Ingesting Essential Oils: Are They Safe for Internal Use or Not?

Are Essential Oils Safe for Internal Use

What to you think? Is ingesting essential oils safe? It should be no surprise that scientific research and traditional aromatherapy agree on their answers.

I'm not sure how it exactly happened, but somehow misguided people started to instill fear into essential oils users that these precious compounds are unsafe for internal use. I say “misguided” in the deepest respect, as I understand that we all have differing opinions, and I know that I'm going to get a lot of “love mail” for this post – hate mail sounds too ugly, doesn't it? 😉

With that said, the more I learn about them, ingesting essential oils is not a common practice for me and my family. I still enjoy a drop of lemon in a 32 ounce glass liter of sparkling water with some liquid stevia as my special soda pop, but that's about it unless I'm battling some specific health condition. It has taken me a year of research & study and literally hundreds (if not thousands) of hours to get to this “revelation.”

In this article, you will learn:

  1. The Great Aromatherapy Debate
  2. Do's & Don'ts
  3. Aromatherapy 101
  4. How Essential Oils are Used
  5. Tips for Ingesting Essential Oils
  6. FDA Approved GRAS Essential Oils

The Great Aromatherapy Debate

I regularly get questions from people asking me about ingesting essential oils and I now understand why there's so much confusion. One myth breeds more myths. Innocent uncertainty breeds more uncertainty. And the vicious cycle continues.

The fact remains that there are no scientific, evidence-based, anatomical, physiological or logical reasons to say that essentials oils are unsafe for human consumption. Paradoxically, aromatherapists are still at odds with each other on this point, which confuses the casual essential oil user all the more. With that said, rest assured that large professional organizations like National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy (NAHA) support safe, internal use.

In the words of NAHA, “Essential oils may be applied on the skin (dermal application), inhaled, diffused or taken internally. Each of these methods have safety issues which need to be considered.” (1) And this makes complete sense to me. Like anything we can easily overdo it, and we must remember a little goes a long way with 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 how to practice safe, internal use.

The Atlantic Institute of Aromatherapy is one organization in particular that I have strongly aligned myself with as it is the oldest aromatherapy school continually run by a practicing aromatherapist. Their founder, Sylla Sheppard-Hanger, has over 40 years of client-based experience, and has been teaching classes in aromatherapy since 1985. The bottom line is that when an organization like this includes ingesting essential oils guidelines in their curriculum – with hundreds of case studies to support their recommendations – people should stop for a second a listen, don't you agree?

And let's not forget what the universally acclaimed text, Essential Oil Safety: A Guide for Health Care Professionals, repeatedly refers to “maximum oral dose” in relation to ingesting essential oils safely and effectively.

The thing that really throws me through a loop regarding people who speak out against ingesting essential oils is that they are in direct opposition of the dozens of human studies in the scientific literature and completely disregard the Food and Drug Administration. Yes, you read that correctly! According to the FDA, essential oils are safe for human consumption as flavor ingredients. For the exhaustive FDA-approved list of Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS) oils see below. (2)

Note: not all oils that are safe for ingestion are included in the FDA-approved GRAS list. I recommend that we use this list as a base point to start the conversation about what is and what is not safe because it all boils down to dosage.

Ingesting Essential Oils: Do’s and Don’ts

Before I dive into some of the ways that ingesting essential oils can be done safely, there some “housekeeping” items we need to discuss. Here are some do’s and don’ts.

Daily Do’s:

  1. Inhale essential oils  in a diffuser, inhaler, spritzer and other fun ways.
  2. Add essential oils in your daily body care regimen.
  3. Be careful – and learn the basics. My Aromatherapy 101 article will help.
  4. Enjoy the good things in life! There’s nothing like one drop of lemon or orange oil in a 32 ounce glass liter of sparkling water with some liquid stevia as a special soda pop treat. 
  5. Have fun & be empowered! Using essential oils and other natural therapies is a life-changing experience for most people and remember to enjoy the journey as you learn all about them!

Daily Do Not’s:

  1. Consume essential oils for “prevention.” This is wasteful and dangerous, and I was a victim of the take-a-drop-of-essential-oil under your tongue (or in your water) everyday myth until I irritated my esophagus and developed acid reflux! The more I learn about EOs, the less I consume them – only for specific health conditions, or my special soda. ? And, no, it doesn’t matter how “pure” or “therapeutic” they are. Daily consumption is NOT the most effective (and medicinal) way to use them, and it has taken me 3 years of trial & error (lots of error) and literally hundreds (if not thousands) of research hours to get to this “revelation.” So, please learn from my mistakes! ?
  2. Think that each health condition within a specific body system should be approached the same way. Meaning this: even though peppermint is great for IBS and nausea, it should not be used for GERD. The University of Maryland Medical Center specifically warns that peppermint tea and essential oil can relax the esophageal sphincter and pose risks for those with reflux. 
  3. Believe that “there is an oil for that.” Essential oils have changed my life so much that I have devoted much of my personal and profession lives to sharing the message that they are truly God’s Medicine. Seriously, I’m the “oil” guy and I’ve been blessed with the opportunity to be featured on countless health summits, conferences and documentaries. Yet, let’s be real. Like anything, essential oils are limited by what they can and we should not fall into the trap that they are the end-all cure because misguided hope will disappoint.

