Spice essential oils can really liven up a room with their invigorating aromas. They are especially beloved during the fall and winter months and frequently found in favorite seasonal diffuser blends and essential oil recipes.
While they smell wonderful, some of the spice essential oils have precautions that you should be aware of.
Some can irritate skin, mucous membranes, or be toxic in large doses. There are several that should be avoided if pregnant or breastfeeding.
Read on to learn how to use spice essential oils safely.
Top 20 Spice Essential Oils with Safety Precautions
1. Cinnamon (Bark or Leaf) - Cinnamomum zeylanicum
- Cinnamon Leaf Oil is relatively nontoxic, can possibly cause skin irritation or sensitization. Best to use in moderation and in low dilution when applying topically. Cinnamon Bark oil is much stronger and is best not used on the skin. Avoid both types during pregnancy and when breastfeeding. May inhibit blood clotting.
2. Ginger - Zingiber officinale
- Nontoxic and nonirritant except in high dilutions, best used in low dilutions.
Get Recipe: Warming Ginger Massage Oil
3. Cardamom - Elettaria cardamomum
- Nontoxic, nonirritant, nonsensitizing.
Read More: Cardamom Spotlight
4. Star Anise - Illicium verum
- Best used in moderation. Possible skin sensitivity, maximum dermal use 1.75%. Avoid during pregnancy or breastfeeding. Estrogenic, should not be used in endometriosis, estrogen-sensitive cancers. May inhibit blood clotting.
Related Post: 5 Star Anise Recipes
5. Pink Pepper - Schinus molle
- Nontoxic, nonirritant, nonsensitizing. Pink Pepper is in the same family as cashews, avoid if allergic.
Get Recipes: Pink Pepper Diffuser Blends
6. Black Pepper - Piper nigrum
- Nontoxic, nonirritant, nonsensitizing.
7. Nutmeg - Myristica fragrans
- Generally nontoxic, nonirritant, and nonsensitizing. Best in low dilution (adult max dilution is 0.8%, 4-5 drops per 1 oz of carrier oil). Use in moderation otherwise can be toxic. Do not use during pregnancy and when breastfeeding.
Learn More: Nutmeg Essential Oil Spotlight
8. Cassia - Cinnamomum cassia
- Don't use undiluted on skin, it is a "hot oil" and will cause skin irritation. There is high risk of skin sensitization. Avoid during pregnancy and when breastfeeding.
Read More: Cassia Essential Oil Spotlight
9. Clove Bud - Eugenia caryophyllata or Syzygium aromaticum
- Use in moderation. Don't use undiluted on skin, it is a "hot oil" and will cause skin irritation. Avoid during pregnancy and when breastfeeding. Only use clove bud oil, not the leaf or stem oil.
Read More: Clove Essential Oil Spotlight
10. Allspice - Pimenta dioica
- Nonirritant when heavily diluted (adult Max Dilution: 0.15% ), sensitization possible. Use in moderation, potentially toxic with prolonged use. Avoid during pregnancy and when breastfeeding.
11. Anise (aka Aniseed) - Pimpinella anisum
- Can cause dermatitis in some individuals, avoid with allergic and inflammatory skin conditions. Large doses it is narcotic, use in moderation. Avoid during pregnancy and when breastfeeding. Estrogenic, should not be used in endometriosis, estrogen-sensitive cancers.
12. Sweet Fennel - Foeniculum vulgare
- Use in moderation. Do not use during pregnancy or breastfeeding. People who suffer from epilepsy should not use.
13. Cumin - Cuminum cyminum
- Nontoxic, nonirritant, and nonsensitizing. Phototoxic oil so use caution. Avoid during pregnancy.
14. Celery Seed - Apium graveolens
- Nontoxic, nonirritant, nonsensitizing. Avoid during pregnancy.
15. Galangal Root - Alpinia galanga
-Nontoxic, nonirritant when diluted.
16. Caraway - Carum carvi
- Nontoxic, nonsensitizing, may cause dermal irritation, use in low dilution.
17. Plai - Zingiber cassumunar
- Nontoxic, nonirritant, and nonsensitizing.
18. Tumeric - Curcuma longa
- Use in moderation, the component tumerone can be moderately toxic and irritant in high concentration. Possible sensitization. Best avoided during pregnancy.
19. Ho Wood - Cinnamomum camphora ct linalol
- Nontoxic and nonirritant, possible sensitization in some individuals.
20. Coriander - Coriandrum sativum
- Generally nontoxic, nonirritant, nonsensitizing. Use in moderation, can be stupefying.
Learn More: Coriander Spotlight
Which Spice Oils are the Safest?
After reviewing the above list, you may notice that there are a few that have little to no safety concerns. Here are the 5 Safest Spice Essential Oils that are most commonly used in aromatherapy:
- Pink & Black Pepper
Spicy Essential Oil Diffuser Blends
- 2 drops Ginger
- 2 drops Star Anise
- 1 drop Cardamom
- 1 drop Cinnamon Bark
- 3 drops Orange
- 2 drops Copaiba
- 1 drop Cassia
- 1 drop Clove
- 1 drop Vanilla
- 3 drops Ginger
- 2 drops Cassia
- 2 drops Grapefruit
Spice Essential Oil Recipes
I included several post blog links above that include spice essential oils, diffuser blends, and DIY recipes. Here are a few more blog posts that highlight these spicy oils:
- Fall Diffuser Blends
- Pumpkin Spice Essential Oil Recipes
- Dessert Inspired Essential Oil Room Sprays
- Cardamom Melt & Pour Soap Recipe
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