Essential Oils to Avoid While Pregnant and Breastfeeding

Expectant and new moms are always careful to eat and do the right things to protect the health of their babies. We often take for granted that the many products we put on our body can affect the fetus and breast milk as well. This is because skin care product ingredients are absorbed instantly through our skin and directly into the blood stream impacting the health of both mommy and baby.

Even if you’re seeking an all natural skin care line while you are pregnant or breastfeeding (which is recommended), you should also know that certain essential oils should be avoided.

essential oilsWhat are Essential Oils?
Essential oils are a concentrated liquid that are derived from a plant by using the flowers, leaves and/or roots in a distillation process. The term “essential” signifies the aroma or “essence” of that plant. They are found in a variety of products more commonly including skin care, perfume, cleaning products, soaps, and food flavorings. Traditional and alternative medicine may incorporate essential oils into medical and healing applications, and have various regulations for use depending on the country. Generally speaking, essential oils can be infused in products, used directly on the skin, or used in a nebulizer to diffuse the essence into the air. Not all essential oils are created equal. This means, some oils shouldn’t be used directly on the skin, and some should only be used as aromatics.

Essential Oils to Avoid While Pregnant & Breast Feeding
While some would say approach with caution, we say, “Why take the risk?”

On a side note, it’s important to understand that the amount of time, concentration, method of absorption and other considerations need to be made. Check out our article on How Substances Enter Your Body  and How We Accumulate Toxins in our Bodies.

Below is a list of some ingredients that should be avoided during pregnancy and breastfeeding (partial list). While pregnant and breastfeeding, always consult with your medical doctor before using these or any essential oils. Consult your physician before using any essential oil in a diffuser while pregnant.

  • Aloe (drinking juice): Do not use during pregnancy, lactation.
  • Anise (essential oil): Avoid internally and externally in pregnancy, breast-feeding.
  • Basil (essential oil): Avoid during pregnancy and breast-feeding.
  • Bay (essential oil):  Avoid during pregnancy and breast-feeding.
  • Bergamot (essential oil):  Avoid during pregnancy and breast-feeding.
  • Cassia (essential oil): Should be avoided during pregnancy.
  • Cedarwood (essential oil):  Avoid during pregnancy and breast-feeding.
  • Dandelion (root, tincture): Do not use during pregnancy or nursing.
  • Roman Chamomile (essential oil):  Avoid chamomile in the first trimester of pregnancy.
  • Cinnamon (essential oil):  Avoid during pregnancy, breast-feeding.
  • Clary Sage (essential oil):  Use with caution during pregnancy.  Only use after the first trimester.  Do not use when lactating.
  • Clove (essential oil):  Use with caution in pregnancy; externally, only after the first trimester.
  • Cypress (essential oil):  Avoid in pregnancy, breast-feeding.
  • Elemi (essential oil):  Avoid in pregnancy, with infants and young children.
  • Fennel (essential oil):  Avoid in pregnancy.
  • Garlic (essential oil):  Do not administer essential oil to babies. Best to avoid in pregnancy.
  • Geranium (essential oil):  Contraindicated in the first trimester of pregnancy.
  • Ginger (essential oil, teas):  Should not be used for morning sickness.
  • Jasmine (essential oil): Avoid during pregnancy and breast-feeding.
  • Juniper (essential oil):  Contraindicated during pregnancy and breast-feeding.
  • Lavender (essential oil):  Only after first trimester.
  • Lemongrass (essential oil): Avoid during pregnancy and breast-feeding.
  • Marjoram (essential oil):  Has the potential to stimulate menstruation, do not use during pregnancy.
  • Nutmeg (powder):  Avoid in pregnancy.
  • Parsley (leaf): Avoid in excess during pregnancy and breast feeding.
  • Peppermint (essential oil):  Do not use during the first trimester of pregnancy or while breast-feeding.  Do not use with children younger than two years old.
  • Pine (essential oil): Contraindicated during pregnancy and breast-feeding.
  • Red Clover (tincture): Avoid during pregnancy.
  • Rose (essential oil):  Contraindicated during the first trimester of pregnancy.
  • Rosemary (essential oil):  Contraindicated in the first trimester of pregnancy and should not be administered to babies or children younger than the age of four.
  • Sweet Basil (essential oil, leaf): Contraindicated for use while pregnant, breast-feeding, and with infants or toddlers. Do not use the essential oil during pregnancy or nursing.
  • Thyme (essential oil):  Contraindicated during pregnancy and breast-feeding.
  • Yarrow (essential oil):  Contraindicated during pregnancy and breast-feeding.
  • Ylang Ylang (essential oil):  Avoid during pregnancy and breast-feeding.

