Essential oils are natural allies of our health on the one hand precious, on the other potentially risky (if not used correctly). This is also the case with two of the best known and most popular essences, tea tree oil and lavender essential oil, which new research has linked to breast growth in men.
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Essential oils are natural allies of our health on the one hand precious, on the other potentially risky (if not used correctly). This is also the case with two of the best known and most appreciated essences: the tea tree oil andlavender essential oil, which new research has linked to breast growth in men.
During ENDO 2018, the 100th annual meeting of the Endocrine Society in Chicago, researchers from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) presented further evidence that essential oils can have unwanted effects and are not therefore remedies that must be taken lightly.
An American research group has in fact evaluated the action of four chemicals that appear in both lavender essential oil and tea tree oil, better known as tea tree oil. These are eucalyptol, 4-terpineol, dipentene / limonene and alpha-terpineol and linalyl acetate, linalool, alpha-terpinen and gamma-terpinene (the latter present alternatively only in one of the two oils). The active ingredients were applied to human cancer cells in test tubes and the scientists measured how they affected the activity of sex hormones.
The research team found that these chemicals can act like estrogen and block androgens like testosterone. As a result, they could have the side effect of making men's breasts grow too. It should be noted, among other things, that these substances, as experts have pointed out, are not specific only for lavender and tea tree oils but also appear in other 65 types of essential oils.
However, we do not want to launch unjustified alarmists, scientists have in fact stressed that these oils tend to develop breast growth only in people predisposed and particularly sensitive to the active ingredients. Furthermore, it must be considered that the test was carried out on cancer cells and therefore it is not certain that the effect of essential oils would be the same even on normal breast tissues.
However, it is not the first time that a study has correlated the use of essential oils with a hormonal imbalance. Already in 2007 a research, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, had applied lavender and tea tree oils to breast cancer cells showing how the active ingredients contained in these natural remedies were able to influence the activity of estrogens and androgens. . Three boys had also been reported to have developed larger breasts after using products that contained lavender or tea tree oils. However, having stopped their use, their gynecomastia (precisely the abnormal growth of the breasts in men) had slowly disappeared.
All this is still not enough to know for sure the effects of essential oils on the hormonal system and further studies are needed. In the meantime, however, the always valid advice remains to be careful not to abuse these substances and above all to never use them internally without first having heard the opinion of an expert.
Among other things, the problem is that, as the researchers themselves also point out, that essential oils are now found in many products and therefore this could expose you to a risk of overdose. So be careful to evaluate excessive use by checking the Inci of the products you use: shower gel, shampoo, toothpaste, etc.
As Dr. J. Tyler Ramsey, lead author of the research stated:
"Our society believes essential oils are safe, but they have different amounts of chemicals and should be used with caution because some of these chemicals are potential endocrine disruptors."
As always, the solution lies in the common sense and moderate consumption of everything but above all in not falling into the error of considering natural remedies always safe even at high dosages only because they are not of chemical origin.
On essential oils, you may also be interested in:
- Can tea tree oil and lavender essential oil be dangerous for children?
- Essential oils: how to use them and where do they come from?
- Essential oils: what they are and the right doses to use them at their best
- Essential oils: why are they so effective?