Essential Oils Safety

Phototoxic Oils

Certain essential oils are said to be phototoxic because they contain furanocoumarins. If applied directly to the skin followed by exposure to sunlight or a tanning light, the molecules of these oils amplify the ultraviolet (UV) portion of the spectrum and can cause long-term, even permanent, skin discoloration as well as severe sunburn.  It is recommend to wait twelve hours following an application of phototoxic oils to the skin before exposure to sunlight or the UV radiation of a tanning booth.  Applying oils with furanocoumarins after sundown poses no problems then or the next day.  One can go out into sunlight after applying phototoxic oils if the parts of the body receiving the oils are well covered with clothing.
Common essential Oils Considered Phototoxic are:
Angelica . . . . . . . . . . (Angelica archangelica)
Bergamot . . . . . . . . . (Citrus bergamia)
Bitter Orange . . . . . . (Citrus aurantium)

Grapefruit. . . . . . . . . (Citrus paradisi)
Lemon. . . . . . . . . . . . (Citrus limon)
Lime (cold pressed) . (Citrus aurantifolia)
Rue. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .(Ruta graveolens)

Although Wellness, White Light and Zachary contain such oils, they are not in a quantity that creates phototoxicity!


There is little concrete information for those of you who may be pregnant, breastfeeding, or using essential oils on young children. It is very possible that some essential oil components cross the placenta, in this case it is best to proceed with extreme caution! If you gravitate to essential oils while you are pregnant or breastfeeding, it would be advantageous to seek guidance from an Aromatherapist or Midwife! If you do not have access to an Aromatherapist or a Midwife, please educated yourself with proper use.

Here are some general guidelines for essential oil use during pregnancy and lactation:

*Daily use of essential oils are not recommended. Trust that you know when to use them. Perhaps when you need assistance for nausea or sleep.

*Topical use should be limited to a 1%-2% dilution. Please do not use essential oils “neat” (undiluted) when you are pregnant!

*Steam inhalation should be used with caution, using diffusion or an inhaler is preferred.

*Do not ingest Essential Oils while pregnant.

*Organic Essential Oils are a wise choice when you are pregnant! Many Essential Oils are adulterated with chemicals while being distilled or when the plants were growing. Avoid all synthetic fragrances as well.

The following Essential Oils are known to be safe oils during pregnancy. Use sparingly, particularly in the first trimester, at a 1%-2% dilution.

Copaiba Copaifera langsdorfii, Copaifera officinalis

Coriander Coriandrum sativum

Cypress Cupressus sempervirens

Fir Needle Abies sachalinensis, Abies sibirica, Abies alba

Frankincense  Boswellia carteri, Boswellia frereana, Boswellia neglecta, Boswellia rivae, Boswellia sacra, Boswellia serrata

Grapefruit Citrus x paradisi

Juniperberry Juniperus communis

Lavender Lavandula angustifolia

Spike Lavender Lavandula latifolia

Mandarin Citrus reticulata

Neroli Citrus x aurantium

Rosewood Aniba rosaeodora

Scots Pine Pinus sylvestris

Sweet Orange Citrus sinensis

Norway Spruce Picea abies

Tangerine Citrus reticulata

Thyme ct linalool Thymus vulgaris


The following essential oils are not recommended for use during pregnancy or while breastfeeding!

Anise Pimpinella anisum due to the trans-anethole (3) and safrole (10)

Anise, Star Illicium verum due to trans-anethole

Araucaria Neocallitropsis pancheri due to beta-eudesmol (11)

Artemisia Artemisia vestita due to thujone (7)

Atractylis Atractylylodes lancea due to beta-eudesmol (11)

Birch Betula lenta due to the methyl salicylate (6)

Black Seed Nigella sativa- due to thymoquinone

Buchu Agathosma betulina ct diosphenol, Agathosma crenulata ct pulegone due to beta-pulegone (13)

Calamint  Calamintha nepeta due to pulegone (4)

Camphor Cinnamomum camphora due to the camphor (1) and safrole (10)

Carrot Seed Daucus carota  may prevent implantation and interfere with gestation

Cassia Cinnamomum cassia  may cause toxicity to the embryo

Chaste Tree Vitex ugnus castus

Cinnamon Bark Cinnamomum verum  due to beta eudesmol (11)

Cypress (blue) – Callitris intratopica

Dill Seed Anethum graveolens due to the apiole (5)