Using Naturally Unscented Skin Care
Naturally unscented skin care is quite easy to find. You can even make your own with some basic carrier oils such as grape seed, olive, sunflower and coconut oils. You can also use butters such as shea, jojoba, almond, macadamia, Brazil nut, and others.

Salvenaturals.com offers a natural and organic line of unscented body care products including scrubs, face care, and soap. You can always go online and search for additional unscented skin care manufacturers.

Written by: Dahlia Kelada

Source: http://traditionswellness.com/Herbs_and_Essential_Oils.html
Image: blahtherapy.com

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45 thoughts on “Essential Oils to Avoid While Pregnant and Breastfeeding”

  1. I am surprised to see Ginger on the list. My midwife and everyone else I know recommended Ginger to me in my first trimester in any form to help with morning sickness. Can you tell me where you received this information

    1. Hi Samantha,

      Thanks for your question. Ginger, according to some health practitioners, can cause uterine bleeding. Ginger should be limited in women who are pregnant. My consulting Acupuncturist & Chinese Herbalist, Sonya Patel of mirvacu.com, mentions that no more than 2 Tbs should be used daily; and always use with caution and always seek your doctor’s approval.

      “Some scientists have expressed concern that ginger in high doses could cause miscarriage, according to author Judith Benn Hurely.”

      “Further complicating the issue of herbal therapy is the effect of the herbal on the fetus or pregnancy varies with the timing of ingestion and amount ingested during each phase of the trimester. Other forms of use such as topical, infusions or tinctures also may have a negative impact on the fetus or the pregnancy. Drugs which have no effect during the first trimester might be lethal in the third.” (Intl. Journal of Childbirth Education, 2011)

      Some additional resources you can look into include:

      University of Maryland Medical Center; Ginger; Steven D. Ehrlich; November 2008
      “Journal of Alternative Complementary Medicine;”

      Comparison of Effects of Ginger, Mefenamic Acid, and Ibuprofen on Pain in Women with Primary Dysmenorrhea; G. Ozgoli, et al.; July 2008
      “Vegetarian Times;”

      A Woman’s Medicine Chest: Ten Herbs for Women Unique Needs – The Herbalist; Judith Benn Haurley; July 1996
      Mayo Clinic; Dysmenorrhea; May 2009

      http://www.livestrong.com/article/107753-ginger-tea-side-effects/

      http://www.livestrong.com/article/422721-does-ginger-root-decrease-a-womans-menstruation-cycle/

      International Journal of Childbirth Education. Jul2012, Vol. 27 Issue 3, p95-98. 4p. 3 Black and White Photographs.

      This information is meant to supplement, not replace advice from your doctor or healthcare provider and is not meant to cover all possible uses, precautions, interactions or adverse effects. This information may not fit your specific health circumstances. Never delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice from your doctor or other qualified health care provider because of something you have read on this or any website.

  2. I have read on 3 different sites, including a local business that makes natural products, that bergamot is safe during pregnancy and for breastfeeding. Why do you have it listed as not?

    1. Thanks for your question about bergamot use during pregnancy. Because there have not been any adequate studies done on the safety and efficacy of bergamot oil during pregnancy and lactation, it is probably a good idea to talk to your healthcare provider before using this essential oil if you are pregnant. Further, its affects on babies is unknown. It is currently generally recommended to avoid its use.

      Some reference links:
      http://www.drugs.com/npp/bergamot-oil.html

      http://www.livestrong.com/article/233553-bergamot-tea-safety/

      This information is meant to supplement, not replace advice from your doctor or healthcare provider and is not meant to cover all possible uses, precautions, interactions or adverse effects. This information may not fit your specific health circumstances. Never delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice from your doctor or other qualified health care provider because of something you have read on this or any website.

  3. Thank you so very much, this information is invaluable & I looked Everywhere for it whilst pregnant & could not find such a concise list then, & also found much conflicting advice which confused the issue for me & made ingredient avoidance in \\’natural\\’ products difficult & time consuming! I have continued to limit exposure post partum as I am breastfeeding & to find this information now is still a great help, I believe it is so important for women to be aware of this issue

  4. I had a question about ginger oil and breastfeeding? Is it considered safe to use? I know it\\’s use during pregnancy could be unsafe…but what about massaging on my abdomen while I am still nursing?Thanks!

