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28 March 2022 / Caitlin Devlin

Can you ingest essential oils? – The risks of internal application

There’s a lot of debate about this method of applying essential oils.

Woman putting dropper up to mouth.

There are many ways to use essential oils, but one in particular is often contested.

Essential oils can be used in massage, in diffusers, in cleaning, in crafting, and in a whole host of other ways. Some people even recommend taking essential oils internally.

Among a certain group of aromatherapy enthusiasts, essential oils can be added to recipes, drunk with water, or even placed under the tongue. However, this isn’t always safe to do and can sometimes be very harmful to our bodies. Read on to learn why we don’t generally recommend ingesting essential oils.

Why do people take essential oils internally?

There are many reasons why you might be tempted to take essential oils internally. People sometimes take essential oils internally to soothe the gut or calm digestive troubles such as IBS.

Some essential oils have antioxidant properties which people believe can be accessed by ingesting the oils, and essential oils are also sometimes used to flavour food. This usually applies to more potent flavours such as peppermint or lemon.

Why can it be risky to ingest essential oils?

Since essential oils are natural products, many people are under the impression that they couldn’t possibly be harmful to ingest. However, essential oils are highly potent and can have serious side effects, potentially irritating our organs.

Even in small doses they can disagree with us in unpleasant ways. Essential oils can also interact with medications, which can have dangerous results.

It’s also important to be aware of the fact that essential oils are natural products that can vary in a number of ways batch to batch, even when they are pure and of good quality.

This can cause them to vary in their effects, which can mean that when we ingest them their impact on our bodies can’t always be predicted.


    Dropper adding oil to tea.

    Always proceed with caution and seek medical advice if necessary.


    Is it ever safe to ingest essential oils?

    If you really want to take essential oils internally then the best way to keep yourself safe is to stick to food grade oils. This means that you should be on the lookout for specific oils that are certified as safe to take internally.

    You should also always consult a medical professional before deciding to take oils internally. Even after you have taken these precautions you should still always work with very small doses as essential oils are very strong.

    What are the alternatives to ingesting essential oils?

    There’s plenty of ways to experience the benefits of essential oils without ingesting them. You can experience their gut-soothing, antioxidant benefits by combining them with a carrier oil and applying topically, or you can do what people have been doing for thousands of years and inhale the oils to feel their effects.
    If you’re looking for a potent lemon or peppermint flavour, try looking for cooking oils formulated specifically for use in food.


    There’s a great deal of misinformation out there about ingesting essential oils, but we’re of the opinion that it’s always better to be safe than sorry.

    Make sure you fully research every oil you use to understand its benefits and limitations, and always consult a professional if you are unsure.

    Shop our complete essential oil range here.

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