Press Ctrl F to search...
Home
There are potentially an unlimited number of essential oils that can be produced from plants. Take a plant, any plant, collect the leaves, place them into a steam distiller, and see if any oils appear. The same could be said for grasses, mosses, shrubs, flowers, seeds, etc., etc. - and - mixes of plants, this grass with those seeds, those 2 biologically different mosses together, etc. However, conducting this experiment may not be the safest thing to get involved with. Oils from some well know plants can cause brain damage, convulsions, blood hemmoraging, liver damage, death, and on and on.

The following is a list of commonly known oils that should not be used in aromatherapy along with some reasons why. Obviously this list is not comprehensive; like I said, the possibilities for creating essential oils is virtually never-ending. Currently this page does contain many of the "unusable" or "inappropriate" oils that are commonly sold on the market today, however. I will continue to add to this list as I come across others. Again, this is a list of oils that should not be used in aromatherapy.


Absinthium
Ajowan
Anise (Star Japanese)
Arnica
Bitter Almond
Boldo
Boronia
Buchu
Cascarilla Bark
 Chamomile (Wild)
Cherry Laurel
Chervil
Cinnamon Bark
Costus Root
Davana
Deer Tongue
Garlic
Ginger (Green)
 Gurjum Balsam
Henna (Black)
Horseradish
Jaborandi
Lavender (Cotton)
Mace
Mustard
Narcissus
Onion
 Parsley Leaf
Pennyroyal
Rue
Santolina
Sassafras
Savine
Savory
Spanish Broom
Tansy
 Tea Tree (Mexican)
Tonka Bean
Turpentine
Whitebrush
Wormseed
Wormwood
 
 



Absinthium -- Artemisia absinthium  --- Please see Wormwood

 

Ajowan -- Carum copticum   aka:  Carum ajowan  or  Trachyspermum ammi    ---
      Extracted oil from this plant is not used in aromatherapy.    
 
Currently I am unable to find specific details as to why this oil is on several people's "Don't Touch It!" list. Many sources do not give any reason whatsoever while some sources simply say "It's too toxic." or "Never use it." or "I would never have it in my house."

There are a number of oils that appear to be in a "Grey Area" category. For example, I have noticed that some authors will shy away from Cedar Leaf and Mugwort claiming that they are "Too toxic for use in aromatherapy". Then, 4 other books will go on to explain all of the uses for Cedar Leaf and Mugwort. Likely the cause for concern with these two particular oils is Thujone. Whether or not the author then goes on to talk about Thujone, this particular cause for concern is a valid one. Many sources are void of any reasons that explain why a particular oil should be avoided. Occasionally, one source here or there will even contradict itself within the same document saying that it is toxic on one page and its used for __________ on another page.

Two things seem consistent, however.

 1.  Several different book authors agree that this oil should not be used in aromatherapy.
 2. Often, merchants who have this oil listed for sale either ignore all of the warnings, don't know about them, or explain how their particular oil is somehow special and not toxic.

Erring on the side of safety, this oil will stay on my Unused list unless future information can convince me otherwise. If you are interested in some purported property or health benefit from this particular oil, consider using a different oil - we've got plenty.

Unraveling the mysteries of the Unused is a path of brambles. The search for answers continues.

 

Anise (Star Japanese) -- Illicium anisatum   aka:  Illicium religiosum    ---      Extracted oil from this plant is not used in aromatherapy.  
 
Be aware that Japanese Star Anise - Illicium anisatum is highly toxic! It contains an oil constituent called "anisatin" which is known to affect the nervous system and cause dramatic kidney and urinary tract inflammation.

 

Arnica -- Arnica montana    ---      Extracted oil from this plant is not used in aromatherapy.  
 
Currently I am unable to find specific details as to why this oil is on several people's "Don't Touch It!" list. Many sources do not give any reason whatsoever while some sources simply say "It's too toxic." or "Never use it." or "I would never have it in my house."

There are a number of oils that appear to be in a "Grey Area" category. For example, I have noticed that some authors will shy away from Cedar Leaf and Mugwort claiming that they are "Too toxic for use in aromatherapy". Then, 4 other books will go on to explain all of the uses for Cedar Leaf and Mugwort. Likely the cause for concern with these two particular oils is Thujone. Whether or not the author then goes on to talk about Thujone, this particular cause for concern is a valid one. Many sources are void of any reasons that explain why a particular oil should be avoided. Occasionally, one source here or there will even contradict itself within the same document saying that it is toxic on one page and its used for __________ on another page.

Two things seem consistent, however.

 1.  Several different book authors agree that this oil should not be used in aromatherapy.
 2. Often, merchants who have this oil listed for sale either ignore all of the warnings, don't know about them, or explain how their particular oil is somehow special and not toxic.

Erring on the side of safety, this oil will stay on my Unused list unless future information can convince me otherwise. If you are interested in some purported property or health benefit from this particular oil, consider using a different oil - we've got plenty.

Unraveling the mysteries of the Unused is a path of brambles. The search for answers continues.

 

Bitter Almond -- Prunus amygdalus   aka:  Amygdalus communis-amara    ---      Extracted oil from this plant is not used in aromatherapy.  
 
