Avoiding Hype for Safety: Why we do not recommend taking essential oils internally
First, essential oils are generally safe; they simply need to be used properly! We are SO pleased to see that people are attempting natural methods of healing instead of immediately adding to their pharmaceuticals (which can also be beneficial when needed!). Here in our shop in Lancaster and on-line we are often asked, however, why we do not recommend internal issues of EO (unless as directed by a doctor)**. Well, here a few reasons why:
First, please understand that the FDA plays no part in the grading or testing the safety of essential oils. Generally Regarded as Safe (GRAS) is an umbrella tool which has been used by some companies to place ingestion labels on their EO bottles. But GRAS standards under the FDA relate to food additives (like making an apple butter with cinnamon for example) and have NOT been tested with regard to essential oils (importantly as related to their intense concentrations). These labels do NOT relate to purity!!! In fact, purity claims like “Therapeutic Grade” are simply a made-up terms self-describing products some companies sell. Therefore, they are marketing slogans.
EO have a long studied safety record - especially when inhaled and applied topically. Internal use recommendations becoming a popular trend on-line and additional study is needed. Thus, the relatively NEW hype: companies claiming that their essential oils are safer to ingest, because of their own internal grading systems with no check and balance system in place. Kind of confusing for most new to essential oils!!!
Importantly, essential oils are powerful, and may be harmful to your digestive system. Essential Oils are highly concentrated. Just because an essential oil is 100% pure, does not mean that it cannot cause some harm. For example, ingestion of only teaspoon of Eucalyptus oil can be fatal to a child - same with Wintergreen at even lesser amounts. In addition, Lemon essential oil contains high amounts of Limonene - a solvent that can damage your esophagus. Next, more information is needed regarding how essential oils can interact or destroy your needed gut flora.
Indeed, we do not know the effect of the concentrated EO and stomach acid mixture. We all know that certain medications can be damaging to the digestive system – especially a damaged one. Many EO can be damaging in a similar way. After ingestion, EO will be absorbed via all regions of the digestive track and ultimately go to the liver. There are also likely issues with prescription drug interactions that have not been studied.
Finally, certain concentrated constituents in essential oils can actually block absorption of necessary vitamins and minerals, which is also an area where more study is needed. Oregano oil, for example is known to block iron absorption. Oregano, however, can be used topically (VERY well diluted) thereby avoiding mineral blockage.
Thankfully, there is no need to run the risk of damage to the digestive track or liver when the benefits of EO can be enjoyed with proper diffusing and topical applications. Indeed, our skin, our largest organ, also is an excellent route of absorption into the blood stream without being a sensitive and easily damaged as say the esophagus.
So avoid the hype and go for safety!!
Copyright Josiah'sOilsLLC2015 (to quote, kindly give credit and link)
Ninette Jackson, C.A.
8 Meadow Ln., Lancaster, PA
Call or e-mail us with any questions!!!!
**In addition, the Alliance of International Aromatherapists does not endorse internal use of essential oils unless recommended and overseen by a doctor.