Category Archives: Essential Oils

Cat Flea and Tick Spray

Hi, I recently bought the cat flea and tick repellent. I started using it on my cat (I think she has fleas, but not sure, I know she has something on her) and she really seems to like it.
  It seems to calm her some. She also must think it tastes good as she licks it from my fingers and then cleans herself. I was wondering if you know if the oils that are in it are good for her. She hasn’t gotten sick, so I’m not concerned, just wondering if you looked into that and know. I know she likes it because she actually runs to me when I start shaking the bottle and that is not a normal thing she does!!
  Thanks for all you do, I love your products especially knowing they are all natural!! Catherine W

The essential oils that are in there are the ones we found that are safe for cats and work as repellents.
 That is the reason we have different formulas for cats and dogs. I believe that the oils are making her feel better; so she likes it.  Kathleen


The Antibiotics Crisis

There is conclusive evidence on the destructive consequences of the over use of antibiotics. Antibiotic pressure on an organism can be a cofactor in immune deficiency conditions. Antibiotics were originally prescribed to fight bacterial diseases. Once these drugs became major moneymakers, their marketing took on a life of their own.

Unaware of the link to mass destruction of their immune system, an unsuspecting generation has upped its antibiotic intake through over-use (orally), through use in skin cleansing products, and ingestion through meat and poultry. This has created a potentially greater problem of the seemingly unstoppable advance of resistant bacteria. Bacteria, resistant to most or all of the known antibiotics, are menacing hospitals and their patients.

Because essential oils are not patentable and profit expectations are zero, there is no corporate sponsorship and therefore there is hardly any current scientific exploration. Essential oils are no longer researched at university level, which therefore creates the perception that these medicines are weak, useless, or ineffective.

“Existing knowledge” is no longer generated by impartial, unbiased research, but almost exclusively through corporate funding. Since virtually no current research exists, aromatherapy’s claims rest on traditional and anecdotal lore. The reality of aromatherapy is therefore only partly defined by science. It may be a sign of our times that a short attention span is also reflected in the work of contemporary scientists who find neither the time nor the energy to look at available evidence before they set out to conduct more research or formulate their statements. As a consequence, abundant scientific documentation on the pharmacology of essential oils , especially in German and French scientific literature, is overlooked. A substantial body of scientific studies already exists. This provides a perfect pharmacological rationale for many of the applications of essential oils.

Antibiotics can set off allergies, and this happens most frequently in countries where they are in general use. The widespread diffusion of penicillin, and it’s dirivitives, its systematic and at times indiscriminate use in mild infections, together with its abuse in such pharmaceutical preparations as toothpaste, can explain the steadily increasing numbers of people in the West who have become sensitized to it.

Text taken from:
Medical Aromatherapy, Healing With Essential Oils by Kurt Schnaubelt.
Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy by Valerie Ann Worwood.
The Practice of Aromatherapy, by Jean Valnet, M.D.

Essential Oil Information

About our essential oils

We have a long-term relationship with a family-owned import company.

What grade are our oils?
There are standards and grades of essential oils. We purchase Therapeutic grade essential oils and organic essential oils. These are cold-pressed oils; very high quality. Therapeutic grade essential oils are the grade below organic. A few oils are absolutes when essential oils are unavailable or prohibitive in cost.

How do we know they are pure?
When we use the oils; we get the results we expect. Each oil has healing qualities as well as a distinct scent. You do not get these same results with inferior oils.

I strongly recommend anyone interested in using essential oils to get several different essential oil books. You need to study to understand the potential and cautions with using essential oils.

On our Education page; I give you a list of the books I have and continue to reference.

It is beyond the scope of websites to teach you all you need to know.
Kathleen H

A landmark study on the broad antiviral effects of essential oils and their components was presented at the 1st Wholistic and Scientific Conference on the Therapeutic Uses of Essentials Oils, 1995. In this study, the broad spectrum of activity of essential oils for conditions of the upper respiratory tract, skin, gastrointestinal tract, urogenital tract, nervousness, and arterial conditions were demonstrated. An overview of the antibacterial and antifungal effectiveness of essential oils was given also. There are many other countries that are researching essential oils against these “incureable” diseases. I applaud their actions. Information is on websites around the world.