Fennel (Bitter, Sweet) Foeniculum vulgare due to the trans-anethole (3)

Feverfew Tanacetum parthenium due to camphor (1)

Genipi Artemisia genepi due to alpha thujone

Hibawood Thujopsis dolobratta

Ho Leaf Cinnamomum camphora due to the camphor (1)

Hyssop Hyssopus officinalis due to the pinocamphone (13)

Indian Dill Seed Anethus sowa due to the apiole (5)

Lanyuna Artemisia afra due to thujone (7)

Lavender, Spanish  Lavandula stoechas due to the camphor (1)

Mugwort Artemisia vulgaris, Artemisia arborescens due to the thujone (7) and camphor (1)

Myrrh Commiphora myrrha due to the beta-elemene (8)

Myrtle, Aniseed Backhousia anisata due to the trans-anethole (3)

Oregano Origanum onites Origanum vulgare

Parsley Leaf or Seed Petroslinum sativum due to the apiole (5)

Pennyroyal Mentha pulegium due to the pulegone (4)

Plectranthus Plectranthus fruticosus due to possible fetotoxicity

Rosemary Rosmarinus officinalis due to the camphor (1)

Rue Ruta graveolens

Dalmatian Sage Salvia officinalis due to the thujone (7)

Spanish Sage Salvia lavandulaefolia due to the sabinyl acetate (2)

Tansy Tanacetum vulgare due to the thujone (7)

Thuja Thuja occidentalis due to the thujone (7)

Western Red Cedar Thuja plicata beta thujone

Wintergreen Gaultheria procumbens due to the methyl salicylate (6)

Wormwood  Artemisia absinthium, due to the thujone (7), sabinyl acetate (2), camphor (1)

Wormwood (sea)  Artemisia maritime due to thujon (7)

Wormwood (white)  Artemisia herba-alba  due to thujone (7) , camphor (1)

Yarrow Achillea millefolium, Achillea nobilis

Zeodary Curcuma sedoaria


The Following Essential Oils may be used with caution while pregnant and breastfeeding in very low dilutions.

Basil, Lemon Ocimum x citriodorum due to the citral (9)

Frankincense Boswellia papyrifera due to the octyl acetate (12)

Lemon Balm, Australian Eucalyptus staigeriana due to the citral (9)

Lemon Leaf  Citrus x limon  due to citral (9)

Lemongrass Cymbopogon citratus due to the citral (9)

Thyme, Lemon Thymus x citriodorus due to the citral (9)

Verbena, Lemon Aloysia triphylla due to the citral (9)

May Chang Litsea cubeba due to the citral (9)

Melissa Melissa officinals due to citral  (9)

Myrtle,Honey  Melaleuca teretifolia due to the constituent citral (9)

Myrtle, Lemon  Backhousia citriodora due to the constituent citral (9)

Tea Tree, Lemon  Leptospermum petersonii due to the constituent citral (9)

(1) Camphor is known to cross the placenta and is very toxic to the embryo and fetus. Avoid all use during pregnancy.

(2) Sabinyl Acetate is an abortifacient and may cause deformities in fetuses. Avoid all use during pregnancy. Sabinyl acetate is also found in Savin (Juniperus sabina) and Juniper (Juniperus pfitzeriana). Please note that Juniper Berry (Juniperus communis) does not contain sabinyl acetate and IS safe for use during pregnancy.

(3) Trans-Anethole is an abortifacient and toxic to fetal cells.

(4) Pulegone can cause liver toxicity for the mother. Limit external use. In addition to Pennyroyal, this is also found in Peppermint, Spearmint, Buchu, Cornmint, and Calamint.

(5) Apiole is an abortifacient, and is not recommended for use during pregnancy.

(6) Methyl Salicylate is teratogenic and known to cause deformities in developing mammals at high oral doses. Limit use during pregnancy.

(7) Thujone is neurotixic and inhibits brain development

(8) Beta-Elemene can restrict blood vessel growth

(9) Citral is teratogenic, which means it can cause malformations

(10) Safrole can cause kidney and liver tumors to develop in the baby. Limit external use.

(11) Beta-Eudesmol inhibits new blood vessels from forming

(12) Octyl Acetate teratogenic, which means it can cause malformations

(13) Pinocamphone is neurotoxic and inhibits brain development

%d bloggers like this: