profile of compounds. Rosemary extract is an antioxidant and there is no evidence that would suggest that it would be harmful to you or your baby, especially when used in such a small amount. (Of course, I am not a doctor and can't give medical advice, so if you have a concern about your pregnancy, consult your OB/GYN, midwife, or other healthcare professional.) While studies are limited, shere has been one study on the effects of rosemary extract on pregnancy done. In this animal (rats) study, and there was no developmental or abortive effects found on the rats that received high amounts of rosemary extract.

Anonymous said...

I used sunbreeze balm today several times to help with a sinus infection. I didn't realize that it had cassia oil in it. I am 38 weeks pregnant, should I be concerned?

Anonymous said...

Thank you very much. I was planning on asking my OB/GYN during my first appointment, but I feel more confident with continuing the pills until then. I did notice that many DHA supplements for pregnant women contain rosemary extract, so I was hoping it was okay. Thanks again for your timely response! I will continue to use your list as a reference. I was thrilled to see peppermint oil is not on there because I use it on my daughter's heels to naturally lower a fever, and it works like a charm!

Anonymous said...

Hi, thank you for your very useful information. There is definitely a lot of conflicting info out there. I am curious about your opinion regarding essential oils for children. I have read that lemongrass EO and peppermint EO are not recommended for kids under five. I would like to use your bug spray for my one year old, is it safe?

My concern is less that it may be toxic, and more that good quality EO's are so concentrated that their particular effects on the body are so strong that this would be similar to giving a child a drug (like tylenol), only natural. This is similar to pregnancy concerns with emmenagogues, but a child is so much smaller and may be affected more easily.

Stephanie Greenwood said...

As with any product you use on an infant, do a couple test patches first to test for allergies, but barring allergies, it is safe for children and non-toxic. All essential oils should be diluted, and I don't particularly recommend using essential oils internally. But used properly, there's no reason that a child shouldn't be able to use peppermint or lemongrass, as long as they don't experience skin irritation from it.

anonymous said...

Thank you, Stephanie, for always being so willing to freely share your expertise with your Bubble & Bee fans! Regarding tea tree oil, I have read recommendations to apply it at night directly (undiluted) to a blemish on the face as well as daily for a period of time to reduce or get rid of a wart on the back of the hand. They say it will help both due to its natural antiseptic properties - as long as you do a patch test first to be sure your own skin isn't so sensitive that it causes a reaction.

Have you heard of this and/or do you recommend against it for these uses? I have used on blemishes before, and it did seem to help them heal much more quickly, but now I am worried about whether this is dangerous to use this way. Thanks for your help!

Stephanie Greenwood said...

I tried it once on a big inflamed blemish and it hurt like crazy. It did dry up the blemish pretty quickly--perhaps a little too quickly. My fear with using tea tree neat on skin is the potential for scarring. If you dry out a blemish too quickly it dries before the skin can heal properly, thus creating scar tissue or pits. I would suggest diluting the tea tree so you also moisturize while you shrink the blemish.

anonymous said...

Thanks for your feedback, Stephanie! That's very helpful. What would you recommend blending it with for the face? I wasn't sure if a carrier oil would be wrong for a blemish or if it would be better to use something else. Thank you again for sharing your expertise and experience!

Stephanie Greenwood said...

Jojoba, almond, rosehip, olive...if you have an oil that you've used before, I'd say any would work.

anonymous said...

Great - thanks for advising! I have jojoba but just wasn't sure if using a carrier oil like that on a facial blemish would further clog or inflame the spot. I will give it a try.

Anonymous said...

Hi... i am 6weeks pregnant and i took one drop of peppermint oil under the tongue to help with a cold... i drank a glass of water after i took the drop . will that hurt the baby?

Stephanie Greenwood said...

No, that shouldn't be a problem!

Anonymous said...

I sprinkle tea tree and eucalysptus essential oil around the house when cleaning. What is the risk to pregnancy from doing this?

Stephanie Greenwood said...

I always recommend diluting essential oils for whatever use, however, these are not essential oils known to cause harm during pregnancy.

Anonymous said...

