Do you - or your kids - enjoy lavender soap, bubble bath, shampoo, lotion, or similar products? Then you might be as surprised as I was to learn they could be unhealthy.
I'm in the process of working with a doctor to improve my daughter's sleep. The first things we are looking at are natural remedies - which is how lavender came up.
Some people find lavender oil (the liquid that comes from the lavender plant) relaxing and conducive to sleep - but the oil is also believed to cause breast development in boys, according to a study published in the the New England Journal of Medicine. (Tea tree oil is linked to the same problem.) Researchers believe lavender suppresses male hormones and acts like estrogen. When the boys in the study stopped used lavender products, their breast growth went away within a month or so, surprising many in the medical community.
I was unable to find much information about what lavender might do to women, although some newspapers have run stories claiming the herb doesn't affect female hormones. However, my child's physician clearly didn't like the idea of exposing my daughter to a lot of lavender. "A little," she said, "is fine. But don't lather her with lavender lotions and soaps."