This oil was sometimes used in the past and has the Latin alias of Oleum Amygdalae Amarae

French Name: Amandes Amères    German Name: Bittere Mandeln

Bitter Almond is well known for its "Poisonous Effects". These have been carefully documented throughout history. Even Dioscorides and Mattioli have performed "clinical" studies with it - though I'm not sure that they were entirely aware of its toxicity. The following is a quote from John Stephenson:

"It will be seen, from the following interesting details, that the bitter almond, given in substance, is exceedingly poisonous, and the distilled water causes an action resembling that of (cherry) laurel water, producing vertigo, headache, dimness of sight, vomiting, and occasionally epilepsy." (Medical Botany of Poisonous Vegetables  pdf pg 332)

He goes on to explain his own experience by dipping a tiny amount of Bitter Almond essential oil onto his own tongue!

Bitter Almond contains amygdalin, a so-called cyanogenic glycoside which converts to hydrogen cyanide (deadly) upon distillation. src: (Bo Jensen's Website) , (Menopause: Essential Oils Vs. Traditional Allopathic Medicine  pdf page 71)

 
However, its possible that Bitter Almond oil may be produced which does not contain cyanide. Whether or not trace amounts of cyanide still remain I do not know but the following is an excerpt taken from a book from 1922:

" This (oil) is made from bitter almonds, previously deprived of fatty oil by pressure, which are mixed with an equal weight of water and set in a warm place. The amygdalin undergoes decomposition into sugar, hydrogen cyanide, and benzoyl hydride or oil of bitter almonds. After one or two days the mass is distilled; the distillate being a colorless liquid, containing, besides oil of bitter almonds, hydrogen cyanide or prussic acid, one of the most virulent poisons, from which it must be freed. This is done by shaking the liquid repeatedly with dilute solution of potassa, followed by agitation with water. Pure oil of bitter almonds is not poisonous, but has a very strong narcotic odor of bitter almonds, which, however, becomes most marked when largely diluted with water." (Perfumes and Cosmetics their Preparation and Manufacture 5th Ed.  pg. 74)

 

Boldo -- Peumus boldus   aka:  Boldu boldus  or  Boldoa fragrans    ---
      Extracted oil from this plant is not used in aromatherapy.    
 
Boldo oil is extracted from the leaves of the Boldo tree and it is very potent; even exposure in only small amounts can cause convulsions. Boldo oil has a toxic constituent called "ascaridole" which makes it harmful to humans. The dried leaves are sometimes used in herbalogy to treat gallstones, rheumatism, and cystitis. The oil, however, is way too concentrated to be useful. It should never be used in aromatherapy.

 

Boronia -- Boronia megastigma    ---      Extracted oil from this plant is not used in aromatherapy.  
 
This oil is used in the fragrance and flavor industries. Information about it's health benefits seems to be controversial. The following are some documents that I have found while researching this oil:

Boronia
Emission of Volatiles from Brown Boronia Flowers: Some Comparative Observations
Flower and Volatile Oil Ontogeny in Boronia megastigma
Intraspection Variation in Oil Components of Boronia megastigma Nees. Flowers
The Effect of Flower Maturity and Harvest Timing on Floral Extract from Boronia megastigma

For now I am leaving this oil in the "Unused" list until I decide otherwise...

 

Buchu -- Agothosma betulina   aka:  Barosma betulina  or  Barosma crenulata    ---
      Extracted oil from this plant is not used in aromatherapy.    
 
German Name: Bukublätter

Buchu oil is obtained from an evergreen shrub which is native to South Africa. It is often used for pharmaceutical purposes. Oil obtained from this plant is sometimes recognized as having medicinal value from its camphor-type components though it is not recommended for use in aromatherapy.

To quote Fluckiger:
"Buchu is principally administered in disorders of the urino-genital organs. It is reputed diuretic and diaphoretic. In the Cape Colony (South Africa) the leaves are much employed as a popular stimulant and stomachic, infused in water, sherry or brandy. They are also extensively used in the United States, both in regular medicine and by the vendors of secret remedies." (Pharmacographia pdf pg 129)

There seems to be a fair amount written about the use of Buchu in medicine, however, most that I have read is more in regards to its use in herbalogy rather than in aromatherapy (essential oil use). I suspect that highly concentrated Buchu essence such as that found in the oil is detrimental to health, though at present I cannot confirm this with any evidence. However, I have read that oil obtained from Barosma crenulata has a high Pulegone content.

 

Cascarilla Bark -- Croton eluteria    ---      Extracted oil from this plant is not used in aromatherapy.  
 
This oil was sometimes used in the past and has the Latin alias of Oleum Tiglii

French Name: Cascarille    German Name: Cascarillarinde

Currently I am unable to find specific details as to why this oil is on several people's "Don't Touch It!" list. Many sources do not give any reason whatsoever while some sources simply say "It's too toxic." or "Never use it." or "I would never have it in my house."

There are a number of oils that appear to be in a "Grey Area" category. For example, I have noticed that some authors will shy away from Cedar Leaf and Mugwort claiming that they are "Too toxic for use in aromatherapy". Then, 4 other books will go on to explain all of the uses for Cedar Leaf and Mugwort. Likely the cause for concern with these two particular oils is Thujone. Whether or not the author then goes on to talk about Thujone, this particular cause for concern is a valid one. Many sources are void of any reasons that explain why a particular oil should be avoided. Occasionally, one source here or there will even contradict itself within the same document saying that it is toxic on one page and its used for __________ on another page.

Two things seem consistent, however.

 1.  Several different book authors agree that this oil should not be used in aromatherapy.
 2. Often, merchants who have this oil listed for sale either ignore all of the warnings, don't know about them, or explain how their particular oil is somehow special and not toxic.

Erring on the side of safety, this oil will stay on my Unused list unless future information can convince me otherwise. If you are interested in some purported property or health benefit from this particular oil, consider using a different oil - we've got plenty.

Unraveling the mysteries of the Unused is a path of brambles. The search for answers continues.