It is known that a body can’t become “habituated” to essential oils. The results remain the same; they do not lessen over any length of time. On the other hand, the organism does become habituated to chemically synthesized narcotics, and the result is known as tolerance. One may start out by taking a single sleeping pill , before long one may well have reached the stage of taking anything from four to ten pills and still be unable to get to sleep.

Essential Oils and Their Uses
Allspice (Pimento) – Scent: Clove. Traditional uses: Warming to the body, reduces stress, calming, relaxes tight muscles, lessens pain, mood uplifting, vapors help breathing, improves digestion, disinfectant.

Anise – Scent: Licorice. Traditional uses: Calming, lessens pain, aphrodisiac, promotes restful sleep, vapors help breathing, improves digestion, increases appetite, stimulates lactation in nursing mothers.

Basil (Sweet) – Scent: slightly licorice. Traditional uses: to brighten mood, strengthen nervous system, improve mental clarity and memory, for relieving headache and sinusitis. Avoid during pregnancy.

Bay Laurel – Scent: strong, sweet-spicy. Traditional uses: as an immune system stimulant, to regulate the lymphatic system, for relieving melancholy, anxiety, to stimulate the mind, for healing bronchitis, sinus infection. Avoid during pregnancy. Do not over-use.

Bergamot – Scent: sweet & fruity. Documented in old herbal texts. Traditional uses: balancing nervous system, relieving anxiety and stress, lifting melancholy, for restful sleep, antiviral, cold sores, psoriasis, eczema and insect repellent. Bergamot may cause skin sensitivity to bright sunlight.

Birch – Scent: sweet-woody, wintergreen-like. Used as an analgesic, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic and astringent.

Cajeput – Scent: camphor. Traditional uses: Slightly warming to the body, calming, relaxes tight muscles, relieves muscle aches and pains, promotes restful sleep, breaks up congestion, vapors help breathing, disinfectant, repels insects.

Camphor – Scent: sharp, pungent. Traditional uses: skin care, relieves pain, coughs, colds, fever, flu, infectious diseases.

Carrot Seed – Scent: warm, woody-earthy. Used extensively in skin and facial care for mature skin, circulation problems and PMS symptoms.

Cedarwood – Scent: woody. Cedarwood was believed to have been used extensively by the Egyptians in cosmetics, perfume and medicine. Traditional uses: to relax tense muscles, calm emotions, help breathing, for enhancing meditation, easing pain, repelling insects, for hair loss. Avoid during pregnancy.

(German) Chamomile – Scent: strong, sweet, warm-herbaceous. Blue in color. German Chamomile has many of the same properties as Roman Chamomile. But, with a much higher azulene content its anti-inflammatory actions are greater. Traditional uses: to relieve muscular pain, to heal skin inflammations, acne and wounds, as a sedative, to ease anxiety and nervous tension, to help with sleeplessness. May cause skin reactions in some people.

(Roman) Chamomile – Scent: sweet and fruity. Traditional uses: to relieve muscular pain, as a sedative, ease anxiety and nervous tension, to help with sleeplessness.

Cinnamon – Scent: cinnamon. Traditional uses: warming to body, relaxes tight muscles, lessens pain, mood uplifting, aphrodisiac, helps relieve fatigue, improves digestion, increases appetite, helps reduce cellulite deposits, disinfectant, repels insects.

Citronella – Scent: fresh grassy-woody. Traditional Chinese medicine currently uses this herb for rheumatic pain. Traditional uses: as a mosquito repellent, for colds, flu and neuralgia, to relieve pain of rheumatism and arthritis, melancholy. Avoid using on sensitive or damaged skin.

Clary Sage – Scent: spicy, hay-like. It has been called “clear eye” and was used for healing eye problems in times past. Traditional uses: relieving stress and tension, lifting melancholy, easing pain, restful sleep, as an aphrodisiac; contains estrogen-like hormone, for menopause and PMS, relieving nervous exhaustion. Avoid during pregnancy, or if you have endometriosis, breast, ovarian and uterine cysts and other estrogen dependent conditions (cancer).

