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Estrogenic Activity in Lavender and Tea Tree Oils, Part I & II

By: Brian M. Lawrence
Posted: May 22, 2007, from the June 2007 issue of P&F magazine.

In Part I, the following topics will be reviewed: (a) Biological activity of essential oils and their constituents; (b) Estrogenic activity; (c) Estrogenic activity test methods. In Part II, the following topics are reviewed: (a) Lavender oil composition and biological activity; (b) Tea tree oil composition and biological activity; (c) Topical application of essential oils and/or their constituents; (d) Commercially available essential oils; (e) Safety assessment of essential oils and/or their constituents. Both parts are available for purchase in this one document.

Biological Activity of Essential Oils and Their Constituents

The biological activity of essential oils has been the subject of a few reviews (Schilcher, 1984; Buchbauer et al. 1993; Lis-Balchin et al. 1998 and Nakatsu et al. 2000). In addition, the safe use of fragrance materials including essential oils and their constituents has been reviewed by Hostynek (1997), Bridges (2002) and Cadby et al. (2002). In these reviews, the international regulations, regulatory bodies and positions of the International Fragrance Association (IFRA), the Research Institute for Fragrance Materials (RIFM) and Cosmetic Toiletry and Fragrance Association (CTFA) are discussed, as are the health concerns including skin penetration, respiratory effects, neurological effects and systemic and environmental effects.

Estrogenic Activity

It is known that many plant derived compounds have the ability to bind to the estrogen receptor. These compounds, reported to possess estrogenic activity, are thought to have beneficial effects; however, it is also possible that they could act as endocrine disruptors (Diel et al. 1999). Publications on the estrogenic activity of essential oils and/or their constituents have appeared in the literature over the past 25 years.

Other topics discussed: Estrogenic activity test methods; Lavender oil composition and biological activity; Tea tree oil composition and biological activity; Topical application of essential oils and/or their constituents; Commercially available essential oils; Safety assessment of essential oils and/or their constituents

This is only an excerpt of the full article that appeared in P&F Magazine. The full content is not currently available online.