Should You Use Essential Oils Internally?
There is a lot of buzz about using essential oils internally. Frankly it scares me. Essential oils are very powerful. Without proper usage they can have major consequences. The answer is mostly a no with specific and very important caveats. This method should ONLY be used when advised by a professional trained at an appropriate clinical level. This does not mean, someone who sells oils who’s knowledge is from hearsay or their up-lines. This is VERY serious business.
The benefits of using essential oils properly is HUGE. I use them on a very regular basis and find they have done great things for my family. I hope that you will be open to learning the proper way to use essential oils. Remember not everything on the Internet is true.
The well-respected, Robert Tisserand, who is the author of the second edition of Essential Oil Safety, says using essential oils can be a case of concern. “With oral administration there is greater risk of overdose, of gastric irritation, and of interactions with medications. Therefore only practitioners who are qualified to diagnose, trained to weigh risks against benefits, and have a knowledge of essential oil pharmacology should prescribe essential oils for oral administration.”
I have been doing some real soul searching about the way essential oils are sold. There seems to be a new company popping up every day. They all claim to have the best of the best but that doesn’t mean they really have a product you can trust. There are no industry standards for who can sell essential oils. It is therefore difficult to find properly trained essential oil sales people. I think most of the people who are involved in selling essential oils have their hearts in the right place. I don’t believe enough salespeople understand how essential oils can impact the health of an individual when not used properly. Consideration must be taken to use them properly. Anything used on your body can be affected by several factors including allergies, health conditions, and age.
One essential oil, Tea Tree or a/k/a Melaleuca is often qualified as an essential oil that can be used orally. The Mayo Clinic states, “Avoid taking by mouth in people of all ages, due to possible nervous system toxicity, skin allergic reactions, decrease in white blood cells, and stomach and intestine complaints”. They do say that applied to the skin in a recommended dosage is likely safe. Using essential oil topically and diluted at the proper dilution rates or using the essential oils aromatically via an inhaler or a diffuser will be a much safer way to get great results.
Using essential oils internally can lead to potential problems over the long term. The potency of an essential oil is far greater than the use of herbs. As an example, in an article written by Joseph Alton, M.D. and Amy Alton, A.R.N.P. for Backwoods Home Magazine, it states that it takes five pounds of peppermint leaves to make one ounce of peppermint essential oil. It further states that the FDA only requires ten percent essential oil in a bottle to be marketed as a pure essential oil. This shows two things, the incredible potency of a drop of a truly pure essential oil and also a big red flag. If companies can market their essential oil as “pure” with as little as ten percent true purity, what exactly are you purchasing? I am not comfortable with this. This is a great example of why you should request seeing a GC/MS report on every essential oil you purchase. A GC/MS report (Gas Chromatography/Mass Spectrometry) gives the chemical components in a specific batch of essential oils and shows whether they are pure or if they have added synthetic chemicals or other additives in them.
In addition to this, using essential oils internally is a practice that is widespread in the sales of essential oils. Stop and think about who you are buying your oils from. Are they qualified to recommend you ingest such a potent substance? When I first started using essential oils, I read and listened to information from various sources. Typically, sales people are well-intentioned; they don’t realize the repercussions of internal use.
In the beginning of my journey into the essential oil world, I purchased gel and vegetable capsules to start using the essential oils internally but something in my gut just made be stop and ponder whether this really made any sense. I never managed to convince myself it was a good idea. You may have been using the essential oils this way and may not have experienced any problems to date. Long term use may become a different story. Smokers were told cigarettes would not harm them, even the doctors smoked. It wasn’t until years later that widespread problems arose and many deaths resulted. I am not comfortable with taking this kind of risk.
So What Should You Do?
- Do not rely on information from sales people with fancy titles, Health Advocates, Associates, etc.
- Do not trust that every company who advertises their products are “pure” are truly pure; remember they only need 10% of the essential oil to say it is PURE
- Beware of companies that will not give you easy access to batch specific GC/MS reports
- If you choose to use essential oils internally, only do so under the guidance of a practitioner with your state’s approval to prescribe them. They would be the only ones who have the knowledge to weigh the benefits against the risks. You are dealing with incredible and potent substances and they should be used appropriately.
I am an avid user of essential oils and have seen how they can offer benefits quickly and effectively without the use of toxic chemicals. I have taken a path to gain a more in-depth knowledge of the proper way to use them. I have chosen to be a certified aromatherapist. I know this is not for everyone and it is not a fast program but it is a very worthwhile endeavor. I chose to receive my education from the Aromahead Institute which is approved by the NAHA (National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy) and the AIA (Alliance of International Aromatherapists). I have enjoyed my education received from Aromahead’s Aromatherapy Certification Program. I will use this knowledge to to help others.
I know this article may upset some people, but, I cannot apologize for telling it like it is. Essential oils can deliver their incredible benefits in other ways. They can be used topically when DILUTED, inhaled in an easy to carry inhaler, in a bath properly dispersed with Epson salt, magnesium flakes, milk, etc. and in diffusers. Note – Not every essential oil can be used in the same fashion as there are many factors to consider; age, health, essential oils properties, etc. Make sure you know how to safely use the essential oils.
I hope you will give some thought on how you are using your essential oils. Essential oils have much to offer when used appropriately with safety in mind.