Essential Oils to AVOID If You Have These Health Conditions

Essential oil bottles laying on top of a table with a question mark in the center.

Essential oils are indeed natural substances with powerful healing effects. However, just because it’s natural doesn’t mean it’s always safe for every person.

In general, the essential oils to avoid in pregnancy and breastfeeding, babies and children, liver disease, and high blood pressure are those that alter hormones, induce spasmodic breathing, contribute to liver damage, and put added pressure on the arterial walls.

If you have any of these health conditions, you must beware of using these essential oils. It’s better to be safer than sorry.

Essential Oils to Avoid During Pregnancy and Breastfeeding

Parents and soon-to-be parents want to provide the best for their children. Moms, in particular, always seek to nurture their babies so that they will have the best health outcomes possible. That’s why it’s important to not assume that since essential oils are natural, they must be safe.

Listed below are essential oils you should avoid if you are pregnant or breastfeeding:

  • Anise Seed
  • Basil
  • Birch
  • Camphor
  • Cinnamon
  • Clary Sage
  • Hyssop
  • Juniper Berry
  • Mugwort
  • Parsley Leaf
  • Parsley Seed
  • Pennyroyal
  • Sage
  • Rosemary
  • Tansy
  • Tarragon
  • Thuja
  • Wintergreen
  • Wormwood

Many essential oils can be substituted for essential oils with similar properties that may be safer in your situation.

For example, instead of clary sage, use chamomile oil for its calming effects.

For uplifting and rejuvenating qualities, substitute lemon oil for basil oil. Alternatively, use bergamot oil to improve mood.

Instead of juniper berry, think about incorporating peppermint oil for its relaxing and refreshing properties or grapefruit oil for its lively scent.

Alternatives to cinnamon oil are ylang-ylang oil for relaxation or ginger oil for its calming effects.

Instead of rosemary oil, choose safe substitutes like sandalwood oil for its anchoring and tranquilizing properties or sweet orange oil for a freshening experience.

Pregnancy is a delicate time, and as an expecting mother, maintaining your health is critical. While essential oils can provide numerous benefits, it is critical to be aware of their possible dangers during this period of transition.

*Before utilizing essential oils during pregnancy, always consult with a healthcare provider.

Learn from a Certified Aromatherapist how essential oils can be used in pregnancy.

Essential Oils to Avoid with Children

Children have developing immune systems and higher sensitivities than adults. As a result, what is well-suited for adults may not be suitable for children. The age, weight, and particular health factors of a child all influence their tolerance and reactivity to essential oils.

  • Peppermint Essential Oil: Even though peppermint oil has many beneficial properties, it also contains high levels of menthol, which might be dangerous for children under the age of six. It may cause breathing issues or perhaps an allergic reaction. For an alternative aroma, consider using milder-in-nature oils such as spearmint.
  • Eucalyptus Essential Oil: Although eucalyptus oil is well-known for its respiratory benefits, it should be used with extreme caution near children. It’s comprised of 1,8-cineole (63.1%), more than half of its chemical makeup. Its powerful chemicals can overpower their sensitive lungs, causing respiratory distress in some circumstances. Instead, for a calming experience, use gentler oils like lavender or lemon.
  • Wintergreen Essential Oil: Wintergreen oil has high concentrations of methyl salicylate, which can be harmful to a child’s developing liver. This oil should be avoided by children of all ages because it might be dangerous if consumed accidentally. Instead, for relaxing effects, try chamomile or lavender.
  • Rosemary Essential Oil: Rosemary oil has many therapeutic effects for adults; it contains camphor, which can cause seizures in children. Substituting with less-triggering oils such as bergamot or cedarwood essential oil.

Use this chart I created to help guide you on how to use essential oil dilutions safely:

Babies and Children

Age*Recommended Essential Oil*Dosage
0-6 monthslavender and chamomile1 drop essential oil to 10ml sweet almond oil
6-12 monthslavender, chamomile, and rose1 drop essential oil to 10ml of sweet almond oil
1-6 yearslavender, chamomile, rose, neroli, orange, and tea tree2 drops essential oil to 10ml of sweet almond oil
7-12 yearsany/all essential oils1/4 dosage strength of adult dose
*Always check with your child’s Pediatrician before using essential oils.
*Test diluted essential oil on the bottom of the child’s foot before using.

