Essential Oils To Avoid When Taking Medication

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If you’re taking medication and want to embrace essential oils, please understand that sometimes there are essential oils and medication contraindications. If you are taking medication and would like to incorporate essential oils into your lifestyle, please consult with a doctor and/or pharmacist well versed in essential oil use and do plenty of your own research as well.

********* This post is NOT at all meant to be used for diagnosis, treatment, or cure of any ailment. This is designed as a reference for information only on how some essential oils *may* react with certain medications. That doesn’t mean they will or will not, which is why it is best to consult with a licensed medical professional who understands essential oils and medication… your pharmacist would be a great starting point. This list may not be fully complete. It is solely based on my own personal research on the topic, and based off the most commonly asked questions I personally have had asked.

​”Essential oils are known to be active: they gain access to cells by virtue of being fat soluble and are metabolized by the body. As active agents they may react with other drugs present in the body, although there has been no evidence so far that would imply any significant adverse reaction, and essential oils have been used together with allopathic drugs successfully in hospitals.” Price continues: “Until laboratory investigations into possible reactions between essential oils and other drugs have been carried out, it is possible only to surmise what may happen.”

Excerpt from: ​Aromatherapy for Health Professionals, 4e by Shirley and Len Price

Anything that is applied to your skin or swallowed is metabolized by your body. How that substance reacts within your body determines the nutrition your cells receive. Ideally, this will enable your cells to thrive, but is important to understand some substances can react with others in unexpected and unintentional ways.

Everything we eat, drink, and rub on our skin has a possibility of reacting differently to each other within our bodies, which is precisely why it’s important to be aware of how medicine and essential oils can react with each other. Medication is primarily taken orally, and is processed through our digestive system, including our liver. This determines how quickly we metabolize the medication, and how often that medication should be taken.

When incorporating essential oils to the mix, it is difficult to predict how essential oils will interact with different medications primarily because there aren’t much of anything for studies that explain the how/what/where/when/why of the whole situation. While some oils may enhance medication effects, others could contraindicate them. Some essential oil constituents increase metabolism, which will mess with how quickly your medication is metabolized too. Some oils can slow down metabolism. Either way, altering the amount of time your body metabolizes can change your medication needs. This is why it is critically important to discuss contraindications with a pharmacist or medical doctor who understand and have experience with essential oils (not all doctors do).

Because we talk a lot about Young Living oils on this website, I’ve added a list of blends and supplements to avoid as well. If you’re using a different brand, please be careful of the blends you’re choosing to use to make sure they don’t contain an oil ingredient that could be harmful.​


Most Commonly Asked Question: Is Grapefruit Essential Oil safe to use when taking medication?

Because grapefruit essential oil and medication concerns are the most frequently asked questions I receive, I thought I’d give it its own little section here.

It is well known across the medical community, that the fruit/juice of grapefruit blocks an enzyme found in your intestine’s wall that prevents many different medications from being absorbed. Because of this many people avoid grapefruit essential oil. Keep in mind that grapefruit essential oil is made from the grapefruit’s rind, not from the fruit. The rind is not known for blocking the enzyme in question.

A video by my favorite pharmacist, Lindsey Elmore, that discusses Grapefruit and Medication:

Personally, I still recommend talking with a pharmacist and following your gut instinct.

If you’re not comfortable using grapefruit essential oil, please don’t ever feel that you *have* to use it. There are other oils that can help in the same way as grapefruit that aren’t made with any part of a grapefruit. Please watch the above video that explains it in detail by a pharmacist with extensive research in essential oils.


A list of medication types with essential oils to avoid:

Below is a list of different medication types we’ve been asked about during our individual and group coaching sessions with our members, and which oils, Young Living oil blends, and Young Living supplements are wise to stay away from.

Anesthesia –

Oils high in 1,8 cineole can interfere with anesthesia metabolism. Because of this, it is widely recommended to not use rosemary, eucalyptus, ravintsara, and bay laurel essential oils in any way prior to having anesthesia administered. Yes, this includes both aromatic and topical use. Rhiannon Harris (a clinical aromatherapist) recommends not using them at all within a week prior to surgery to make sure you prevent any unforeseen complications.