 

Chamomile (Wild) -- Ormenis multicaulis    ---      Extracted oil from this plant is not used in aromatherapy.  
 
Wild Chamomile is often confused with Moroccan Chamomile. As far as I can tell, Wild Chamomile (Ormenis multicaulis) is not used in aromatherapy and has minimal therapeutic value. It is a pale to brownish-yellow oil which is used throughout the fragrance industry as a top note in colognes. It appears that it has no use in the flavor industry. Ormenis multicaulis grows freely and abundantly in Northern Morocco and the oil has been distilled there since the 1970s. The oil is said to have a specific gravity of between 0.880 and 0.980 at 25°C

 

Cherry Laurel -- Prunus laurocerasus    ---      Extracted oil from this plant is not used in aromatherapy.  
 
Please see the comments for Bitter Almond

 

Chervil -- Anthriscus cerefolium   aka:  Anthriscus longirostris    ---      Extracted oil from this plant is not used in aromatherapy.  
 
Currently I am unable to find specific details as to why this oil is on several people's "Don't Touch It!" list. Many sources do not give any reason whatsoever while some sources simply say "It's too toxic." or "Never use it." or "I would never have it in my house."

There are a number of oils that appear to be in a "Grey Area" category. For example, I have noticed that some authors will shy away from Cedar Leaf and Mugwort claiming that they are "Too toxic for use in aromatherapy". Then, 4 other books will go on to explain all of the uses for Cedar Leaf and Mugwort. Likely the cause for concern with these two particular oils is Thujone. Whether or not the author then goes on to talk about Thujone, this particular cause for concern is a valid one. Many sources are void of any reasons that explain why a particular oil should be avoided. Occasionally, one source here or there will even contradict itself within the same document saying that it is toxic on one page and its used for __________ on another page.

Two things seem consistent, however.

 1.  Several different book authors agree that this oil should not be used in aromatherapy.
 2. Often, merchants who have this oil listed for sale either ignore all of the warnings, don't know about them, or explain how their particular oil is somehow special and not toxic.

Erring on the side of safety, this oil will stay on my Unused list unless future information can convince me otherwise. If you are interested in some purported property or health benefit from this particular oil, consider using a different oil - we've got plenty.

Unraveling the mysteries of the Unused is a path of brambles. The search for answers continues.

 

Cinnamon Bark -- Cinnamomum zeylanicum   aka:  Cinnamomum ceylanicum  or  Cinnamomum verum    ---
      Extracted oil from this plant is not used in aromatherapy.    
 
Cinnamon oil from the bark is generally about 30 times stronger than cinnamon oil from the leaf - Cinnamon Leaf. Since the bark oil is so highly concentrated it is considered toxic by most aromatherapists and therefore not recommended for use.

 

Costus Root -- Saussurea costus   aka:  Saussurea lappa    ---      Extracted oil from this plant is not used in aromatherapy.  
 
This oil was sometimes used in the past and has the Latin alias of Oleum Inula

Currently I am unable to find specific details as to why this oil is on several people's "Don't Touch It!" list. Many sources do not give any reason whatsoever while some sources simply say "It's too toxic." or "Never use it." or "I would never have it in my house."

There are a number of oils that appear to be in a "Grey Area" category. For example, I have noticed that some authors will shy away from Cedar Leaf and Mugwort claiming that they are "Too toxic for use in aromatherapy". Then, 4 other books will go on to explain all of the uses for Cedar Leaf and Mugwort. Likely the cause for concern with these two particular oils is Thujone. Whether or not the author then goes on to talk about Thujone, this particular cause for concern is a valid one. Many sources are void of any reasons that explain why a particular oil should be avoided. Occasionally, one source here or there will even contradict itself within the same document saying that it is toxic on one page and its used for __________ on another page.

Two things seem consistent, however.

 1.  Several different book authors agree that this oil should not be used in aromatherapy.
 2. Often, merchants who have this oil listed for sale either ignore all of the warnings, don't know about them, or explain how their particular oil is somehow special and not toxic.

Erring on the side of safety, this oil will stay on my Unused list unless future information can convince me otherwise. If you are interested in some purported property or health benefit from this particular oil, consider using a different oil - we've got plenty.

Unraveling the mysteries of the Unused is a path of brambles. The search for answers continues.

 

Davana -- Artemisia pallens    ---      Extracted oil from this plant is not used in aromatherapy.  
 
This oil is used in the perfume industry and has the unique characteristic of having a variable scent depending upon the person who is wearing it. The oil has been used throughout history in India for worshiping the Lord Shiva. It is said to grow throughout India and can often be found near Sandalwood trees.

As far as I can tell, this oil is not often used in aromatherapy although some say that it is anti-bacterial, anti-viral, and it improves hormonal balance.

 

Deer Tongue -- Carphephorus odoratissimus    ---      Extracted oil from this plant is not used in aromatherapy.  
 
Currently I am unable to find specific details as to why this oil is on several people's "Don't Touch It!" list. Many sources do not give any reason whatsoever while some sources simply say "It's too toxic." or "Never use it." or "I would never have it in my house."

There are a number of oils that appear to be in a "Grey Area" category. For example, I have noticed that some authors will shy away from Cedar Leaf and Mugwort claiming that they are "Too toxic for use in aromatherapy". Then, 4 other books will go on to explain all of the uses for Cedar Leaf and Mugwort. Likely the cause for concern with these two particular oils is Thujone. Whether or not the author then goes on to talk about Thujone, this particular cause for concern is a valid one. Many sources are void of any reasons that explain why a particular oil should be avoided. Occasionally, one source here or there will even contradict itself within the same document saying that it is toxic on one page and its used for __________ on another page.

