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Lavender and Tea Tree Oils may Increase Breast Tissue in Boys

Lavender Field

Photo Credit: PhotoBucket

A recent report by the National Institute of Environmental Health and Sciences (NIEHS) found that lavender and tea tree oils found in toiletries may cause hormonal imbalances resulting in enlarged breast tissue in pre-pubescent boys. A case studies of 3 boys aged 4,7, and 10 developed enlarged breast tissue after use of soap, body lotion, shampoos and other toiletries containing lavender and tea tree oils. All three boys were otherwise healthy, and had normal hormonal levels (endogenous steroids) at the time of diagnosis. Symptoms resolved in all 3 boys after they stopped using products containing lavender or tea tree oils for several months.

The NIEHS did studies on human cell lines and found that the oils mimic the effects of estrogen, a hormone known to stimulate breast development in women. The oils are also anti-androgenic. They inhibit the effects of androgens, hormones which are known to stimulate masculine characteristics and inhibit breast tissue growth. The need for large, double-blind placebo studies are necessary to validate these findings. The effect of lavender and tea tree oils on pre-pubescent girls, adolescents, or adults is unknown.

These essential oils may be considered endocrine disruptors because they seem to have caused a derangement in estrogen and androgen signaling. As described by the NIEHS, endocrine disruptors are naturally occurring compounds or synthetic chemicals that may interfere with the production or activity of hormones of the endocrine system leading to adverse health effects.

  1. New England Journal of Medicine
  2. Journal of the American Medical Association
  3. NIEHS


  luke wrote @ April 17th, 2007 at 2:17 pm

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  Jane Chang wrote @ October 15th, 2009 at 12:12 am

I love Lavender so much. My favor color is happen to be PURPLE too . OMG love it.


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