Essential Oil Intake: The Great Debate of Aromatherapy
To date, there are no scientific reasons, based on the evidence, anatomical, physiological or logical to say that essential oils are dangerous for human consumption. Paradoxically, aromatherapists still disagree with each other at this point, which confuses the casual consumer of essential oils even more. Having said that, be assured that large professional organizations such as the National Association of Holistic Aromatherapy of the USA (NAHA) admit a safe internal use.
In the words of NAHA, “Essential oils can be applied to the skin (dermal application), inhaled, diffused or taken internally. Each of these methods has its security issues that must be considered. ” And this makes a lot of sense. As with anything, we can easily overindulge, and we must remember that only a little gives many results in regard to essential oils, especially internal use! We can also find several local and online schools that will certify you as an aromatherapist and learn to practice safe internal use.
The Atlantic Institute of Aromatherapy is an organization is the oldest aromatherapy school, continuously administered by an aromatherapist in exercise. Its founder, Sylla Sheppard-Hanger, has more than 40 years of patient-based experience and has taught aromatherapy classes since 1985. The bottom line is that when an organization like this includes the intake of essential oils in its curriculum, with Hundreds of case studies to support your recommendations, we can be certain that it is a safe practice.
And let’s not forget what the universally acclaimed text, “Safety of Essential Oils: A Guide for Health Professionals” by Robert Tisserand, repeatedly refers to the “maximum oral dose” in relation to the intake of essential oils safely and effectively.
As if that were not enough, according to the FDA (Food and Drug Administration of the United States), essential oils are safe for human consumption as flavor ingredients. To see an exhaustive list approved by the FDA of oils generally recognized as safe see below.
Note: Not all oils that are safe for your intake are included in the list approved by the FDA. I recommend that we use this list as a basic point to start the conversation about what is and what is not safe because everything is reduced to the dose.
Essential Oils Ingestion: what to do and what not to do
Before immersing myself in some of the ways in which the intake of essential oils can be done safely, there are some basic aspects of aromatherapy that we must discuss. Here are some things to do and not do with essential oils.
- Add essential oils in your daily body care regime.
- Use care and learn the basics. This article Essential Oils and Their Properties: Types, Benefits, and Applications will help you.
- There is nothing like a drop of lemon or orange oil in a liter of sparkling water and a little liquid stevia as a special soft drink.
- Have fun and be strong! The use of essential oils and other natural therapies is a life-changing experience for most people and remember to enjoy the trip while learning everything about them!
Do’s and Don’ts With Essential Oil:
- Consume essential oils for “prevention”. This is a waste and a danger, and I was the victim of the everyday myth of taking an essential oil drop under your tongue (or in your water) until I irritated my esophagus and developed acid reflux. The more I learn about essential oils, the less I consume them, and I do it only for specific health problems or my special soda. And, no, it does not matter how “pure” or “therapeutic” they are. Daily consumption is NOT the most effective (and medicinal) way to use them.
- Believe that each health problem within a specific body system must be addressed in the same way. What does this mean? Although peppermint oil is ideal for irritable bowel and nausea, it should not be used for gastroesophageal reflux. The University of Maryland Medical Center specifically warns that peppermint tea and essential oil can relax the esophageal sphincter and poses risks for those with reflux.
- Believe that there is always an oil for everything. Essential oils have changed my life so much that I have dedicated much of my personal and professional life to share the message that they are truly God’s medicine. However, let’s face it. Like anything, essential oils are limited by what they can and can not achieve, and we must not fall into the trap of being the panacea because we can be disappointed.
Now that we agree on the basics, get to work …
Essential oils safe for consumption
The most basic form of essential oil intake is in culinary use. With cinnamon, for example, you could use cinnamon essential oil in a cake dough, but you would only need one drop for the entire product, as opposed to one teaspoon or more of bark powder. Another common internal preparation is to combine it into a drink. Remember that the oil and water do not mix, so simply add a drop to the water and it will remain undiluted. Some oils are irritating and all essential oils are very strong, so it is best to be safe and dilute it first with an edible carrier such as coconut oil.