Young Living blends to use cautiously or avoid when preparing for Anesthesia:

  • Breathe Again essential oil blend
  • Clarity essential oil blend
  • En-R-Gee essential oil blend
  • ImmuPower essential oil blend
  • JuvaFlex essential oil blend
  • Melrose essential oil blend
  • Ortho Ease Massage Oil
  • Ortho Sport Massage Oil
  • Purification essential oil blend
  • Raven essential oil blend
  • RC essential oil blend
  • Thieves essential oil blend
  • Transformation essential oil blend

Young Living supplements to use cautiously or avoid when preparing for Anesthesia:

  • ComforTone
  • Essentialzymes-4
  • ICP
  • Inner Defense
  • ParaFree

Anticoagulants/Beta Blockers (Asprin, Coumadin, Heparin, Warfarin…etc)

The constituent Eugenol, which is found in clove, thyme, and oregano, should not be taken internally. You should also avoid using birch and wintergreen oils topically and orally as well.

The same suggestions for people taking anticoagulants should apply to people who have clotting or bleeding issues or hemophilia, and people who are about to undergo or recently underwent: major surgery, childbirth, peptic ulcer… etc…

Young Living vitality blends to use cautiously or avoid that contain clove, thyme, and oregano include:

  • Longevity essential oil blend
  • Thieves Vitality essential oil blend

Young Living vitality blends to use cautiously or avoid that contain wintergreen include:

  • Deep Relief essential oil blend
  • Longevity essential oil blend
  • Melrose essential oil blend
  • Ortho Ease and Sport Massage Oils,
  • PanAway essential oil blend
  • Raven essential oil blend

Young Living supplements to use cautiously or avoid when taking Beta Blockers:

  • BLM
  • Essentialzymes-4
  • Inner Defense
  • K&B
  • Longevity Softgels
  • OmegaGize
  • ParaFree
  • Rehemogen
  • Regenolone cream

Antidepressants (SSRI/MAOI) –

Everything I’ve read suggests to stay away from using clove and nutmeg both in topical and oral applications because of possible blood pressure changes, tremors, or possible confusion.

Oils containing the constituents Farensene and Alpha-Bisabolol inhibit the metabolizing enzyme CYP2D6 that can enhance the effects of the antidepressants. These essential oils include: German chamomile, blue tansy, and yarrow

Young Living essential oil blends to avoid or use cautiously when taking Antidepressants:

  • Acceptance essential oil blend
  • Australian Blue essential oil blend
  • Awaken essential oil blend
  • Dragon Time essential oil blend
  • Dream Catcher essential oil blend
  • EndoFlex essential oil blend
  • Highest Potential essential oil blend
  • Mister essential oil blend
  • Oola Grow essential oil blend
  • Peace and Calming essential oil blend
  • Release essential oil blend
  • SARA essential oil blend
  • Surrender essential oil blend
  • Valor essential oil blend

Some of Young Living’s skin care also contains German Chamomile, Yarrow:

  • ART Day Activator,
  • ART Night Reconstructor,
  • Prenolone body cream.

Supplements to use cautiously or avoid when taking Antidepressants:

  • ComforTone
  • OmegaGize

Birth Control Contraceptives –

There is limited research available on using essential oils and birth control, but the studies that do exist indicate having no effects on contraceptives.

According to Robert Tisserand (an expert in aromatherapy science), it is unlikely that aromatherapy has any unwanted effect on oral contraception or hormone replacement therapy, and notes that any research hinting contraindicating effects is nonexistent.

Diabetic Medication –

The constituent Citral, which is found in Lemongrass and Lemon Myrtle should be avoided orally.

Anise, Star Anise, Cassia, Cinnamon, Dill, Fennel, Geranium, Lemongrass, may Chang, Melissa, Myrtle, Lemon Myrtle, Oregano, Savory, and Tumeric essential oils all have the ability to influence blood sugar levels.