Ok, now that we’ve cleaned house, let’s get to work…

Aromatherapy 101

I have written about essential oils extensively, and if you're looking for a quick Aromatherapy 101 course you can check it out in my EO Database. In the meantime, suffice it to say that essential oils are what I like to refer to as God's Medicine. They are chemical compounds found in the bark, leaves, flowers, roots and rinds of plants, fruit, and trees. Interestingly, there are no vitamins or minerals in essential oils as they are made up of compounds that we learn about in organic chemistry class like terpene hydrocarbons (e.g. sesquiterpenes, which have been shown to cross the blood brain barrier) and oxygenated compounds (e.g aldehydes, ketones and esters, which all have unique effects on the human body).

The key to essential oils, and why we should consider them in our natural health regimens, is that they combat pathogens (harmful microorganisms), are a source of antioxidants (needed to prevent and cure disease), and have been shown to contain advanced healing properties in addition to cancer cell cytotoxicity amongst other things.

How Essential Oils are Used

More recently, essential oils have been used under the guise of the aromatherapy profession, although we have records of people using them as far as thousands of years ago. Did they have essential oils like we know them today? Of course not! Modern distillation procedures are relatively new in relation to the Earth timetable.

However, Nicander (b.c. 183—135), a Greek poet and physician for example, “Spoke of the extraction of perfumes from plants by what we should now call a process of distillation” and we have other ancient accounts of crude methods to extract the precious oil from plants. (3) The term aromatherapy was coined to combine aroma and therapy, indicating therapeutic benefits using fragrance. This is still the heart of aromatherapy, but essential oil use has expanded in many ways and toward many uses. The main categories of use are (4):

  • Inhalation
  • Topical
  • Internal

Inhalation

Not only is inhalation the oldest form of essential oil use, it is also arguably the safest. Oils diffused throughout a room are relatively safe for most people in most cases due to the high level of dilution. More direct effects can be obtained by breathing in a steam directly or inhaling right from the bottle, or from a few drops on a cloth. This carries the volatile oil directly into your respiratory system and mucous membranes, dispersed throughout the steam or air molecules.

Topical

Topical use is a step further than traditional inhalation-based aromatherapy, though still familiar in the context of massage therapy, which often utilizes fragrant oils for massage applications. Instead of the broad dispersion through air droplets that inhalation provides, topical use is much more direct. But at the same time, the oil is absorbed through the barrier layers of skin, while inhalation moves quickly through the thinner mucous membranes. Knowing your oil and the goal you have in mind can help you determine which application is more appropriate. In theory and in professional practice, some essential oils can be used on the skin undiluted. However, the safest application is via dilution. Carrier oils like olive, coconut, jojoba and avocado oils usually have benefits of their own, and you can easily combine a couple of drops in a teaspoon to dilute the oils and bypass potential irritation.

Internal

The most basic form of ingestion is in culinary use. Revisiting cinnamon, you could use cinnamon essential oil in a cake batter, but you'd only need one drop for the whole batch vs. a tsp or more of the bark powder. Another common internal preparation is to combine it into a drink. Do remember that oil and water do not mix, so simply adding a drop to water will leave that drop undiluted. Some oils are irritants and all oils are very strong, so it's best to be safe and dilute it with an edible carrier like coconut oil first.

Tips for Ingesting Essential Oils

It is important to realize that millions of people are ingesting essential oils all day without even realizing it. Where do you think your processed food get their flavor from! Virtually anything that is naturally flavored most likely contains essential oils. This is what the FDA says in the official document Code of Regulations, Title 21, Volume 6, Animal Food Labeling: Specific Animal Food Labeling Requirements.

Foods Containing “Artificial Flavors” and “Spices” do not Contain Oils

“(a)(1) The term artificial flavor or artificial flavoring means any substance, the function of which is to impart flavor, which is not derived from a spice, fruit or fruit juice, vegetable or vegetable juice, edible yeast, herb, bark, bud, root, leaf or similar plant material, meat, fish, poultry, eggs, dairy products, or fermentation products thereof. (2) The term spice means any aromatic vegetable substance in the whole, broken, or ground form, except for those substances which have been traditionally regarded as foods, such as onions, garlic and celery; whose significant function in food is seasoning rather than nutritional; that is true to name; and from which no portion of any volatile oil or other flavoring principle has been removed.

  • Allspice, Anise, Basil, Bay leaves, Caraway seed, Cardamon, Celery seed, Chervil, Cinnamon, Cloves, Coriander, Cumin seed, Dill seed, Fennel seed, Fenugreek, Ginger, Horseradish, Mace, Marjoram, Mustard flour, Nutmeg, Oregano, Paprika, Parsley, Pepper, black; Pepper, white; Pepper, red; Rosemary, Saffron, Sage, Savory, Star aniseed, Tarragon, Thyme, Turmeric.
  • Paprika, turmeric, and saffron or other spices which are also colors, shall be declared as spice and coloring unless declared by their common or usual name.

