Is it Safe to Take Essential Oils Orally?
Ingesting essential oils poses severe risks of mucous membrane irritation and potential damage to internal organs such as the liver and kidneys. Furthermore, there is an increased possibility of negative interaction between essential oil constituents and other medications being taken simultaneously. It is crucial to exercise caution and avoid ingestion unless under the supervision of a qualified practitioner.
Understanding Internal Use of Essential Oils
The International Federation of Aromatherapists has provided comprehensive guidelines on the safe use of essential oils regarding ingestion and neat application. It is important to understand these guidelines to avoid potential risks and complications when using essential oils for their therapeutic properties and aromatic benefits.
The medical community is increasingly focusing on the potential benefits of using essential oils internally to address a range of health issues, thanks to their natural anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties. As a result, many people are turning to essential oils for immune system support and other health concerns. However, it is important for individuals to consult with their doctor before taking essential oils internally, as not all oils are safe for internal use. Additionally, certain contraindications must be taken into account based on the specific type of oil being used.
Before delving into this broader topic, it is beneficial to understand what is categorized as internal use of essential oils.
Internal use encompasses:
1. Oral intake of essential oils
2. The insertion of suppositories on the transvaginal and rectal areas
3. Rinsing one's mouth with a mouthwash containing essential oils, and
4. The application of essential oils on any other body orifices such as the nose, ears, and eyes.
Essential Oils Safe for Internal Use
Fennel, known for its ability to treat conditions related to gastric spasms, bloating, and flatulence, has been declared safe for internal use by the German Commission E. Its primary function is to stimulate gastric activity while also producing an antispasmodic effect in higher doses. Anethole and Fennel have also been found to encourage respiratory tract secretions, making it a useful remedy for upper respiratory tract issues.
For children with catarrh of the upper respiratory tract, fennel honey is a recommended remedy. To make fennel honey, 0.5 g of its essential oil should be added to 1 kilogram of honey. A safe daily dose of this honey is between 10-20 g for children.
The recommended daily use of essential fennel oil is between 0.1 and 0.6 ml, or 0.1 and 0.6 grams of the plant. It is important to note that fennel preparations should not be used for extended periods without the approval of a physician or pharmacist. Internal use of fennel essential oil is also not advised during pregnancy and in infants/children, and an infusion should be used instead.
Anise, or Pimpinella anisum L., is a traditional home remedy for indigestion, helping to calm the stomach and ease digestive discomfort. The recommended average daily intake of essential oil in anise for adults is 0.3 grams, providing benefits such as improved digestion and reduced inflammation. Anise also offers a soothing aroma that can aid with sleep and relaxation, further assisting with digestion. Individuals with indigestion issues should consult a doctor to determine if anise is beneficial and to determine the appropriate daily dosage.
Caraway (Carum carvi L.) may help with minor digestive issues like flatulence, bloating, and indigestion. It is recommended to take 3 to 6 drops per day as part of a regular regime, with no known contraindications.
Cinnamon bark, or Cinnamomum verum J.S. Presl (also known as C. zeylanicum flower), is effective in treating gastrointestinal disorders such as mild gastrointestinal cramps, anorexia, and flatulence. It also possesses antibacterial, antifungal, and motility-improving properties. For regular use, it is recommended to use up to 0.2 grams of essential oil per day. However, allergic reactions of the skin and mucous membranes are common, so individuals with cinnamon or Peru balsam allergies should avoid using essential oils. If taking essential oil orally, it is crucial to combine it with an appropriate carrier oil and place it in a capsule to prevent burning of the gastrointestinal tract.
Eucalyptus (scientific name Eucalyptus spp.) is useful for treating catarrh in the respiratory system, both internally and externally. However, it is not recommended for individuals with inflammatory diseases of the gastrointestinal or biliary tract, or for those with severe liver disease. The average daily dose for internal use is 0.3-0.6g of eucalyptus oil. Side effects of taking eucalyptus preparations are rare but may include nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.
Lavender flower (Lavandula angustifolia) is indicated for internal use to treat agitation, insomnia, and other mood disorders, as well as functional abdominal discomfort such as Roemheld's syndrome, neurogenic inflammation of the stomach, flatulence, and nervous bowel discomfort. The recommended daily use of lavender oil is 1-4 drops (approximately 20-80 mg), with a sugar cube being the most common method.
Rose Essential Oil is renowned for its positive effects on mental health, offering sedative, stress-relieving, and anti-depressive effects due to its calming aroma. Preliminary evidence suggests that when inhaled or used topically, it can help reduce anxiety and improve mood. Other claims report its use as a remedy for insomnia, fatigue, irritability, and various mental health issues. Rose oil is a safe and natural alternative for those seeking to improve their mental health and overall well-being. Ongoing research and use may reveal further benefits of rose oil in the future.
When using essential oils, it is essential to be aware of the potential for skin reactions, including irritation, sensitization, and phototoxicity. Sensitization involves an allergic reaction that affects the immune system and can occur even with small amounts of essential oil.
It is important to understand the legal framework surrounding the internal use of essential oils, as it varies from country to country.
1. Which essential oils are safe to ingest?
2. Ingestion and Neat Application of Essential Oils Guidance