Clove Bud – Scent: spicy, fruity, warm and sweet. Traditional uses: for toothache, colds, flu and fungal infections, as a mosquito repellent, to relieve fatigue and melancholy, as an aphrodisiac. Not used on damaged or sensitive skin. Use in moderation.

Cypress – Scent: spicy, refreshing pine-needle. Cypress incense is used today by Tibetans for purification. Traditional uses: to increase circulation, relieve muscular cramps, bronchitis, whooping cough and painful periods; reduce nervous tension and other stress related problems, as an immune stimulant. Avoid during pregnancy, have high blood pressure, cancer or uterine and breast fibrosis.

Elemi – Scent: resinous, pungent aromatic. Egyptians used this aromatic oil in the embalming process. Excellent essential oil for the respiratory system; helps coughs to be more productive. Great for cuts and inflammation; aged or wrinkled skin, calming for nervous tension and stress.

Eucalyptus – Scent: strong camphorous. odor. Aborigines have used eucalyptus leaves to remedy many ills. Traditional uses: for colds, as a decongestant, to relieve asthma and fevers, for its bactericidal and anti-viral actions, to ease aching joints.

Fennel – Scent: earthy-peppery. Traditional uses: for neuro-muscular spasms, rheumatism and arthritis; bronchitis, whooping cough, as a nerve tonic in relieving stress and nervous tension. Use in moderation. Avoid if you are pregnant or have epilepsy.

Balsam Fir – Scent: fresh balsamic. Traditional uses: to relieve muscle aches and pains, for relieving anxiety and stress related conditions, to fight colds, flu and infections, for relieving bronchitis and coughs. Said to ground one mentally.

Frankincense – Scent: spicy, balsamic. Frankincense was known as one of the most precious substances to ancient man and is associated with religious practice. Traditional uses: to calm, enhance meditation, elevate mind and spirit, help breathing, for care of mature skin and scars.

Galbanum – Used in incense. In Egypt used in cosmetic & embalming. Traditional uses: treating wounds, infections and skin disorders, expectorant in chronic bronchitis, insect repellent.

Geranium – Scent: leafy rose. Geranium has been long revered for its fragrance. Traditional uses: reducing stress and tension, easing pain, balancing emotions and hormones, PMS, relieve fatigue and nervous exhaustion, to lift melancholy, lessen fluid retention, repel insects.

Ginger – Scent: warm, spicy-woodsy. Ginger has been used as a healing remedy for thousands of years. Traditional uses: reducing muscular aches and pains, increasing circulation, relieving bronchitis and whooping cough, nervous exhaustion, in healing colds flu and fever and to stimulate appetite.

Grapefruit – Scent: fresh, sweet, citrus. Some traditional uses: to lift melancholy, relieve muscle fatigue, as an astringent for oily skin, to refresh and energize the body, stimulate detoxification, as an airborne disinfectant.

Helichrysum – Scent: intense, honey, tea-like. Some traditional uses: to heal bruises (internal and external), wounds and scars, to detoxify the body, cleanse the blood and increase lymphatic drainage, for healing colds, flu, sinusitis and bronchitis, to relieve melancholy, migraines, stress and tension.

Juniper Berry – Scent: pine-needle. Some traditional uses: to energize and relieve exhaustion, ease inflammation and spasms, for improving mental clarity and memory, purifying the body, to lessen fluid retention, for disinfecting. Avoid during pregnancy or if you have kidney disease.

Lavender – Scent: sweet, fresh. Lavender has been used for centuries as a fragrance and a medicine. Some traditional uses: balancing emotions, relieving stress, tension and headache, to promote restful sleep, heal the skin, to lower high blood pressure, help breathing, for disinfecting.

Lemon – Scent: fresh lemon. Lemon was used to prevent scurvy by our ancestors who traveled the seas. Some traditional uses: to balance the nervous system, as a disinfectant, to refresh and uplift, for purifying the body. May cause skin sensitivity to the sun or irritate sensitive skin.

Lemongrass – Scent: powerful, lemon. There has been recent research in India which shows that lemongrass acts as sedative on the central nervous system. Some traditional uses: as an insect repellent and deodorizer, for athlete’s foot, as a tissue toner, to relieve muscular pain (sports-muscle pain), increase circulation, for headaches, for nervous exhaustion and other stress related problems. Use with care and avoid in pregnancy.