Foods Containing “Natural Flavors” do Contain Oils

(3) The term natural flavor or natural flavoring means the essential oil, oleoresin, essence or extractive, protein hydrolysate, distillate, or any product of roasting, heating or enzymolysis, which contains the flavoring constituents derived from a spice, fruit or fruit juice, vegetable or vegetable juice, edible yeast, herb, bark, bud, root, leaf or similar plant material, meat, seafood, poultry, eggs, dairy products, or fermentation products thereof, whose significant function in food is flavoring rather than nutritional. Natural flavors, include the natural essence or extractives obtained from plants.” By letting common sense be our guide, I propose some tried and true tips on how to take essential oils internally.

  1. Start off by using oils are GRAS (see below for the FDA-approved list of oils that are Generally Recognized As Safe for internal use).
  2. Be safe (more on that below).
  3. Don't overdo it – limit to 2-3 drops at a time, and be sure to wait at least 4 hours before taking consecutive doses.
  4. Listen to your body, and…
  5. Discontinue use IMMEDIATELY if adverse reactions occur.

Trust me, people don't break out in hives in a “detox” reaction when using essential oils like I've read out there in cyberspace. Pain, irritation, swelling, inflammation, bloating, burning, reflux, and anything else that isn't pleasant is NOT a good sign. This is your body's way of warning you that something harmful is attacking it.

Some More Practical tips:

  • Gentle oils like frankincense and lemon can usually be taken directly under the tongue for quick access into the bloodstream.
  • More caustic oils like oregano and clove should ALWAYS be diluted with a carrier oil. 1 drop per teaspoon is usually safe for people.
  • Putting 1-2 drops in a capsule can help you avoid esophageal irritation.

Culinary Doses

Cooking with essential oils is an extremely effective way to enjoy the health benefits as well as the wonderful experience through your taste buds. 1-2 drops of cilantro or coriander with 1-2 drops of lime, for example, goes wonderfully with your homemade guacamole. Dry 1 drop of cumin in your curry next time. Or 2 drops of black pepper in virtually anything savory!

  • Putting 1 drop of a citrus oil in your water is generally safe and quite enjoyable. My family and I regularly enjoy a drop of lemon/lime + some liquid stevia in sparkling water as our soda pop alternative. Just be sure to mix the stevia and essential oils before adding to the water to properly dilute and emulsify the solution.
  • Include 1-2 drops  in your favorite dishes.

FDA Approved GRAS Essential Oils

[Code of Federal Regulations]
[Title 21, Volume 3]
[Revised as of April 1, 2015]
[CITE: 21CFR182.20]
TITLE 21–FOOD AND DRUGS
CHAPTER I–FOOD AND DRUG ADMINISTRATION DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES
SUBCHAPTER B–FOOD FOR HUMAN CONSUMPTION (CONTINUED)

PART 182 — SUBSTANCES GENERALLY RECOGNIZED AS SAFE Subpart A–General Provisions

Sec. 182.20 Essential oils, oleoresins (solvent-free), and natural extractives (including distillates).
Essential oils, oleoresins (solvent-free), and natural extractives (including distillates) that are generally recognized as safe for their intended use, within the meaning of section 409 of the Act, are as follows:

