Author Topic: Lavender & Tea Tree Oil Cause Hormone Imbalance in Boys  (Read 6186 times)

Offline KatieMac

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Lavender & Tea Tree Oil Cause Hormone Imbalance in Boys
« on: July 30, 2006, 09:33:18 AM »
My mom just sent me this article...has anyone heard about this? I use tea tree oil on my sons, althoug sparingly. Have not used lavender.

http://www.statesman.com/life/content/life/stories/health/07/17healthyread.html

Lavender, tea tree oil may cause hormonal changes in boys
Unpublished research looks at effects of some shampoos, soaps and lotions.

By Jeffrey G. Ghassemi
THE WASHINGTON POST
Monday, July 17, 2006

A preliminary finding presented at the Endocrine Society's conference last month could prompt parents to read product labels more closely. The unpublished research suggests that shampoos, soaps and body lotions containing lavender and tea tree oils — commonly added for their aromas and marketing cachet — might cause hormonal imbalances and breast growth in young boys.

The study was carried out by scientists at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences after a Denver pediatric endocrinologist reported abnormal breast development, known as gynecomastia, in five boys, ages 4 to 7, who used products containing the oils. The symptoms subsided after the boys stopped using the products.

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Institute researchers Derek Henley and Kenneth Korach tested the effects of lavender and tea tree oils on human breast cancer cells. They found that both oils mimicked estrogen (a hormone that promotes the development of female breasts) while reducing the activity of androgens, which inhibit such growth.

"Boys are getting a double hit," said Korach, who added that this hormonal imbalance might explain the Denver cases.

Steven Dentali, vice president of scientific and technical affairs for the American Herbal Products Association, a trade group, said it's premature to worry about these substances, given the paucity of clinical evidence and many questions that the lab work left unanswered. Still unknown, he said, are the tolerable limits of use and the specific compound in the oils that may be producing the observed effects.

While they acknowledged that more studies are needed, the NIEHS investigators said they hoped their preliminary research would alert doctors and parents to the possible association. They advised parents to discuss any fears about herbal oils with their pediatrician. Parents who notice potentially related symptoms in their boys should also report them promptly to their physician.

— The Washington Post
« Last Edit: August 14, 2006, 12:02:17 AM by KatieMac »

Offline mommie

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Re: Lavender & Tea Tree Oil Cause Hormone Imbalance in Boys
« Reply #1 on: January 12, 2007, 03:06:41 PM »
did you ever find out anymore info about this? i am really interested as i have been trying to make my own cleaning products/laundry soap ect

Offline littlemama24

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Re: Lavender & Tea Tree Oil Cause Hormone Imbalance in Boys
« Reply #2 on: February 16, 2007, 02:06:48 PM »
A friend sent me info on Lavender and Tea Tree oils saying that they can cause breast growth in boys.  Is this true?  Is it an estrogen thing like in Soy products?

Just asking you herb gurus since I'm still learning.  I have used tea tree oil before and although I don't like the smell, I hadn't thought of it being bad for use on my sons. 

Do you think it would be okay in small amounts?
Sorry, I lost the link she sent but I believe it was the National Institute of Health and Wellness or something like that.
Thanks!

Offline healthybratt

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Re: Lavender & Tea Tree Oil Cause Hormone Imbalance in Boys
« Reply #3 on: February 16, 2007, 03:41:05 PM »
I've read this too.
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Offline Mom_to_12

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Re: Lavender & Tea Tree Oil Cause Hormone Imbalance in Boys
« Reply #4 on: February 23, 2007, 08:00:51 PM »
I don't know about lavendar, but I have used tea tree oil and products containing tea tree oil for 13 years.  I have 8 boys, and have never seen any such symptoms.