Hi, I'm 6 weeks pregnant and dabbed diluted oil of oregano (diluted with coconut oil) on my face last night. I had a skin infection before I found out I was pregnant, so I thought I saw the start of another and tried to be proactive. 10 seconds later I realized I probably shouldn't use it, and tried to wipe it off. Everything I read said to avoid this oil entirely! Will 1 application make a difference?

Dipti said...

Thanks so much for this important information. As an RN that works with 1st time Mom's and their babies it will be very useful!

Pregnancy Care

Stephanie Greenwood said...

@Anonymous--There's no evidence to suggest that oregano oil, when used properly, diluted, etc, should be avoided during pregnancy. :)

Anonymous said...

Are essential oils and extracts the same? Should certain plant/flower extracts be avoided externally in pregnancy?

Stephanie Greenwood said...

Thanks for your question! No, essential oils and extracts are different things. I can't think of any extracts that would be dangerous externally during pregnancy. (I do suggest avoiding Grapefruit Seed Extract and Japanese Honeysuckle Extract, as these are synthetic preservatives, not true extracts.)

Elisa Farrow said...

I am currently 23 weeks pregnant and trying to combat mosquitoes. I have a natural soap and spray that contains EOs lemongrass, tea tree, lavender, peppermint & eucalyptus. I also have a shampoo that has lemon grass and neem oil. Can I use these products safely since I won't be injesting them? Or I not can I use them on my children and be around the smell but not apply them to my skin? Thanks!

Stephanie Greenwood said...

Yes, barring any personal allergies, these products sound like they would be safe to use (assuming there are no other problematic ingredients.)

Billie Coleman said...

I am currently using camphor blended with coconut oil for my face to help fade scars, and it is working wonderfully. Is camphor blended with an oil okay, or should it be avoided either way?

Stephanie Greenwood said...

I do suggest avoiding it, even when diluted.

Angie said...

Hi Stephanie!!!! Thank you so much for assembling such an amazing post!!! ! I had recently ordered the deity of hair plant shampoo and was wondering if it is safe during pregnancy. It was recommended to me to make my hair grow after the world's most awful haircut!!!!
The main ingredients are: tuber of multiflower, knotweed, Angelica, fruit of Rangoon creeper, fruit of glossy privet, myrobalan, root bark of shaggy fruited distant, ginseng, and saffron. Thank you for any advice you can offer! -Angie

Anonymous said...

Hi Stephanie,
I have a face oil that I use to wash my face, and one of the essential oils in it is blue tansy. Concerned because I saw it on the list to avoid. Should I avoid using it? Thanks!

Stephanie Greenwood said...

No, blue tansy is actually different from tansy, so you're ok. :)

Stephanie Greenwood said...

@Angie--hmm...some wacky sounding herbs there, but nothing that I know of that are dangerous.

However...I found the full ingredients list for it: Ingredients: Tibetan Angelica Extract, Tibetan Ginseng Essence, Saffron Crocus Extract, Witch Hazel Extract, Jojoba oil, Deionized Water, Hydroxyethylcellulose, Diazolidinyl Urea, PEG-100 Stearate, Fragrance, Glyceryl Stearate, Polyquaternium-7, Propylene Glycol, Hydrolyzed Soy Protein, Sorbic Acid, Comide MEA.


PEG-100 Stearate is an ethoxylated chemical, created with carcinogenic 1,4-dioxane, traces of which, and its carcinogenic by-product can remain in the product.

"Fragrance" can contain anything from a list of over 2000 different synthetic chemicals, including endocrine-disrupting phthalates, neurotoxins and allergens.

Propylene Glycol impairs the skin barrier, letting these other chemicals enter the body more efficiently.

Diazolidinyl Urea is a known skin and immune system toxin, at least one study has shown it to show “positive mutation effects.” In other words, it created cancer in studies, studies have shown endocrine disruption, brain and nervous system effects at high doses. Has also been shown to effect metabolism in high doses.

Polyquaternium-7 is a quaternary ammonium compound, which you can read more about here: http://chemicaloftheday.squarespace.com/most-controversial/2011/8/31/quaternary-ammonium-compounds.html

So...while the herbs may be safe...the other ingredients not so much. :)

Anonymous said...

