Lavender is extremely popular as a scented plant, flower and kitchen herb in German gardens and on balconies. Different types are offered for every need. Many hobby gardeners and plant lovers are often unsure whether Lavandula angustifolia is poisonous and if so, when it is. Before buying and planting, you should find out more about this.

Toxic – yes or no?

The answer is yes and no. The Federal Ministry for the Environment and Nature Conservation keeps the list of poisonous plants and has classified lavender as non-toxic. But there are exceptions.

sensitive people

Elderly people, the sick and debilitated, and young children comprise a group who may react to lavender consumption or exposure. This usually requires consumption in larger quantities. Consumption can also have health effects for pregnant and breastfeeding women. Smaller doses are sometimes enough to cause reactions in the unborn child or infant. The Federal Ministry for the Environment and Nature is not yet aware of any life-threatening situations, so no separate warning has been issued, but only the recommendation that pregnant and breastfeeding women and children under the age of two should abstain. This not only applies to consumption, but generally to contact with the “questionable” ingredients.

Possible symptoms

  • Stomach and intestinal problems
  • a headache
  • diarrhea
  • nausea
  • skin irritation
  • skin rash


Contrary to many claims and rumors that have been maintained for years, it is not possible for adult dogs or cats to be poisoned by lavender. The bitter taste alone won’t let you try the Lavandula a second time. If puppies or young kittens eat a high dose of it, it can lead to minor health problems, which are noticeable in a similar way to sensitive people. The situation is different for small rodents. Lavender is poisonous to them and they can even die from it – even if they ingest small amounts. Small rodents at risk include:

  • Rabbits
  • Guinea pig
  • Hamster
  • mice
Note: If your dog or cat wants to run away from lavender, it may be because he/she finds the lavender scent unpleasant. The animals should be given the opportunity to escape at all times.

Poisonous lavender plant parts

It is primarily the essential oil that leads to reactions and the death of small rodents. The flowers have the most content, so small rodents and small children should be kept out of reach of lavender, especially during the flowering period between around June and August. But the twigs and leaves also contain essential oil. For poisoning or the occurrence of symptoms, a larger amount is required than from the flowers. For some people, and even for dogs and cats, the mere scent of lavender can be enough to trigger a headache.


The concentration of essential oil in the lavender flowers is at least 1.5 percent. The individual substances that make up the lavender oil can be included to varying degrees depending on the type of lavender. The fabrics include:

  • Flavonoids (flower pigment and provide a bitter taste)
  • Tannins (among other flavoring agents)
  • Camphor (“poisonous” main substance for health reactions)
  • Cineole (main component in essential oil (eucalyptus))
  • Linalyl acetate (with 30 to 60 percent main substance of lavender oil – smells sweet)
  • Linalool (provides a fresh, floral smell that people who are allergic to fragrances react to)

Lavender Darts

The degree of sensitivity in combination with the dose determine whether the risk groups can expect adverse health effects. Here some differences in the content of the essential oil of the different types of lavender can be seen.

True lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) has the lowest amount of essential oil. This value is significantly higher for the speculum, wool and French lavender. Accordingly, a significantly smaller amount of these lavender species is sufficient to provoke reactions and cause death in small rodents. Since they are often used in the kitchen due to their more intensive seasoning properties, the dosage should be carefully considered.


Hybrid varieties, such as “Lavandin”, are a special cultivated form that is specifically created by crossing at least two “normal” types of lavender. In the case of “Lavandin” it is a mix of spike lavender and Lavandula angustifolia. Hybrid varieties of lavender usually have the highest content of essential oils or the “poisonous” camphor. The concentration of camphor is often twice as high or even higher.

Tip: If you are more interested in the intense scent of lavender in the garden or on the balcony, you will make a better choice with Lavandula angustifolia compared to lavender, wool and French lavender and at the same time keep the risk of health reactions significantly lower.

“First aid”

If symptoms appear in children, young animals or small rodents after consumption, vomiting should under no circumstances be induced. Any parts of the plant that are swallowed could injure the esophagus or the vomit could get stuck “halfway” and cause suffocation.

help against symptoms

In any case, plenty of water should be given immediately. Milk should not be given because it contains ingredients that allow the plant substances to penetrate the bloodstream more quickly, which could aggravate the course or the symptoms. Charcoal tablets bind the plant substances in the stomach and reduce the risk of them entering the bloodstream. The symptoms usually go away on their own after a short time. The poison control center can be reached 24/7 and is available for questions and assistance for everyone.


In the case of young animals and especially small animal rodents, the veterinarian should be informed immediately.

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