Two things seem consistent, however.

 1.  Several different book authors agree that this oil should not be used in aromatherapy.
 2. Often, merchants who have this oil listed for sale either ignore all of the warnings, don't know about them, or explain how their particular oil is somehow special and not toxic.

Erring on the side of safety, this oil will stay on my Unused list unless future information can convince me otherwise. If you are interested in some purported property or health benefit from this particular oil, consider using a different oil - we've got plenty.

Unraveling the mysteries of the Unused is a path of brambles. The search for answers continues.

 

Garlic -- Allium sativum    ---      Extracted oil from this plant is not used in aromatherapy.  
 
Garlic oil is not used in aromatherapy due to its unpleasant odor. Its often used in the food and flavor industries.

 



Ginger (Green) -- Artemisia absinthium  --- Please see Wormwood

 

Gurjum Balsam -- Dipterocarpus jourdainii    ---      Extracted oil from this plant is not used in aromatherapy.  
 
This oil is steam distilled from the resin of the Gurjum tree and is used in the fragrance and perfume industies. Although some sources show that this oil can be used in aromatherapy I believe that it might be difficult to find a reliable retailer to buy theurapeutic grade oils from so I have placed it into the unused catagory for now.

 

Henna (Black) -- Lawsonia inermis    ---      Extracted oil from this plant is not used in aromatherapy.  
 
Black Henna will produce a Henna tattoo that is black. However, Black Henna often contains a synthetic chemical additive called para-phenylenediamine which is commonly used as a hair dye. Para- phenylenediamine causes stress and adverse affects to the body. Depending on the chemical additives in Black Henna it can cause permanent skin damage and therefore should always be avoided. In addition, any product labeled "Blond Henna", "Red Henna", "Brown Henna", etc likely has chemical additives and should be avoided. Natural Henna does not come in colors...

A typical Henna tattoo should be obtained using Henna (not Black Henna). Henna will create a temporary tattoo that lasts for up to 3 weeks and the tattoo will be redish orange or dark brown initially and then fade to orange as the days pass.

For those interested in using Henna be sure to ask the tatoo artist / hair dye person / sales person if you are getting authentic Henna Leaf powder / oil or Black Henna products.



 

Horseradish -- Armoracia rusticana   aka:  Cochlearia armoracia    ---      Extracted oil from this plant is not used in aromatherapy.  
 
Currently I am unable to find specific details as to why this oil is on several people's "Don't Touch It!" list. Many sources do not give any reason whatsoever while some sources simply say "It's too toxic." or "Never use it." or "I would never have it in my house."

There are a number of oils that appear to be in a "Grey Area" category. For example, I have noticed that some authors will shy away from Cedar Leaf and Mugwort claiming that they are "Too toxic for use in aromatherapy". Then, 4 other books will go on to explain all of the uses for Cedar Leaf and Mugwort. Likely the cause for concern with these two particular oils is Thujone. Whether or not the author then goes on to talk about Thujone, this particular cause for concern is a valid one. Many sources are void of any reasons that explain why a particular oil should be avoided. Occasionally, one source here or there will even contradict itself within the same document saying that it is toxic on one page and its used for __________ on another page.

Two things seem consistent, however.

 1.  Several different book authors agree that this oil should not be used in aromatherapy.
 2. Often, merchants who have this oil listed for sale either ignore all of the warnings, don't know about them, or explain how their particular oil is somehow special and not toxic.

Erring on the side of safety, this oil will stay on my Unused list unless future information can convince me otherwise. If you are interested in some purported property or health benefit from this particular oil, consider using a different oil - we've got plenty.

Unraveling the mysteries of the Unused is a path of brambles. The search for answers continues.

 

Jaborandi -- Pilocarpus jaborandi    ---      Extracted oil from this plant is not used in aromatherapy.  
 
Currently I am unable to find specific details as to why this oil is on several people's "Don't Touch It!" list. Many sources do not give any reason whatsoever while some sources simply say "It's too toxic." or "Never use it." or "I would never have it in my house."

There are a number of oils that appear to be in a "Grey Area" category. For example, I have noticed that some authors will shy away from Cedar Leaf and Mugwort claiming that they are "Too toxic for use in aromatherapy". Then, 4 other books will go on to explain all of the uses for Cedar Leaf and Mugwort. Likely the cause for concern with these two particular oils is Thujone. Whether or not the author then goes on to talk about Thujone, this particular cause for concern is a valid one. Many sources are void of any reasons that explain why a particular oil should be avoided. Occasionally, one source here or there will even contradict itself within the same document saying that it is toxic on one page and its used for __________ on another page.

Two things seem consistent, however.

 1.  Several different book authors agree that this oil should not be used in aromatherapy.
 2. Often, merchants who have this oil listed for sale either ignore all of the warnings, don't know about them, or explain how their particular oil is somehow special and not toxic.

Erring on the side of safety, this oil will stay on my Unused list unless future information can convince me otherwise. If you are interested in some purported property or health benefit from this particular oil, consider using a different oil - we've got plenty.

Unraveling the mysteries of the Unused is a path of brambles. The search for answers continues.

 



Lavender (Cotton) -- Santolina chamaecyparissus   aka:  Lavandula taemina  --- Please see Santolina

 

Mace -- Myristica fragrans    ---      Extracted oil from this plant is not used in aromatherapy.  
 
