Essential oils are very popular nowadays, and who can say they’re surprised? These oils smell incredible, and have been linked to a multitude of benefits when used correctly.
They are often used in aromatherapy, and most homes have some kind of diffuser hidden away somewhere.
We all know about the pleasant smells of essential oils, but have you ever thought about ingesting them? Some people swear by ‘eating’ essential oils!
If you are curious about ingesting essential oils and want to find out if doing that is even safe, you’re in the right place.
In this post, we’re going to take a look at what essential oils actually are, what they’re used for, and if they can be ingested safely.
What Are Essential Oils?
Essential oils are potent compounds that are extracted from a range of plants. These oils are manufactured to capture the ‘essence’ of a chosen plant, including its flavor and scent.
The unique aroma we get from essential oils are obtained through a process known as distillation with water/steam, or even different mechanical methods like cold pressing.
Aromatic oils are no new discovery. Records show that these kinds of aromatic oils were used in China as early as 2697 B.C.E, and were very popular.
Some experts even suggest the use of essential oil-type products as early as 4500 B.C.E in Egypt.
Since then, the oils were rediscovered around 1920 by a French perfumer and chemist by the name of René-Maurice Gattefossé.
What Are They Used For?
Essential oils can be used for a multitude of things. From simply smelling amazing to potentially having actual health benefits, these oil’s uses are diverse.
Depending on the type of essential oil you have, there could be any number of uses for it. Generally, however, essential oils are used for things like aromatherapy.
In aromatherapy, you will inhale the essential oils in different ways, often with the help of a diffuser.
These oils can have different effects on your body, and as the oils are absorbed by the body, you may begin to feel some changes.
It is thought that inhaling essential oil aromas will stimulate parts of the limbic system.
For those who are not familiar, the limbic system is a part of your brain that has a strong connection to long term memory, emotions, sense of smell, and behaviors.
This link between the limbic system and the sense of smell is likely to be why some smells frequently trigger memories in humans.
Not only that, but the limbic system is heavily involved in controlling a number of unconscious physiological functions.
These functions include simple things including controlling our heart rates, blood pressure, and breathing.
Because of this connection, there are many people who believe that essential oils can have a strong impact on your body.
It should be noted that there is no valid and reliable data to tell us that this is the case. However, as these theories have not been disproved, there is a chance that these essential oils may have a big impact on health.
The lack of solid proof should not dissuade you from using these products, as there are many who swear that essential oils have made a difference to their health.
In the end, however, more evidence is needed to get a scientific backing for the impact of essential oils on health.
Essential oils have also been ingested and topically applied to aid in absorption. We will be exploring these as the post continues, but it is important to note that doing either of these things is not always recommended.
Speaking to a medical professional is always recommended before ingesting or applying any kind of essential oil.
Are They Good For You?
Like we mentioned above, essential oils are rumored to have a whole host of benefits when used correctly. However, they can also be damaging when they are not used properly.
Before starting to use essential oils, it’s essential to read up on them and find out all the dos and don’ts associated with them.
Luckily for you, all those dos and don’ts will be right here in this post, so just keep reading to find out!
It is widely believed that essential oils are good for you and have health benefits. From improving your sleep quality and relaxing to supporting healthy liver function, there are a lot of claims out there.
According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), there are some essential oils that are actually safe for human consumption when used as flavor ingredients.
That means that some of these oils can be ingested in small amounts, and they will not be harmful to you.
However, there are some caveats to this, as there are some populations who should not be exposed to certain essential oils. We will dive into those a little later on.
Here are some of the most popular essential oils and the potential health claims that are associated with them when used:
- Bergamot: may be used to improve some skin conditions (e.g., eczema) and reduce stress.
- Chamomile: can be used to help people relax and improve their mood.
- Jasmine: might be able to help with aid in childbirth, libido, and even depression.
- Lavender: could be used to help relieve stress.
- Lemon: can be used to help with headaches, general mood, and aid digestion
- Peppermint: may be used to help boost energy as well as aid digestion
- Rose: might be used to reduce anxiety and improve overall mood
- Sandalwood: could be used to help calm nerves and help people stay more focused
- Tea Tree: can be used to help fight infections and also boost your immunity
- Ylang-Ylang: may be used to help treat some skin conditions, as well as treat headaches and nausea
Can You Ingest Essential Oils?