Common name Botanical name of plant source
Alfalfa Medicago sativa L.
Allspice Pimenta officinalis Lindl.
Almond, bitter (free from prussic acid) Prunus amygdalus Batsch, Prunus armeniaca L., or Prunus persica (L.) Batsch.
Ambrette (seed) Hibiscus moschatus Moench.
Angelica root Angelica archangelica L.
Angelica seed Do.
Angelica stem Do.
Angostura (cusparia bark) Galipea officinalis Hancock.
Anise Pimpinella anisum L.
Asafetida Ferula assa-foetida L. and related spp. of Ferula.
Balm (lemon balm) Melissa officinalis L.
Balsam of Peru Myroxylon pereirae Klotzsch.
Basil Ocimum basilicum L.
Bay leaves Laurus nobilis L.
Bay (myrcia oil) Pimenta racemosa (Mill.) J. W. Moore.
Bergamot (bergamot orange) Citrus aurantium L. subsp. bergamia Wright et Arn.
Bitter almond (free from prussic acid) Prunus amygdalus Batsch, Prunus armeniaca L., or Prunus persica (L.) Batsch.
Bois de rose Aniba rosaeodora Ducke.
Cacao Theobroma cacao L.
Camomile (chamomile) flowers, Hungarian Matricaria chamomilla L.
Camomile (chamomile) flowers, Roman or English Anthemis nobilis L.
Cananga Cananga odorata Hook. f. and Thoms.
Capsicum Capsicum frutescens L. and Capsicum annuum L.
Caraway Carum carvi L.
Cardamom seed (cardamon) Elettaria cardamomum Maton.
Carob bean Ceratonia siliqua L.
Carrot Daucus carota L.
Cascarilla bark Croton eluteria Benn.
Cassia bark, Chinese Cinnamomum cassia Blume.
Cassia bark, Padang or Batavia Cinnamomum burmanni Blume.
Cassia bark, Saigon Cinnamomum loureirii Nees.
Celery seed Apium graveolens L.
Cherry, wild, bark Prunus serotina Ehrh.
Chervil Anthriscus cerefolium (L.) Hoffm.
Chicory Cichorium intybus L.
Cinnamon bark, Ceylon Cinnamomum zeylanicum Nees.
Cinnamon bark, Chinese Cinnamomum cassia Blume.
Cinnamon bark, Saigon Cinnamomum loureirii Nees.
Cinnamon leaf, Ceylon Cinnamomum zeylanicum Nees.
Cinnamon leaf, Chinese Cinnamomum cassia Blume.
Cinnamon leaf, Saigon Cinnamomum loureirii Nees.
Citronella Cymbopogon nardus Rendle.
Citrus peels Citrus spp.
Clary (clary sage) Salvia sclarea L.
Clover Trifolium spp.
Coca (decocainized) Erythroxylum coca Lam. and other spp. of Erythroxylum.
Coffee Coffea spp.
Cola nut Cola acuminata Schott and Endl., and other spp. of Cola.
Coriander Coriandrum sativum L.
Cumin (cummin) Cuminum cyminum L.
Curacao orange peel (orange, bitter peel) Citrus aurantium L.
Cusparia bark Galipea officinalis Hancock.
Dandelion Taraxacum officinale Weber and T. laevigatum DC.
Dandelion root Do.
Dog grass (quackgrass, triticum) Agropyron repens (L.) Beauv.
Elder flowers Sambucus canadensis L. and S. nigra I.
Estragole (esdragol, esdragon, tarragon) Artemisia dracunculus L.
Estragon (tarragon) Do.
Fennel, sweet Foeniculum vulgare Mill.
Fenugreek Trigonella foenum-graecum L.
Galanga (galangal) Alpinia officinarum Hance.
Geranium Pelargonium spp.
Geranium, East Indian Cymbopogon martini Stapf.
Geranium, rose Pelargonium graveolens L'Her.
Ginger Zingiber officinale Rosc.
Grapefruit Citrus paradisi Macf.
Guava Psidium spp.
Hickory bark Carya spp.
Horehound (hoarhound) Marrubium vulgare L.
Hops Humulus lupulus L.
Horsemint Monarda punctata L.
Hyssop Hyssopus officinalis L.
Immortelle Helichrysum augustifolium DC.
Jasmine Jasminum officinale L. and other spp. of Jasminum.
Juniper (berries) Juniperus communis L.
Kola nut Cola acuminata Schott and Endl., and other spp. of Cola.
Laurel berries Laurus nobilis L.
Laurel leaves Laurus spp.
Lavender Lavandula officinalis Chaix.
Lavender, spike Lavandula latifolia Vill.
Lavandin Hybrids between Lavandula officinalis Chaix and Lavandula latifolin Vill.
Lemon Citrus limon (L.) Burm. f.
Lemon balm (see balm)  
Lemon grass Cymbopogon citratus DC. and Cymbopogon lexuosus Stapf.
Lemon peel Citrus limon (L.) Burm. f.
Lime Citrus aurantifolia Swingle.
Linden flowers Tilia spp.
Locust bean Ceratonia siliqua L,
Lupulin Humulus lupulus L.
Mace Myristica fragrans Houtt.
Mandarin Citrus reticulata Blanco.
Marjoram, sweet Majorana hortensis Moench.
Mate Ilex paraguariensis St. Hil.
Melissa (see balm)  
Menthol Mentha spp.
Menthyl acetate Do.
Molasses (extract) Saccarum officinarum L.
Mustard Brassica spp.
Naringin Citrus paradisi Macf.
Neroli, bigarade Citrus aurantium L.
Nutmeg Myristica fragrans Houtt.
Onion Allium cepa L.
Orange, bitter, flowers Citrus aurantium L.
Orange, bitter, peel Do.
Orange leaf Citrus sinensis (L.) Osbeck.
Orange, sweet Do.
Orange, sweet, flowers Do.
Orange, sweet, peel Do.
Origanum Origanum spp.
Palmarosa Cymbopogon martini Stapf.
Paprika Capsicum annuum L.
Parsley Petroselinum crispum (Mill.) Mansf.
Pepper, black Piper nigrum L.
Pepper, white Do.
Peppermint Mentha piperita L.
Peruvian balsam Myroxylon pereirae Klotzsch.
Petitgrain Citrus aurantium L.
Petitgrain lemon Citrus limon (L.) Burm. f.
Petitgrain mandarin or tangerine Citrus reticulata Blanco.
Pimenta Pimenta officinalis Lindl.
Pimenta leaf Pimenta officinalis Lindl.
Pipsissewa leaves Chimaphila umbellata Nutt.
Pomegranate Punica granatum L.
Prickly ash bark Xanthoxylum (or Zanthoxylum) Americanum Mill. or Xanthoxylum clava-herculis L.
Rose absolute Rosa alba L., Rosa centifolia L., Rosa damascena Mill., Rosa gallica L., and vars. of these spp.
Rose (otto of roses, attar of roses) Do.
Rose buds Do.
Rose flowers Do.
Rose fruit (hips) Do.
Rose geranium Pelargonium graveolens L'Her.
Rose leaves Rosa spp.
Rosemary Rosmarinus officinalis L.
Saffron Crocus sativus L.
Sage Salvia officinalis L.
Sage, Greek Salvia triloba L.
Sage, Spanish Salvia lavandulaefolia Vahl.
St. John's bread Ceratonia siliqua L.
Savory, summer Satureia hortensis L.
Savory, winter Satureia montana L.
Schinus molle Schinus molle L.
Sloe berries (blackthorn berries) Prunus spinosa L.
Spearmint Mentha spicata L.
Spike lavender Lavandula latifolia Vill.
Tamarind Tamarindus indica L.
Tangerine Citrus reticulata Blanco.
Tarragon Artemisia dracunculus L.
Tea Thea sinensis L.
Thyme Thymus vulgaris L. and Thymus zygis var. gracilis Boiss.
Thyme, white Do.
Thyme, wild or creeping Thymus serpyllum L.
Triticum (see dog grass)  
Tuberose Polianthes tuberosa L.
Turmeric Curcuma longa L.
Vanilla Vanilla planifolia Andr. or Vanilla tahitensis J. W. Moore.
Violet flowers Viola odorata L.
Violet leaves Do.
Violet leaves absolute Do.
Wild cherry bark Prunus serotina Ehrh.
Ylang-ylang Cananga odorata Hook. f. and Thoms.
Zedoary bark Curcuma zedoaria Rosc.