I recommend using high quality essential oils from a trusted brand. It’s especially important to make sure that they will do no harm to your youngsters. Check out the KidSafe brand from Plant Therapy.

This is a great way to ensure that the essential oils you use are safe for your little ones.

Essential Oils to Avoid with a Liver Disease

The liver is essential for digestion, toxin removal, and medicine metabolization. Liver illnesses such as hepatitis, fatty liver disease, and cirrhosis impair these vital activities and can result in serious health problems.

Despite the many advantages of these oils, several essential oils contain substances that could be harmful to the liver. These substances are processed and metabolized by the liver, putting further strain on an already impaired liver.

Essential Oils to Avoid When You Have Liver Disease:

  • Clove oil contains significant levels of eugenol, which may have hepatotoxic effects (toxicity to the liver) when used in large quantities or for long periods of time. If you have a liver illness, you should avoid taking clove oil.
  • Anise and fennel oils contain trans-anethole, which has been linked to liver damage. If you have liver problems, you should avoid using them in any form.
  • Wintergreen Oil: Methyl salicylate is found in wintergreen oil, a chemical that can be toxic to the liver when consumed in high amounts or ingested. If you have a liver illness, you should avoid using wintergreen oil.
  • Eucalyptus oil is well-known for its respiratory effects. It has, however, been documented on rare occasions to lead to liver damage. To be on the safe side, avoid using eucalyptus oil if you have a liver illness, or check with a healthcare practitioner before doing so.
  • Valerian oil, known for its relaxing characteristics, can exhibit sedative effects that may interfere with drugs metabolized by the liver. If you have a liver illness, talk to your doctor before using valerian oil.

Essential Oils to Avoid with High Blood Pressure

Hypertension, the medical term for high blood pressure, is the result of an abnormally high blood pressure that continuously presses against the artery walls. A person with this illness may be more susceptible to major health problems like heart disease and stroke. Certain essential oils can negatively affect blood pressure levels, even though they have been found to be helpful for a variety of health conditions.

Avoid these essential oils if you have high blood pressure:

  • Rosemary: The invigorating qualities of this fragrant herb are widely recognized. Unfortunately, it might raise blood pressure; therefore, people with high blood pressure shouldn’t use it. Instead, choose oils with relaxing properties, like chamomile or lavender.
  • Eucalyptus: Despite being well-known for its invigorating aroma, eucalyptus oil can raise blood pressure when used in excess. Alternatives that provide comparable advantages, like frankincense or cypress oils, need to be taken into consideration by those with high blood pressure.
  • Sage: If you have high blood pressure, you should avoid taking sage oil because it has been linked to elevated blood pressure. Rather, consider using balancing and relaxing oils like geranium or clary sage.
  • Thyme: Due to its medicinal properties, thyme oil is frequently used in aromatherapy; however, it may also elevate blood pressure. It’s a good idea to go for oils with grounding qualities, such as ylang-ylang or patchouli.
  • Cinnamon: Widely used for it’s comforting and warming qualities, if you have high blood pressure, you should stay away from cinnamon oil. Instead, think about adding essential oils that are comparable, such as sweet orange or vanilla oil.

Essential oils are generally considered safe if used properly, but there are special circumstances that require extra precautions.

You may desire to consult a Certified Aromatherapist. You can find one through this website:

Remember to consult a medical professional and follow basic safety precautions to get the most out of your essential oil experiences while protecting your health.


The content in this article is for informational and educational purposes only. It is not intended to provide medical advice or to take the place of medical advice or treatment from a trained qualified physician. All readers/viewers of this content are advised to consult their doctors or qualified health professionals regarding specific health questions. Neither Galeano Massage nor the publisher of this content takes responsibility for possible health consequences of any person or persons reading or following the information in this educational content. All viewers of this content, especially those taking prescription or over-the-counter medications, or supplements or those diagnosed with a medical illness should consult their physicians before implementing any of the self-care advice in this article.


I've been practicing Massage Therapy since 2014. I'm a health and wellness enthusiast. I'm always learning and experimenting with different techniques, recipes, and healing modalities. I believe that we need to approach health and wellness from a WHOLE-listic point of view and understand that it will constantly be changing and is never stagnant. We are all unique and what works for one person will not necessarily work for another person. As I grow, change, and experiment I will share what I have learned as it may help someone else in need.

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