ESSENTIAL OILS
ESSENTIAL OILS GENERALLY RECOGNIZED AS SAFE (GRAS)

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates approximately 80% of the U.S. food supply, and is involved with many facets of food safety. Within FDA, the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition’s (CFSAN) Office of Food Additive Safety is responsible for reviewing safety information for food ingredients and food packaging.

GRAS Determination vs. Food Additive Safety Determination

For a substance to be GRAS, the scientific data and information about the use of a substance must be widely known, and there must be a consensus among qualified experts that those data and information establish that the substance is safe under the conditions of its intended use.

However, for a food additive, privately held data and information about the use of a substance are sent by the sponsor to FDA, which evaluates those data and information to determine whether they establish that the substance is safe under the conditions of its intended use.

Thus, for a food additive, FDA determines the safety of the ingredient, whereas a determination that an ingredient is GRAS can be made by qualified experts outside of government.

Essential oils, oleoresins (solvent-free), and natural extractives (including distillates) that are generally recognized as safe for their intended use, by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (U.S. FDA), are as follows:

Common name Botanical name of plant source
Alfalfa Medicago sativa L.
Allspice Pimenta officinalis Lindl.
Almond, bitter (free from prussic acid) Prunus amygdalus Batsch, Prunus armeniaca L., or Prunus persica (L.) Batsch.
Ambrette (seed) Hibiscus moschatus Moench.
Angelica root Angelica archangelica L.
Angelica seed Do.
Angelica stem Do.
Angostura (cusparia bark) Galipea officinalis Hancock.
Anise Pimpinella anisum L.
Asafetida Ferula assa-foetida L. and related spp. of Ferula.
Balm (lemon balm) Melissa officinalis L.
Balsam of Peru Myroxylon pereirae Klotzsch.
Basil Ocimum basilicum L.
Bay leaves Laurus nobilis L.
Bay (myrcia oil) Pimenta racemosa (Mill.) J. W. Moore.
Bergamot (bergamot orange) Citrus aurantium L. subsp. bergamia Wright et Arn.
Bitter almond (free from prussic acid) Prunus amygdalus Batsch, Prunus armeniaca L., or Prunus persica (L.) Batsch.
Bois de rose Aniba rosaeodora Ducke.
Cacao Theobroma cacao L.
Camomile (chamomile) flowers, Hungarian Matricaria chamomilla L.
Camomile (chamomile) flowers, Roman or English Anthemis nobilis L.
Cananga Cananga odorata Hook. f. and Thoms.
Capsicum Capsicum frutescens L. and Capsicum annuum L.
Caraway Carum carvi L.
Cardamom seed (cardamon) Elettaria cardamomum Maton.
Carob bean Ceratonia siliqua L.
Carrot Daucus carota L.
Cascarilla bark Croton eluteria Benn.
Cassia bark, Chinese Cinnamomum cassia Blume.
Cassia bark, Padang or Batavia Cinnamomum burmanni Blume.
Cassia bark, Saigon Cinnamomum loureirii Nees.
Celery seed Apium graveolens L.
Cherry, wild, bark Prunus serotina Ehrh.
Chervil Anthriscus cerefolium (L.) Hoffm.
Chicory Cichorium intybus L.
Cinnamon bark, Ceylon Cinnamomum zeylanicum Nees.
Cinnamon bark, Chinese Cinnamomum cassia Blume.
Cinnamon bark, Saigon Cinnamomum loureirii Nees.
Cinnamon leaf, Ceylon Cinnamomum zeylanicum Nees.
Cinnamon leaf, Chinese Cinnamomum cassia Blume.
Cinnamon leaf, Saigon Cinnamomum loureirii Nees.
Citronella Cymbopogon nardus Rendle.
Citrus peels Citrus spp.
Clary (clary sage) Salvia sclarea L.
Clover Trifolium spp.
Coca (decocainized) Erythroxylum coca Lam. and other spp. of Erythroxylum.
Coffee Coffea spp.
Cola nut Cola acuminata Schott and Endl., and other spp. of Cola.
Coriander Coriandrum sativum L.
Cumin (cummin) Cuminum cyminum L.
Curacao orange peel (orange, bitter peel) Citrus aurantium L.
Cusparia bark Galipea officinalis Hancock.
Dandelion Taraxacum officinale Weber and T. laevigatum DC.
Dandelion root Do.