Lime – Cold pressed from the peel. Scent: fruity-lime. Some traditional uses: to purify the air, for alertness, to relieve coughs or congestion, for uplifting and cheering the spirit, to heal colds, flu or inflammations. Lime may cause skin sensitivity to bright sunlight.

Mandarin – Scent: intensely sweet, floral citrus scent. Traditional uses: restlessness, insomnia, nervous tension, for children and pregnant women.

Marjoram – Distilled from the leaves and flowering tops. Scent: warm & spicy. Sweet marjoram was used medicinally by Romans and ancient Greek physicians. Some traditional uses: to relax tense muscles and relieve spasms, calm and promote restful sleep, ease migraine headache, for comforting the heart, lowering high blood pressure, to help breathing, disinfecting. Avoid during pregnancy.

Myrrh – Scent: sharp, warm balsamic. Some traditional uses: to heal wounds and nurture mature skin, for bronchitis and colds, to relieve apathy and calm. Avoid use on damaged or sensitive skin.

Niaouli – Scent: fresh, camphoraceous. Traditional uses: skin care, muscle aches and pains, asthma and bronchitis, sore throat, colds, fever, flu.

Nutmeg – Scent: spicy, nutmeg. Some traditional uses: for warming muscles, easing muscle aches and pains, to invigorate or stimulate the mind, an aphrodisiac, to stimulate heart and circulation, for relieving nervous fatigue. Avoid during pregnancy and use with care (can be moderately toxic if over-used.

Orange – Scent: fruity, sweet. Orange trees were once rare and native only to China and India. Some traditional uses: to brighten mood, calm and reduce stress, as an environmental disinfectant.

Oregano – Scent: spicy, warm herb. Some traditional uses: as a muscle relaxant and to ease muscle aches and pains, to heal colds, flu and bronchitis, as a stimulant, to energize the mind and body, and for relieving headaches. Avoid during pregnancy and with babies and children.

Palmarosa – Scent: flora-rose. Palmarosa is used today in Ayurvedic medicine. Some traditional uses: stimulate cellular regeneration, moisturize skin, for nervous exhaustion and stress conditions, to calm and uplift.

Patchouli – Scent: musky, woody. Some traditional uses: for athlete’s foot, as an aphrodisiac, to relieve stress and nervous exhaustion.

Peppermint – Scent: strong mint. Herbalists in ancient Greece and Rome used peppermint for nearly every ailment. Some traditional uses: for energy, and brighter mood, reducing pain, to help breathing, improve mental clarity and memory. May irritate sensitive skin. Avoid during pregnancy.

Petitgrain – Scent: sweet, woody-orange floral. Petitgrain was one of the ingredients of the original “eau-de-cologne”. Some traditional uses: for relieving respiratory infections, to ease nervous tension muscle spasms, for relieving joint inflammation, to balance the central nervous system, for stress relief and restful sleep.

Pine – Scent: strong, coniferous, woody. Native Americans placed dried pine needles in their mattresses to ward of lice and fleas. Some traditional uses: to ease breathing, as an immune system stimulant, to increase energy, for relieving muscle and joint aches, to repel lice and fleas. Avoid use if you have prostate cancer.

Rosemary – Scent: camphor like. Some traditional uses: to energize, for muscle pains, cramps or sprains, brighten mood, for improving mental clarity and memory, easing pain, to relieve headaches, disinfecting. Avoid during pregnancy, if you have epilepsy or high blood pressure.

Rosewood – Scent: slightly rosy. Some traditional uses: to relieve stress and balance the central nervous system, for easing jet lag, to create a calm for meditation, for easing colds and coughs, to stimulate the immune system, as an aphrodisiac and in skin care.

Sage — Scent: camphoraceous, pine-like. Skin care, circulation, muscles and joints, asthma, coughs, colds, fever, flu.

Sandalwood – Scent: woody, balsamic. Sandalwood is believed to bring about calmness and serenity and is linked with incense and meditation. Some traditional uses: to lift melancholy, enhance meditation, heal the skin, help breathing, for calming and reducing stress, restful sleep, disinfecting, as an aphrodisiac.