Is may have been answered already and I missed it, but does anyone know if using EOs in homemade cleaning solutions is safe while pregnant?? Wearing gloves, of course.... Or which oils should be avoided (again, only for cleaning, not ingesting or topically...) I am confused are the warnings for the scent aspects or the actual oil being introduced thru skin or ingestion?

Stephanie Greenwood said...

@Anonymous--that would depend on the essential oil that you're using. Always avoid those listed above, if it's in the "avoid internally" you can use it in a cleaning solution.

Anonymous said...

Thankyou for the wonderful info. Thieves products toothpaste mouthwash household cleaner foaming hand soap. Common ingredients are EO clove, cinnamon bark, rosemary, lemon, and eucalyptus radiata. Toothpaste I have dentarome is thieves plus peppermint. Other tpaste ultra is thieves peppermint, clove, eucalyptus globules, thyme, wintergreen . Other dentarome plus is thieves, peppermint, wintergreen . Mouthwash is thieves, spearmint, peppermint, vetiver. Theives spray external is thieves and clove. Hand foaming soap is thieves orange lemon decyl glucoside, cocamidopropyl, alcohol denat, aloe barbadensis leaf juice, tocopheryl acetate, ginkgo biloba leaf extract, retinyl palmitate, camellia sinesis leaf extract, cetyl hydroxyethylcellulose, and citric acid. Household cleaner is thieves, water, alkyl polyglucoside, sodium methyl 2-sulfolaurate, tetrasodium glutamate diacetate.
I'm really happy you have this site, I am 6 wks pregnant, and wondering is it safe for me to continue using thieves products.

Stephanie Greenwood said...

I would recommend against these products due to the use of wintergreen.

Also, the mouthwash and the theives spray--are these straight essential oils that they're using, or are they in a carrier oil or other substance?

Anonymous said...

Hi thx for your answers, mouthwash I don't have on hand, but the thieves spray is pure grain alcohol, water, coconut oil extract, clove bud oil, lemon peel oil, soy lecithin, cinnamon bark oil, eucalyptus radiata leaf oil, rosemary leaf oil. Cheers. Love your work! So detailed!

Heather Yates said...

I clean with water, vinegar, lemon, peppermint, and tea tree. Lemon helps get rid of the nasty dirt, peppermint kills bacteria and smells fresh, and tea tree kills mold. I also sometimes add cinnamon to help kill some types of viruses.

Anonymous said...

Thanks heather, I love learning about safe products x mwah

Anonymous said...

Hello! I have a question about lemongrass oil. I put a tiny bit on both my temples yesterday (twice), because I read it can help with morning sickness. I am 10 weeks pregnant. Now I am seeing it is on the no-no list for pregnancy. I am hoping this one day will not do any damage. Does anyone know? Now I am worried.
Thank you!

Anonymous said...

Hello, I am not sure if my original comment posted so I will try again. I am 10 weeks pg, and used undiluted lemongrass essential oil on my wrists and temples a couple times yesterday, as I read it can help with morning sickness. Well now I am reading on most sites that it is not safe during pregnancy and am freaking out. Please help calm my fears. I pray that just one day wont do any harm to the baby. It did irritate my skin too.

Stephanie Greenwood said...

@Anonymous--I don't recommend using any essential oil undiluted on your skin, so I wouldn't do it again. But the one time, no you're fine. As I mentioned above, lemongrass is safe for use during pregnancy. Rumors about Lemongrass being unsafe started with a study about citral, the main component of lemongrass essential oil. You'll see websites recommending against it because in one animal study, one of the main components of lemongrass, citral, reduced fertility. Doses of citral were injected in to lab rats, and the rats became less fertile at a dose of .3 g/kg. This is equivalent to injecting around 30 ml (2 tbs) of lemongrass essential oil in to the abdomen every 4-5 days for 60 days. Wearing a lotion or product with lemongrass in it doesn't provide the dose to see any side effect. And this study was about fertility, not about harm to fetuses.

Anonymous said...