This oil was sometimes used in the past and has the Latin alias of Oleum Macidis

French Name: Macis    German Name: Muscatblüthe

Mace oil is prepared via steam distillation of the seed coat of the nutmeg. The oil is generally a yellowish-red color which varies in tint from very dark to almost colorless. In contrast, the oil from the nutmeg itself (Nutmeg oil) is generally colorless or possibly faintly yellow. In the past Mace oil was used extensively for scenting soaps and perfumes and for enhancing the flavor of liqueurs. Mace oil is not recommended for use in aromatherapy.

 

Mustard -- Brassica nigra   aka:  Brassica sinapioides  or  Sinapis nigra    ---
      Extracted oil from this plant is not used in aromatherapy.    
 
This oil was sometimes used in the past and has the Latin alias of Oleum Sinapis Volatile

Mustard seed and mustard powder are common culinary items and can be consumed without any problem. During the maceration process to obtain the essential oil out of the seeds, however, a high concentration of a new chemical is formed known as allyl isothiocyanate. Allyl isothiocyanate is not present in the natural seed or powder; its highly present in the derived oil (about 90% concentration). Because of allyl isothiocyanate, just smelling the oil usually causes inflammation of the eyes and mucus membranes and touching the oil can burn the skin. Obviously, Mustard oil should not be used in aromatherapy.

 

Narcissus -- Narcissus poeticus    ---      Extracted oil from this plant is not used in aromatherapy.  
 
French Name: Narcisse    German Name: Narcissenblüthen

Currently I am unable to find specific details as to why this oil is on several people's "Don't Touch It!" list. Many sources do not give any reason whatsoever while some sources simply say "It's too toxic." or "Never use it." or "I would never have it in my house."

There are a number of oils that appear to be in a "Grey Area" category. For example, I have noticed that some authors will shy away from Cedar Leaf and Mugwort claiming that they are "Too toxic for use in aromatherapy". Then, 4 other books will go on to explain all of the uses for Cedar Leaf and Mugwort. Likely the cause for concern with these two particular oils is Thujone. Whether or not the author then goes on to talk about Thujone, this particular cause for concern is a valid one. Many sources are void of any reasons that explain why a particular oil should be avoided. Occasionally, one source here or there will even contradict itself within the same document saying that it is toxic on one page and its used for __________ on another page.

Two things seem consistent, however.

 1.  Several different book authors agree that this oil should not be used in aromatherapy.
 2. Often, merchants who have this oil listed for sale either ignore all of the warnings, don't know about them, or explain how their particular oil is somehow special and not toxic.

Erring on the side of safety, this oil will stay on my Unused list unless future information can convince me otherwise. If you are interested in some purported property or health benefit from this particular oil, consider using a different oil - we've got plenty.

Unraveling the mysteries of the Unused is a path of brambles. The search for answers continues.

 

Onion -- Allium cepa    ---      Extracted oil from this plant is not used in aromatherapy.  
 
Onion oil is not used in aromatherapy due to its unpleasant odor. Its often used in the food and flavor industries.

 

Parsley Leaf -- Petroselinum crispum   aka:  Petroselinum sativum  or  Carum sativum    ---
      Extracted oil from this plant is not used in aromatherapy.    
 
Currently I am unable to find specific details as to why this oil is on several people's "Don't Touch It!" list. Many sources do not give any reason whatsoever while some sources simply say "It's too toxic." or "Never use it." or "I would never have it in my house."

There are a number of oils that appear to be in a "Grey Area" category. For example, I have noticed that some authors will shy away from Cedar Leaf and Mugwort claiming that they are "Too toxic for use in aromatherapy". Then, 4 other books will go on to explain all of the uses for Cedar Leaf and Mugwort. Likely the cause for concern with these two particular oils is Thujone. Whether or not the author then goes on to talk about Thujone, this particular cause for concern is a valid one. Many sources are void of any reasons that explain why a particular oil should be avoided. Occasionally, one source here or there will even contradict itself within the same document saying that it is toxic on one page and its used for __________ on another page.

Two things seem consistent, however.

 1.  Several different book authors agree that this oil should not be used in aromatherapy.
 2. Often, merchants who have this oil listed for sale either ignore all of the warnings, don't know about them, or explain how their particular oil is somehow special and not toxic.

Erring on the side of safety, this oil will stay on my Unused list unless future information can convince me otherwise. If you are interested in some purported property or health benefit from this particular oil, consider using a different oil - we've got plenty.

Unraveling the mysteries of the Unused is a path of brambles. The search for answers continues.

 

Pennyroyal -- Mentha pulegium   aka:  Hedeoma pulegioides    ---      Extracted oil from this plant is not used in aromatherapy.  
 
This oil was sometimes used in the past and has the Latin alias of Oleum Hedomae

Pennyroyal oil should never be used in aromatherapy. It is often know for its abortive effects. In addition, exposure to only small amounts of it can cause lung and liver damage. It's toxic effects are likely due to high concentrations of Pulegone.

 

Rue -- Ruta graveolens    ---      Extracted oil from this plant is not used in aromatherapy.  
 
This oil was sometimes used in the past and has the Latin alias of Oleum Rutae

French Name: Rue    German Name: Raute

Rue oil should never be used in aromatherapy. It is a serious skin irritant and can cause burns. In addition, it is a neurotoxin, an abortifacient, and highly phototoxic - meaning your skin will be highly vulnerable to sunlight.

The plant itself is very common in Europe and the U.S. and it typically grows up to a meter high and flowers from June until September.