    1. While nursing, Ginger (internally) can be a great way to calm breast soreness and digestion. Topically, I would see it be the same, especially during the winter time because of its warming properties. Ginger can also help to cleanse the body.

      I would advise that you NEVER use ginger oil on your breasts while lactating. It is too strong for the newborn and we don’t know if the baby has any allergies. But to answer your direction question, ginger oil should be okay when used with a carrier oil on the abdomen.

      Too much oral fresh ginger can cause uterine bleeding. Small amounts will help with nausea, digestion and circulation.

      This information is meant to supplement, not replace advice from your doctor or healthcare provider and is not meant to cover all possible uses, precautions, interactions or adverse effects. This information may not fit your specific health circumstances. Never delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice from your doctor or other qualified health care provider because of something you have read on this or any website.

  5. Clary Sage was highly suggested to me for use during breast feeding. Can you please provide me with more information as to why it is on this list. Thank you.

    1. Hi Laurin,

      Thanks for reaching out to us with your question about Clary Sage. This ingredient is particularly confusing because it can be consumed, applied to the skin and used for inhalation/aromatherapy.

      We actually use this ingredient in a couple of the products we make because its calming and antispasmotic. I tell people not to use Clary Sage, particularly when pregnant primarily because of the aromatherapy affects. Sage can cause uterine contractions because it’s considered an abortifacient (induces abortion), and even cooking with it in normal culinary quantities might not be a good idea.

      Clary Sage significantly slows down the production of breast milk, so it’s best not to cook with it if you are a nursing mother. I haven’t found any significant evidence of dangers associated with Clary Sage as it’s passed down through nursing. But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.

      Keep in mind that natural products are not always necessarily safe and dosages can be important. Therefore, we recommend that Clary Sage oil aromatherapy (including the steam created from baths) should not be used when pregnant. Do not use on babies. Do not use with alcohol or if you suffer from estrogen-related disorders. Avoid in hypotension, estrogen dependent cancers, or acute urinary tract disease.

      Clary sage oil is especially good for female ailments including menstrual cramps, PMS, and menopausal hot flashes.

      This information is meant to supplement, not replace advice from your doctor or healthcare provider and is not meant to cover all possible uses, precautions, interactions or adverse effects. This information may not fit your specific health circumstances. Never delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice from your doctor or other qualified health care provider because of something you have read on this or any website.

      Some additional resources:

      Sage Essential Oil – Uses & Benefits
      http://plantsandoils.hubpages.com/hub/Sage-essential-oil-uses-and-benefits

      Aromatherapy Clary Sage
      http://health.howstuffworks.com/wellness/natural-medicine/aromatherapy/aromatherapy-clarysage.htm

      Clary Sage Aromatherapy – another resource
      http://www.herbs2000.com/aromatherapy/a_clary_sage.htm

  6. I am curious about argan oil, grapeseed oil and pure castor oil and as a topical on my hair and skin. I am in my first trimester. I immediately stopped using it. Some sites say they are okay. Others say avoid them. Are they okay for topical use?

    1. Thank you for your question. I actually get asked quite often. I honestly cannot find any evidence of these base oils being harmful whether it’s during pregnancy or not. It’s definitely safer compared to the alternative synthetic or petroleum-based oils.

      Natural oils, especially nut and plant-based oils are protein-rich and contain fatty acids and vitamins that help hydrate and condition the skin. If oils are used, especially on the belly during pregnancy, this can help prevent stretch marks and scarring post Cesarian section.

      Further, oils on the skin support elasticity and healthy cellular cycling of the skin. E.g. I always keep some sort of oil on my face whether it be macadamia nut, sweet almond, shea, sesame, coconut oil, etc. These types of base oils prevent wrinkles and provide further conditioning/preservation of skin cells.

      Many of these oils offer antibacterial properties; e.g. coconut and can actually serve in a medicinal, ritualistic/cleansing capacity if considering Ayurvedic (Traditional Indian medicine) medicine.

      If you’re applying my principle of “reducing your overall exposure,” using these naturals oils, in my opinion, are not harmful, especially compared to the alternative. If you aren’t sure, you can always consult your healthcare professional or naturopath.

      For first trimester, I’d focus on avoiding artificial fragrance, dyes, petroleum-based products, products containing propylene glycol, phthalates, aluminum, silicones and parabens. Avoid essential oils as well in first trimester.