Hi, thank you for writing this post and being quick to answer peoples questions. I have a few questions about thieves oil. The one I have is made up of essential oils of, clove, lemon, cinnamon bark, eucalyptus and, rosmary. I am currently 39 weeks pregnant and I know that you said a few of those aren't good while pregnant. I'm wondering about how safe they are when breastfeeding if I was to dilute them to make a hand sanitizer, or use in a diffuser or as a cleaning product around the house? Thanks, Sonja

Stephanie Greenwood said...

Sure thing! The cinnamon bark could be a strong irritant to your skin, so I would use caution. Is your blend in any kind of carrier oil? What kind of formula would you use if you diluted the oils in to a hand sanitizer, cleaning product, or diffuser? How you're diluting them would make a big difference.

Anonymous said...

No the blend isn't in a carrier oil, I was planning on adding some to aloe vera for a hand sanitizer, or making a sanitizer hand cream, with coconut oil and bees wax. Diffusing it by adding a few drops to water. I'm not sure yet about house cleaning but probably adding some to a water and vinegar spray.

Anonymous said...

I'm so happy I stumped on your post! I am 5 weeks pregnant and have been moisturizing with a Shea butter and clove EO, however I am very concerned now that I see that clove oil is an absolute no no during pregnancy. I jumped in the shower after I read your post but am quite concerned now. Any feedback you have to put my mind at ease or if I should contact my Dr.

Stephanie Greenwood said...

If you do have a concern or seem to be having a reaction to the product, do contact your doctor. Scientifically speaking, however, a product used externally with properly diluted clove oil shouldn't be a cause for concern.

Perry said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
mona said...

hi, I'm currently 17 weeks pregnant and have been using the pit putty geranium lime and the jasmine peppermint and was wondering if they are safe. A friend told me any essential oil is unsafe dunring the first trimester and some after and they shouldn't be used every day. I'm not sure if the deodorant applies since it is diluted and has other ingeridients mixed with it. thanks

Anonymous said...

I am recently pregnant, about 5 weeks. I had a severe back spasm which my massage therapist put a little basil oil on (mostly to my left shoulder). I thought nothing of it until I got home, an started researching. I immediately showered and took an Epsom salt bath, but is this something I should be worried about??? I'm freaking out a little...

Stephanie Greenwood said...

While I don't advise using basil essential oil at any time, the oil would have been diluted and your exposure minimal; not likely to cause harm to you or your baby in such a small dose. However, if you have a concern, it might be worth giving a call to your OB/GYN.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your quick response. I asked her afterward and it was not diluted (unless it is already diluted in the bottle?). I trust her and she has years of experience. I also drank about 6 glasses of water when I got home hoping to flush it out of my system...

Stephanie Greenwood said...

@Mona--thanks for your question! All of our products are safe for use during all stages of pregnancy, breastfeeding, etc. Essential oils should always be used with caution and properly diluted. However, there's no reason that our product can't be used during your pregnancy. (Unless, of course, you have an allergy to something.)

mona said...

Thanks Stephanie for your quick response! I've been using your products for a while and trust every single one of them. Thank you for making them!!

Anonymous said...

Hi, is there any evidence to suggest that having a massage in the first trimester, with peppermint oil, could lead to birth defects eg Spina Bifida? Thanks.

Philippa Gregory said...

Hello, I used Palmolive Aromatherapy Soap whilst on holiday that had Moroccan Rose essential oil and Ginseng in it without thinking... Are these safe? I am 26 weeks pregnant.

Stephanie Greenwood said...

There is no evidence to suggest that having a massage with peppermint oil during pregnancy would lead to birth defects.

Stephanie Greenwood said...

@Philippa--as long as you don't have any personal allergies to these ingredients, there's no evidence to suggest that they would be a problem.

Anonymous said...

Hello, I tried to post last night and I don't think that it worked...

I am 5 weeks pregnant. I have always put lavender oil in my bath to help me relax. Last night I added 8 drops to my bath and all the research I am seeing says lavender oil in the first trimestsr can cause miscarriage. I now freaking out. My husband did and I did fertility for9 months and were told without going to the next step (3000 per month) I was not going to get prgnant. Due to finances we stopped. Now 7 months later I am pregnant and it happened without fertility drugs. Me being pregnant in itself is a miracle and Im scared now.

Stephanie Greenwood said...