The Rue plant is antispasmodic and a stimulant and the herb was often used for those properties centuries ago. Folklore suggests that the herb, not the oil, was magical, protected against evil, and even acted as a poison antidote. In particular, Hippocrates commended Rue (the plant - not the oil) as being diuretic and having the power of resisting contagion and poisons.

 


 

Santolina -- Santolina chamaecyparissus   aka:  Lavandula taemina    ---      Extracted oil from this plant is not used in aromatherapy.  
 
Currently I am unable to find specific details as to why this oil is on several people's "Don't Touch It!" list. Many sources do not give any reason whatsoever while some sources simply say "It's too toxic." or "Never use it." or "I would never have it in my house."

There are a number of oils that appear to be in a "Grey Area" category. For example, I have noticed that some authors will shy away from Cedar Leaf and Mugwort claiming that they are "Too toxic for use in aromatherapy". Then, 4 other books will go on to explain all of the uses for Cedar Leaf and Mugwort. Likely the cause for concern with these two particular oils is Thujone. Whether or not the author then goes on to talk about Thujone, this particular cause for concern is a valid one. Many sources are void of any reasons that explain why a particular oil should be avoided. Occasionally, one source here or there will even contradict itself within the same document saying that it is toxic on one page and its used for __________ on another page.

Two things seem consistent, however.

 1.  Several different book authors agree that this oil should not be used in aromatherapy.
 2. Often, merchants who have this oil listed for sale either ignore all of the warnings, don't know about them, or explain how their particular oil is somehow special and not toxic.

Erring on the side of safety, this oil will stay on my Unused list unless future information can convince me otherwise. If you are interested in some purported property or health benefit from this particular oil, consider using a different oil - we've got plenty.

Unraveling the mysteries of the Unused is a path of brambles. The search for answers continues.

 

Sassafras -- Sassafras albidum   aka:  Sassafras officinale    ---      Extracted oil from this plant is not used in aromatherapy.  
 
This oil was sometimes used in the past and has the Latin alias of Oleum Sassafras

French Name: Sassafras    German Name: Sassafrasholz

The base note oil is usually distilled from the roots or bark of the tree, however the flowers and leaves yield essential oil as well.

Sassafras oil is said to be carcinogenic (Cancer-Causing) and even lethal in medium to large doses by some sources.

This oil is banned by the FDA because of its carcinogenic properties. The oil is also banned in Europe for use in toiletries and cosmetics. It's likely that Sassafras oil is banned because it contains a large percentage of Safrole which is a known precursor to the manufacture of hallucinogenic, narcotic, and psychotropic substances. However, some suppliers produce a "Safrole-Free" oil that they purport to be a "safer" oil.

Whether carcinogenic or not, Sassafras oil has several constituents to be wary of. It's contents typically include Anethole, Apiol, Eugenol, and Myristicin in addition to Safrole - all of which are Phenols!   Phenols are skin irritants and, with continued use or in large quantities, can be toxic to the liver. It would appear that Sassafras oil is one big Phenol soup. In addition to that it also contains Thujone which is a known neurotoxin. So, even with the Safrole removed, I still don't believe it would be safe for use!

Sassafras has a long "American white-man's" history. According to G.B. Emerson in his book Trees and Shrubs of Massachusetts Columbus smelled the scent of the Sassafras tree before his crew was able to see land and the scent encouraged them to continue. Sassafras was one of the first exports from the U.S. as demand for it in Europe was significant in the 1600's. It was commonly used for treating syphilis and other venereal disease, though it is no longer believed to be useful in that respect. The leaves and bark have been used in herbalogy for generations, especially among Native Americans. The oil was used as a flavor ingredient in the past but has likely been completely discontinued in light of our current understanding of the oil's chemical make-up.

Some aromatherapists still advocate the use of Sassafras oil for its theurapeutic properties. To quote Daniele Ryman,

"Sassafras is a tonic combating fatigue and nervous depression, and is used after strenuous exercise. It also possesses diuretic and anti-rheumatic properties, and helps treat lumbago and back problems." (The Aromatherapy Handbook  pg. 35)


 

Savine -- Juniperus sabina   aka:  Juniperus phoenicea  or  Sabina cacumina    ---
      Extracted oil from this plant is not used in aromatherapy.    
 
This oil was sometimes used in the past and has the Latin alias of Oleum Sabinae

Savine oil (aka Savin oil) has a repulsive smell which is reason enough to not use it in aromatherapy. In addition, the oil contains podophyllotoxin which is a poison, which in high concentrations destroys human cells and can cause death. Obviously, Savine oil should never be used for aromatherapy.

In the past Savine oil was commonly taken orally in the belief that it would cause an abortion. There was and is some speculation as to whether or not this worked. According to Graves, (Hortus Medicus  pdf pg. 177): "A woman took daily, for twenty days, no less than a hundred drops of the oil, yet carried her child to the full term." Other sources suggest that Savine oil is an oral toxin and a nerve poison as well.

 

Savory -- Satureja montana   aka:  Satureja hortensis  or  Satureja obovata    ---
      Extracted oil from this plant is not used in aromatherapy.    
 
Several sources mention that Savory oil is a dermal toxin and mucous membrane irritant. It seems difficult to find further information, however.

The oil is produced in France and steam distilled from the leaves.

I currently do not know enough about this oil to know if it is safe for use in aromatherapy nor do I know of any benefits from doing so. Email with any "hard data" such as clinical reports or trade journal articles or even GC-MS reports concerning this oil would be much appreciated.   jonnsaromatherapy@yahoo.com

 

Spanish Broom -- Spartium junceum    ---      Extracted oil from this plant is not used in aromatherapy.  
 
