29 essential oils to avoid – essential oil safety tips

In recent years, essential oils have gained significant popularity for their various purported health benefits, from stress relief to aromatherapy. However, not all essential oils are created equal, and some can pose serious risks to your health if used improperly. In this guide, we’ll explore 29 essential oils that you should avoid due to their potential dangers.

  1. Boldo Leaf (Peumus boldus): Known for its hepatotoxic properties, boldo leaf essential oil can cause liver damage if ingested in large quantities.
  2. Buchu (Agathosma betulina): Buchu oil has been associated with kidney irritation and may cause skin sensitization in some individuals.
  3. Cade (Juniperus oxycedrus): Cade oil contains compounds that can be irritating to the skin and respiratory system, and it may cause allergic reactions in some people.
  4. Calamus (Acorus calamus): Calamus oil contains β-asarone, a compound that has been banned in food and beverages by the FDA due to its carcinogenic potential.
  5. Camphor, Yellow/Brown (Cinnamomum camphora): Yellow or brown camphor oil is high in safrole, a compound that has been linked to liver cancer in animal studies.
  6. Cassia (Cinnamomum cassia): Cassia oil contains high levels of coumarin, which can be toxic to the liver and may cause skin irritation.
  7. Cinnamon Bark (Cinnamomum zeylanicum, C. verum): Cinnamon bark oil is highly concentrated and can cause skin irritation and allergic reactions if not properly diluted.
  8. Costus (Saussurea lappa): Costus oil has a strong odor and may cause skin irritation and sensitization in some individuals.
  9. Croton (Croton tiglium): Croton oil is extremely toxic and can cause severe skin irritation.
  10. Elecampane (Inula helenium): Elecampane oil contains compounds that can be toxic if ingested in large amounts and may cause skin irritation.
  11. Fennel, Bitter (Foeniculum vulgare): Bitter fennel oil contains high levels of trans-anethole, which can be toxic.
  12. Fig Leaf (Ficus carica): Fig leaf oil can cause skin irritation and may trigger allergic reactions in some individuals.
  13. Horseradish (Cochlearia armoracia, Armoracia): Horseradish oil is highly pungent and can cause skin irritation and respiratory problems if inhaled in large quantities.
  14. Huon Pine (Dacrydium franklinii): Huon pine oil may cause skin irritation and allergic reactions in sensitive individuals.
  15. Jaborandi Leaf (Pilocarpus jaborandi): Jaborandi leaf oil contains pilocarpine, which can be toxic if ingested and may cause skin irritation.
  16. Lavender Sage (Salvia lavandulifolia): Lavender sage oil may cause skin irritation and sensitization in some individuals.
  17. Mugwort (Artemisia vulgaris, A. arborescens): Mugwort oil contains thujone, a compound that can be neurotoxic.
  18. Mustard (Brassica nigra, B. negra): Mustard oil is highly irritating to the skin and respiratory system and should be used with caution.
  19. Oakmoss (Evernia prunastri): Oakmoss oil can cause skin sensitization and allergic reactions.
  20. Pennyroyal (Mentha pulegium): Pennyroyal oil is toxic and can cause liver and kidney damage and more.
  21. Pine, Dwarf/Pumilio (Pinus mugo): Dwarf pine oil may cause skin irritation and sensitization in some individuals.
  22. Rue (Ruta montana): Rue oil is highly toxic and can cause severe skin irritation and phototoxicity.
  23. Sassafras (Sassafras albidum/Ocotea cymbarum): Sassafras oil contains safrole, a compound that has been banned by the FDA due to its carcinogenic properties.
  24. Savin (Juniperus sabina): Savin oil is toxic and can cause severe skin irritation and respiratory problems if inhaled.
  25. Southernwood (Artemisia abrotanum): Southernwood oil may cause skin irritation and sensitization in some individuals.
  26. Tansy (Tanacetum vulgare): Tansy oil contains thujone, a compound that can be toxic.
  27. Thuja (Thuja occidentalis khell/Thuja plicata): Thuja oil is toxic and can cause severe skin irritation and respiratory problems if inhaled.
  28. Sassafras (Sassafras albidum/Ocotea cymbarum): Sassafras oil contains safrole, a compound that has been banned by the FDA due to its carcinogenic properties.
  29. Wormseed (Chenopodium ambrosioides): Wormseed oil is toxic and can cause severe skin irritation and respiratory problems.
  30. Wormwood (Artemisia absinthium)

While essential oils can offer many benefits when used safely and appropriately, it’s essential to exercise caution and avoid oils that pose potential risks to your health. Always research and consult with an aromatherapist if you have questions about using essential oils, especially if you have underlying health conditions or are pregnant or breastfeeding. Your safety should always be the top priority when incorporating essential oils into your wellness routine.

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