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No form of lavender has undergone comprehensive safety testing.
Internal use of lavender essential oil is unsafe and should be avoided. Topical use is considered much safer. Allergic reactions are relatively common, as with all essential oils. In addition, one case report suggests that a combination of lavender oil and tea tree oil applied topically caused gynecomastia (breast enlargement) in 3 young boys. 1 A controlled study found that inhalation of lavender essential oil might impair some aspects of mental function. 2 (Presumably, this was due to the intended sedative effects of the treatment.)
Oral use of tincture of lavender has not been associated with any severe adverse effects, but comprehensive safety testing has not been performed.
The maximum safe doses of any form of lavender remains unknown for pregnant or nursing women, young children, or people with severe liver or kidney.
- Henley DV, Lipson N, Korach KS, Bloch CA. Prepubertal gynecomastia linked to lavender and tea tree oils. N Engl J Med. 356(5):479-85.
- Moss M, Cook J, Wesnes K, Duckett P. Aromas of rosemary and lavender essential oils differentially affect cognition and mood in healthy adults. Int J Neurosci. 113(1):15-38.