      If I find more scientific evidence to support my claim, I’ll post it as I find them.

      Cheers,
      Dahlia

  7. Could you please Advice on whether it\’s okay to use shampoo containing rosemary oil while breastfeeding?Thanks

    1. Hi Priya,

      Thanks for your question about shampoo. In all honestly, if you think about chemical exposure, absorption comes down to a few factors: the chemical hazard itself, method of consumption (in this case topically through scalp and skin on body, and via aromatherapy), concentration (minimal because it’s being diluted with your shower water), time (you’re probably only leaving it on about 5 minutes at the most) and frequency (Are you washing your hair daily?).

      If you’re using a slew of synthetic products in your shower, e.g. sodium laurel/laureth sulfates, parabens, fragrance, etc. Then yes, stay away. But if you’re using essential oil in the shower, the absorption is very minimal.

      It’s important to note too, that not all essential oils are safe for the shower, e.g. clary sage aromatherapy can be dangerous to the baby while pregnant (not too concerned about clary sage aromatherapy whilst breastfeeding). I wouldn’t worry about rosemary, but you can always ask your physician just to be certain.

      Check out this article I wrote about chemical exposure. It may help answer your question in more detail.

      READ THE LABEL [CHAPTER 4] Is your shower killing you? http://salvenaturals.com/blog/?p=155

      To summarize, don’t fret about using essential oil in your shower. It doesn’t stay on your body long, plus it’s being diluted with water. Just stay away from the aromatherapy dangers of certain oils. Happy shampooing.

      P.S. Rosemary oil is great for hair circulation and follicle regrowth.

      Dahlia

      This information is meant to supplement, not replace advice from your doctor or healthcare provider and is not meant to cover all possible uses, precautions, interactions or adverse effects. This information may not fit your specific health circumstances. Never delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice from your doctor or other qualified health care provider because of something you have read on this or any website.

  8. Hello, I was wondering if you can please share more information about using peppermint when pregnant? I have been told not to use it in the third trimester as it can possible turn the baby. However, I have always been told that it is ok to use in the first and second trimester.

    I appreciate your assistance,
    Nicki

    1. Hi Nicki – the use of peppermint oil is often debatable. Out of curiosity, what are you using it for?

      Found this on Livestrong.com

      The American Academy of Family Physicians states that peppermint oil can trigger menstruation, the shedding of the lining in a woman’s uterus. This is dangerous for a woman who is already pregnant. It is also potentially toxic when used or inhaled in large doses.

      BreastCancer.org recommends against rubbing peppermint oil on your skin if you are pregnant. Although inhaling peppermint oil is thought to relieve nausea, this has not been scientifically proved. Medline Plus recommends avoiding any form of peppermint oil if you are pregnant.”


      They proceed to say it is safe when …

      “Peppermint oil is most likely safe for a pregnant woman to use in herbal tea, according to the American Academy of Family Physicians. It is also safe in the correct dosage of over-the-counter medications that use peppermint oil as an ingredient, as long as you are not exceeding doses and the medication itself is also considered safe for use during pregnancy.”

      I’ll ask that my consulting Acupuncturist and Chinese Herbalist provide some further feedback to your question. I believe she uses the SALVE Peppermint Essential Oil Roll-On to apply to temples and wrists with her pregnancy patients, and it seems to help with nausea. I’ll update the post when I know more.

      Thanks for your question,
      Dahlia

      Source: http://www.livestrong.com/article/158249-peppermint-oil-pregnancy/

  9. I am nursing and a friend gave me Ravintsara oil to ingest for shingles. Is this safe to take when breastfeeding?Thanks!

    1. Julie – please DO NOT consume Ravensara or any essential oil unless your doctor advises it’s okay.

      Personally, I’ve never heard of anyone ingesting ravensara oil. I have found that traditionally, ravensara oil can be massaged into the skin to alleviate symptoms of shingles and herpes, especially at the onset of an outbreak. (Do some research into stinging nettle also, or wild harvested chickweed oil.)

      I am not able to find any evidence of the dangers nor safety of ingesting ravensara oil. Further, your baby may have allergies to this oil or the chemical reaction your body has to it. Unless you do extensive medical testing, we’re not sure if the concentration you’re consuming is safe (frequency and quantity). Please consult your doctor, as it’s safety and efficacy cannot be determined.