Offline miff aka Missi

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Re: Lavender & Tea Tree Oil Cause Hormone Imbalance in Boys
« Reply #5 on: February 23, 2007, 08:19:29 PM »
Here are a few links.  Looks like other things can cause this condition also. (prepubertal gynecomastia)  Maybe with all of the different ways to get estrogen affects these days the tea tree oil or lavender oil just puts some kids into this state.  Sounds like it doesn't take much to affect them.   

http://altmedicine.about.com/od/productalertsandrecalls/a/lavenderteatree.htm

http://www.nih.gov/news/research_matters/february2007/02122007boys.htm

http://www.naharnet.com/domino/tn/NewsDesk.nsf/story/83C7F07F647289FCC22572750040AF90?OpenDocument

Offline herbalmom

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Re: Lavender & Tea Tree Oil Cause Hormone Imbalance in Boys
« Reply #6 on: February 23, 2007, 08:39:36 PM »
I don't use lavender anymore because I dislike the smell but I didn't have any problems with my boys when I did use it although it's possible that it causes problems in some males. As far as tea tree, we have used it for several years (don't like the smell of it either but I still use it because for some things it works the best) & have never had any problems with it either. We used to use it a lot more than we do now. Tea Tree has been over harvested so we limit it's use & only use it when it is the BEST choice or we have tried other things & they don't work.  You can use oils other than lavender & if you limit the use of tea tree to the things it excells at, ie: cuts, scrapes, bug bites, (applied frequently it's supposed to work for poisinous spider bites although, thank God, I've never had to deal w/one) & infected sores on the skin of all kinds then it's probally not going to be a problem IMO. Just my .02. Blessings ~herbalmom

Offline herbalmom

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Re: Lavender & Tea Tree Oil Cause Hormone Imbalance in Boys
« Reply #7 on: February 23, 2007, 09:01:06 PM »
Just thinking (typing) out loud here but after reding the links I wonder if maybe some of this is because the cheapest non organic ess. oil would have pesticide & solvent residues in the oil? I'm thinking that most grooming products have the cheapest oils possible in them which would be non organic & solvent extracted. Pesticide residues would be most concentrated in the ess. oils since they are oil soluble. Many pesticides do act as estrogens in the body & I think a lot of the solvents they use to extract cheap ess. oils do as well. I figure that the researchers prob. used cheap oils as well figuring there's no difference. Anyways, food for thought. Blessings ~herbalmom 

Offline ShabbyChic

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Re: Lavender & Tea Tree Oil Cause Hormone Imbalance in Boys
« Reply #8 on: February 27, 2007, 09:36:50 AM »
Okay, okay.  First I sent a mass e-mail about hormones in meat causing boys to grow  breasts, which is not unbelievable.  Then I was sent a mass forwarded e-mail about soy and it's estrogen like properties causing boys to grow breasts, and this too is believable.  But today I was sent an e-mail warning me that lavendar and tea tree oil will cause my son to grow breasts.  Any validity to that one?

>I wanted to tell you about a report that appeared in the New England
>Journal of medicine Feb. 1, 2007.  The Houston Chronicle had this in
>their paper today.
>
>The report indicates that lavendar oil and tea tree oil in shampoos
>and soaps used on baby boys were causing them to grow breasts. 
>These oils have estrogenlike activity and also tend to counteract
>male hormones, explaining why these young boys developed
>female-appearing breasts.
>Once these products were no longer used, the boys returned to
>normal.
>
>The NEJM discourages parents from regularly using skin or hair-care
>products containing lavender or tea tree oil on children.
>
>I thought you might want to take note of this.
>
That's Shabby SHEIK not Shabby CHICK.  Hee-hee.

Offline Mrs. Dugger

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Re: Lavender & Tea Tree Oil Cause Hormone Imbalance in Boys
« Reply #9 on: February 27, 2007, 10:09:43 AM »
I forgot about this!  I have read this somewhere too, and I don't know if it's true or not....??

Offline Pastorswife2B

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Re: Lavender & Tea Tree Oil Cause Hormone Imbalance in Boys
« Reply #10 on: February 27, 2007, 10:37:07 AM »
Ok so I looked up the article and here it is:

http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/bizarre/4516274.html

From what I read it sounds like they are attributing the phytoestrogen properties of Lavendar and tea Tree oil.  Personally I don't use lavendar oil for anything, but I do use TTO for some diaper rash stuff.  after reading the article I still feel ok using it because it's a treatment for  a certain thing, not a long term application and I avoid zenoestrogens and unhealthy phytoestrogens (non-fermented soy).  This is all to say I don't think the occasional use of TTO to treat something specific which it is known to be affective for (fungus,  lice, etc) is going to be a problem unless the boys are overrun with xeny and phyto estrogens.  Just my Opinion!