Spearmint – Scent: minty. Some traditional uses: for relieving bronchitis and sinusitis, to ease nausea and headaches, for relieving colds or flu, to stimulate, energize and relieve fatigue.

Spruce — Scent: sweet-fruity. Used for: muscular aches and pains, asthma, colds flu, infections, anxiety and stress-related conditions.

Tangerine – Scent: sweet, citrus. Some traditional uses: for relieving muscle spasms, to soothe and calm nerves, for stress relief and relaxation, to stimulate the liver and increase lymphatic drainage. May cause skin sensitivity to bright sunlight.

Tea-Tree – Scent: spicy, medicinal. Tea-tree is one of the most scientifically researched oils. Traditional uses: an immuno-stimulant particularly against bacteria, viruses and fungi, for relieving inflammation, as a disinfectant.

Thyme – Scent: hot and spicy. Thyme was used by ancient Greeks to disinfect air and inhibit infectious diseases. Some traditional uses: To heal colds, bronchitis, for relieving muscle aches and pains, to aid concentration and memory, for relieving fatigue and said to heal anthrax. Avoid use if pregnant or with high blood pressure.

Vetiver – Scent: heavy, woodsy, earthy. Some traditional uses: for muscular aches, to increase circulation, to relieve melancholy and nervous tension, for restful sleep.

Yarrow — Scent: slightly camphoraceous. Uses: acne, burns cuts, eczema, rheumatoid arthritis, high blood pressure.

Ylang Ylang – Scent: exotic sweet floral. Some traditional uses: brightening mood, relieving anger and anxiety, relaxing tense muscles, to calm and promote restful sleep, lower high blood pressure, an aphrodisiac.

Please note: This information is not intended to diagnose, or prescribe any form of treatment. The statements in this information have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The products herein are not intended to treat, cure, or prevent any disease, and are meant solely for Aromatherapy purposes alone. If you are suffering from any illness or medical complaint, always first seek the advice of your physician. Disclaimer
At, we strongly believe in the benefits that come with the use of natural products with real ingredients. We believe that God did not mean for us to use petroleum chemicals on our skin or in our body. We also believe that truly natural products are healthier and gentler on the body, thus providing better care for our overall health and wellness.
Essential oils, herbs and other natural ingredients have been used and handed down from family member to family member for generations.
We have, to the best of our ability, researched all of our ingredients, to ensure that they won’t be harmful to you or your family members. We are also members of the Environmental Working Group and have our products listed on the Cosmetic Safety Data Base. We do still have to make the following disclaimers:
While many of the herbs, essential oils and other ingredients in our products are believed and documented to have healing virtues, they are not to be used to self-medicate or treat any form of physical or mental disease or health problem. We do not recommend or endorse the use of these products as substitutes for licensed medical care. Please consult your doctor or qualified health practitioner if you have any concerns and always consult your physician before changing a health regime. is not responsible for any individual reaction to any particular ingredient. The Ingredients Listing page, or product description on our website includes a complete list of ingredients – please read them. If you have sensitivity to any of the ingredients, please do NOT use the product. If you do have sensitive skin, we always recommend a patch test and if irritation occurs, discontinue use of the product. And contact us, please.

The content on the web site is for informational purposes only. These statements have not been evaluated by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). To prevent our products from being classified as drugs under Section 201(g) of the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act, we are required to inform you that there is no intention, implied or otherwise that represents or infers that these products or statements be used in the cure, diagnosis, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of any disease.

Lavender Essential Oil Safety

Today everywhere you look there are references where Lavender and Tea Tree essential oils’ safety are being questioned.

There has been no link made. It was not an actual study that was done. Two doctors noticed breast development on two boys. They pinned it to a shampoo they were both using. Never was the “product” identified; nor were the other ingredients mentioned. -parabens cause the same issue.

The Pharmaceutical industry, which owns the personal care industry, wants to get everyone afraid of the two safest essential oils that God gave us for healing. If they can get you to worry about the safest (lavender and tea tree) essential oils, they have you hooked on chemicals your whole life…You fear something that has been used for thousands of years. Yet, you willingly use chemicals that have not been tested for their long-term safety on humans. These chemicals were created using byproducts of the gasoline production after World War II.

