Should I Take Essential Oils Internally?
We have been receiving a lot of customer questions asking us about how to take essential oils internally.
There are essential oil businesses springing up around Australia recommending this to their customers. One major question we have been asked is…”is it safe to do this?”
This is a complicated question, but let’s take a look at it. Essentially (pun intended), the internal use of essential oils dates back to France, probably earlier, but this is where our story begins. Doctors in France would (and still do) prescribe essential oils to patients after a diagnosis of illness in the form of a capsule.
In Australia, The International Federation of Aromatherapists takes the following stance on the prescribing of essential oils internally in Australia… “The IAAMA acknowledges that essential oils are used in very low doses for applications such as cooking, flavouring, mouth washes and throat sprays. No Member of the IAAMA shall use or promote the use of 'therapeutic doses' of essential oils for internal ingestion unless the practising aromatherapist has an advanced diploma in aromatic medicine, other ingestive modality with training in essential oils or medical qualifications and holds an insurance policy which specifically covers the internal ingestion and internal application of essential oils.”
Although modern multi-level marketing companies are casual about the internal use of essential oils, it is wise to carefully consider all the factors involved before using essential oils internally. There are few instances when ingestion of essential oils is preferred over other methods.
Seeking guidance from a certified aromatherapist is definitely recommended! It is important to keep in mind that internal use has risks! Because the mucous membrane is thinner, it allows for a more rapid ingestion of essential oils. Any safety concerns associated with the essential oil become more of a concern when ingested, as “up to 95% reaches the bloodstream when used internally” than the “potential 10% when used topically.” Physical contact of essential oils on the mucous membranes can cause immediate irritation or even burns.
Long-term consequences of allowing essential oils to physically touch this delicate skin can lead to permanent damage, including scarring and ulcers, as well as liver and/or kidney damage, and the potential for cancer.
In our opinion, the safest option is to use the herb. Steeping herbs for internal use gives the required therapeutic benefit without the risk associated with potent essential oils.