[42 FR 14640, Mar. 15, 1977, as amended at 44 FR 3963, Jan. 19, 1979; 47 FR 29953, July 9, 1982; 48 FR 51613, Nov. 10, 1983; 50 FR 21043 and 21044, May 22, 1985]

Safety & Contraindications

Are you sure you're using essential oils safely and effectively? Are you confused by dilutions and conversions?

 Let me help take out the guesswork and download my FREE roller bottle guide HERE.

Essential Oil Roller Bottle Dilution Guide

When it comes to drug interactions and contraindications, there are literally textbooks devoted to the study of essential oil safety and, as a trained researcher and doctor, I think it’s important to note that there is virtually no research out there discussing how essential oils interact with drugs in human clinical trials. This means that essential oil safety is still a wild frontier in the science community and no one really knows (for certain) how essential oils will interact with drugs or your body.

Nonetheless, properly diluting your essential oils is fundamental to safety and effectiveness because they are highly concentrated plant compounds. To help you along your journey, I have a created an easy-to-use dilution guide that you can download for FREE to make sure that all of your topical applications are safe and effective for the entire family. 

CLICK HERE to download my free EO Roller Bottle Dilution Chart! 

As with as medicine and natural therapies, this is only a guide and be sure to discontinue use if any adverse reactions occur and consult your physician immediately.

Resources:

  1. https://www.naha.org/explore-aromatherapy/safety/
  2. https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/cdrh/cfdocs/cfcfr/CFRSearch.cfm?fr=182.20
  3. https://books.google.com/books?id=GX5BAQAAMAAJ&pg=PA562&lpg=PA562&dq=Spoke+of+the+extraction+of+perfumes+from+plants+by+what+we+should+now+call+a+process+of+distillation&source=bl&ots=NtrOatCKQM&sig=0PlCUp_Ir78BLh3il_jzOPHtxyc&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiXsqzp8NvSAhVKQyYKHYDzAjQQ6AEIHDAA#v=onepage&q=Spoke%20of%20the%20extraction%20of%20perfumes%20from%20plants%20by%20what%20we%20should%20now%20call%20a%20process%20of%20distillation&f=false
  4. https://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/treatment/aromatherapy


This post currently has 51 comments.

  1. Elizabeth
    June 1, 2017

    I had nausea for God only knows for decades but most in the past 2-3 years. yesterday I told I will use a drop of rosemary essential oil 100% pure in my coffee. It has turned out accidently to 3 drops , but I told never mind I will drink it and I WEre SO CONFIDENT THAT IT WILL MAKE ME GOOD and NO HARM WILL BE MADE. After I had my coffee I went to bed and shortly after I felt for fist time my stomach work as it ‘should’ and eased so much and like ‘some mucus would been taken off from my stomach or intestine which do not belong there and felt the good ‘fluid or whatever it was as healthy to take over…. in the morning I waked up I was hungry which it has not been often… I were So HAPPY… I decide I will continue for a couple of days to do so take 3 drop or rosemary essential oil in my drink for the next 3-4 days and max for a week…. My gut felt as good as when I were a child…!

      Reply
  2. judi
    April 11, 2017

    Hi, my daughter (12 yrs old)) suffers terribly from seasonal allergies. I had a friend (who sells oils from a well know company) recommend a capsule of lemon/lavender/peppermint essential oil blend to be taken orally daily. I started giving them to her for a few days and they have been helping. However, that is when I started to wonder and research about the safety of her taking them internally. I stopped giving them to her until I find out more info, but am still having her use the oils on the bottom of her feet – which don’t seem to be helping at all. I found this article and was intrigued, but is there anything different i should be considering because she is a child and not an adult. I want to help her, not hurt her in the long run. Thank you!

      Reply
    • Dr. Z
      April 11, 2017

      Hi Judi,

      Dosage is also was a concern for children. There are no hard-fast rules, though I usually cut the adult dose in half for my kiddos. 🙂

        Reply
  3. Beverly Wiezorek
    March 21, 2017

    I’m a distributor with an MLM company and they do third party testing. Why do you say that all the companies are monitoring themselves? Do you know something we don’t know?

      Reply
    • Dr. Z
      March 22, 2017

      They pay for the 3rd party testing. Even still, it is up to that MLM company to determine what they want to do with that testing.

