Nila is a member of NAHA – National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy and we would like to bring your attention to the safety issues of using essential oils during pregnancy.  Here is a link on using essential oils when pregnant.   This subject was raised by a few concerned customers who are looking for safe, natural mosquito repellant when news of Zika local infection broke out.

NAHA advised safe usage of essential oils, properly diluted and no internal ingestion.   We would like to stress that we do not advocate ingestion of essential oils when pregnant.  And if  you are not pregnant and would like to ingest essential oils, please do so under the guidance of a qualified aromatherapist.

Excerpts from NAHA website:

Other Safety Considerations


NAHA will be adopting similar guidelines as the International Federation of Professional Aromatherapists. Here are their guidelines. For more information about IFPA, please see here.

The use of essential oils during pregnancy is a controversial topic and one that is yet to be fully understood. The main concern during pregnancy appears to be the risk of essential oil constituents crossing over into the placenta. According to Tisserand and Balacs, crossing the placenta does not necessarily mean that there is a risk of toxicity to the fetus; this will depend on the toxicity and the plasma concentration of the compound.9 It is probable that essential oil metabolites cross the placenta due to the intimate (but not direct) contact between maternal and embryonic or fetal blood. Tony Burfield goes on to say, “to my thinking the responsible attitude is to discourage the use of essential oils completely during the first few months of pregnancy”.10

Jane Buckle comments “the use of essential oils in pregnancy is a contentious subject, especially during the vital first 3-month period. It is extremely unlikely that a nightly bath containing a few drops of essential oils will cause any problems for the unborn child” and later states “there are no records of abnormal fetuses or aborted fetuses due to the ‘normal’ use of essential oils, either by inhalation or topical application.”11

According to Wildwood, “A common myth in aromatherapy is that massage oils containing essential oils such as Clary sage, rose or even rosemary can cause a miscarriage and hence should be avoided throughout pregnancy. Authors such as Ron Guba, Kurt Schnaubelt, and Chrissie Wildwood have all pointed out that there have been ‘no recorded cases of miscarriage or birth defect resulting from aromatherapy massage using therapeutic applications of any essential oil.”12

Ron Guba points out that toxicity during pregnancy is almost exclusively due to pregnant women taking large, toxic doses of essential oils, notably pennyroyal (rich in the ketone, pulegone, which is metabolized to the highly toxic furan epoxide, menthofuron) and parsley seed (rich in the dimethyl ether, apiol) in an attempt to abort the fetus.13 And Battaglia shares this insight: “the judicious use of essential oils together with appropriate forms of massage by a skilled therapist can help ease the discomforts of pregnancy and provide a sense of nurturing that will comfort the mother at times she is likely to be feeling rather fragile.”14

Due to the lack of clear information regarding the toxicity of essential oils during pregnancy, it would be best to adhere to general safety guidelines. According to Tisserand and Balacs, the following essential oils should not be used during pregnancy: wormwood, rue, oak moss, Lavandula stoechas, camphor, parsley seed, sage, and hyssop.15

Essential oils that appear to be safe include cardamon, German and Roman chamomile, frankincense, geranium, ginger, neroli, patchouli, petitgrain, rosewood, rose, sandalwood, and other nontoxic essential oils.16 It would also be prudent to avoid the internal or undiluted application of essential oils throughout pregnancy.

Essential oils to Avoid throughout Pregnancy, Labor, and while Breastfeeding (Table 6)

Essential Oil                       Latin Name
Aniseed                                Pimpinella anisum
Basil ct. estragole            Ocimum basilicum
Birch                                     Betula lenta
Camphor                            Cinnamomum camphora
Hyssop                                Hyssopus officinalis
Mugwort                             Artemisia vulgaris
Parsley seed or leaf        Petroselinum sativum
Pennyroyal                        Mentha pulegium
Sage                                     Salvia officinalis
Tansy                                   Tanacetum vulgare
Tarragon                             Artemisia dracunculus
Thuja                                   Thuja occidentalis
Wintergreen                      Gaultheria procumbens
Wormwood                       Artemisia absinthium