Ingestion of Essential Oils-Cautiously Approached


As essential oils have become more and more popular, many want to learn internal use. Over the years, I have said as well as other Aromatherapists on different levels of knowledge “do not ingest without proper schooling”, leaving people scratching their head and looking elsewhere for this wealth of knowledge. Naturally we will turn to what resources we have available. And at times, those resources end up being salespeople or other essential oil novelists that give unsafe advice. Unfortunately, unsafe advice is also given through some not so reliable websites. Knowing which oils are safe to use internally, knowing the safest methods, having the knowledge to determine whether your ailment is an internal issue or external issue, all play an important role in your decision to use your oils internally. My recommendation is to not ingest unless you have been trained on the pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of essential oils. Clinical Aromatherapists have been and can assist. If you decide to take on this type of application, there are a few things you can do to minimize risk.

Tisserand outlines hazard identification, dose-response analysis, exposure quanitification, and risk characterization of internal use. Dose-response analysis is gathered through research, analyzing how much is enough and how long is enough to be effective for the issue without becoming a risk. The complexity of steps to do this ensure safe use. However, even in research, it is known that to determine what becomes a risk to an individual, we must know the basis of ones’ genetics. Research gives us a “guide” to go by but we must analyze the individual person as well.

When there are chemicals involved, whether produced by man or referring to the chemistry of nature, there is always a risk IF the appropriate steps are not taken to protect you or your client. “Nature” or “natural” does not mitigate safety.

Essential oils, are by nature, made of chemical components. There can be anywhere from 20-200 components within an oil. Although all components make up an oil, it's the major components that play the healing role and, dependent on the component, can actuate risk. “With hazard comes risk”. Knowing which components within an oil is considered a hazard or toxic, or are irritants, can save one from taking hazardous risks.

There are both harmful and protective therapeutic chemicals within oils. The “one shoe fits all” scenario does not apply. Along with knowledge of chemical components in essential oils, to avoid risk of a toxic reaction, you need the susceptibility of an individual. To understand the susceptibility, you need to know the age, body weight, health issues including chronic illnesses, pregnancy, blood pressure or other circulatory problems, as we as medications related to the individual. Even hereditary traits can be taken into consideration.

Before taking on internal use, it necessary to know what components and percen