      No one monitors them – no governing agency – no one with the authority to shut them down if they are selling synthetic products. This is what I mean.

      Again, 3rd party testing is good – if and only if – the EO company uses the tests to determine if their products are safe and pure. Otherwise, it’s a pure marketing ploy.

        Reply
  4. Kris
    March 16, 2017

    I have done a lot of reading and research and finally settled the issue for myself. I do not use EO’s internally for prevention. I do however occasionally use them internally to treat a specific condition for a very short amount of time. I recently had a bladder infection and took a few drops of some antibacterial EO’s for about 4 days, along with some other natural treatments I do for that problem. I plan to start using a drop of cinnamon in my applesauce every once in a while for blood sugar control. That’s about it. (Probably will just mix a drop or two into the entire container of applesauce.)
    I believe that some people out there that are encouraging people to take them internally every day liberally are connected to the MLM companies who just want to sell, sell, sell.

      Reply
  5. Jane
    March 8, 2017

    Hello Dr. Z! You articles and videos have been so valuable and helpful! Thank you for letting God use you to provide such great information. I am somewhat new to EO’s. I have been having long term stomach and digestive issues and also vertigo and anxiety. No doctor’s had been able to help me and I had become very discouraged. I recently went to a Christian doctor who told me to take Peppermint Oil for IBS and stomach issues. I was so excited to have an option that could provide relief. Then I found that it and other EO’s could even get rid of the conditions and heal my gut altogether. I do have a question. Can I use Peppermint oil or other oils for digestion daily topically on my stomach as long as I’m symptomatic or should it completely go away over time where I won’t need to use it unless there’s an occasional symptom? Can the oil heal my gut just as effectively topically and in aromatically if I don’t ingest them? I’m asking because I can’t swallow pills or capsules. Thank you! God bless!

      Reply
  6. James
    February 13, 2017

    Dr Z,

    What is the recommended daily oral dosage for Peppermint, Orange, Mandarin, Lime, Lavender and Thyme essential oil, over 2 weeks etc?

    Thanks
    James

      Reply
    • Dr. Z
      February 20, 2017

      Hi James,

      Unfortunately, when it comes to internal use, we unfortunately do not have daily dosages based off of specific oil.

      The safety guidelines I shared above apply to all therapeutic grade essential oils that are safe to consume.

        Reply
  7. Scott
    September 28, 2016

    Great article, we need more like these. I discovered EOs earlier this year and I spent quite some time trying to solve the question of whether EOs were safe for ingestion. This is the first time I have seen this question addressed directly and in plain English.

    It took me weeks to determine that they were safe before I started to use them internally and I now use ingest them daily without any deleterious issues at all.

    I and my wife take black pepper oil mixed in our food for arthritis (for me) and it cuts down on excessive farting as a bonus and the wife takes grapefruit and ginger to try and flatten the stomach as a drops in a glass of water.

    The black pepper reduces the clicks in my knees by about 75%, not perfect but a huge advance over my doctor’s recommendation of nothing can be done…

      Reply
    • Dr. Z
      September 29, 2016

      Wow, that’s great Scott. Thanks so much for sharing!

        Reply
    • Joe
      November 15, 2016

      I’d add some coconut oil and turmeric to the black pepper and you’ll be even better off… very good synergetic combo

        Reply
  8. Hazel Murray
    September 6, 2016

    I loved the summit, and I really appreciate all your advice, and in particular your clarity. Love that you arent recommending a particular oil. Thanks.

      Reply
    • Dr. Z
      September 6, 2016

      Thanks Hazel!

      I’ve gotten A LOT of flack from people for being “non-branded,” and I’m so happy to get the vote of confidence and support from you and others who have encouraged me to stay the course.

      Many Blessings!

        Reply
  9. Mercedes
    September 3, 2016

    Thank you very much for the valuable information. I started using
    EOs and I am very happy with the results!

      Reply
    • Dr. Z
      September 20, 2016

      Praise God! Thanks for sharing!

        Reply
  10. Tracey
    September 3, 2016

    Hi Dr Z,

    I just wanted to Thank You so very much for the Essential Oil Revolution 2. I found you through another summit, and it was right on time. I’m with a MLM company, was trying to work the business at the time, when they introduced EOs. Everyone was excited. Had this huge announcement, I’m standing there thinking, “What do I do with them.” I know of oils but not what to do with them. And these companies really don’t tell you much. I started hearing more & more about them. I searched on recommended sites not really feeling inspired. I concentrated on other things, then I heard you. “Hmmm, let me check his site out!” I love everything about it. It makes everything so much easier to understand. I really appreciate You & Mama Z!!

      Reply
    • Dr. Z
      September 20, 2016

      Thanks so much for sharing Tracey!

      I’m glad you’re finding your way… 🙂

        Reply
  11. Chris
    September 3, 2016

    Hi Dr Z! Thank you for the helpful info on oils… I wear them and diffuse them! My question is… My husband is on a steroid and anti seizure med and diabetes meds… Can he safely put frankincense on his tongue and not have adverse reaction because of the meds? I have regular frankincense and food grade… I’m new to the ingesting part and want to maximize Gods products!

      Reply
    • Dr. Z
      September 20, 2016

      Hi Chris,

      I’m sorry, but I have to defer to your physician and pharmacist. There is just too much at stake by me giving “blind” advice without a proper exam and health history…

      Praying for COMPLETE healing!

