Wednesday, March 28, 2018
Wisdom Wednesday: Essential Oils May Disrupt Normal Hormonal Activity
New research suggests that the chemicals contained in essential oils such as lavender oil and tea tree oil may disrupt the normal functioning of hormones, leading to a condition called male gynecomastia in prepubescent boys.
Male gynecomastia is a condition in which boys develop noticeable breasts as a result of having abnormally high levels of estrogen, the female sex hormone. Research has previously linked the condition to essential oils such as lavender and tea tree oil. Such oils are regularly used in personal hygiene and cosmetic products, as well as in laundry detergents and aromatherapy candles and devices.
A study from 2007 found that the gynecomastia coincided with the use of essential oil-based products, and that the symptoms disappeared with the products were discontinued. The same study also found that lavender and tea tree oil had estrogen-boosting and anti-androgenic effects on human cells.
The new study was presented at the annual meeting of the Endocrine Society tested the impact of eight components that are commonly found in tea tree and lavender oil on human cancer cells to study their effect on hormonal activity.
Essential oils contain hundreds of chemicals. Researchers picked out 4-terpineol, dipentene/limonene, alpha-terpineol, linalyl acetate, linalool, alpha-terpinene, and gamma-terpinene for study. The first four components are common to both tea tree oil and lavender oil. The research revealed that all of the chemicals tested had an endocrine-disrupting activity to a certain extent.
Both tea tree oil and lavender have medicinal benefits when used properly. However, daily exposure to some of the chemicals in these complex oils can be harmful.
Both oils are capable of breaking down bio-domes in the gut, even when applied topically. This makes them valuable in treatment of dysbiosis as you must disrupt the bio-dome to kill the harmful bacterial colonies within.
I listed the chemical compounds studies so you can review your cosmetics and daily hygiene products to see if any of these chemicals are listed. I am more concerned about manufacturers using isolated chemical compounds extracted from tea tree oil and lavender than the use of the whole oil. Worse yet, creating these compounds in the lab to mimic the effects of these oils.
The Bottom Line:
Please use tea tree oil and lavender oil sparingly and specifically rather than daily. Essential oils, like herbs and drugs are potent, complex chemical compounds. I highly recommend you consult with an aroma therapist or an essential oil therapist for more information on the safe use of essential oils.
Source: March 20, 2018 National Institutes of Health