If you are using anything with -parabens in it, you are getting those same hormones in larger amounts; -parabens have been found often in cancer tumors. Yet, no one is setting a safe level for combined usage of them. If every product you use has some in it…how much is too much? Most Americans use between 10-20 products per day on their skin.
Now we mention the -glycols catagory (think antifreeze). In every product out there.

I have no plans to stop using Lavender essential oil in virtually every product. If you do not want to use them, you will have to find such pure products elsewhere.

Below is an article from February 2007 on the “Study” linking Lavender and Tea Tree essential oil to breast growth in boys. The author is Robert Tisserand, of the Tisserand Institute, UK. Tissuerand has been called the “Father of Aromatherapy”. He has been practicing aromatherapy since 1969.

When God tells me to stop using these oils; then I will.
Until then,

Enjoy the Journey…Looking Forward not Back
Have a Blessed Day..

Lavender/Tea Tree Study Debunked

Neither lavender oil nor tea tree oil can be linked to breast growth in young boys
Robert Tisserand

In a recent report, a correlation is alleged between commercial products containing lavender and tea tree oils and breast growth in young boys. Three cases were seen in boys aged 4-7, who had all been using such products. In each case, the breast growth reduced to normal parameters within several months of ceasing to use the products. Subsequent laboratory testing showed that both essential oils had estrogen-like properties (Henley et al 2007).

In the report, no information is given about any of the constituents of the products used. The information given about product use is sparse, and we do not know for certain whether any of the products contained lavender or tea tree oils, since they were not analyzed by the researchers. The cases:

Case one

In the first case, “The patient’s mother reported applying a “healing balm” containing lavender oil to his skin starting shortly before the initial presentation.” No further details of the product or its use are given, but a healing balm sounds like something that might only be applied to a small area of skin. If so, then it is unlikely that any ingredient could have entered the boy’s blood in sufficient concentration to cause gynecomastia within a short time period.

Case two

In the second case, a styling hair gel was applied to the hair and scalp every morning, along with regular use of a shampoo. Both tea tree and lavender oil are cited on the ingredient list of both products.

In a subsequent website report, it is claimed that the two hair products used in this case were manufactured by Paul Mitchell, and that these were analyzed by a competitor. The shampoo was said to contain “very low concentrations” of tea tree oil, and the content in the hair gel was “virtually undetectable”. Lavender oil concentration was not checked (Neustaedter 2007).
Dermal absorption of fragrance from shampoo application has been estimated to be 80 times less than that from body lotion (Cadby et al 2002). If the website report is genuine, considering that shampoo is a wash-off product, and that there was only a negligible amount of tea tree oil in the hair gel, tea tree oil can be ruled out as a possible cause of this boy’s gynecomastia. However, liberal use of a hair gel rich in lavender oil could result in moderate dermal absorption of lavender oil constituents (Cal 2006).

Case three

The third case involved “lavender-scented soap, and intermittent use of lavender-scented commercial skin lotions”. This sounds as if there may not be very much natural lavender oil present. Further, soap is a wash-off product, and the use of lavender lotion is described as “intermittent”. Whether any absorption of genuine lavender oil took place at all seems doubtful.

Since dermal absorption of soap fragrance is some 266 times less than that from body lotion, it is virtually impossible that the fragrance in a soap could be absorbed in sufficient quantity to cause any physiological effect (Cadby et al 2002).

Of great interest is the statement that, in this third case, a fraternal twin used the same skin lotions, but not the soap, and did not develop gynecomastia. It would be reasonable to assume that, since the soap could not be responsible for the effect, and since the twin used the lotions without any problem, the gynecomastia in this third case must have been due to some cause other than essential oils.

The in vitro testing — The in vitro evidence shows weak but definite endocrine disrupting effects for both lavender and tea tree oils. The second case was the only one in which tea tree oil was involved. Tea tree oil was tested because it was deemed to be “chemically similar” to lavender oil. However, apart from the fact that both are essential oils, they have little in common chemically.
The composition of the essential oils tested is not given, nor is any other information about them, apart from the supplier. Since they do not appear to be organically grown, biocide content is a possibility.