So, the FDA has said that some essential oils are generally safe to consume, but that doesn’t mean they all are. In fact, there are some essential oils that you should never consume, or even apply topically.
On top of that, you also need to consider the brand of essential oil you are considering ingesting.
Some brands use more chemicals in their products. These chemicals could actually be damaging when ingested, so make sure you read and understand every ingredient present in your oils before doing anything with them.
You also need to remember that any essential oils that are considered safe to ingest are only safe when taken in very small amounts.
Too much of an essential oil will have negative side effects, and there are some that are only suited for aromatherapy.
Let’s take a look at which essential oils you should definitely steer clear of if you’re thinking of ingesting them in any way, and the ones you can try out.
The Ones You Should Never Ingest
There are a few essential oils that should never be ingested for safety reasons. Even small amounts of these oils can cause terrible side effects and be hazardous to our health.
If you have these essential oils, be sure to always keep them out of reach of children and pets, and never try to ingest even small amounts of them.
- White fir
These essential oils are generally considered never safe to ingest, no matter their brand. The potency of these oils make them too easy to overdose, which can result in very dangerous symptoms and side effects.
The Ones You Can Ingest
Great essential oils to help with anxiety, as recommended by Healthline
- Sweet basil
- Holy basil
- Clary sage
- Lemon balm
These essential oils are good options for alleviating anxiety, but this does not mean that they should be used frequently.
Although they are considered safe to use, there are still many other things to consider before putting them to use.
There are some brands that openly state that their essential oils are safe for human consumption, and there are others that should strictly be used for aromatherapy.
Before using any essential oil, see what the manufacturer says about their product.
List of doTERRA essential oils that are considered safe to ingest:
- Wild orange
- Cinnamon bark
- Roman chamomile
- Black pepper
- Juniper berry
How to Tell If You Can Ingest Essential Oils
As briefly mentioned in the point above, some essential oils companies clearly state that their products are safe for ingestion, while others do not.
This can be an incredibly important thing to look out for if you want to ingest essential oils.
There are a number of brands and manufacturers that claim that their essential oils are safe for ingestion, so it can be assumed that these are the oils you should turn to for ingestion.
Below, we will take a look at some companies that explicitly state that their essential oils are safe for consumption, and some that do not.
This should give you a good idea of which companies you should buy from. If a company does not disclose if their essential oils are safe for ingestion, assume that they are not.
All companies should disclose this as a matter of safety for their companies, so you know that those who do give this information care about the health of their customers.
Essential Oil Brands That Are Safe To Ingest
Please note that the claims made by these companies are not FDA approved. Although some of these companies advocate the ingestion of essential oils, all information should be taken with a grain of salt.
If any of these companies have directions on their websites for how to safely use their essential oils for ingestion, follow them closely.
Essential Oil Brands That Are Not Safe To Ingest
The below essential oil brands do not endorse the ingestion of essential oils. This means that their instructions tell users NOT to ingest them for their own safety. These oils are perfectly suitable for diffuser use, but should not be ingested.
What To Look For In Essential Oils
The first thing you should do when considering ingesting essential oils is looking for the right brand. The brands mentioned above give you an idea of just a few to be wary of, but there will be many more out there.
Make sure that the manufacturer considers the oils safe for ingestion, and follow their guidelines carefully.
You may also want to check for any unnecessary ingredients in the product. There may be ingredients that you specifically do not want to ingest for whatever reason, so double check that.
Any company that advocates essential oil ingestion will (or should, anyway) have a list of natural, non-toxic ingredients. However, take the extra step and ensure that it is safe for yourself.
Depending on what you want to get out of the essential oil, you should pick your product wisely. Need help getting a better night’s rest? Try lavender.
Read up on every essential oil and what the potential benefits of using them could be. There is a lot of information that you can easily access to find out more about the right essential oil for you and your specific needs.
