Essential Oils For Internal Consumption
The subject of ingesting essential oils has grown increasingly controversial in recent years. This is mainly because there are a number of aromatherapy oil brands who routinely advocate for the internal use of essential oils, and a good number of aromatherapists who consider such use potentially dangerous.
Wild As The Wind is sympathetic to both sides of the argument, but views the ongoing divisiveness of the issue unhelpful to those who everyone should be trying to help – the users of essential oils.
This article represents an effort to take a measured approach to the subject, and hopefully sits comfortably somewhere in the middle ground between the two camps.
The reality is, in taking a divisive stance, those on either side of the argument have grown increasingly entrenched. The longer the argument has raged, the more extreme everyone’s viewpoints have become.
Inevitably, this is contributing to the confusion around the matter, rather than clarifying the situation! It’s simply not helpful!
Internal Use Of Essential Oils Should Be Undertaken With Extreme Caution!
The truth of the matter is, many essential oils are not suitable for internal consumption. This is because they either present potential risks to some, or are too dangerous to administer in this manner across the board.
It must always be remembered that essential oils are very potent materials which are often anywhere between 50 and 100 times more potent1 than the plants, (often spices and herbs), from which many aromatherapy oils are made.
So, the first caveat, where the internal consumption of essential oils is concerned, is this:
You really need to know what you are doing before you consider taking essential oils internally. And, this means one of two things…
Either, based on your own thorough research, you are clear and sure of the exact safe amounts of taking essential oils internally, and how to take them, or you work with a trained aromatherapist to guide you.
Robert Tisserand and Rodney Young are considered to be the ultimate authorities on the safe usage of essential oils. Their voluminous book Essential Oils Safety (2nd edition) provides a brilliant summation of the safe use of aromatherapy oils.
In Essential Oils Safety (2nd edition) Robert Tisserand and Rodney Young clearly state which essential oils are safe for internal use, and at what dosages.
However, it is important to mention that this volume was published with a view to being used by practitioners. Nevertheless, the fact it is freely available to the general public means that everyone can, if they have the time and aptitude, learn how to use essential oils safely for internal consumption on their own.
Are Aromatherapists Trying To Take Too Much Control?
There’s a fine line between concern for consumer safety and wanting to take control of a situation to ensure future revenues.
There is clearly genuine concern around the misuse of essential oils, particularly when taken internally, because if aromatherapy oils are used incorrectly they can potentially be harmful. This harms the individual in question, and it ultimately harms the reputation of the essential oil industry as a whole.
However, those who advocate for essential oils to be exclusively administered by aromatherapists are allowing self-interest to cloud their thinking. And, they are trying to overstep their remit!
Surely, complementary health should be more focussed on the personal empowerment of the individual? And, surely it should be more focussed on prevention rather than cure.
Conventional medicine is a model which has largely stripped us of our autonomy, and is receiving massive profits for the treatment of symptoms rather than offering cures. It has effectively conditioned us to stop taking responsibility for our health, (based on the ill-conceived notion ‘there’s a pill for every ill’) and has consequently trained us into only asking for medical help only when we are sick.
Very little attention is given, within mainstream medicine, to facilitate taking personal responsibility for our health, and our educational system is equally woefully lacking.
Waiting until we are unwell causes unnecessary suffering, and will often inflict permanent damage to our bodily integrity. Plus, the cost of treating illness places huge burdens on society, whereas maintaining good health would release us from this burden.
Now more than ever, we need a healthcare delivery system which focusses on maintaining health, and doesn’t just invite us to pay them a visit once our health is impaired.
It is, therefore, very concerning to witness complementary health practitioners entertaining the view, and advocating that, it would be prudent to remove the autonomous right of the individual to use essential oils judiciously in their own homes, without the need for costly professional consultations.
Most Of Us Use Essential Oils Internally Every Day!
Did you know that the lions share of essential oils being produced worldwide are for the food and perfume industries?
Essential oils are routinely used to flavour food! This means that many of us are consuming essential oils internally on a daily basis. And, there are no safety warnings or anything other than the most discreet mention of this fact in the ingredients lists!
Of course, chemists formulate foods which contain a safe amount of essential oils when the foods are consumed normally. However, excessive over-consumption of certain foods, particularly sugary foods, is a widespread problem. Comfort eating is ubiquitous, as is obesity… and has only increased in recent years.