Currently I am unable to find specific details as to why this oil is on several people's "Don't Touch It!" list. Many sources do not give any reason whatsoever while some sources simply say "It's too toxic." or "Never use it." or "I would never have it in my house."

There are a number of oils that appear to be in a "Grey Area" category. For example, I have noticed that some authors will shy away from Cedar Leaf and Mugwort claiming that they are "Too toxic for use in aromatherapy". Then, 4 other books will go on to explain all of the uses for Cedar Leaf and Mugwort. Likely the cause for concern with these two particular oils is Thujone. Whether or not the author then goes on to talk about Thujone, this particular cause for concern is a valid one. Many sources are void of any reasons that explain why a particular oil should be avoided. Occasionally, one source here or there will even contradict itself within the same document saying that it is toxic on one page and its used for __________ on another page.

Two things seem consistent, however.

 1.  Several different book authors agree that this oil should not be used in aromatherapy.
 2. Often, merchants who have this oil listed for sale either ignore all of the warnings, don't know about them, or explain how their particular oil is somehow special and not toxic.

Erring on the side of safety, this oil will stay on my Unused list unless future information can convince me otherwise. If you are interested in some purported property or health benefit from this particular oil, consider using a different oil - we've got plenty.

Unraveling the mysteries of the Unused is a path of brambles. The search for answers continues.

 

Tansy -- Tanacetum vulgare   aka:  Tanadetum vulgare  or  Chrysanthemum vulgare    ---
      Extracted oil from this plant is not used in aromatherapy.    
 
This oil was sometimes used in the past and has the Latin alias of Oleum Tanaceti

Tansy oil is known to cause convulsions and epileptic seizures. It is lethal in high doses. It contains high levels of Thujone and should never be used in aromatherapy.

Some sources say that oil from Tanacetum vulgare can cause irregular heartbeat, rigid pupils, uterine bleeding, hepatitis, rapid breathing, convulsions, and loss of consciousness.

Oil extracted from Tanacetum anuum is known by different names, however, I have it listed on this site as Blue Tansy. Oil from Tanacetum vulgare is different in chemical makeup from Tanacetum anuum. Oil from Tanacetum vulgare typically has between a 60% and 80% Thujone content making it toxic.

There is a lot of confusion regarding Tansy oil and Blue Tansy oil. There are several reasons for this confusion. The plethera of names for these two oils is mostly the cause of this.

Anyone wishing to use Blue Tansy, perhaps to treat radiation burns, should be very sure about their supplier. I suggest talking to the merchant and learning as much as possible before purchasing and trying their product.

European folklore suggests that the herb, not the oil, has been used to expel worms, treat fevers, and prevent miscarriages.

As a side note, this plant is listed as a noxious weed in the United States. See here: U.S. Federal and State Noxious Weeds

 



Tea Tree (Mexican) -- Chenopodium ambrosioides  --- Please see Wormseed

 

Tonka Bean -- Dipteryx odorata   aka:  Coumarouna odorata    ---      Extracted oil from this plant is not used in aromatherapy.  
 
French Name: Fèves de Tonka    German Name: Tonkabohnen

Tonka Bean absolute comes from the beans of the Tonka tree which grows in Mexico, Central America, South America and Nigeria. The tree is a member of the Fabaceae family. The beans themselves have many traditional uses in their native lands, however, the essential oil extract is too toxic for use in aromatherapy.(Aromatherapy: A Complete Guide to the Healing Art  pg 41) Some sources suggest that the oil should never be used on the skin or only in a very diluted state. I have read that Tonka Bean oil is a dermal toxin but I currently cannot confirm that. Tonka Bean absolute is said to have a 20% to 45% coumarin content (Bo Jensen's Website) and that is certainly one cause for concern with this oil and perhaps the reason why it is said to be toxic to the skin.

The sweet base note scent of Tonka Bean absolute is the main attraction here and the oil is used in perfumes (both as a fixative and for the scent) and as an additive to flavor tobacco so it is used on the skin and even inhaled into the lungs, although likely in very small quantities.

In addition, Tonka Bean absolute does contain Vanillin so it might be used as an ingredient in mosquito repellent, though such a mosquito repellent would not be recommended for use on the skin. It's non-skin use and the high price of Tonka Bean absolute are two reasons why using Vanilla oil might be a better idea here.

I have also read that Tonka Bean absolute is great at repelling moths though I have no personal experience with that.

 

Turpentine -- Pinus sylvestris   aka:  Pinus austriaca  or  Pinus pinaster    ---
      Extracted oil from this plant is not used in aromatherapy.    
 
This oil was sometimes used in the past and has the Latin alias of Oleum Terebinthinae

This essential oil is obtained from the resin of the Scotch Pine tree. It is distinctly different from Scotch Pine essential oil which is obtained from the needles. Although Turpentine is known to have some medicinal value it is a strong irritant to the skin and mucous membranes and most aromatherapists and massage practitioners would not recommend using it for health purposes. Residents of Britian, Finland, Sweden, Germany, and Russia who seek the medicinal properties of turpentine would do better to simply take a walk through the forest and enjoy the resinous scents in the air.

According to Edward Kremer (The Volatile Oils  pdf pg 236), Turpentine can be obtained by several species of Pinus:

  Pinus anstralis - American Turpentine
Pinus taeda - American Turpentine
Pinus cubensis - American Turpentine
Pinus palustris - American Turpentine
Pinus pinaster - French Turpentine
Pinus laricio - Australian Turpentine
Pinus ledebourii - Russian Turpentine
Pinus kyasya - Burma Turpentine
Pinus sabiniana - Californian Turpentine

Turpentine is well known for its use as a paint thinner and perhaps should best be left for that purpose. To quote Kremers (The Volatile Oils):

  "Of physiological interest is the fact that turpentine oil, when taken internally, or when the vapors are but inhaled, imparts to the urine a peculiar violet odor. This peculiarity is shared by all pinene-containing oils. Other terpenes do not possess this property. The inhalation of the vapors of turpentine oil for a longer period produces an unpleasant affection of the kidneys known as painter's disease."



