Uterotrophic assay of percutaneous lavender oil in immature female rats

Int J Toxicol. Mar-Apr 2013;32(2):123-9. doi: 10.1177/1091581812472209. Epub 2013 Jan 28.


The estrogenic potential of lavender oil was evaluated in a percutaneous uterotrophic bioassay in immature female rats. Four groups of 10 immature female rats each were randomly selected on postpartum day (PPD) 16. During the 3-day treatment period (PPDs 19-21), the immature rats were separated from the dams, caged in groups of 5 in a litter box for 6 hours, and administered the vehicle control article (corn oil) or lavender oil at 20 or 100 mg/kg per day. All dosages were administered as a 5 mL/kg volume in a Hilltop Chamber (25 mm diameter; absorbent material removed) placed on the shaved back of each immature rat, and secured with micropore tape and Vetrap. A positive control group was gavaged twice daily with 2.5 μg/kg per day of 17α-ethinyl estradiol. Daily observations included viability, clinical signs, body weights, and body weight gains. All rats were euthanized 24 hours after the third and final treatment, the uteri and ovaries were removed, and the paired ovaries and wet and blotted uterine weights were recorded. No unscheduled deaths occurred. No skin reactions were observed. Both dosages of lavender oil significantly reduced body weight gains after the third day of treatment, but terminal body weights and mean absolute and relative uterine weights did not differ significantly from vehicle control values. Positive controls showed significant increases in body weight and increased mean absolute and relative uterine weights as expected. Based on these data, lavender oil, at dosages of 20 or 100 mg/kg, was not active in the rat uterotrophic assay and gave no evidence of estrogenic activity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Cutaneous
  • Animals
  • Corn Oil / administration & dosage
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Drug Evaluation, Preclinical
  • Estrogens / administration & dosage
  • Estrogens / adverse effects*
  • Ethinyl Estradiol / administration & dosage
  • Female
  • Lavandula
  • Oils, Volatile / administration & dosage
  • Oils, Volatile / adverse effects*
  • Organ Size / drug effects
  • Ovary / drug effects
  • Ovary / pathology
  • Plant Oils / administration & dosage
  • Plant Oils / adverse effects*
  • Postpartum Period / drug effects
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Skin Absorption*
  • Uterus / drug effects*
  • Uterus / pathology
  • Weight Gain / drug effects


  • Estrogens
  • Oils, Volatile
  • Plant Oils
  • Ethinyl Estradiol
  • Corn Oil
  • lavender oil