Tips for ingesting essential oils
It is important to realize that millions of people ingest essential oils throughout the day without even realizing it. Where do you think processed food gets its flavor? Virtually anything that is naturally flavored probably contains essential oils. This is what the FDA says in the official document Code of Regulations, Title 21, Volume 6, Labeling of Foods for Animals: Specific Requirements for the Labeling of Foods for Animals.
Foods that contain “Artificial flavors” and “Spices” do not contain oils.
“(A) (1) The term artificial flavor or artificial flavor means any substance whose function is to impart flavor, which is not derived from a spice, fruit or fruit juice, vegetable or vegetable juice, edible yeast, grass, bark, yolk , root, leaf or similar plant material, meat, fish, poultry, eggs, dairy products or fermentation products thereof. (2) The term spice means any aromatic plant substance in its whole or ground form, except for those substances that have traditionally been considered as food, such as onions, garlic and celery; whose significant function in foods is flavoring instead of nutritional; that is true in name; and from which no portion of any volatile oil or other flavoring principle has been removed.
Foods that contain “natural flavors” contain oils
The term natural flavor or natural flavor means the essential oil, oleoresin, essence or extractive, protein hydrolyzate, distillate or any product of roasting, heating or enzymolysis, containing the flavoring components derived from a spice, fruit or fruit juice, vegetable or vegetable juice, edible yeast, grass, bark, yolk, root, leaf or similar plant material, meat, seafood, poultry, eggs, dairy products or fermentation products thereof, whose significant function in food is flavoring instead of nutritional Natural flavors include the natural essence or extracts obtained from plants. ” By letting common sense be our guide, here are some proven and true tips on how to take essential oils internally.
To begin with, use FDA approved oils that are generally recognized as safe for internal use. Find the list below.
- Use caution (more on this below).
- Do not overdo it: use 2 to 3 drops at a time, and be sure to wait at least 4 hours before taking consecutive doses.
- Listen to your body, and
- Suspend use immediately if adverse reactions occur.
Pain, irritation, swelling, inflammation, swelling, burning, reflux and anything else that is not pleasant is not a good sign. This is your body’s way of warning you that something harmful is attacking you.
Some practical tips:
- Gentle oils such as incense and lemon can be taken directly under the tongue for quick access to the bloodstream.
- More caustic oils such as oregano and cloves should always be diluted with a carrier oil. One drop per teaspoon is generally safe for people.
- Putting 1-2 drops in a capsule can help you avoid esophageal irritation.
- Cooking with essential oils is an extremely effective way to enjoy the health benefits and the wonderful experience through your taste buds. 1-2 drops of coriander with 1-2 drops of lemon, for example, goes wonderfully well with a homemade guacamole. Drizzle 1 drop of cumin into your curry next time. Or 2 drops of black pepper in almost any food!
- Putting 1 drop of citrus oil in your water is generally safe and quite pleasant. A common recipe is a drop of lemon or lime + a little liquid stevia in sparkling water as an alternative to carbonated soft drinks. Just be sure to mix the stevia and the essential oils before adding them to the water to properly dilute and emulsify the solution.
- Include 1-2 drops in your favorite dishes.