@Anonymous--take a deep breath. :) The stress you're going through is more harmful to your baby than the lavender essential oil would be. While I wouldn't recommend using undiluted essential oils in the bath (because they don't dissolve in the water, you can get patches of full-strength essential oil on your skin, which can lead to irritation) there's no evidence to suggest that lavender eo causes miscarriages. Perhaps if you drank a 16 oz bottle of essential oil it would be a problem because it would cause systemic toxicity (anything, including water, can be toxic at high doses.) But using a product like a soap or a lotion with properly diluted levels of lavender eo in it--just enjoy and relax!

Contessa Briscoe said...

Made one of those rice neck pillows and added a few drops of rosemary essential oil to the rice... I am 35 weeks pregnant. I noticed a small wet spot on the pillow and now I'm afraid to use it (concentrated oil!) What do you think?

Stephanie Greenwood said...

It could be moisture from the rice--but it could also be the essential oil like you mentioned. Is there a way you can wash the outer wrap? It could irritate your skin if you got it on your, but other than that, as long as there's not a severe allergy to the ingredient, it wouldn't pose a risk to your pregnancy.

Anonymous said...

Is it safe to use Eugenol(clove oil) for toothache while pregnant?

Stephanie Greenwood said...

Using clove essential oil internally on a toothache at full concentration during pregnancy--I would recommend talking to your doctor about this. Eugenol can affect blood clotting, and may interact with certain medications.

Stephanie Greenwood said...

I would also recommend visiting your dentist--if you have a toothache, there's a reason, likely an infection. Treating it with clove can temporarily relieve pain, but you're just covering up the symptoms. Infections can spread when they're not contained, and you don't want a systemic infection affecting yours or your baby's health.

Anonymous said...

Hi Stephanie,

Thank you so much for all the great advice.

I'd like to buy your insect repellant but don't think you ship to the UK?

I think I have found an alternative but am not sure whether the ingredients are ok as I am 10 weeks pregnant. (In particular you say to avoid spanish sage and this repellant lists sage oil (but not spanish)

I would really value your opinion on this please. The ingredients are: Water, Palm Kernel alcohol, Glycerine, Aloe Vera, Aroma blend of Lavender, Rosemary, L Menthol, Citronella, & Sage essential oils; Organic herbal blend of Chamomile, Calendula, Rosehip & Hops

Thanks again! Donna

Stephanie Greenwood said...

Barring any personal allergies, looks good! We also would be happy to ship to you; send me an e-mail and I'll get you a quote. :)

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much as ever - I would MUCH rather use your products. One email on its way. Best wishes Donna

Anonymous said...

Hi Stephanie,

I used two Aromatherapy Associates products in the weeks before getting pregnant and around the time of implantation (I didn't realise I was pregnant).

The de-stress mind bath oil (containing frankincense, petitgrain, wild camomile and rosemary); and then also the de-stress muscle gel (containing rosemary, black pepper, lavender and ginger).

I also dyed my hair three times (to fix a colour disaster) about a month before being pregnant and am now very worried about all of these chemicals and how they may have harmed my baby.

Please can you offer any advice? My doctor doesn't really know much about essential oils.



Anonymous said...

Hi,
I have been using a deordorant w/ rosemary leaf extract, parsley extract, and sage leaf extract. My lipbalm also has rosemary leaf extract. I am now in my 22nd week. I stopped using them. Should I be worried?

Stephanie Greenwood said...

No, these shouldn't be a problem, they're extracts, not essential oils.

Anonymous said...

Hi there - I'm 7 weeks pregnant and keen to avoid any chemicals in my shampoo. Are burts bees shampoos and conditioners safe to use as they do contain some essential oils, one being thyme and baboa oil. Many thanks!

Stephanie Greenwood said...

Thanks for your question! Thyme essential oil in a shampoo wouldn't be a problem. However, some of the other ingredients are ones that I recommend avoiding.

aqua (water, eau), sodium bis-hydroxyethylglycinate coco-glucosides crosspolymer, sodium cocoyl alaninate, glycerin, disodium cocoyl glutamate, parfum (fragrance), oryza sativa (rice) extract, sodium cocoyl hydrolyzed soy protein, sodium cocoyl glutamate, hydrolyzed jojoba protein, arginine, sodium polyaspartate, mangifera indica (mango) seed oil, origanum vulgare leaf oil, ficus carica (fig) fruit/leaf extract, thymus vulgaris (thyme) oil, sodium lauroyl lactylate, xanthan gum, guar hydroxypropyltrimonium chloride, lauryl lactyl lactate, sodium chloride, sodium benzoate, lactic acid, leuconostoc ferment filtrate, citric acid, ascorbic acid, potassium sorbate.

