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Hepatotoxic and nephrotoxic essential oils


Even if they have a good pharmacological value, Essential Oils are sometimes not so easy to handle because they can present a risk. It is therefore necessary to use them correctly and wisely. Indeed, they are very powerful and can be responsible for side effects. This can have consequences on the kidneys or liver, for example. Know more about hepatotoxic and nephrotoxic essential oils:



Some essential oils have a harmful effect on the liver.

These are the molecules present in certain EOs which can be dangerous in the long term. Among them, it is generally the phenols which can deteriorate the cells of the liver called the hepatocytes. Phenols mainly found in some EOs will interfere with enzymes, these substances responsible for the good functioning of the liver.


How to use a hepatotoxic essential oil?

  • They are reserved exclusively for adults.
  • They are forbidden for children, pregnant women and people suffering from liver pathologies: cirrhosis, hepatitis, intolerance to paracetamol, hepatic insufficiency.
  • In order to avoid the toxic effect on the liver, take these oils over a short period of time (5 days) and in low doses. If taken for a longer period of time, it should be associated with a hepatoprotective EO such as lemon EO, Carrot EO or Thyme ct thujanol EO.
  • Do not use in:
  1. hepato-sensitive patients
  2. case of hepatic pathology: cirrhosis, hepatitis, hepatic insufficiency
  3. case of intolerance to paracetamol
  4. people deficient in the G6PD enzyme, menthol-rich EO can cause jaundice.


Please seek medical advice, especially in cases of liver disease.


The molecules responsible

Essential oils with:

Phenol: carvacrol; eugenol; thymol: they are toxic in high doses.

Pulegone (ketone): it disrupts the metabolism of other substances processed by the liver and causes liver toxicity even at low doses. Use only on medical advice.

Menthol (monoterpenic alcohol): EO rich in menthol can cause jaundice. Strictly no use for children under 7 years old.

Cinnamaldehyde (aromatic aldehyde)

Hepatotoxic EO (not limited)




The nephrons are the units constituting the kidneys. The essential oils with nephrotoxic risk are made up of molecules being able to ignite and damage the renal system. The elimination of many substances of the organisation, ensured by the kidney, is then disturbed.

Among the nephrotoxic molecules, we find the monoterpenes in particular the alpha-pinene. This molecule, recognisable by its woody scent, can cause damage to the kidneys if it is assimilated over long periods. Indeed, the renal system is THE filtration system of the body.


The molecules responsible

Essential oils rich in monoterpenes taken orally over long periods of time can inflame and damage the nephrons


Nephrotoxic EO (not limited)

Examples of nephrotoxic EO :

  • All species of pine,  Pinus
  • All species of fir, Abies
  • The EO Sandalwood Alba and White Sandalwood, Santalum album and austrocaledonicum
  • All species of juniper, Juniperus
  • Dill
  • Peppermint
  • Green mandarin

How to use a nephrotoxic essential oil?

Use these nephrotoxic essential oils for a short period of time and in low doses

Do not use by mouth.

Be sure to ask for medical advice in case of renal pathologies and renal history


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