-Heather

Offline ShabbyChic

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Re: Lavender & Tea Tree Oil Cause Hormone Imbalance in Boys
« Reply #11 on: February 27, 2007, 10:37:18 AM »
The Johnson and Johnson sleepy bubble bath and sleepy lotion line (purple bottles) has both of these ingredients.  Several other baby products also include these as well.  It's hard to believe, but I don't know that much about either of these, only that tea tree oil is anti-fungal, antiseptic.
That's Shabby SHEIK not Shabby CHICK.  Hee-hee.

Offline miff aka Missi

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Re: Lavender & Tea Tree Oil Cause Hormone Imbalance in Boys
« Reply #12 on: February 27, 2007, 12:13:06 PM »

Offline ShabbyChic

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Re: Lavender & Tea Tree Oil Cause Hormone Imbalance in Boys
« Reply #13 on: February 27, 2007, 12:25:51 PM »
Question Answered!  Thanks y'all!
That's Shabby SHEIK not Shabby CHICK.  Hee-hee.

Offline babymakers

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Re: Lavender & Tea Tree Oil Cause Hormone Imbalance in Boys
« Reply #14 on: March 05, 2007, 06:01:33 PM »
Did anyone that did the study stop and consider all the dangerous chemicals that are in the toiletry products????? I am more worried about that then lavender oil that GOD made. I personally think it is the chemicals that are doing it.
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Offline GardenandHomeLife

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Re: Lavender & Tea Tree Oil Cause Hormone Imbalance in Boys
« Reply #15 on: March 10, 2007, 11:33:58 AM »
Did anyone that did the study stop and consider all the dangerous chemicals that are in the toiletry products????? I am more worried about that then lavender oil that GOD made. I personally think it is the chemicals that are doing it.

I'm skeptical, too.  We use tea tree for occasional owies and we use lavender for herb bags (to put in pillowcases for stuffy noses, to help breath better).   When the kids were babies, I created an herbal salve with both oils for curing their diaper rash.  For several years, I had an online herbal business creating things out of those herbs, and the children always helped, yet our boys ages 11-1/2 and 7 certainly don't have gynecomastia.  Our 9-1/2 yo and 4yo daughters haven't had early development, either. 

I wonder if the boys in the study were drinking regular milk.  I've always thought that a likely cause of gynocomastia.  My sister-in-law just had a breast reduction after she reached size J.  The doctor measured her breasts at 2 feet long (!!).  She drinks one gallon of store-bought, regular 2% milk each DAY.  In her case, I think the answer is a simple one.

Offline sevenfold

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Re: Lavender & Tea Tree Oil Cause Hormone Imbalance in Boys
« Reply #16 on: March 24, 2007, 05:36:31 PM »
This has certainly raised up a hornets nest. I found a fantastic response on this subject that lays it out very neatly and concisely. The reply, from the Australian Tea Tree Industry Association is at  http://www.teatree.org.au/news.php?cat=News-general
under the 1st heading... ATTIA refutes Gynecomastia Link

or see the report attached as a pdf. file

Basically they show that no other environmental factors were considered, that there are numerous foods and plastics that could have hormonal effects, and that only one boy of the three used a product containing tea tree oil. THey also fail to mention the hundreds of thousands of users that use the products with no ill effect.

This is not a well reported story at best.

Hope this helps

Jim
http://www.tea-tree-info.com



Offline Mothers Medicine Cabinet

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Re: Lavender & Tea Tree Oil Cause Hormone Imbalance in Boys
« Reply #17 on: April 02, 2007, 11:54:02 AM »
Yes, having an unadulterated essential oil is important. Most essential oils in the market today are perfume quality (95%-98%) thus the likely hood of the report being done on unadulterated Lavender Oil and Tea Tree Oil is slim. A lot of pharmaceutical companies and colleges are trying to scare consumers back to man-made medicinals. So, do your homework about natural solutions.
     Knowing what I know about unadulterated essential oils and knowing they do not harm the tissue of the body- there is no way the report was speaking of unadulterated therapeutic-grade essential oils THOUGH it could be speaking of most essential oils in America as they are synthetically or chemically infused essential oils. Sadly, Americans do not know how diluted their ‘pure’ essential oils are because to the companies of these essential oils they are protected under their ‘trade secrets’ laws.
   