It is unusual in such reports not to name the products suspected as being responsible for the effects under discussion. In the circumstances, it is also curious that the labeled ingredients were not cited. It is even more surprising that no attempt was made to ascertain, retrospectively, whether any constituents of lavender or tea tree oil were detectable. If the products are not named, no one else can test them either.
Even assuming that one or both of the essential oils were present at some level, we do not know what quantities of essential oil constituents may have penetrated the skin, but we do know that transcutaneous absorption from fragrances takes some time. The amount that could find its way into the blood from a wash-off product such as a shampoo or soap is negligible, because the time of skin contact is so short. Skin absorption from tea tree and lavender oil constituents is measured in hours, not minutes, in and some instances even leave-on products result in minimal dermal penetration (Cal 2006, Reichling 2006).
The Henley et al report mentions that none of the boys had been exposed to any known endocrine disruptor, such as medications, oral contraceptives(!), marijuana or soy products. However, no mention is made of other known endocrine disruptors, such as organochlorine pesticides, PCBs, polychlorinated dioxins, alkyl phenols, pthalates and parabens (Darbre 2006). Both pesticides and phthalates have been found in essential oils, and both phthalates and parabens are commonly found in cosmetic products.

It is, therefore, entirely possible that other ingredients in the products caused the gynecomastia. Pesticides, PCBs and dioxins are found in the environment, often in food, and it is also possible that some local surge of environmental hormone disruptors caused these cases in Colorado.

No attempt was made to identify the constituent(s) responsible for the in vitro effect, but it is reasonable to expect that any hormonal action in an essential oil would be due to one or two constituents, or even contaminants. It is noteworthy that, while in vitro hormonal effects from essential oil constituents have been previously reported, these are generally very weak, and have been estimated as being at least 10,000 times less potent than 17ß-estradiol (Howes et al 2002).

There is no evidence that the effect seen in vitro would take place in vivo, and much more research would be needed before any definite determinations could be made. Many estrogenic substances have previously been identified from plant sources, and very weak activity is typical of these phytoestrogens (Chadwick et al 2006, Howes et al 2002).

Conclusions — As the report states, breast growth in pre-pubertal boys is extremely uncommon, yet three cases are reported within a short period of time, and all in the same clinic. Considering that some 200 tonnes per annum are produced of both lavender and tea tree oil, that most of this goes into personal care products, and that very little of the evidence presented for these 3 cases is convincing, the press reports of caution are premature.
Even if one or more of these cases was linked to product use, any connection with either lavender or tea tree oil is unproven. Other known endocrine disrupting ingredients in the products could have played a role. Furthermore, we do not know what other factors, such as dietary or environmental, may have played a part.

The in vitro work reported by Henley et al (2007) does indicate a hormonal effect. However, this cannot be extrapolated to estimate actual human risk, especially without knowing more about the essential oil constituents causing the in vitro effects seen. No connection was established between the in vitro work and the three cases, and the case for tea tree oil having an effect on prepubertal gynecomastia is especially weak. Phytoestrogens generally have a very weak hormonal activity, and it is implausible that the amounts of essential oil that enter the body from product use would have a significant effect. Further research will hopefully clarify these issues.

Cadby PA, Troy WR, Vey MG 2002 Consumer exposure to fragrance ingredients: providing estimates for safety evaluation. Regulatory Toxicology & Pharmacology 36: 246-252
Cal K 2006 How does the type of vehicle influence the in vitro skin absorption and elimination kinetics of terpenes? Archives of Dermatological Research 297: 311-315
Chadwick LR, Pauli GF, Farnsworth NR 2006 The pharmacognosy of Humulus lupulus L. (hops) with an emphasis on estrogenic properties. Phytomedicine 13: 119-131
Darbre PD 2006 Environmental oestrogens, cosmetics and breast cancer. Best Practice & Research Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism 20: 121-143
FMA 2007
Henley DV, Lipson N, Korach KS, Bloch CA 2007 Prebubertal gynecomastia linked to lavender and tea tree oils. New England Journal of Medicine 365(5): 479-485
Howes M-J R, Houghton P J, Barlow D J et al 2002 Assessment of estrogenic activity in some common essential oil constituents. Journal of Pharmacy & Pharmacology 54:1521–1528
Neustaedter R 2007
Reichling J, Landvatter U, Wagner H, Kostka KH, Schaefer UF 2006 In vitro studies on release and human skin permeation of Australian tea tree oil (TTO) from topical formulations. European Journal of Pharmaceutics & Biopharmaceutics 64: 222-228

