Does Lavender & Tea Tree Oil have an adverse effect on hormones?

Posted on March 10, 2023


While working our month-long San Diego County Fair, I received an interesting question from one of our customers regarding the effects of Lavender and Tea Tree Oil on the hormonal system.

Lavender and Tea Tree Oils and their
Hormonal Effects

THE CLAIM: “Repeated topical use of products containing lavender oil and/or tea tree oil was linked to an increased risk of prepubertal gynecomastia (a rare condition marked by enlarged breast tissue in boys prior to puberty).”

THE CASE STUDY: Three otherwise healthy boys (ages four, seven, and 10) were diagnosed with gynecomastia by a pediatric endocrinologist at the University of Colorado at Denver and Health Science Center’s School of Medicine. All three boys had used either lavender-scented soap and skin lotions, or shampoos or styling products containing tea tree oil and lavender oil as ingredients. It was theorized that lavender oil and tea tree oil acted as endocrine disruptors.”

If you continue reading the article you will find out that: “Studies evaluating the hormonal effects of lavender oil and tea tree oil have yielded mixed results. Tests on rats indicated that lavender oil does not have estrogen-like activity.”

THE CONCLUSION in this article: “It’s possible that other chemicals found in some personal care products may contribute to or, in some cases, be responsible for the products’ potential side effects. It’s quite possible that other ingredients in personal care products (such as parabens and phthalates) may have contributed to the hormonal effects found. Further research is needed.

Since most people only read the first few paragraphs and then come to their own conclusions, they never come to the part that retracts the initial claim.

Setting the facts straight

Salvadore Battaglia, internationally acclaimed authority and author of one of the most comprehensive text book on aromatherapy “THE COMPLETE GUIDE TO AROMATHERAPY“, wrote a response to this subject in his blog o May 1, 2018. He points out the following:

The media never reported all the studies that had disproved this claim and were critical of all the flaws in the original study.

There are other ingredients used in commercial cosmetics that have been identified as endocrine disrupters. Researchers then investigated alternative mode of action for possible oestrogenic effects of parabens.

However, in this same report, Lawrence stated that when essential oils are stored in or exposed to plastic containers, it is common for the oil to leach out phthalates which are plasticisers (plastic softeners). (PET containers have to be used in products that contain essential oils)

Both tea tree and lavender oils have been the most extensively pharmacologically researched essential oils and no previous studies have ever identified lavender or tea tree or any of their constituents as having oestrogenic activity and being endocrine disrupters. An extensive review of literature by Lawrence confirmed that lavender oil does not possess any oestrogenic activity.

Read the complete article here: Lavender and Tea Tree Oils and Hormonal Effects

Here is Salvadore Battaglia’s response: Lavender and tea tree oils are not oestrogenic.

Virtually every French person, including males (!) has been raised,
using Lavender Essential oil — on the same note, every person living in Australia has been using Tea Tree oil for medicinal purposes, yet there are no reports
on adverse effect from either country, nor the rest of Europe.

click here to read the full article

About Gudi

Gudi Rubbo is the owner of Gudi’s Aromatherapy, located in Encinitas California. She was born and raised in Vienna Austria and has been residing in America now for over thirty years. Gudi grew up in Austria using Essential Oils as part of basic body and health care. While living here in America she has crafted a full line of aromatherapy products from pure essential oil blends to natural skin care and synergy blends for the body.