      Hope this helps,
      Dahlia

  10. I am very curious about the safety of Honeysuckle essential oil and Sandalwood essential oil during breastfeeding? I am contemplating using these in a lotion and would like to verify it is safe before attempting. I do not apply these products directly to areas where my infant may ingest them but we do have a lot of skin to skin contact. Thank you for your time.

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    1. Hi Jessica, honeysuckle… I haven’t seen much on this flower by way of essential oil. I’m going to do some research and get back to you in a couple days. I’ll update this post. Thanks for the great question! I’ve got some information on sandalwood (which I love!), but I’ll post at the same time. -Dahlia

      Okay, so for my research on Saldalwood (East African, East Indian, New Caledonian and Western Australian varieties), there is not enough data to show whether these are known carcinogens. The most common reactions are dermatitis. It’s further an photosensitive oil causing greater skin problems to skin when exposed to the sun. There is some evidence that sandalwood, if consumed orally, (especially the Western Australian variety) can interact with some medications.

      Sandalwood is an antiseptic and bacteriostatic against staph infection. Australian aborigines used sandalwood as a urinary antiseptic for chronic cystitis. Chinese medicine agrees.

      Honeysuckle is a bitter harder to find information on. The hazards and contraindications of honeysuckle aren’t known. Honeysuckle has minimal phototoxic effects, and accordinging to (Politino et all 2008), honeysuckle absolute oil is not hazardous in pregnancy.

      Hope this helps,
      Dahlia

      This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended to treat, cure or diagnose any disease. Always consult your physician or medical professional before using any treatments.

  11. So is clove oil ok to ingest while breastfeeding?

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    1. Hi Tami – How much clove oil are you ingesting, and for what purpose? I’m not too concerned if you’re using it occasionally. Clove is actually really great for tooth aches (even for babies), cuts and burns. Should be okay minimally, and don’t let the baby have oral contact with it in extreme amounts. The only use I’d have with a baby is while it’s teething, in minimal amounts to numb the area. The biggest caution is while pregnant.
      But if you’re breastfeeding, you may not know how this will affect your baby, so keep it minimal exposure. I’ll do some more research for you. Keep you posted.

      Dahlia

  12. Why is ylang ylang unsafe for pregnancy?

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    1. I love ylang-ylang. In fact, it’s one of our ingredients for our only herbal infused SALVE signature scent. Ylang-ylang is only second to lavender for anti-depressant aromatherapy.

      There are some minor hazards to using ylang=ylang including skin sensitization and should be avoided for use with hypersensitive, diseased or damaged skin, and children under 2 years.

      There is no information available about the toxicity or carcinogenic effects. Ylang-ylang has a chemical called safrole, which by itself, is a carcinogen in rodents with oral exposure. But ylang-ylang itself doesn’t contain enough safrole for it to be a risk. In both humans and rabbits, ylang-ylang was found to be slighting irritating to the skin. It is not phototoxic.

      So back to your question, why is it unsafe for pregnancy?
      Safrole
      Studies in the 1960s indicated that safrole was carcinogenic causing permanent liver damage in animals. Consequently the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) banned sassafras and safrole for human consumption.[5] (read more)

      Estragole is also a component in Ylang-Ylang
      Estragole is suspected to be carcinogenic and genotoxic, as is indicated by a report of the European Union, Committee on Herbal Medicinal Products.[3] (read more)

      NOTE: Some researchers would argue that there’s not enough Estragole and Safrole present to constitute a danger. But to answer your question, the reason to avoid ylang-ylang during pregnancy is because there is not enough research to identify if the fetus is affected by those ingredients mentioned above. If you’re not sure, it’s always best to avoid the risk.

      Cheers,
      Dahlia

      This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended to treat, cure or diagnose any disease. Always consult your physician or healthcare professional before starting or using any treatment.

  13. Hello 🙂

    Just wanted to ask about using peppermint or rosemary essential oils on the scalp whilst breastfeeding. Is it safe? As I know they are potentially risky they would only be used on the temple areas once/twice a week?

    Thanks 🙂

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  14. Ravintsara and Ravensara are two different separate oils*** Antispam disabled. Check access key in CleanTalk plugin options. Request number 6813657eac3a37ae1b59e2ca8e0925a4. Antispam service cleantalk.org. ***

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  15. Hi! I had a question about gardenia. I’ve read that it’s unsafe to use while breastfeeding. Would that include burning the Oil in the diffuser? My gardenia flowers aren’t blooming due to the season and I miss the smell so wanted to try the oil. Any thoughts?

    Thanks!