**Tea Tree Essential Oil**

Tea tree is a member of a genus of Australian and New Zealand trees and shrubs known as honey myrtles or bottlebrush trees. Many of the 100 or so species of tea tree have fragrant, essential oil-containing leaves.
At least three species of bottlebrush trees are distilled for their essential oil: Melaleuca alternifolia, from which we get tea tree oil; Melaleuca cajeputi, which yields cajeput essential oil; and Melaleuca viridiflora, the source for niaoli essential oil.

Distilled cajeput and niaoli oils retain some of the sweet-woody aromas present in the fresh leaves. Cajeput and niaoli oils are slightly less medicinal smelling than tea tree oil.
Although tea tree oil has a history of use as an herbal medicine, it wasn’t until modern biochemists and aromatherapists defined the therapeutic nature of its essential oil that it became widely popular as an alternative medicine.

Tea tree leaves have been used by Australian aboriginal people for treating cuts and wounds. The freshly crushed leaves are applied directly to an injury, then secured in place with a mud pack. Apparently the medicinal affects of this tea tree poultice are so powerful that they not only combat infection in the wound but overcome the potential for further infection caused by the application of the less than sterile mud pack.

Europeans learned of tea tree’s effects as a folk medicine when they came to settle in Australia in the 19th century. Gradually the scientific community began to research and document the effects of the plant, especially the bactericidal and germicidal properties of the oil.

The key to tea tree’s medicinal effectiveness is the ratio of two chemical constituents present in the oil: cineole and terpinen. Although both of these constituents are bactericidal and germicidal, cineole can be a powerful skin irritant. Therefore tea tree oils with low cineole and high terpinen contents are preferred.
The cineole/terpinen ratio can vary considerably in the many species of tea tree. The ratio can even vary in the same species growing in different areas. Plants which are identical other than their chemical make-ups are known as chemotypes. This variance prompted the creation of an Australian standard for a minimum terpinen content of 30% and a maximum cineole content of 15%. Now that the plant has been brought into cultivation, a process of selecting and propagating choice plants has produced tea tree oils that surpass the Australian standard, with terpinen contents as high as 40% and cineole contents as low as 5%. When the standard is exceeded in this way, the effectiveness of the oil remains high while its possible irritant effects decrease.

In aromatherapy, tea tree essential oil is employed for its physical, rather than emotional or aesthetic nature. This isn’t to say that the strongly medicinal aroma of tea tree is offensive. Many appreciate its underlying intensely warm, nutmeg-like scent.

Some of the most effective aromatherapy uses for tea tree oil are cosmetic in nature. For instance, tea tree has a marked oil dissolving and dispersing action, which can help alleviate overly oily secretions of the skin. One way to take advantage of tea tree’s natural astringent action is to dilute 12 drops of the oil in about three ounces of warm water and gently wipe freshly cleaned skin with the mixture using a soft cotton ball.
An oily scalp can also benefit from an application of tea tree. Before shampooing, a gentle massage with a few drops of the oil will gently invigorate the scalp and help lift greasy deposits from the hair shaft.

Because of the mild qualities of tea tree’s terpinen content, the oil can soothe cuts, scratches, sunburn and cold sores. Because it’s non-irritating, a single drop of the oil can be applied directly to minor injuries once or twice a day.

For a soothing sunburn treatment, tea tree is especially effective when paired with lavender oil. Add five drops of tea tree and 11 drops of lavender oil to three ounces of cool, distilled water. Place this mixture in a bottle with a spray atomizer attachment and mist sunburned areas whenever cooling relief is needed.

Other oils that sweeten tea tree’s medicinal aroma include clary sage, geranium and marjoram. Spice oils like nutmeg and cinnamon increase the warm-woody notes of tea tree. This spicy blend is good for wintertime diffusion during the cold and flu season.
Tea tree oil is an important therapeutic and cosmetic essential oil. Despite its less than beautiful fragrance it should figure prominently in any beginner or advanced aromatherapist’s repertoire.