        Reply
  12. Kelly Farrell
    August 20, 2016

    There is a cold/flu bomb I have and it requires 2 gel caps with 5 drops Melaleuca, 5 drops of On Guard, 3 drops Oregano, and 5 drops of Lemon. Every 2 hours at first on set of symptoms. Does this sound like too much? Thanks! ?

      Reply
    • Dr. Z
      August 21, 2016

      Kelly, that’s WAY too many EOs.

      Seriously, these “bombs” are dangerous. Trust me. You want to limit your total EO consumption to 2-3 drops per dose. The easy solution is to mix all these oils in the ratio that you have above and make a large batch. Then put 2-3 drops of this blend in a capsule and take as needed.

      Also, EOs should be taken at a minimum of 4 hours between doses. It takes at least 4 hours for your body to fully metabolize oils so you’ll be overloading the system by taking them every 2 hours – not to mention you’ll be wasting a lot of money. 🙂

        Reply
      • KellyKKelly
        September 22, 2016

        Dr Z, on another page I gave a lengthy description and asked a question about taking too much internally. This exact flu bomb by this mlm company is what initiated the loss of all taste and smell. It was severe and very disturbing. My question now is have i sensitized my system so I can never use them again? I only took internally for a month and used topically for 6. Its been well over a month and yet one single drop of ANY oil will send my taste away.
        thanks so much

          Reply
        • Dr. Z
          September 22, 2016

          I responded… 🙂

            Reply
  13. Julia Boucher
    August 20, 2016

    Thank you for all the great information!
    Also I LOVE that you are not always selling stuff..
    God Bless YOU!!!

      Reply
    • Dr. Z
      August 21, 2016

      Thanks Julia!

      🙂

        Reply
  14. Sheila
    May 17, 2016

    Hello Dr.Z,

    Poppy seed oil, for a plus.
    It is sold here as a cooking oil, but the bottle says one must use only 2-3 tablespoons due to the high alcaloid content.
    Actually, it is good for iron and magnesium, and calcium defiancy.
    Hope it helped 🙂

    Sheila

      Reply
    • Dr. Z
      May 17, 2016

      Thanks Sheila!

        Reply
  15. Nicole Wright
    May 16, 2016

    Thank you so much for this article, Dr. Eric!! After my health took a turn for the worse and conventional medicine only seemed to make things worse, I was determined to find something safer for myself and my family. That’s when I stumbled upon EOs. After some research – and having some spectacular personal results – I was a believer. I feel confident that I’ve made the right choice for our family. But like you mention, there is a lot of contrasting information out there. Thank you for sharing your vast knowledge, as well as for an article that answers a lot of questions and helps put things into perspective!! I can’t wait to read more!!

      Reply
    • Dr. Z
      May 17, 2016

      Amen, thanks for sharing Nicole!

        Reply
  16. Jan
    May 15, 2016

    I am still confused about using a drop of lemon EO in water. In the Internal section, you state that oil and water do not mix, so the oil would remain undiluted. Later, you say that you enjoy citrus oils in water. I have been trying to understand this issue from a safety standpoint for awhile and would appreciate clarification. I enjoy your work very much – keep it coming and thank you!

      Reply
    • Dr. Z
      May 17, 2016

      Hi Jan,

      I enjoy (undiluted) lemon oil in my water. Safe, internal usage sometimes includes neat (undiluted) application. 🙂

        Reply
      • Anne
        June 30, 2016

        I have been drinking water with a drop of lemon oil for sometime but it usually triggers an attack of hyperacidity which is so painful. I have since stopped using lemon oil for inhalation, topical use and ingestion. I will probably just use it for cleaning purposes. What is my alternative to make my system a bit alkaline? Thank you.

          Reply
        • Dr. Z
          July 1, 2016

          Hi Anne,

          I’m so sure it’s a “hyperacidity” attack as a reaction your esophagus is experiencing from the chemicals in the oils. Remember, these are not made from the juice, so lemon EO isn’t full of citric acid as some think they are.

          It sounds like you should stay away from internal use of oils for a bit – if not all together. Your esophagus may be irritated due to prolonged use.

            Reply
    • Charisma
      May 17, 2016

      I use lemon, orange or grapefruit in my water daily. If I’m using my glass water bottle when I’m out and about, I just do a quick upside down shakeup to disperse the oil! At home I generally use a stainless steel straw to mixup the oil before each sip.

        Reply
  17. Ana Tong
    May 15, 2016

    Hello Dr. Eric,
    I would like to know how long can you use oregano for toenail fungus ?
    I seem to remember reading that too much is bad for your liver .

    Thank you
    Ana

      Reply
    • Dr. Z
      May 17, 2016

      Hi Ana,

      That’s debated and this is an issue primarily if used internally. It is arguable whether or not topical application for toe fungus will affect the liver.

        Reply
  18. Melissa
    May 14, 2016

    Does taking essential oils in a capsule with food act as a carrier? Or should I still be having coconut oil etc as well?

      Reply
    • Dr. Z
      May 17, 2016

      Good question.

      If you include a carrier oil, then yes. Neat (undiluted) oil in a capsule is still neat (undiluted).