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    1. Hi,

      I too grow gardenias, and they provide a lovely aroma. Burning essential oil of gardenia should pose no problems, however consider doing research on the oil source to ensure it is pure and does not contain “artificial fragrance, or fragrance.” Read my blog topic on the difference between fragrance and essential oil.

      There isn’t a whole lot of research on gardenia essential oil. I would say consider keeping the frequency and duration of its use minimal, and provide good ventilation in the space.

      As far as aromatherapy, there are a few things you need to consider regardless if you’re pregnant or not. 1. The variety of essential oils used in aromatherapy has exploded, and there’s not enough research determine the efficacy of each of them. 2. While you may enjoy the smells of essential oils, it can be a respiratory irritant for others. Some essential oils, for instance jasmine, makes me cough insistently; even though I grow jasmine as well and have no problems with the flower itself. 3. Animals around you are often allergic the essential oils we burn.

      Here’s another article I wrote on How Toxins Enter Your Body, please read and understand the principles so that you can make smart choices for you and your family.

      Thanks,
      Dahlia

      This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended to treat, cure or diagnose any disease. Please consult your physician or medical doctor before using any treatments.

  16. Do you know if it would be safe to use a facial product (more specifically for the eyebrows) containing essential oils while nursing? It would only be used once a day and only liberally on the eyebrows.*** Antispam disabled. Check access key in CleanTalk plugin options. Antispam service cleantalk.org. ****** Antispam disabled. Check access key in CleanTalk plugin options. Antispam service cleantalk.org. ***

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    1. What essential oil are you using on your eyebrows? Why is the application on your eyebrows?

      Any face product is good as long as it doesn’t contain parabens, fragrance, propylene glycol, formaldehyde preservatives or sulfates. These are the big ones to avoid.

      The best facial products are in your kitchen right now. Olive oil, avocado, yogurt and honey. Coconut oil is great for removing makeup, and olive oil is wonderful for hydrating the skin. You can make facial masks with avocado, yogurt and honey for extra hydration.

      If you want to get really creative, go find some butters like shea, almond, macadamia nut, etc. We (salvenaturals.com) have some products that are great for pregnant and nursing moms.

      Cheers,
      Dahlia

  17. Hello,You have stated all about essential oils, it\’s really great. But I want to note one thing Can I use the onto the baby\’s body when baby affected by rashes. Please advice.Thank you.*** Antispam disabled. Check access key in CleanTalk plugin options. Antispam service cleantalk.org. ***

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    1. Hi, great question about rashes! My question for you would be, what type of rash is the child experiencing? There are so many causes for rash, and various solutions depending on which type.

      I have two favorite solutions for a red, itchy rash caused by environmental allergens. 1. chickweed oil (dried chickweed with olive oil) and 2. stinging nettle, either in a tincture form or tea poultice.

      For hives (urticaria), you may want to look into an oral antihistamine, as topical treatments rarely help with urticaria. ALWAYS CHECK WITH YOUR PHYSICIAN BEFORE DOING ANY TREATMENTS TO A CHILD

      Eczema or contact dermatitis is a quite common rash with kids. This can be attributed to a variety of things: 1. trauma, 2. food allergens, 3. environmental allergens, 4. nutritional deficiencies, e.g. zinc or magnesium, 5. cosmetic products being used (creams, lotions, shampoos, powders, etc.) Many doctors treat this type of rash with steroids, which I don’t recommend because of the affects that may occur with continued use. From a natural medicine perspective, removing these allergens is the first step. Using fatty oils on the skin will help keep the skin moist and prevents further irritation. I prefer Neem oil or other fatty anti-inflamitory oils like almond, olive oil, sesame seed, etc. for these types of rashes.

      Other rashes like poison ivy/poison oak are no fun, but can be easily remedied with things that remove the histamine, such as tea tree oil, chickweed oil, stinging nettle, castor oil, lavender oil, etc. Oral antihistamines are also helpful. Soaking in oatmeal poultice is a good idea too! Epsom salt baths may help as well.

      Rashes caused by autoimmune disorders are quite common (I suffer from this myself.) These manifest in so many ways, that it’s hard to identify a solution topically to address this. Zinc pastes seem to soothe irritations, or look into curcumin.

      Remember too, you don’t know what your child’s allergies are yet, and even natural medicine should be used with caution. You should definitely ask your pediatrician for advice.