List of Essential Oils Safe for Internal Use according to the FDA
- Menthyl acetate
- Carob tree
- Bitter almond (free of prussic acid)
- Angostura (cusparia bark)
- Handle fetid
- Balsamo del Peru
- Juniper berries
- Laurel berries
- Bergamot (orange bergamot)
- Buds of rose
- Balsam (lemon balm)
- Lemon balm (see balsam)
- Wild cherry, bark
- Chinese Cassia Bark
- Bark of Casia de Saigon
- Cusparia bark
- Curcuma of Turmeric zedoaria
- Hard walnut bark
- Chinese cinnamon bark
- Ceylon cinnamon bark
- Cinnamon bark from Saigon
- Wild cherry bark
- Thorny ash bark
- Lemon peel
- Curacao orange peel (orange, bitter skin)
- Citrus peels
- Sloes (blackthorn berries)
- Rose flower
- Violet flower
- Flowers of chamomile (chamomile), Hungarian
- Chamomile (chamomile), Roman or English flowers
- Linden flowers
- Fruits of rose
- Geranium from Eastern India
- Pink Geranium
- Wheat germ
- Hibiscus (seed)
- Sweet fennel
- Chinese cinnamon leaf
- Cinnamon leaf from Ceylon
- Cinnamon leaf from Saigon
- Orange leaf
- Pepper leaf
- Bay leaves
- Violet leaves
- Lavender, spike
- Lavandula latifolia
- Sweet marjoram
- Molasses (extract)
- Green mint
- Bitter orange, flowers
- Bitter orange, skin
- Sweet orange
- Sweet orange, flowers
- Sweet orange, skin
- Cola nut
- Pan de San Juan
- Petitgrain lemon
- Petitgrain tangerine
- Jaimacan pepper
- White pepper
- Black pepper
- Angelica Root
- Dandelion root
- Spanish salvia
- Greek salvia
- Salvia sclarea
- Angelica Seed
- Celery seed
- Cardamom seeds
- Always alive
- Thyme, white
- Thyme, wild or creeping
- Scion of Angelica
- Ylang Ylang
Essential Oils: Use and Dosage Precautions
To use essential oils and their multiple properties safely, it is necessary to know some precautions and recommendations for the use of each of the essential oils, as well as an optimal preservation to prolong the life of our essential oils.
The aromatherapy has many applications in the home, but in order to use safely and obtain maximum benefit, it is important to consider some basic precautions and the most appropriate dose. In this report, we review those issues thoroughly.
Before you start and so that you understand everything we are going to explain, it is very important that you first know how to distinguish between vegetable oils and essential oils. For this, we recommend you read what are vegetable oils and what are essential oils. since it is essential to distinguish them and know them.
Maybe at the moment, all this seems a bit messy, but we assure you that when you start using them, you will end up having a real natural kit to use in all kinds of home remedies because … you will not want to use anything else.
The essential oils are very complex and concentrated substances should always be diluted in another conductive substance. The best ones are:
It is the best option since the essential oils are diluted perfectly in them. The mixtures made with vegetable and essential oils have particularly practical and effective applications in the field of natural cosmetics, both to make your own homemade cosmetics and natural creams with beeswax. The best thing about this option is that you can use the properties of each of them to create fully customized products, both for cosmetics and for therapeutic applications, for example, varicose veins, fluid retention, etc. Discover what are the best essential oils in natural cosmetics and the best vegetable oils in natural cosmetics.
The properties of the clay perfectly complement the essential oil. The main application that has to mix essential oils and vegetables with the different types of clay is to make homemade masks or therapeutic plasters. As an example, the homemade mask for cellulite. Remember that for masks, it is also convenient to add the best fruits of the skin.
If we dilute the essential oils in alcohol, then we will obtain a tincture.
We may also combine different methods, or simply use a certain essential oil its characteristics (disinfectant, anti-inflammatory, etc.) adding water, vinegar, etc. Essential oils never completely dissolve in water or vinegar but can be useful for certain applications. We propose three examples of how to use essential oils with water or other elements: home remedy for a headache, the remedy to eliminate lice and nits or how to make natural cleaning products.
Although it is always advisable to dilute any essential oil in a conductive substance, there are three exceptions; three very soft oils (which are the first ones that we advise you to experiment with) that can be used directly on the skin, undiluted and which are: lavender, chamomile, and tea tree. However, with all essential oils, it is advisable to first test the forearm with a drop, to know that allergies or intolerances are not suffered.
