Internal Use of Essential Oils – Is it Safe?

man with spoonWe get this question or some variation of it so frequently, that we thought we should explain why we don’t recommend the internal use of essential oils.  Following are a few of the most frequently asked question regarding using essential oils internally, and their answers.

Question:  I buy  “xxxx” brand of essential oils and use them internally but am looking for other options. Is YOUR brand safe for internal use? Are your oils pure enough?

It’s not so much that certain brands are safe to ingest and certain brands aren’t – it’s whether it’s a good idea to recommend the internal use of essential oils in general. Our oils are 100% pure and they are of the highest quality. Does that mean we recommend you taking them internally?

No.

Here’s why:

Many people use essential oils to treat specific health conditions. We are a company, not a medical practice. We don’t feel it’s responsible for us to advocate ingesting essential oils. If we don’t know what medications you’re on, what illnesses you have and what you’re allergic to, how can we advise you to use oils internally? We recommend the oils “for external use” only on our labeling for our own liability AND for your safety.

 

Question: But if they’re pure and of therapeutic quality, they should be safe, right?

Essential oils are highly concentrated and actually do have the capacity to cause serious problems if used internally without the necessary knowledge required. This is supported by the International Federation of Aromatherapists who do not recommend ingesting essential oils unless under the supervision of a practitioner who is qualified in clinical aromatherapy.

 

Question: But the company I buy from now says it is safe…

internal use essential oils

There’s a lot of misinformation being spread by certain (MLM) companies about using essential oils internally. Here’s just one link to why ingesting Peppermint oil could be a very bad idea (this comes from the National Association of Holistic Aromatherapy):  http://naha.org/index.php/naha-blog/peppermint-safety-info

Many people don’t realize just how concentrated and potent essential oils are. Let’s take peppermint as an example. It takes about 16 pounds of fresh peppermint leaves to produce an ounce of essential oil. So while having a drop of peppermint in your tea now and then might not be a problem, ingesting it regularly could be.

 

Question: Isn’t internal use the most effective way to use essential oils?

internal use of essential oils

Actually, no.  The good news is that you can get incredible benefits from using essential oils externally. Diluted in a carrier oil, essential oils can be used in massage (especially wonderful for aches and pains) and baths (great for relaxation, to enhance sleep and for respiratory problems). They can be diffused into the air (perfect for congestion, colds, emotional issues) or used in steam inhalation (your sinuses will thank you).

 

Question: Does that mean you should never use essential oils internally?

Again, no – there can most certainly be benefits to using them internally, but only in specific situations and only when under the care of someone knowledgeable about you and about the oils. We err on the side of caution always because your safety and health is our top priority.

Essential oils are powerfully concentrated and should always be used with respect and care. If you want to use them internally, please consult with an aromatherapist first.  And, educate yourself so you can ultimately be in charge of your own health and wellness. We have many, many articles and tips on our website and we also encourage you to check out some of our favorite aromatherapy books.

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Comments

  • Thanks for this information. I have actually used peppermint oil in water for my digestion but now I’m worried that it might not be the best idea. But would using it externally work? It doesn’t seem like it would have the same effect.

    • Hi Caroline,
      Thanks for your comments. I would definitely suggest drinking peppermint tea vs the essential oil of peppermint in tea. If you have some space in your yard it’s easy enough to grow your own peppermint (in fact it gets out of hand rather quickly!). It’s so delicious to pick fresh peppermint, add a few crushed leaves to hot water and make your own tea. And it’s wonderful for your digestive system.

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