Is it safe to take essential oils internally?
The tendency historically in England/United States (versus, for example, France which has historically had the opposite default) has been against internal use. Here is one simple overview of why this may be the case: https://aromaticstudies.com/models-for-aromatherapy-french-english-and-the-emerging-new-model/
No matter which point of view you have as you read this post, I hope you will agree that no essential oil should be allowed into your body unless it has been proven to be pure and therapeutic. I only use and recommend doTERRA essential oils, so read on with that in mind.
Besides the essential oils that you may be “taking” every day when you eat raw, whole foods, there are many ways and reasons for taking top quality essential oils internally. doTERRA essential oils are produced to the Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade (CPTG) standard, and doTERRA is careful to recommend internal use only for those oils and dosages that are completely safe, with a maximum number of drops per day for a healthy adult at about 20: https://www.doterra.com/US/en/essential-oil-safety-and-application-appropriate-dose-internal-appropriate-dose
If you follow me on Instagram, you probably know that my husband Johnny and I are healthy foodies. We LOVE using doTERRA essential oils in the kitchen. The culinary oils (herbs, spices, grasses, roots, fruits, flowers) are delicious, always fresh, and often much easier to use than the raw plants they come from. They can be used in any type of raw or cooked food recipe that would lend itself to use of the source plant: meat, chicken, fish, eggs, cheese, vegetables, rice, pasta, desserts, cakes and breads, sorbets and ice creams, fruit, dressings, and more. Some of our favorites are lemon, peppermint, black and pink pepper, cumin, basil, oregano, wild orange, and lavender. Oils should be added at the end of the cooking process to retain their therapeutic benefits. When used in baked goods, they are excellent, safe flavorings. If the oil (especially herbs and spices) has a very bold flavor, start by twirling a toothpick in the bottle and stirring it into your recipe. Add more to taste.
Essential oils are tasty and therapeutic enhancements to the many glasses of water that we should be drinking each day (half your body weight in ounces; for example, if you weight 150 pounds, drink 75 ounces of water each day). My two favorites are: citrus oils (especially lemon, can be cleansing and supportive to the immune system), and peppermint (can be cooling to the body). Many oils can be added to smoothies, mock- and cocktails, juices, teas, coffees, and other beverages. When an oil can be taken this way, doTERRA generally recommends 1 drop per 4 fluid ounces of liquid for healthy adults. Older children may also use oils internally. Always start with a toothpick twirl or a single drop.
There are a number of other ways to take an essential oil orally (placing drops directly into your mouth) or internally (delivered via softgel or capsule). Use a trusted reference book or mobile app to research specific application methods that have been helpful to others if you are addressing an issue for the first time and looking for additional support. Here are some methods we use at my house:
- Put a drop or two under your tongue (directly from the bottle or using a dropper top that fits your bottle – let me know if you need souring recommendations).
- Put a drop on your thumb and press your thumb against the roof of your mouth (this is how I apply frankincense for brain support)
- Add one or more drops to a 2-part empty vegetable fiber capsules to make your own custom capsules (I can recommend sourcing AND show you how to use them)
- Put a drop on the back of your hand and lick it off (my go-to method when I am away from home and don’t have any empty capsules with me)
- Take manufactured, pre-filled capsules or softgels (I take these to support my respiratory, immune, digestive, and nervous systems)
How do I know if an essential oil or blend – even from doTERRA – is safe to take orally/internally? It’s easy. Every bottle of doTERRA essential oil is labelled with usage and caution information. If the label includes a portion called Supplement Facts, doTERRA is supporting internal use of that oil/blend. If you do not see Supplement Facts on the label, do not take that oil/blend through your mouth.
SOME EXAMPLES OF INTERNAL USE APPLICATIONS (from “The Essential Life”, 5th edition, Total Wellness Publishing, LLC, 2018):
- Addiction recovery: for immediate impact, in addition to inhalation, place a drop or two of chosen oil under tongue, hold for 30 seconds, swallow; take oil in capsule or glass of water.
- Allergy support: take drops of oil in water and drink, take oil(s) in a capsule, or place a drop on or under tongue (I take lemon, lavender, and peppermint in a capsule every day).
- Digestive: place 1-5 drops in water and drink, take in capsule, lick off back of hand, or place drop(s) on or under tongue to allow impact directly in stomach and intestines.
- Pain and inflammation: highly effective for more chronic or internal pain; place oils in a capsule or drop(s) under tongue (hold for 30 second; swallow).
There are always alternatives to internal use of essential oils. If you do not feel comfortable taking any oils internally, try appropriate topical or aromatic application methods. Wellness Made Simple is here to support you in making and implementing your decisions.
More references (specific to doTERRA essential oils):