        Reply
  19. Valerie
    May 14, 2016

    Having used EO’s internally since I first found out about them, I am happy to see that more people are realizing how safe and helpful this is (always following common safety practices of course).

      Reply
    • Dr. Z
      May 17, 2016

      🙂

        Reply
  20. Gail
    May 14, 2016

    I want to start using the oils more often through diffusing, but I am concerned about the affect it will have on my cat. If they are that potent and beneficial for humans, wouldn’t they be too strong for cats who are way more sensitive than most dogs to various substances?

      Reply
    • Dr. Z
      May 17, 2016

      Tea tree is considered by many aromatherapists a no-no for sure.

      Here’s a thought: do you have plug-ins, arousal sprays and scented candles in your home? These emit synthetic essential oils and harmful toxins in the air and I have been in dozens of homes (with pets) that use these products. Yes, animals are highly sensitive to scents, but diffused oils is quite different than applying them directly on their fur.

      Of course, I defer to the animal aromatherapists on this because this is out of my area of expertise.

        Reply
  21. Jody
    May 14, 2016

    Dr. Z, I appreciate all you are doing and the information you have shared here and always, but please don’t dismiss the detox affect of EOs as some cyber myth. If you read the book “The Chemistry of Essential Oils, God’s Miracle in Molecules” by David Stuart he explains in great detail and SCIENCE how and why this is. I love and respect you, so I don’t want to see you perpetuating myths either! Of course, if you experience anything uncomfortable while using EOs you should stop and reassess, and be informed, that is an important part of listening to your body, and opperating in wisdom, but the reality is ALL our bodies are wrestling with toxins (even NEWBORNS!), some people worse than others and because this is an unseen factor it is extremely hard to gauge who could have a major detox reaction to EOs, which is why it is vital to start slow. As even I have experienced, once you have slowly purged all the toxins from your body the reaction to the EO goes away (assuming you are using an EO that is pure and free of toxins itself!). This is how you know it is not a true allergic reaction (which don’t go away). I hope this path you are on leads you to more truth and not just indoctrination. Blessings to you and your journey!

      Reply
    • Dr. Z
      May 17, 2016

      Hi Jody,

      Thank you for your comment.

      My main concern is that people are confusing “detox” for dermal sensitization. This is a reaction that the National Association of Holistic Aromatherapy describes as:

      Dermal sensitization is a type of allergic reaction. It occurs on first exposure to a substance, but on this occasion, the noticeable effect on the skin will be slight or absent. However, subsequent exposure to the same material, or to a similar one with which there is cross-sensitization, produces a severe inflammatory reaction brought about by cells of the immune system (T-lymphocytes).7 The reaction will be represented on the skin as blotchy or redness, which may be painful to some individuals.

      The problem with dermal sensitization is that once it occurs with a specific essential oil the individual is most likely going to be sensitive to it for many years and perhaps for the remainder of his/her life. The best way to prevent sensitization is to avoid known dermal sensitizers and avoid applying the same essential oils every day for lengthy periods of time. Sensitization is, to an extent, unpredictable, as some individuals will be sensitive to a potential allergen and some will not.8

      According to Burfield (2004), the following oils listed in Table 2 are considered to be dermal sensitizers and are not recommended for use in aromatherapy massage.

      Dermal Sensitizers (Table 2)

      Essential Oil Latin Name
      Cassia Cinnamomum cassia
      Cinnamon bark Cinnamomum zeylanicum
      Peru balsam Myroxylon pereirae
      Verbena absolute Lippia citriodora
      Tea absolute Camellia sinensis
      Turpentine oil Pinus spp.
      Backhousia Backhousia citriodora
      Inula Inula graveolens
      Oxidized oils from Pinaceae family (e.g., Pinus and Cupressus species) and Rutaceae family (e.g., citrus oils)

      https://www.naha.org/explore-aromatherapy/safety/

        Reply
  22. Theresa Weindl
    May 14, 2016

    Dear Dr Z. I am grateful for having discovered your website.The valuable information you share has benefited me a great deal since. Thank you and May God continue blessing you. T.

      Reply
    • Dr. Z
      May 17, 2016

      You’re so welcome Theresa and God’s blessings on you and yours as well! 🙂

        Reply
  23. Jodi
    May 14, 2016

    Thank you for the article because honestly I have read articles and heard webinars scaring me off of ingesting my oils. I do have a question – I noticed Frankincense was not on list of GRAS… Do you know why? I know you mentioned is as gentle and not necessary to dilute and it is one I ingest regularly. Thank you!

      Reply
    • Dr. Z
      May 18, 2016

      Hi Jodi,

      Good point…

      We must remember a couple things: The FDA hasn’t updated this list in a while, and the FDA is not the final authority of all things EO related. I quote them to prove a point = many oils are safe to ingest.

        Reply
  24. Kristina
    May 14, 2016

    Excellent, dr Eric! Best info on internal use of essential oils that I’ve come across! And congratulations to your new learning experiences from AIA! I’m very excited for you and am so looking forward to learning more from you! Thank you for doing the studying for us and passing on what we need!
    God bless you and I pray for you and your beautiful family and all you do to help the world!

      Reply
    • Dr. Z
      May 18, 2016

      Thanks, Kristina, I appreciate the kind words and support! 🙂

        Reply

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