Testing For Allergies And Irritations
An important thing to do before ingesting any kind of essential oil is testing for allergies, especially when using essential oils topically. To test for an essential oil allergy, follow the simple steps below.
- Get your chosen essential oil
- Dilute the essential oil with a carrier oil (such as almond, jojoba, or coconut)
- For adults, dilute every 15 drops of essential oil with 1-ounce of your carrier oil of choice
- For children, every 3-6 drops of essential oil should be diluted with 1-ounce of carrier oil
- Once diluted, place some drops of the diluted mixture onto your elbow or wrist
- Cover the area with a bandage
- Leave for 24 hours
- Check the area for any itching, redness, or rashes after 24 hours.
- If there has been any kind of reaction to the oils, it is unsafe to use them on any skin.
Using essential oils is not recommended for everyone. Individuals who are breastfeeding, pregnant, or have underlying health problems should not use these oils without a professional’s supervision.
There are different rules that should be followed depending on the person, and children are especially sensitive to these effects. Below, we will take a look at the guidelines that should be followed for children.
Essential Oil Rules For Children
Children and infants are more sensitive to the potentially harmful effects of essential oils. You should always follow the safety guidelines of the particular essential oils you are using.
However, there are general rules to follow to help ensure the safety of children. Although these rules are for topical use, they are important to bear in mind. It is critical to store all essential oils out of reach of any children.
- Children under 6 years old – should not get peppermint applied topically
- Children under 10 years old – should not get eucalyptus applied topically
Essential oils should not be ingested by children or teenagers. Only adults should ingest essential oils, and even then they need to be very careful.
Any kind of essential oil ingestion done by children can have devastating effects. There have been cases of children ingesting amounts of these oils and experiencing symptoms such as seizures, lethargy, and vomiting.
Health Risks Of Ingesting Essential Oils
- Tea tree – this oil can cause rash or irritation when applied topically. It can cause loss of muscle coordination and confusion when swallowed, and if ingested, may also affect hormones in prepubescent males.
- Anise – is ingested, the anise lowers essential oil and can lower the antidepressant effects of some medications. It can also increase the effects of some drugs that have an influence on the central nervous system.
- Peppermint – individuals who ingest this oil can experience heartburn. If applied topically, common side effects include rashes and other irritations.
- Cinnamon – if this essential oil is applied without diluting or ingested, it can cause double vision, contact dermatitis, nausea, vomiting, and facial flushing.
- Eucalyptus – if ingested, this essential oil can cause seizures.
- Sage – when ingested in large quantities, this essential oil may cause vomiting, rapid heart rate restlessness, kidney damage, vertigo, seizures and tremors.
- Nutmeg – if ingested, nutmeg essential oils can cause hallucinations or even comas when ingested in large amounts. If applied topically, individuals may experience burnish or a rash wherever the oil is applied.
Ways To Ingest Essential Oils
If ingesting safe essential oils, it is recommended that they are put in capsules with a carrier oil. Alternatively, tiny amounts can be used in recipes such as meals or drinks.
It is not recommended to ingest essential oils from the bottle in their pure form.
If you do not want to ingest essential oils, they can be used by being applied topically or through aromatherapy. Follow the instructions given for the brand of essential oils you have and follow the guidelines set out.
Something To Remember About Essential Oils
It is important to remember that not all essential oils are safe for ingestion or topical use. Before using any new oil, test it to see how you react to it.
If using typically, do a patch test to check for allergies. If ingesting the oils, ensure that the oil you wish to ingest is safe to do so.
Some types are not suitable for ingestion, while others are. Always refer to the manufacturer’s guidelines before doing anything.
Some essential oils are suitable for ingestion, but only in small amounts. In order to be safe, it is always best to carry out your research for the brand you are using.
The dosage may differ from person to person, and you should always get in contact with a healthcare professional before taking any.
Your essential oil use may be limited for a number of reasons, including pregnancy, breastfeeding, underlying health issues, or medications you are taking.
Make sure that you read up on all the possible benefits and side effects of the particular essential oils you wish to have, and look at the brand regulations.
Hopefully this has answered your questions of essential oils! The takeaway note is that you can ingest some essential oils, but not all are safe to do so.