Young Living blends to avoid or use cautiously when taking Diabetic Medication:

  • Abundance essential oil blend
  • Acceptance essential oil blend
  • Awaken essential oil blend
  • Believe essential oil blend
  • Brain Power essential oil blend
  • Breathe Again essential oil blend
  • Clarity essential oil blend
  • Christmas Spirit essential oil blend
  • DiGize essential oil blend
  • Dragon Time essential oil blend
  • Dream Catcher essential oil blend
  • Egyptian Gold essential oil blend
  • En-R-Gee essential oil blend
  • Exodus II essential oil blend
  • EndoFlex essential oil blend
  • EndoGize essential oil blend
  • Envision essential oil blend
  • Forgiveness, essential oil blend
  • Gathering essential oil blend
  • Gentle Baby essential oil blend
  • Gratitude essential oil blend
  • Harmony essential oil blend
  • Highest Potential essential oil blend
  • Hope essential oil blend
  • Humility essential oil blend
  • Inner Child essential oil blend
  • Inspiration essential oil blend
  • Joy essential oil blend
  • JuvaFlex essential oil blend
  • Live With Passion essential oil blend
  • Magnify Your Purpose essential oil blend
  • Mister essential oil blend
  • Oola Balance and Grow essential oil blend
  • Ortho Ease and Sport massage oils
  • Purification, essential oil blend
  • Relaxation massage oil
  • Release essential oil blend
  • SARA essential oil blend
  • SclarEssence essential oil blend
  • Slique essential oil blend
  • Sensation essential oil blend
  • Thieves essential oil blend
  • Trauma Life essential oil blend
  • White Angelica essential oil blend

Supplements to use cautiously or avoid with when taking Diabetic Medication:

  • Allerzyme
  • ComforTone
  • CortiStop
  • Detoxzyme
  • Digest & Cleanse
  • Essentialzyme-4
  • Estro
  • FemiGen
  • ICP
  • Inner Defense
  • JuvaPower
  • JuvaSpice
  • JuvaTone
  • K&B
  • Mineral Essence
  • Multigreens
  • ParaFree
  • Prostate Health
  • Super C
  • Super Cal
  • Thyromin

Skin care items to use cautiously when taking Diabetic Medication:

ART creme masque, renewal serum, foaming cleanser, and toner, Animal Scents ointment and shampoo, meadow mist deodorant, boswellia wrinkle cream, copaiba-vanilla shampoo and conditioner, Kidscents bath gel and lotion, lavender-rosewood soap, melaleuca-geranium soap, Prenalone body cream, Sensation lotion, and the wolfberry eye cream.

Calcium Channel Blockers (such as high blood pressure medicines… specifically felodipine)

Peppermint may enhance the effects of calcium channel blocker medication, when taken orally.

Young Living Blends to use cautiously or avoid when taking Calcium Channel Blockers:

  • DiGize Vitality

Young Living Supplements to use cautiously or avoid when taking Calcium Channel Blockers:

  • Allerzyme,
  • BLM,
  • ComforTone,
  • CortiStop,
  • Digest & Cleanse,
  • Essentialzymes-4,
  • Mightyzyme,
  • Mineral Essence,
  • NinXia Nitro
  • Prostate Health
  • Slique gum
  • Thyromin.

Diuretics

It is wise to avoid Anise when taking diuretics because it has antidiuretic qualities to it.

Young Living blends to use cautiously or avoid or use cautiously when taking diuretics:

  • Awaken
  • DiGize
  • Dream Catcher

Young Living Supplements to use cautiously or avoid or use cautiously when taking diuretics:

  • ComforTone
  • Detoxozyme
  • Digest & Cleanse
  • Essentialzymes
  • ICP
  • JuvaPower
  • JuvaSpice
  • ParaFree

Ephedrine (in many diet drugs)

It would be wise to avoid the constituent Eugenol, which is found in clove and nutmeg, because of possible cardiovascular changes.