The dosage of essential oils
In general, the dosage when making a mixture to be used topically (on the skin) must be:
- 98% conductive substance
- 2% essential oil
To give you an idea, in a 30ml container, we would fill it with the conductive substance, and add 15 drops of essential oils (one or a mixture of several of them). This formula is for adults and healthy people. In general, infants and children under 2, as well as pregnant women and women over 80, should use half or one-third of the adult dose (1% or 0.5%). This is the reason why all the essential oils that we find in the market have incorporated in the container an eyedropper that allows adjusting the amount just and necessary for any type of application.
If you are going to use essential oils that you are not going to apply on the skin (for example to set the home, or to make a homemade cleaning product) it is not necessary to take these doses into account. Use what you need, depending on the amount of flavor you like.
Precautions for use in essential oils
Do not eat
Although some currents of alternative medicine and aromatherapy use essential oils as an internal treatment, it is not advisable to ingest any essential oil without specialized medical supervision. In case of an accident, you must go immediately to a hospital.
Do not apply directly to the skin
As we have seen, the only essential oils that can be used directly on the skin are those of lavender, tea tree and chamomile (although, for greater safety, even with these essential oils, we must make a test and check on the forearm that no we have allergy or intolerance ). The rest must be diluted with a conductive substance such as vegetable oils, clays, water, or alcohol.
Do not put in contact with the eyes
Almost all essential oils, being so concentrated essences, are irritating so that if we accidentally touch an eye after having manipulated a container with essential oils, it is quite likely that it stings us. If this happens, we should apply a generous dose of vegetable oil (for example olive oil ) with a cotton ball over the eye trying to drag the remains of the essential oil and then rinse with plenty of water.
Pregnant, babies, and the elderly
In these three cases, apart from reducing the dose, it is better to limit yourself to the safest essential oils , which are lavender, tea tree and chamomile (except for pregnant women who should also avoid chamomile), since , if we do not know in depth the particular characteristics of each essential oil, we can make the mistake of using one with emenagogue properties, that is, that increases the blood flow in the pelvic area, promoting menstruation, raising blood pressure or that we decompose the nervous system. Before using an essential oil, make sure of its properties, indications, and contraindications.
Neurological and coronary problems
People suffering from neurological or coronary disorders should also be limited to the three essential oils mentioned above for the same reasons.
The essential oils that come from citrus fruits such as lemon, orange or bergamot have a photosensitizing effect. This means that if we apply them to the skin and then take the sun, it can cause spots or slight burns. Therefore, it is better to limit its use to the winter months and trying not to sunbathe in the following hours after having applied them. The hypericum oleate is also photosensitizing.
Tips to preserve essential oils
Taking into account some basic considerations, we will achieve that the essential oils that we accumulate in our natural homemade kit will last much longer. An essential oil, if stored in good environmental conditions, may have a duration of up to four years, keeping all its properties in perfect condition.
The three indispensable conditions for this to happen is that the essence does not receive heat, light or oxygen.
To do this, we must keep it in an opaque glass container (never plastic) inside a closed cabinet to prevent it from receiving light.
It is also important that we know that the room where we store it does not concentrate excessive heat in the summer months. One of the ideal places in the bathroom closet since it often has small windows and usually overlooks the interior area of the house.
Every time we go to use the essential oil, we must make sure to keep the container open as soon as possible, since the essential oil volatilizes when it comes into contact with the environment, so that if you keep it open for a few hours, the Oil will evaporate completely and will disappear (if it is of good quality).
As you can see, we feel a great devotion towards the use of essential oils and vegetables, because our experience is that they truly offer wonderful results in numerous applications in the home. However, these beneficial effects are only obtained when we buy quality oils, that is, organic and handmade.
One of the first indicators to know if an oil is of quality (both vegetable and essential) is that it does not have a suspiciously cheap price. On the other hand, the price of each oil is different … distrust of the stores in which all cost the same.