Dog grass (quackgrass, triticum) Agropyron repens (L.) Beauv.
Elder flowers Sambucus canadensis L. and S. nigra I.
Estragole (esdragol, esdragon, tarragon) Artemisia dracunculus L.
Estragon (tarragon) Do.
Fennel, sweet Foeniculum vulgare Mill.
Fenugreek Trigonella foenum-graecum L.
Galanga (galangal) Alpinia officinarum Hance.
Geranium Pelargonium spp.
Geranium, East Indian Cymbopogon martini Stapf.
Geranium, rose Pelargonium graveolens L’Her.
Ginger Zingiber officinale Rosc.
Grapefruit Citrus paradisi Macf.
Guava Psidium spp.
Hickory bark Carya spp.
Horehound (hoarhound) Marrubium vulgare L.
Hops Humulus lupulus L.
Horsemint Monarda punctata L.
Hyssop Hyssopus officinalis L.
Immortelle Helichrysum augustifolium DC.
Jasmine Jasminum officinale L. and other spp. of Jasminum.
Juniper (berries) Juniperus communis L.
Kola nut Cola acuminata Schott and Endl., and other spp. of Cola.
Laurel berries Laurus nobilis L.
Laurel leaves Laurus spp.
Lavender Lavandula officinalis Chaix.
Lavender, spike Lavandula latifolia Vill.
Lavandin Hybrids between Lavandula officinalis Chaix and Lavandula latifolin Vill.
Lemon Citrus limon (L.) Burm. f.
Lemon balm (see balm)
Lemon grass Cymbopogon citratus DC. and Cymbopogon lexuosus Stapf.
Lemon peel Citrus limon (L.) Burm. f.
Lime Citrus aurantifolia Swingle.
Linden flowers Tilia spp.
Locust bean Ceratonia siliqua L,
Lupulin Humulus lupulus L.
Mace Myristica fragrans Houtt.
Mandarin Citrus reticulata Blanco.
Marjoram, sweet Majorana hortensis Moench.
Mate Ilex paraguariensis St. Hil.
Melissa (see balm)
Menthol Mentha spp.
Menthyl acetate Do.
Molasses (extract) Saccarum officinarum L.
Mustard Brassica spp.
Naringin Citrus paradisi Macf.
Neroli, bigarade Citrus aurantium L.
Nutmeg Myristica fragrans Houtt.
Onion Allium cepa L.
Orange, bitter, flowers Citrus aurantium L.
Orange, bitter, peel Do.
Orange leaf Citrus sinensis (L.) Osbeck.
Orange, sweet Do.
Orange, sweet, flowers Do.
Orange, sweet, peel Do.
Origanum Origanum spp.
Palmarosa Cymbopogon martini Stapf.
Paprika Capsicum annuum L.
Parsley Petroselinum crispum (Mill.) Mansf.
Pepper, black Piper nigrum L.
Pepper, white Do.
Peppermint Mentha piperita L.
Peruvian balsam Myroxylon pereirae Klotzsch.
Petitgrain Citrus aurantium L.
Petitgrain lemon Citrus limon (L.) Burm. f.
Petitgrain mandarin or tangerine Citrus reticulata Blanco.
Pimenta Pimenta officinalis Lindl.
Pimenta leaf Pimenta officinalis Lindl.
Pipsissewa leaves Chimaphila umbellata Nutt.
Pomegranate Punica granatum L.
Prickly ash bark Xanthoxylum (or Zanthoxylum) Americanum Mill. or Xanthoxylum clava-herculis L.
Rose absolute Rosa alba L., Rosa centifolia L., Rosa damascena Mill., Rosa gallica L., and vars. of these spp.
Rose (otto of roses, attar of roses) Do.
Rose buds Do.
Rose flowers Do.
Rose fruit (hips) Do.
Rose geranium Pelargonium graveolens L’Her.
Rose leaves Rosa spp.
Rosemary Rosmarinus officinalis L.
Saffron Crocus sativus L.
Sage Salvia officinalis L.
Sage, Greek Salvia triloba L.
Sage, Spanish Salvia lavandulaefolia Vahl.
St. John’s bread Ceratonia siliqua L.
Savory, summer Satureia hortensis L.
Savory, winter Satureia montana L.
Schinus molle Schinus molle L.
Sloe berries (blackthorn berries) Prunus spinosa L.
Spearmint Mentha spicata L.
Spike lavender Lavandula latifolia Vill.
Tamarind Tamarindus indica L.
Tangerine Citrus reticulata Blanco.
Tarragon Artemisia dracunculus L.
Tea Thea sinensis L.
Thyme Thymus vulgaris L. and Thymus zygis var. gracilis Boiss.
Thyme, white Do.
Thyme, wild or creeping Thymus serpyllum L.
Triticum (see dog grass)
Tuberose Polianthes tuberosa L.
Turmeric Curcuma longa L.
Vanilla Vanilla planifolia Andr. or Vanilla tahitensis J. W. Moore.
Violet flowers Viola odorata L.
Violet leaves Do.
Violet leaves absolute Do.
Wild cherry bark Prunus serotina Ehrh.
Ylang-ylang Cananga odorata Hook. f. and Thoms.
Zedoary bark Curcuma zedoaria Rosc.

 

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