Young Living Oil Blends to use cautiously or avoid when taking Ephedrine:

  • Abundance
  • Deep Relief
  • EndoFlex
  • En-R-Gee
  • ImmuPower
  • Longevity
  • Magnify Your Purpose
  • Melrose
  • PanAway
  • Thieves

Young Living Supplements to use cautiously or avoid when taking Ephedrine:

  • BLM
  • Essentialzymes-4
  • Inner Defense
  • K&B
  • Longevity Softgels
  • Ningxia Nitro
  • OmegaGize
  • ParaFree

Sedatives (barbiturates, benzodiazepines, anesthetics…etc) –

Essential oils high in 1,8 cineole, such as rosemary, eucalyptus, ravintsara, and bay laurel, should be avoided because they instigate faster metabolism rates for these medications. ** These oils may impact metabolism when applied topically or taken internally.

Young Living blends to use cautiously or avoid when taking Sedatives:

  • Breathe Again essential oil blend
  • Clarity essential oil blend
  • En-R-Gee essential oil blend
  • ImmuPower essential oil blend
  • JuvaFlex essential oil blend
  • Melrose essential oil blend
  • Ortho Ease and Ortho Sport Massage Oil,
  • Purification essential oil blend
  • Raven essential oil blend
  • RC essential oil blend
  • Thieves essential oil blend
  • Transformation essential oil belnd

Young Living supplements to use cautiously or avoid when taking Sedatives:

  • ComforTone
  • Essentialzymes-4
  • ICP
  • Inner Defense
  • ParaFree supplements

Thyroid medications – 

Everything I’ve read on essential oils and the thyroid suggests they make great pairs. I’d suggest heading over to YouTube and checking out Dr Haggerton’s thyroid video recording.

The only thing I would suggest is avoiding ingesting oils that can trigger increasing metabolism. Definitely talk with your pharmacist or D.O. too, just in case.

Transdermal medications (skin patches) –

There are no real oils to avoid, though I wouldn’t recommend placing citrus on or around where you plan to place a patch within the next day or so.

You should avoid placing any essential oils or oil-infused products on or around the general area of where the patch is located because they *might* alter the dose you receive by speeding up or slowing down the delivery of the medication.

References:

​Harris, Rhiannon. “Drug-Essential Oil Interactions: Risks and Reassurances,” Presentation to Alliance of International Aromatherapists, (17 Dec. 2008), Denver, CO.

Price, Len; Price Shirley (2011-11-11), Aromatherapy for Health Professionals, Elsevier Health Sciences UK, pg 71

Stewart, David Ph.D., D.N.M, The Chemistry of Essential Oils Made Simple, Care publications, 2005, pages 395-396.

Tissarand, Robert; Young, Rodney, Essential Oil Safety: A Guide for Health Care Professionals, Elevier Health Sciences UK 2nd Edition 2014, pages 57-59.


Please Note…

This is not a complete compilation… just what we have researched so far.

We at EssentialOils.Life are not medical professionals… we are a group of parents spreading the word of information we find useful and helpful, and using this post to help document a frequently asked question. I AM a military-trained information research analyst who is providing a free reference based on common questions I have researched for my members.


Thank you for reading about our list of essential oil and medication contraindications

Nicole Graber, team leader, author, and editor to EssentialOils.Life and nikkygraber.com blog websites.

Did you find this post helpful? If you enjoyed this post, please comment below and share.

Nicole

P.S. If you need some essential oils, we provide special coaching, resources, and support groups for our members. Just head over to our getting started page to creation account or contact us.SaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSave

A QUICK NOTE BEFORE YOU COMMENT…

Please DO NOT contact us or comment regarding questions relating to specific health ailments or whether or not you can take an oil internally with your prescription. I am not a health professional (more specifically, I am not YOUR health professional), and will only refer you to discuss your situation with your pharmacist. Legally and ethically, I am obliged to not approve comments discussing diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition.

If you are taking a medication type (not specific medication name) that is not listed and would like to have it added, you’re welcome to comment about it below.

52 thoughts on “Essential Oils To Avoid When Taking Medication”

    1. Hi Beth, thank you for commenting. I am not a pharmacist or a doctor… just sharing my research with some common questions I receive while coaching. Taking supplements while taking medication is a question you should be talking with your pharmacist about. They’ll be able to help you much more than me. I just have some supplements listed for Young Living because they have certain oils in them and want people to be aware. Your pharmacist should be able to help if you bring a bottle of Ningxia (or a copy of the label).