 

Whitebrush -- Aloysia gratissima    ---      Extracted oil from this plant is not used in aromatherapy.  
 
Aloysia gratissima is native to Argentina and has since spread to various parts of the world. It can be found in the rangelands of the southwestern US where it is often considered to be a weed.

I am listing this oil in the unsued category because of this quote that I found, "In the Province of Cordoba, one chemotype (of Aloysia gratissima) was found to contain pulegone (66 %) (Zygadlo et al., 1994)" - Essential Oils from Argentinean Aromatic Plants. We know that Pulegone is toxic in high concentrations.

It seems that the essential oil components vary considerably depending upon which chemotype of plant is distilled. So if we are holding a bottle of Aloysia gratissima essential oil in our hand, there is really not an easy way to know what is in it unless we have a GC/MS analysis for that specific bottle of oil to look at as well.

Some people might be interested in this oil because of its anti-viral properties (which could be used against herpes simplex virus type 1 or 2 as noted in the book, Medicinal Plants: Biodiversity and Drugs by M.K. Rai, et al, page 632), however, there are a lot of other essential oils with anti-viral properties that we know are safer.

 

Wormseed -- Chenopodium ambrosioides   aka:  Artemisia maritima    ---      Extracted oil from this plant is not used in aromatherapy.  
 
Wormseed should never be used in aromatherapy. A tiny amount of exposure to the oil will likely cause damage to the kidneys and liver and could even be fatal for some people. At a minimum expect vomiting, vertigo, deafness, and/or visual impairment.

Native Americans were known to use the herb, not the oil, the herb to expel worms.

Wormseed oil is explosive when heated or mixed with certain acids.

 

Wormwood -- Artemisia absinthium   aka:  Artemisia pontica  or  Artemisia capillaris    ---
      Extracted oil from this plant is not used in aromatherapy.    
 
This oil was sometimes used in the past and has the Latin alias of Oleum Absinthii

Common Wormwood oil comes from Artemisia absinthium. Roman Wormword oil comes from Artemisia pontica. Capillary Wormwood oil comes from Artemisia capillaris.

Wormwood oil is a toxin, neurotoxin, and an abortifacient. In the distant past Wormwood, most likely just the herb itself, has been used for many health issues such as reducing fever, promoting menstration, a remedy for anorexia, and used to expel worms. Wormwood essential oil is much, much more concentrated than the herb, however, and it should never be used in aromatherapy.


Wormwood oil contains a very, very high concentration of Thujone. Thujone is somewhat poisonous, especially in high doses or with repeated use. Thujone is a neurotoxin and β-Thujone in particular is an epileptiform convulsant. Exposure to high concentrations of Thujone via inhalation, topical application on the skin, or internal consumption can cause convulsions, tremors, paralysis, gastro-enteritis, vomiting, and abortions due to reflex uterine contractions and uterine bleeding. Essential oils containing Thujone in low percentages should be used with caution and respect and never be allowed to touch the skin undiluted. Essential oils with high concentrations of Thujone, such as Wormwood, should never be used in aromatherapy.

The liquor known as "Absinthe" is derived from this plant and was first produced in mass sometime around 1805. Continuous consumption of Absinthe is widely known to cause addiction, hyper-excitability, hallucinations, and in extreme cases brain damage. Most books usually insert comments here about the love affairs that famous artists and writers have had with Absinthe such as Oscar Wilde, Henri Toulousse-Lautrec, and of course, Vincent van Gogh. Because of these and other similar historical occurances, it was banned in France in 1915 and later in other European countries as well.

More recently in 1988 Absinthe was re-legalized in the European Union. In theory, Absinthe from 1805 to 1915 had very high Thujone concentrations while the Thujone concentration in the modernized version of Absinthe (post 1988) is much lower. The reality is, both versions of Absinthe contain about the same amount of Thujone! Please see the excellent study published by the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, Chemical Composition of Vintage Preban Absinthe

The alcoholic drink Vermouth consists of white wine and herbs, one of which is Wormwood.

According to Aromatherapy Science (page 83), a man purchased Wormwood essential oil on the Internet thinking that it was the same thing as the drink known as Absinthe. He then swallowed 10ml and acute renal failure (kidney failure) and rhabdomyolysis (spinal deterioration) followed shortly thereafter.

Traditionally the Wormword herb was popular for its use in expelling intestinal worms which is likely where it derived its name from.



  Oils A-B      Oils C-E      Oils F-J      Oils K-N      Oils O-R      Oils S-Z  
Home
  Reference SourcesLast Update ☆ ~~ Mar 1, 2017   Home

  ~  The Recommended Fine Print  ~
All information, suggestions, and opinions shown on this website are for educational purposes only and do not replace
medical advice nor are they intended to diagnose, cure, treat, or prevent any disease or health problems.
I am NOT a doctor and never, ever want to be one!         I am not responsible for any of your health choices!
Information given here has not been evaluated by the US FDA nor by any other U.S. governing body to the
best of my knowledge nor does it replace the advice of any licensed health-care professional.
Your health is your responsibility!!   Peace out.   ~ Jonn ☆ ~~