So, why aren’t aromatherapists alerting us to these concerns?
**This article lists a good number of pure essential oils which can be taken internally.
We Have Been Using Essential Oils For 1,000’s Of Years
Essential Oils have been used for millennia. There’s even a strong case for essential oils being used as far back as the advent of Christianity. Many scholars have made the case for this on the basis essential oils have earned themselves repeated mentions in the Bible.
In fact, there’s very few people who aren’t aware of Biblical references to several resins that are used to make essential oils. Two of the resins used to make a couple of our favourite essential oils get a regular mention in the Bible, not least because they were given as gifts to Mary and Joseph after the birth of Jesus.
Frankincense and Myrrh were routinely used, in ancient times, for all manner of ailments by those who could afford them. Cistus, Elemi and Iary are some of the other oils / resins which have also been used historically, and are revered for being spiritually important to this day.
Legend has it, during the time of Christ, an incense made with Myrrh, Frankincense & “Onycha”, (later identified as labdanum gum, which is extracted from the leaves of Cistus), was used as a preventative, (prophylactic), and to help ease the symptoms of respiratory infections.
The use of Elemi was more to enhance spiritual insight and connection:
Elemi is the Arabic word meaning “As above, so below”. This is because, in ancient times, Elemi was considered a sacred oil, which created a greater alliance between the higher and lower realms. It was thought the use of Elemi Essential Oil permitted improved access to spiritual insight, facilitating the emergence of higher ideals, and more heavenly motivations here on earth.
The ancient Egyptians used it for embalming to assist the souls of the deceased to transcend to a higher realm.
Iary, which shares many things in common with Frankincense, has also been used for millennia, and is included in rituals to honour the deceased.
And, of course, one of the ways in which resins and oils were taken for personal health was internally.
However, this was not the main method in which they were used. Resins, like Frankincense and Myrrh were regularly burned as incense, often ceremonially, just as the Catholic church continues to do to this day.
Nevertheless, ancient, as well as recent history has provided us with a welter of anecdotal evidence to support the efficacy of essential oils for many applications. Plus, there has been a lot of peer reviewed scientific researched published in the last 50 years to support this anecdotal evidence.
There are attempts to pooh-pooh anecdotal evidence as unscientific. but the reality is, scientific trials are usually conducted on very small numbers of people for short periods of time. Anecdotal evidence, by contrast, is often based on centuries of use by entire nations of people, and there is a lot of merit in that.
Why Do You Think Chewing Gum Is Called Chewing Gum?
Chewing gum has been with us since the Stone Age – chicle gum was made from the sap of the Sapodilla tree. Most modern gums are based on a synthetic equivalent, a rubbery material called polyisobutylene that’s also used in the manufacture of inner tubes. Polyisobutylene is mixed with plasticisers and materials.
So, which do you think is preferable?
The practice of chewing resin is an ideal way to deliver the natural benefits of the essential oils they contain directly into our system.
Not only are some important constituents sometimes lost in the steam distillation process of extracting essential oils from resins, but the chewing mechanism ensures a very slow release of the essential oils into the digestive system.
This is all true of Frankincense resin.
However, chewing resin has to be done with as much care and insight as taking essential oils internally. For example, only very small amounts of Myrrh resin are safe for chewing, and then only infrequently. Plus, Myrrh does not behave in the same way as Frankincense resin…
Frankincense resin forms a true chewing gum, allowing for slow release, whereas Myrrh resin is very water soluble, and simply turns into liquid very quickly. This means, if swallowed, it ensures rapid release, and therein lies the danger.
But, as with everything that can potentially exert a discernible influence on the body, it is imperative to thoroughly research the safe usage of these substances, so that you know exactly what you are doing. Unless you are entirely confident of what you are doing it’s best to leave well alone.
Essential Oils As Medicine
Essential Oils have always been used medicinally, as well as for cosmetic and sanitary purposes.
However, it isn’t possible to patent natural healing substances, so drug companies feel disinclined to offer essential oils as medicines. As they can monopolise certain sectors of the medical market with their patented drugs, promoting essential oils for medicinal purposes would be a lot less commercially sensible.
Nevertheless, almost all essential oils have reputed medical properties, a lot of which are well documented in the peer reviewed medical literature.
