Ingesting essential oils? It’s a no from us.
Besides inhalation and topical application, ingestion is another way to use essential oils. The ingestion of essential oils is one of the hottest (and controversial) topics in aromatherapy. Some companies and aroma-therapists will say “yes”, while others say “no”. There is often a lot of confusion surrounding this topic and it is a question which we believe may not have a definite answer. Because of that, we have decided to write a short blog on our knowledge and understanding around the ingestion of essential oils. By no means could this be the correct answer, but we’re hoping it could help readers gain a little insight into this topic!
Essential oils are harmless right?
Many individuals may think that essential oils are harmless, but it is not as simple as it seems. In terms of ingestion, the most common way people consume essential oils is by placing drops of the essential oils in water and drinking it - something which we don’t recommend. Yes, they are natural and yes, it may only be one or two drops but, we must consider the concentration. Essential oils are very potent and too much of it is not necessarily a good thing for our body; in our opinion it is very risky to ingest any essential oil. Essential oils are lipophilic and do not mix with water, so it is essentially not being diluted properly when it enters our digestive tract; the concentration is essentially the same if the drops of oil do come in contact with our epithelial lining. This can then cause irritation to the internal epithelium of our digestive tract, and lead to ulcers and discomfort.
Our digestive tract is filled with good bacteria, which help us to digest, prevent bloating and make going to the bathroom easy. I’m sure many of you know that essential oils have antibacterial properties. These antibacterial properties can actually do more harm than good (in this case!) to the good bacteria in our digestive tract. We want to be able to keep as much of the good stuff as we can in our bodies. In our opinion, if you’re fit and healthy, there shouldn’t be a need to consume any essential oils. Consuming oils can potentially cause damage to our organs over time as they are not designed to be digested and metabolized as such potent and concentrated liquids.
With any essential oil purchased, you will often also see a label that cautions users that the product may cause irritation to sensitive skin, and that it should be mixed with a carrier oil before applying to skin. To us, anything that can be strong on the skin can be strong enough to harm other parts of our body, and this includes our digestive tract.
DID YOU KNOW? One drop of essential oil can be equivalent to roughly 35 cups of the same herbal tea? We’re not sure if this is a lot of tea to you but it sure is a lot of tea for us! This ratio might even be higher per drop of oil depending on the type of essential oil. You wouldn’t drink that much tea in a day so why would you consume the oil, right?
With all that said, we do understand that different individuals will have different ideas and thoughts when it comes to the ingestion of essential oils, and that is totally fine by us! This blog is just a way for us to share our thoughts and ideas with our aromatherapy community. Using essential oil diffusers and carriers oils is what we personally recommend. Feel free to leave a comments or ideas below :)
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