So, Buyer beware! 

     A couple things I tell people to look at when viewing their oils is: 1. does the label  on the bottle caution you not to "ingest" or take "internally"? If it does, this is a sure sign that it is not therapuetic. Also, 2. if there is an expiration date on the bottle. Then something other than the oil is in it. Thus, not completely therapeutic!
    There is only one company I know of in the United States that sells unadulterated therapeutic-grade essential oils. They are a private company which has their own distilleries so they can distill the oil from the plant-life at the proper time of day / night for the highest levels of therapeutic components. They have their own farms so they can organically grow pesticide-free and herbicide-free plants from seed to seal. They have in-home and university laboratory testings regularly and there's no other company we trust for quality and purity. You may want to check them out. Email me for their contact information [email protected]
     If you haven't experienced unadulterated therapeutic-grade essential oils you don't understand the meaning of
Proverbs 21:20
"There is treasure to be desired and oil in the dwelling of the wise; but a foolish man spendeth it up."

Offline healthybratt

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Re: Lavender & Tea Tree Oil Cause Hormone Imbalance in Boys
« Reply #18 on: June 17, 2007, 08:13:18 AM »
x
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Offline hi_itsgwen

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Re: Lavender & Tea Tree Oil Cause Hormone Imbalance in Boys
« Reply #19 on: August 21, 2009, 05:09:35 PM »
I do see what you guys are saying about other environmental factors not being considered, and that is a very valid point.  More than likely, these kids were getting additional estrogens from a variety of sources.  But the deal is that lavender not only adds estrogen, it also inhibits the hormone (androgenen) that regulates male development and inhibits the growth of breast tissue in males. 

Both oils do have phyto (plant) estrogens in them.  I personally don't think it's anything to be *afraid* of, but it is important to remember that essential oils are much stronger concentrations of the original God-made plant.  I think it's important to find out as much as you can about the components of any essential oil, especially for internal/external use, and to use them wisely.  Here are a couple of articles that I found that gives more information on the lavender/tea tree oil cases:

http://www.nobreastcyst.com/phyto.html

"From the youngsters and their parents, Bloch learned that at least five boys had been using a shampoo, hair gel, soap, or another topical product that listed lavender oil among its ingredients. One of the products also contained tea tree oil. "A couple of patients were putting pure lavender oil on their skin," he says.

Bloch recommended that the boys stop using lavender-containing products. When they followed his advice, gynecomastia disappeared within a few months.

To verify his hunch that the plant oils were hormonally active, Bloch contacted Derek Henley and Kenneth Korach of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences in Research Triangle Park, N.C. In their lab, the two investigators exposed human-breast cells to lavender oil and, separately, to tea tree oil. They found that each oil turned on estrogen-regulated genes and inhibited an androgen-regulated gene.

"These oils possess both estrogenic and anti-androgenic properties," Henley reported at the Endocrine Society meeting in Boston this week. He adds that the finding is the first to implicate "essential oils" from plants in gynecomastia.

The rapid reversal of gynecomastia that Bloch accomplished is a rare achievement in medicine, comments Ken Ong, a pediatric endocrinologist at the Medical Research Council in Cambridge, England. As such, it strongly suggested a link between the products and the boys' problem."


and another article:
http://www.scienceblog.com/cms/lavender-tea-tree-oils-may-cause-breast-growth-in-boys-12497.html

"After Bloch discussed the cases with Korach, the NIEHS researchers conducted experiments using human cells to determine if the oils mimic the effects of estrogen, the female hormone that stimulates breast tissue growth, or inhibited the effects of androgen, the hormone known to control masculine characteristics and inhibit the growth of breast tissue. The researchers tested the ability of the oils to modulate or inhibit gene expression.

"The results of our laboratory studies confirm that pure lavender and tea tree oils can mimic the actions of estrogens and inhibit the effects of androgens," said Korach. "This combinatorial activity makes them somewhat unique as endocrine disruptors."

The oils did not alter the levels of the usual forms of circulating estrogens and androgens in the boys. "We do not anticipate any long term effects on hormonal levels," said Derek Henley, Ph.D., the lead NIEHS author on the study. It is unknown whether the oils have similar endocrine disrupting effects in prepubertal girls, adolescents or adults."
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