And GPs in the UK are certainly cottoning on. Customer accounts of being advised by their GP to consider using an essential oil to treat both acute and chronic conditions are becoming a lot more commonplace.
Essential Oils Can Be Taken Internally
Selling essential oils directly to the public is very eye-opening. It puts me in a position where I’m required to offer a lot of supporting information, and I love it. Increasing awareness around how to use essential oils as well as revealing all of the possibilities for using essential oils is a privilege and a passion.
There are certain questions around essential oils which I’m asked regularly… with one of the most frequently asked questions being whether essential oils can be taken internally.
It surprises quite a few people to know that there’s a strong likelihood they have been taking essential oils internally all their lives.
This is because, as mentioned earlier, most of the essential oils produced around the world are bought by the food industry and are used for food flavouring for an awful lot of products.
Plus, there’s quite a few people who use essential oils in their home cooking, especially citrus essential oils and those which originate from herbs and spices.
However, just because some essential oils are suitable for internal consumption it’s important to remember that a lot aren’t.
IMPORTANT WARNING :: Most Essential Oils Are Not Safe For Internal Consumption
Essential Oil Adulteration
Before we consider using essential oils in our cooking or taking them internally for medical purposes we need to understand that a lot of essential oils available to us today are of very questionable quality.
As many as 98% of essential oils have been adulterated in one way or another, often rendering them toxic for topical and environmental use… so, the last thing you want to do with those essential oils is ingest them!
Hopefully you can avoid using essential oils which have been tampered with by always buying your essential oils from a company you trust. But, nevertheless, there are quite a few essential oils which should NOT be taken internally no matter their quality…
Some Essential Oils Cannot Be Safely Ingested
Not all essential oils are safe for internal use, and so using essential oils internally requires adequate knowledge. If you are unsure or feel you don’t have enough understanding around the safety of using a particular essential oil internally, then it is advised that you err on the side of caution and refrain from taking it internally.
Wild As The Wind Essential Oils, are safe for internal use as long as the essential oils in question are generally considered safe for internal consumption. Nevertheless, Wild As The Wind recommend using organic essential oils, rather than the ethically sourced essential oils, for internal use.
Use Essential Oils To Flavour Your Water
Using essential oils to flavour our water is a lot more straightforward than cooking with essential oils.
Adding a drop of Citrus Essential Oil to a large glass of still or sparkling water is as easy as it gets… and, the benefits of doing this are many…
One drop of Organic Sweet Orange Essential Oil, Organic Lemon Essential Oil or Organic Grapefruit Essential Oil may not only help recondition your digestive tract, support liver function and help with weight loss, it’ll also likely make the idea of drinking water a whole lot more attractive!
Water flavoured with Citrus Essential Oils is utterly delicious!
Read more in :: Best Essential Oils For Weight Loss & Digestive Health
*Citrus Essential Oils are not ‘true’ aromatherapy oils. This is because they are cold pressed from the peel of citrus fruits, and are a lot less intense than steam distilled essential oils.
Other Common Essential Oils Used Internally
Rosemary Essential Oil will confer all manner of benefits to our central nervous system and will even extend our lives. Rosemary Essential Oil is one of the most favoured Wild As The Wind Essential Oils, and there are a good number of articles about it.
Read the following to learn more:
Rosemary Essential Oil Science :: details how Rosemary Essential Oil extends life and protects us from the damage being caused by wireless technologies.
Then there’s the spice essential oils… like Cardamon Essential Oil which will really appease a thirst and will help thin the blood, plus, Organic Coriander Seed Essential Oil, and especially Coriander Leaf Essential Oil, is exceptionally detoxifying.
Essential Oils Which Can Be Taken Internally
This is not an exhaustive list of essential oils which can be taken internally by any means. However, it is the list of essential oils you are most likely to want to take internally at some point or other.
To keep the list as streamlined as possible only the organic versions of each essential oil is listed below. However, the non-organic versions of these aromatherapy oils are also suitable for internal consumption if they are of therapeutic grade. Wild As The Wind Essential Oils are all suitable for internal consumption.
