Bad Science Gives Lavender Essential Oil a Poor Name

Lavender and malesWe know that lavender has been used for treating a variety of conditions like insomnia, anxiety, headaches, depression, hair loss and skin disorders.

However, one of my friends heard that lavender is bad for boys because they disrupt hormone levels.

I don’t want to use anything that could be dangerous for my family and I don’t want to promote a product that could do harm, so I looked into it.

I found an article from October 18, 2006 in the NY times:

“In some cases, substances other than sex steroids may also disrupt normal sexual development.

In Boston at the annual Endocrine Society meeting in June, Dr. Clifford Bloch of the University of Colorado School of Medicine presented several cases of young men who had developed marked breast enlargement from using shampoos containing lavender and tea tree oils, which are widely used essential oil additives.

Bloch collaborated with scientists at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences in North Carolina to test the oils on human breast cells grown in test tubes.

Lavender and tea tree oil had the same effect on the cells as estrogen.

Bloch speculates that the findings may explain the boys’ breast growth. He noted, however, that the relationship of the essential oil to breast growth remains hypothetical.”

With a little more research, I discovered that this “study” by Dr Bloch seems to be the ONLY study that speculates that lavender may cause an issue–however there are quite a few forum posts that resulted, scaring people away from Lavender.

In 2007, the National Association of Holistic Aromatherapy responded to this concern:,%20R.%20Gynecomastia2_2007.pdf

The conclusions of the report state:

“As the report states, breast growth in pre-pubertal boys is extremely uncommon, yet three cases are reported within a short period of time, and all in the same clinic.

Lavender breast growth

Considering that some 200 tonnes per annum are produced of both lavender and tea tree oil, that most of this goes into personal care products, and that very little of the evidence presented for these 3 cases is convincing, the press reports of caution are premature.”

In addition, since Bloch’s study does not mention which products were used, there is no evidence that the scented products actually contained any genuine essential oils.

The amount of lavender that is in shampoo is minimal, and when you use a wash off product like shampoo, you absorb little of the product compared to a leave on product like lotion.

The use of lavender is HUGE worldwide. And they hypothesize that three cases of boys developing breasts is because they use wash out shampoo with lavender in it?

If it truly caused issues, we’d have boys everywhere with breasts.

Lavender Essential Oil

I wish people would put more energy into considering the thousands of chemicals that act as xenoestrogens that are unregulated and dumped in most personal care products.

Xenoestrogens from synthetic sources are much more potent and harmful to the body than the gentle, natural “phytoestrogens” that occur in many plants such as flax, soy, and pomegranate.

Be wary of isolated studies that go against common sense.

I use pure and potent doTerra lavender essential oil with confidence in my family!

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