First of all, it contains sodium benzoate and citric acid; these two ingredients have been known to react and form trace amounts of benzene in the presence of each other.

Second, it contains "fragrance" which can contain anything from a list of 2600 different chemicals, including endocrine-disrupting phthalates.

Guar hydroxypropyltrimonium chloride is a quaternary ammonium compound, which I also recommend avoiding: http://chemicaloftheday.squarespace.com/most-controversial/2011/8/31/quaternary-ammonium-compounds.html

Anonymous said...

Thanks Stephanie - can you recommend a better one? My local health store stocks weleda, Jason, Avalon organics and burts bees. I am more worried in this pregnancy as I miscarried my last and want to be super safe. Thanks

Stephanie Greenwood said...

Sure thing! We have a few shampoos--how's your water? Do you have a water softener? (That would dictate which one I'd recommend for you.)

Anonymous said...

Hi,
When first becoming pregnant I developed a perioral dermatitis. I used a MooGoo cream and it worked well. It has just returned at 22 weeks pregnant. This time I looked at the ingredients and saw it has Dalmatian Sage which is on your avoid list. Would you mind looking at these ingredients and give your opinion as to whether it is a small amount  that it wont cause harm or if you would avoid using it?
The ingredients are:
Active Ingredients: 20mg/g Aloe Vera inner leaf juice fresh, Eqv 5mg/g dry Marinara chamomilla flower liquid extract, Eqv 5mg/g dry Centella asiatica herb tincture, 500 microgram/g Sage Oil Dalmatian.

Excipient Ingredients: Water – purified, Almond Oil, Cetostearyl alcohol & Polysorbate 60, Olive Oil, Squalane, Piroctine Olamine, Allantoin, d-alpha-tocopherol (Vitamin E), Citric Acid, Xanthan Gum, Humulus Lupulus (Hop) Extract

Thank you in advance for your advice,
Melissa

Stephanie Greenwood said...

Hi Melissa! Honestly I would avoid the product with dalmatian sage oil just to be safe. Of course, everything in life is risk vs. benefit, so if this is the only product that works to heal your skin, of course it's your decision to make. I also don't like polysorbate 60 because it's an ethoxylated chemical created with the carcinogen ethylene oxide, traces of which, along with carcinogenic 1,4-dioxane can remain in the product.

Anonymous said...

Our water is pretty soft here

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your advice Stephanie!

Melissa

Stephanie Greenwood said...

Hmm...okay. Well, just to be safe, what I usually recommend unless you have an in-home water softener, is this shampoo: http://www.bubbleandbee.com/servlet/the-344/%22Hard-Water-Shampoo%22/Detail It doesn't form soap scum like the other shampoos can. I think it will be great for ya!

Anonymous said...

What about wintergreen in toothpaste?

Stephanie Greenwood said...

Yes, I recommend avoiding wintergreen in toothpaste as well. Thanks for your question!

Socorro Smith said...

Is ginger ok? I've seen it on lists other places to not use during pregnancy, but I've also heard it can be good for morning sickness,and it's not on your list, so I'm confused.

Anonymous said...

Hi I'm curious about the safety of theives oil and how I should use it. I am 27 weeks pregnant and also have a2 yr old son.

Jillian said...

This is a classic case of a non qualified person commenting on something she doesn't understand.

The list is absolutely flawed and is quite a dangerous thing to post given that's it's alarmist and not accurate.

I am an aromatherapist of 17 years standing and I use half of what was listed in the no go list and have done so successfully.

If you are not an aromatherapist then get someone who is to write articles for you such as this!

Stephanie Greenwood said...