- Organic Bergamot FCF Essential Oil
- Cardamon Essential Oil
- Organic Chamomile (Roman) Essential Oil
- Organic Chamomile (German) Essential Oil
- Organic Cinnamon Bark Essential Oil
- Organic Cinnamon Leaf Essential Oil
- Organic Cistus Essential Oil
- Organic Clary Sage Essential Oil
- Organic Natural Clove Bud Essential Oil
- Organic Coriander Seed Essential Oil
- Organic Grapefruit Essential Oil
- Frankincense Serata Essential Oil
- Organic Frankincense Carteri Essential Oil
- Organic Grapefruit White Essential Oil
- Hemp Essential Oil
- Organic Lavender Essential Oil
- Organic Lemon Essential Oil
- Organic Lemongrass Essential Oil
- Organic Lime Essential Oil
- Organic Mandarin Red Essential Oil
- Organic Sweet Orange Essential Oil
- Organic Oregano Essential Oil
- Organic Peppermint Essential Oil
- Organic Rosemary Essential Oil
- Organic Thyme Essential Oil
There are other essential oils which are fine to be taken internally, like Organic Basil Essential Oil, but, it’s just as easy to infuse a few Basil leaves in some boiling water to make a tea if you have a Basil plant in your kitchen. Plus, as Basil Aromatherapy Oil contains Eugenol, it’s important to use it sparingly, taking regular breaks of a week or two to allow your body to eliminate all residual Eugenol from your system.
So, whilst it’s possible to use essential oils internally, it is often better to use the plant parts in your cooking and drink making rather than use the essential oil.
Again, it’s fine to cook with Organic Black Pepper Essential Oil, but it ‘s just as easy to grind some fresh black pepper onto your meal or into a cooking pot, so that’s what I recommend you do.
There’s really a unique power to using whole-foods that we must never overlook or forget. The whole-food version of a food usually contains more nutrient value than a lot of the essential oils extracted from the corresponding plant material.
Plus, there’s some essential oils which will work better when applied topically or environmentally in most instances, and for which there is a better essential oil for internal use, if things come down to the crunch.
Organic Tea Tree Essential Oil is a case in point. If you need to take an anti-fungal or anti-parasitic essential oil internally, then Organic Oregano Essential Oil is definitely your best bet! But again, very judicious use is advised.
Some essential oils like Organic Cinnamon Bark Essential Oil or Organic Cinnamon Leaf Essential Oil are best only used in cooking as they are ‘hot’ oils… The same is true of Organic Clove Essential Oil, although Organic Natural Clove Bud Essential Oil is less problematic.
Oregano Essential Oil also requires special care, but because of its incredible healing powers, I advocate internal use whilst observing strict guidelines.
Internal Consumption Of Essential Oils
Some essential oils are safe to be consumed internally by simply adding them to water. Citrus Essential Oils fall into this category.
However, many other essential oils necessitate the use of a good organic carrier oil so that the heat of certain essential oils is diluted.
If in any doubt about taking an essential oil internally, always add it to a good edible organic carrier oil first.
A good second rule of thumb is to ask yourself whether the essential oil you’re considering taking internally is from a recognised food source… If it’s not, then proceed with extreme caution.
It is strongly advised that you read Using Essential Oils before using your aromatherapy oils in any form, but this is especially true if you are planning on using essential oils internally.
- Robert Tisserand & Rodney Young
The information provided is not intended to replace the medical directives of your healthcare provider. This information is not meant for the diagnosis of health issues. If you are pregnant, have serious or multiple health concerns, consult with your healthcare provider before using essential oils or associated products. If you experience any complications or adverse reactions contact your healthcare provider.
Deepen your knowledge by using the Wild As The Wind Recommended Resources
Another resource you may find useful can be found by following the link below. *Please note, I use sources from the Recommended Resources list as well as sources from the Healthcare and Skincare Information Sources list when researching articles for the Wild As The Wind Blog.
Wild As The Wind use a number of resources when deciding which essential oil formulas to put together for optimal healing and efficacy, as well as to support any health claims we may make.
We use the industry ‘bible’ on essential oil safety: Essential Oil Safety: A Guide for Health Care Professionals [2nd Edition] by Robert Tisserand and Rodney Young, to establish the safety of the Wild As The Wind formulations.
Many of the scientific studies used to inform the claims made on this website are via GreenMedInfo, as well as via Dr. Josh Axe, Ty Bollinger on the Truth About Cancer website as well as, on the odd occasion, Dr. Eric Zielinski
Other resources include:
- Robert Tisserand
- Dr. Robert Pappas
- Dr. Mercola