Is It Safe to Ingest Essential Oils?
Updated: Dec 9, 2019
I've come across some people who have concerns about ingesting essential oils. I did not have these same concerns because many people I trusted and knew were already using essential oils and ingesting them and had advised me on safely doing so: one drop goes a long way, dilute with a carrier oil when you make your own capsules, etc. So I wondered why people would have these concerns and decided to do some digging.
Different Models of Essential Oil Usage
One of my findings was that some aromatherapists recommend not to ingest them and to limit topical application as well. Aromatherapists are definitely well versed on the benefits of essential oils, so I continued researching. I then realized something very important: look at the word aromatherapist. The origin of the word aroma means "fragrant substance", and the Latin and Greek origin of the word therapy means "healing" (dictionary.com). So the word aromatherapy can literally translate to fragrant substance healing, which would imply the therapeutic benefits would be from smelling the fragrance. Well no wonder some aromatherapists wouldn't recommend to ingest. That method of using essential oils would not be included in their education as the focus would mostly be on the fragrant influence essential oils has on our mind, body, and spirit through diffusing or inhaling.
Further in my research, I learned there are actually three different models for essential oil usage: French, German, and English. According to Life Science Publishing (2015), the French model recognizes ingestion and topical application for using essential oils, the German model emphasizes the aromatic usage of essential oils, and the English model promotes the use of diluting essential oils and using in massage. As you can see here, there are three different ways to use essential oils: aromatic, topical, and as a dietary supplement.
While not all models follow the same usage guidelines, this does not mean aromatherapists are wrong or the French, German, or English models are wrong. I once worked at a chiropractic clinic and would often read publications. When I see conflicting or different opinions, I often think of this case study I read of an infant with acute torticollis. The medical doctor's recommended approach to this issue was to perform surgery to snip the muscle in the infant's neck to significantly reduce the head's tilt. The chiropractor's recommended approach was to perform intensive chiropractic rehabilitation over several weeks to improve the alignment in the infant's neck. The family opted to go with the chiropractic care and were able to achieve the results they desired. My point is, here are two solutions to one problem, two ways to approach an issue, two professionals with different expertise. Neither of them are wrong, just as someone who chooses to use their oils aromatically, topically, or as a dietary supplement is wrong. That being said, there is something very important you need to know.
Not All Oils are Safe to Ingest
This is one of the most important things you need to know: NOT ALL ESSENTIAL OILS ARE CREATED EQUALLY. Not by a long shot. There are different grades of essential oils and some really should never be ingested. As a consumer, it is your responsibility to read the label of the essential oil you purchase and to follow the recommended usage guidelines. Did you know Lavender essential oil is one of the most adulterated oils on the market? Some essential oils are manufactured in a lab, which means they are not a high quality product from nature, rather a synthetic version that may provide little to no benefit, or may could even be dangerous. Look for essential oils that are unadulterated and are harvested, distilled, tested, and bottled with strict standards. I strongly discourage purchasing your essential oils from a big box store or a third party seller on shopping or auction sites. The price tag might be attractive, but you more than likely will not experience the benefits you were looking for when you decided to purchase.
Where to Get Oils Labeled for Dietary Supplement Usage
Young Living has an entire line of essential oils called Vitality that are labeled for dietary usage. Always refer to the label for the recommended usage instructions. The Vitality line is great to use in cooking and baking, enhancing beverages, and for making your own daily capsule. If you don't want to make a capsule, you can also add drops of Vitality oils of your choice to a shot of NingXia Red, a small glass of non-dairy milk or a tablespoon of honey. The Vitality line features herb, spice, citrus, and supplement essential oils. You can check out the collection here.
The Choice is Yours
I use my oils aromatically, topically, and as a dietary supplement. I determine the method I'll use by what type of outcome I am hoping to achieve. Ultimately, it is your choice how you decide to use essential oils. You should use your essential oils in the manner in which you feel most comfortable and in accordance with the label. Always be sure to read the label.
About the Author: Serena James is a holistic healer and the author of Vibe Higher. She offers a variety of energy healing services and workshops to help individuals experience a life of love, abundance, and wellness as they were meant to.
Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only and is not intended to treat, diagnose, cure, or prevent any disease or illness. Any action you take as a result of this information is self-prescribed and your right to do so.