Should you consume essential oils internally?
We truly love essential oils, however as aromatherapists, we are also acutely aware of their limitations and drawbacks. Simply put, essential oils are made up of hundreds of chemical constituents. Yes, I used that nasty word….CHEMICAL. However what most users fail to remember is that nature is FULL of chemicals and the fact that essential oils have a natural origin does not mitigate their power. Having worked in the chemical industry, my mantra is “Just because it comes from nature does not mean it is safe AND just because it comes from a lab doesn’t mean it is bad”. The work in laboratories has brought us many life-saving and life-extending blessings……..penicillin for example. Yet there are situations where using penicillin would not be recommended.
Consider this…. the majority of.essential oils are made up of terpenes, aldehydes, esters and phenols. In nature, some of these components actually work as solvents.(lemon oil removes grease). These same components are fully known to damage mucus membranes…… such as are found in your esophagus, your throat, your stomach, and your eyes. Some oils interfere with diabetes, heart, seizure and blood thinning medications. Others will impede the absorption of beneficial pharmaceuticals.
The International Federation of Aromatherapists do not recommend that Essential Oils be taken internally unless under the supervision of a Medical Doctor who is also qualified in clinical Aromatherapy. Proper dilutions, evaluation of contraindications with other medications plus the monitoring of liver enzymes is considered a critical step in any therapeutic program involving ingestion.
A wonderful source of essential oil education is the National Association of Holistic Aromatherapy (NAHA.org). Please trust knowledgeable sources such as NAHA (rather than a google search on the internet) or a trained aromatherapist or trained herbalist before using products distilled from plants.