      Because I’m not a medical doctor, I cannot give medical advice. So the information I present in this blog and in my replies are my own opinions and should not be taken as medical direction. This information is not intended to treat, cure or prevent any disease and is for educational purposes only. Please see a physical or medical professional before using or applying any treatments.

      Thanks
      Dahlia Kelada

  18. BS”D

    Hi, what is the danger of using lavender essential during pregnancy (1st trimester) and while nursing? It has so many excellent healing powers i.e. helps relieve asthma, tension, inflammation, fungus, head/muscle/joint aches and so much more. Please advise.

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    1. Hi Rachel,

      Thanks for your question about lavender. This seems to be the question I get most.

      Indeed, lavender has incredible healing powers, helping with such things as depression, stress, tension headaches, insomnia, sluggish circulation, windy colic, sprains, sinusitis, bladder infection, transient reduction in blood pressure, neuralgia, rheumatism and of course spasms. Lavender is still commonly used in homeopathy and midwifery to reduce spasms during labor.

      Even current research studies show that lavender, of all the essential oils, is the best for reducing emotional distress. The list is endless for all the benefits of lavender. I can’t find any evidence of it causing any considerable acute damage, other than dermatitis in some rare cases.

      Further, the FDA identifies lavender essential oil as GRAS (generally recognized as safe,) although I don’t consider the FDA as being credible with regard to holistic or eastern medicine. So do your due diligence, and don’t trust the FDA above your own common sense.

      Carcinogenic/Anticarcinogenic Potential:

      Lavender oil is not significantly cytotoxic to cultured human umbilical vein endothelial cells (Takarada et all 2004.) This oil is not a mutagen either, in fact, it’s antimutagenic. However, lavender oil has been found to be cytotoxic to human prostate, lung and breast cancer cells (Zu et all 2010). Lavender oil itself contains no known carcinogens.

      So what’s the big deal about it being used in pregnancy?

      Lavender essential oil, among many others, have the ability to increase blood flow and circulation. Some people may even go as far as saying it’s a uterine stimulant, inducing menstruation. I can’t find evidence to support this, but it doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.

      As you know, pregnancy especially in first trimester is extremely volatile, and you’re at an increased risk for miscarriage and malformation of the fetus. I realize you’re trying to find “safe” ways to adjust to this new state you’re in, and it’s not easy for some.

      As a precaution, despite any current data available on the efficacy of this and other essential oils, you should still consider all essentials oils, including lavender essential oil, as potentially toxic while pregnant.

      Use your common sense. Anything in moderation should be okay, but most problems occur with people who use things in excess. You must feel 100% confident of the source of your lavender essential oil to ensure it’s not being blended with other unknown ingredients for dilution.

      This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended to treat, cure or prevent any disease. Always consult your physician or medical professional for the proper use or avoidance of any substances you’re unsure of.

      Best of luck,
      Dahlia

  19. I’m looking to switch to a more natural hair product. John Masters pomade has good reviews and the ingredients are clean, but I’m wondering if the bay laurel, cedar, fir balsam, and rosemary oils are safe during pregnancy since it’s a leave-in product and more likely to absorb through the scalp.

    Full Ingredient list: olea europaea (olive) fruit oil, beeswax, simmondsia chinensis (jojoba) seed oil, orbignya oleirfera (babassu) seed oil, mangifera indica (mango) fruit extract, helianthus annuus (sunflower) seed oil, triticum vulgare (wheat) germ oil, laurus nobilis (bay laurel) leaf oil, cedrus atlantica (cedar) wood oil, abies balsamea (fir balsam) oil, rosmarinus officinalis (rosemary) leaft extract

    Thank you.

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    1. Hello,

      This is an interesting question. There is much debate about the absorption rate in the scalp of cosmetic chemicals found in products. I’ve asked dermatologists this question, and have heard different responses. Some say, the scalp is so thick that the absorption rate is less. Some say, there are so many pores on the scalp creating greater opportunity for absorption.

      My personal opinion would be, indeed we have lots of pores and this invites toxins to enter our blood stream. With regard to the product you listed above, and because I make skin care products, I think the bay laurel, cedar and other essential oils are used very minimally, and likely to be less than 5%. (At SALVE, we use rosemary as a natural preservative, and that is my impression here too.)