  1. Just curious on the Zoloft interaction.. in the antidepressant section it says what to avoid or use with caution, but only lisaas a topical or oral – would this also include diffusing?

    1. Hi Lisa, thank you for your comment.

      Everything that I read specifically indicated topical and oral. The literature didn’t say anything about diffusing. If you’re not comfortable diffusing, then it may be wise to avoid them all together. Go with what you’re comfortable with. When in doubt, avoid it and talk with your pharmacist.

  2. Hi there, i have a lovely mixture of lavender, frankincense and litsea cubeba to use to help with a bad case of flying phobia. Can i use this if i take a beta blocker or would you advise against? Thanks

    1. Hi Beth, thank you for your comment. The only caution I’ve seen so far for Beta Blockers (anticoagulants) is that it would be wise to avoid birch and wintergreen orally and topically, and that clove, thyme, and oregano, should not be taken internally. You should definitely talk with your pharmacist to discuss your concerns further. I am not a doc or a pharmacist… just a research analyst sharing my findings.

  3. Hi dear,

    Great article. Just want to knkw if it Is it safe to use eo either ingest/aromatic/topical while taking asthma meds such as ventolin pill and seretide inhaler?

    Also for a person who just had a heart attack, is it safe to diffuse any oils?

    Thanks

    1. Hi Fiza,
      I do believe you should be ok diffusing or using oils topically. I haven’t seen anything that suggests otherwise so far. I do strongly suggest you talk with a pharmacist first. I also strongly suggest not ingesting essential oils, especially within a few hours before or after taking oral medications. Definitely start slow and see how your body feels. If something doesn’t feel right, stop. Don’t push your body into anything its not comfortable with.

  4. I’m trying to figure out about if there are Essential oils that will contradict my birth control? It’s the pill if that makes a difference. I have been using essential oils for 4 years, but have avoided hormone balancing ones because of that fear. But I really need my hormones balanced so am trying to figure out if there’s any oils I can safely use…

    1. Hi Chelsea, Thank you for commenting!

      There are a few studies that discuss essential oils and contraceptives, and all of them indicate there is no contraindicating interaction between the two unless you’re using unsafe amounts of essential oils (for example, please don’t use an entire 15ml bottle or more all at one time). If you’re not comfortable using hormone balancing oils, please don’t feel like you need to. Don’t do anything you’re not comfortable with, and if you do decide to use them, start slow.

  5. Hi Nicole! A friend of mine takes Methotrexate & Ramica for RA. She wants to start using Essential Oils. Do you have any information on any interactions. Thank you!

    1. Hi Alaina, thank you for commenting!

      I have not seen anything that specifically warns against the use of RA medication and oils. I would suggest not ingesting essential oils that could boost her metabolism. Definitely have her talk with her pharmacist or a DO just in case.

    1. Hi Whitney, thanks for commenting!

      Everything I’ve read on essential oils and the thyroid suggests they make great pairs. I’d suggest heading over to YouTube and doing a search for “dr haggerton thyroid” or “thefarmacistala thyroid” and checking out their videos. The only thing I would suggest is avoiding ingesting oils that can trigger increasing metabolism. Definitely talk with a pharmacist or DO too, just in case.

  6. What about anxiety medication such as Zoloft? Are their oils that you would recommend being cautious with if you’re taking something like that?

    1. Hi Lisa, thank you for your comment. Zoloft is an SSRI, so I would follow along with the advice under antidepressant, in regards to which oils to be cautious with. I hope that helps

    1. Hi Cari, thank you for commenting! I have not seen anything that specifically warns about flu medication and essential oils interacting negatively. To verify, you may want to consult with a pharmacist knowledgable in oils.

  7. I store my box of essential oils and 7 day medication pack in the same drawer, is it safe.? My meds don’t taste like oils but the storage pack has a strong odor of the oils and I’m concerned that they may mix with the meds. I know this may be stupid but rather safe than sorry. Thanks

    1. Hi Diana, You are fine storing them together. Most the information I’ve been able to find discusses internal use and how the oils can effect your metabolism.

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