Saturday, January 17, 2015

Let's talk ingestion....

This is an important conversation so I am going to preface this with some equally important information.  I AM NOT a certified, registered or clinical aromatherapist.  I am a person who is passionate about essential oils, who is on her way to becoming a professional.  I am also not aligned with any company.  In fact, I use many well respected companies when I purchase oils. 

I consider myself fortunate because I have had the opportunity to become acquainted with many professional aromatherapist with varying years of experience.  They have been very generous in sharing their knowledge with me and guiding me as I learn more about oils and aromatherapy. 

Now, you may be wondering why I am talking about this if I am not a professional. I feel as though I may be able to help those who are in the very position I found myself in not too very long ago.... 

Being brand spanking new to essential oils and
being inundated with conflicting information.

While maneuving these rough waters, I have discovered that there 4 categories of people involved in the controversy over internal use... 

1) DRINK ALL THE ESSENTIAL OILS!!!!  These are more often than not people who belong to particular companies, who have been told by friends and upliners that ingestion multiple times a day is 100% safe.  These people almost always have no essential oil training and when asked for "proof" or "research" will start parroting the same marketing ploys that were used on them. 

2) NEVER USE ESSENTIAL OILS INTERNALLY!!!  Safety renegades.  They feel as though it is NEVER appropriate in any case to use oils internally.   

3) USE THEM INTERNALLY (WHEN NECESSARY) BUT USE THEM SAFELY AND CORRECTLY!  These are where your professionals lie.  This is also where you will find those who are not certified but are passionate about oils and take courses regularly.  This is the comfy middle ground.  It make sense when you think about it.  How often is being an extreme a good thing!?!? 

4) NEWBIES!  We've all been there.  You are interested in essential oils, you are curious about using them so you ask seemingly innocent questions.  Chances are if you've asked about ingestion, you found yourself in a whirlwind of facts, claims, anecdotal evidence and insult flinging.  You are not sure where you stand or if you ever want to open a bottle of essential oils again. 

So, now onto ingestion. 
 Here's what we do know- 

*Ingestion has its place within the field of aromatherapy but there are contraindications, adverse effects (some that are medication as well as condition specific) and proper methods of administration that need to be considered not only with each oil but with each individual.  

*Improper administration of essential oils internally can and has caused mucous membrane burning, esophageal damage as well as gastrointestinal upset of varying degrees.    

*Incorrect dosing can, overtime (timeline varies based on oil and liver function), cause liver toxicity as the chemical constituents build up in the liver.  

*Some oils have been proven safe as food additives but that has no bearing on safety in regards to therapeutic usage. (For more information, please see -

*Some oils have been proven safe for internal use when correct methods of administration (usually via suppository or enteric coated tablets) are employed.

*Adding essential oils to water is NEVER considered a safe method of administration. 

*The leading cause of poisoning in regards to essential oils is directly related to ingestion. 

*In countries where ingestion has been used for many years, the oils are prescribed by physicians trained in internal usage. 

*In the above mentioned countries, ingestion is still not used as a regular means of treatment. 

*Safety recommendations for internal use are NOT BRAND SPECIFIC!  No matter what your upline tells you!  Safety recommendations are across the board as the research done on essential oils is also NOT brand specific. 

Here's what we don't know.... 

*The efficacy or safety of all oils in regards to ingestion. 

*Safety in regards to regular/routine usage. 

*The full range of side effects in regards to various time frames of usage.

Unfortunately, the research into essential oils and ingestion specifically is minimum so it is VITAL that we work with the information that is currently available to us.  

While we hope that with the increase usage of oils, research will increase but it could still be many, many years before we have a very clear imagine of the range of efficacy and safety of oils. Modern medicine was predated by the usage of herbs and there still isn't as much research available as herbalist would like there to be because, frankly, the money isn't there.

The decision to ingest is yours and yours alone but I URGE you to think about a few things before you do so –

Do you have enough knowledge about the safety and efficacy of oils when used internally?

Have you done any independent research or are you basing your decision off of what someone else is telling you?  And if you are, did you take time to consider their education or what they have to gain from your internal usage.

Is there another (safer) way to accomplish what you want to gain through ingestion?

Why do you NEED to ingest?

So, where do I stand? 

I am in a subset group of group 4.  While I believe and have seen research to support the safe internal usage of essential oils when administered properly, I do not ingest.  I have found zero need to ingest as inhalation and topical application have proven to be very effective.  I also do not ingest because I do not feel that I have enough knowledge to do so safely.

Where do you stand?

Below I have included articles, blog entries and safety statements from various aromatherapy organizations, schools and aromatherapist that are specific to ingestion.  I hope you find them informative.

1 comment:

  1. I was treated with oils by a team of 17 professionals for infections while trying to stabilize after a comma. They worked but if it took 17 professionals from around the globe to deal with all of the drug interactions and treat me, I am not about to try it on my own.