      If you want to use this product, I don’t see any problem. IF you’re still not sure, you can always make your own! It is quite easy. You can easily find extra virgin olive oil and almond oil in your local grocer. Buy some beeswax from a hobby store. Mix 1/2 cup olive oil and 1/2 cup almond oil and add to a double boiler. Heat on medium heat for about 20 minutes, then add 1 oz beeswax (yellow or white). Stir with a wooden stick until the wax has melted. Turn off the heat and pour this hot mixture into a jar (plastic, metal, glass, doesn’t matter.) Let it cool completely before putting the lid on it. That’s it! That’s your new hair balm, skin balm and lip balm!

      Have a great day,
      Dahlia

  20. Hi, I am breastfeeding mom and would like to know if any of the below essential oils are safe whilst nursing:
    Rosemary, cedar wood,thyme,peppermint
    I want to apply them to my scalp to prevent hair fall. If they are safe, Could you also let me know how frequent can I use them in a week and can I leave it over night?

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  21. thank you for this list, extremely helpful. i was wondering if it is ok to use peppermint and/or lavender oils during pregnancy and after for household only, e.g. cleaning, disinfecting, air-freshening, laundry etc. etc. i use them quite extensively around the house, including vinegar, and cannot not think of any better & natural alternatives

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    1. Hi! Thanks for the great question. So there are 3 ways to get exposure to any chemical whether it’s an essential oil or something synthetic. 1. ingestion (swallowing), 2. skin absorption and 3. inhalation. Check out the article I wrote, “READ THE LABEL [CHAPTER 2] How Substances Enter Your Body.”

      Unless you’re allergic or have other respiratory ailments, inhalation of the oils you mention, should not be detrimental or increase risk. Excessive amounts could cause irritation to eyes and lungs, but beyond that, I’m not worried.

      There are so many resources out there on aromatherapy, but nothing that evaluates or compares each of the exposure types I mention, and whether each of these types has different impacts for pregnancy. It is my personal belief, others may argue, that these oils you’re wanting to use (lavender and peppermint) will be harmless as aromatherapy while pregnant. And these oils (and vinegar) have been used for centuries for disinfecting and cleaning. The quantities you’d be using are likely to be less than 1% anyway.

      My only concern about using essential oils in cleaning is the unknown impact on household pets. Many animals are allergic to various types of essential oils; e.g. lemon and cats. So just be mindful.

      Of course, I’m not a medical professional, so you may want to ask just in case. Hope this helps.

      Dahlia

      This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended to treat, cure or diagnose any disease. Always consult your physician or healthcare professional before starting or using any treatment.

  22. I am exclusively breastfeeding my 7 month old and I continue to have a lot of post partum hair loss. I was looking at ginger/black sesame shampoo online, and have read about the benefits to the scalp and promoting healthy hair regrowth. Unfortunately I could not find one thing as to if it’s safe to use topically while breastfeeding. It says ” black sesame, ginger extracts, and Radix Polygoni Multiflori. 100% natural ingredients and it’s available at bestbuy (so not some unknown oversees company) It would be topical, but do you think it would be safe? Especially the odd time she ends up with my hair in her mouth.

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    1. Hi Angela, thanks for reaching out with your question. It is my opinion that if you’re using these ingredients as part of a shampoo and washing it out, that there should be no harm. Even if there is minimal residual residue, I’m not worried. Sesame is fine, and ginger in the quantities they’d use in the shampoo is likely to be less than 10%, isn’t significant.

      Additional natural hair follicle stimulants are rosemary oil you can massage directly on the scalp, and Ayurvedic herbs such as gooseberry (amli) powder you can mask as a mask or mix with your shampoo.

      Alternatively, you can make your own shampoo by getting an unscented liquid glycerine soap, and adding your own essential oils. Don’t be too worried because you are rinsing it out.

      I think it’s very good that you’re aware of the hazards and seeking out natural options. I hope this helps.

      Dahlia

  23. Hi I\’ve been told that ingesting a table spoon of sweet almond oil with a smoothy is very healthy but is it safe while I\’m breastfeeding? I already use it on my skin.

    1. Hello there, thanks for your question. Almond oil is totally safe for consumption unless you or the baby has a nut allergy. Almond oil is highly beneficial to swallow. Some studies have shown it helps reduce cholesterol. We use it in our products because of the protein content and emollient consistency. Any oil will help keep you “regular” if you swallow it plainly. If I were to consume an oil by the table spoon daily, I’d likely choose organic extra virgin olive oil. There are many research studies that show the benefits of consuming olive oil on a regular basis, even by the spoon full!

      I hope this helps. Please remember, I’m not a medical doctor. Always refer to your doctor if you have questions.

      Dahlia

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