Well, Jillian, that's a pretty broad critique. If you'd like to have a more specific discussion about a particular oil, I'd be happy to entertain it. I've based my article on the chemistry behind these essential oils and their known properties based on current scientific evidence. So, if you'd like to have a more detailed discussion and challenge me on a particular oil or oils, I say bring it on! :)

Stephanie Greenwood said...

Re: Thieves oil--use caution when using it on your skin due to the cinnamon, which can be an irritant. But in a diffuser and diluted properly it can be used safely.

Jamie said...

Hi Stephanie,

I'm 16 weeks pregnant and just purchased an over-the-counter stretchmark oil. One of the ingredients listed is rosemary essential oil. Here is the full list of ingredients:

Corylus Avellana (Hazel) Seed Oil, Pelargonium Graveolens Flower Oil, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Oil, Aniba Rosaeodora (Rosewood) Wood Oil, Mentha Arvensis Leaf Oil, Linalool, Citronellol, Geraniol, Limonene, Citral, Benzyl Benzoate.

Will it be safe for use? Thanks!

Stephanie Greenwood said...

Rosemary essential oil is on my "avoid internally" list, so as long as you're not drinking the oil, it shouldn't be a problem. (Barring any personal allergies, of course.)

Anonymous said...

Hi Stephanie
I'm keen to know more about wintergreen. Can I use it in my diffuser/ humidifier safely(water diffuser). I have a two year old and want to be sure the smell won't harm her or us. I've found a lot of conflicting info on wintergreen, I understand it is toxic if swallowed but if it's as bad as that why is it still available to buy?
Thanks

Stephanie Greenwood said...

I'd recommend avoiding Wintergreen altogether. Peppermint or spearmint would be nice alternatives to use in a diffuser without the risks wintergreen presents.

Anonymous said...

Hi!
I'm 12 weeks pregnant and just put undiluted eucalyptus oil on my 3 y/o feet for a cough (I now read you should dilute it. I didn't know that originally). I got some oil on my hands while doing so. I quickly washed my hands afterwards, and wiped down my 3 y/o's feet. My toddler seems to be doing just fine, but is there any harm to my pregnancy?

Stephanie Greenwood said...

You should be just fine; eucalyptus isn't one that you'd need to avoid during pregnancy. Just make sure to dilute next time. ;)

Anonymous said...

Hi!
Great information. Is there any information regarding the effect of Cedar oil on fertility?

Anonymous said...

Hi Stephanie - thanks for putting together a great list of information.
I am 11 weeks pregnant and did not think to check the safety of certain essential oils before blending them into a a sweet almond oil base which is intended to be my stretch mark prevention solution.
Would it be possible to get your opinion on whether the blend is safe for me to use throughout pregnancy?
I mixed the following into 450ml of sweet almond oil:
28 drops of lavender eo
17 drops of grapefruit eo
10 drops of geranium eo
10 drops of lemongrass eo
4 drops of citronella eo (lots of bugs here when we go to sleep at night and I thought this might keep them away or make them think twice)

Thanks much! Melissa

Stephanie Greenwood said...

It doesn't look like any of the oils are on my avoid list, so as long as you're not allergic to anything, you're good! :)

Anonymous said...

Thanks very much for casting an eye on the eo blend! What a relief! :)

Anonymous said...

I ate a bite of a collegue's peppermint slice before I was told it was raw food with 4 drops of pure peppermint oil in the ingredients. I am 19 weeks pregnant and wondered if you could comment on any possible concerns regarding this.
Thank you for your comprehensive list.

Stephanie Greenwood said...

As long as you aren't allergic to peppermint, you'll be just fine. :)

g quinn said...

I am 23 weeks pregnant and I have been chewing Spry cinnamon gum since week 6 for indigestion. The second ingredient is cinnamon oil. Is my baby being harmed?

Anonymous said...

Stephanie, I am having trouble finding a toothpaste without peppermint or spearmint oil. I realize these are okay topically, but I infer they are not safe to ingest while pregnant. Any suggestions? Thanks.

Stephanie Greenwood said...

In my opinion, the amount of peppermint or spearmint that you'd ingest from a toothpaste would be minimal and not a risk. Can you point me towards your source of information that says that peppermint/spearmint in toothpaste would be harmful during pregnancy?

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