Can I take essential oils internally?

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Over the last few days someone who bought some oils from me has been very insistently badgering me as he bought the oils solely for internal digestion and whilst I started with "essential oils are not to be taken internally" and went on to explain that in France oils are prescribed by doctors and supplied pre-prepared diluted correctly in sunflower oil in capsule form nonetheless, he refused to be put off and left me feeling that whatever I said he was going to take them internally. The plethora of websites giving "information" makes it difficult to simply ignore the partial and potentially dangerous knowledge people gain. In the end I felt obliged to give clear and personal advice rather than holding to the feeling that I was abandoning this person to potential harm - even though I wrote about this just a few days ago, here is what I emailed him in full:

First thing to say is that I only sell undiluted therapeutic grade essential oils (not blended or diluted in any way) meaning that they are chosen on the basis of therapeutic efficacy rather than other criteria such as fragrance – the essential oil is highly concentrated and cannot be treated in the same way as you treat the plant – consider even concentrated fruit squash – you must dilute before use.

Second thing to say is that there is no tradition in the UK for taking essential oils internally - we generally work through the fact that they are very effective working as they do through osmosis meaning they are absorbed through the skin into the bloodstream very quickly - countries like France sell the essential oils in capsule form diluted in Sunflower oil.

OK - all that said, on to your question; I can only speak personally - everyone is different and each person’s sensitivities and tolerances are different and this is why we do not give out generic information beyond what I said in my last email (i.e. don’t take internally)

When I was starting out many years ago I made myself very ill by adding a few drops Cinnamon essential oil to a stew so I speak from experience when I say that using essential oils incorrectly can cause serious harm - I was lucky enough to simply be ill for a couple of days

So I stress - what follows is how I use essential oils as supplements if and when I need to - you should try any of the methods that follow but I must also stress in the strongest possible way that once you establish what is right for you, do not assume it will be right for anyone else or you could do them serious harm - and never give oils to children or pregnant women

Oil and water do not mix so you can't simply add to hot water (not even in a bath let alone in tea) or you will be taking in undiluted oil and risk damage. To make an infusion, you can add 1 drop of the oil to 10ml honey and mix ensuring the oil is fully dispersed in the honey then you can add warm or hot water.

Personally, I prefer salad dressing - again, just 1 drop to 30ml oil such as Olive and stir well then drizzle on food. You can use the same method to add the oil as seasoning in food but no more than 1 drop in base oil especially the spice oils which are all potentially irritants.

Essential oils also mix well with natural yoghurt - again, 1 drop to a small pot stirred in well.

Lastly, if taking for stomach issues or problems with the mouth then add 1 drop on a sugar cube - leave to fully disperse then slowly dissolve in the mouth.

So, always dilute before use - always start with very low dilution and try a small amount then wait to test for any potentially harmful reaction and continue until you establish what is right - always sip or taste and then wait a few moments - if all is OK then take a little more i.e. tea/dressing etc. Do not swill back a whole cup of tea or pot of yoghurt until you are sure you are fine with it - if it proves too strong for you then you need to simply double the volume of the base product. In the case of honey use just 5ml of the 10ml containing a single drop. If you are fine with a single drop and want to increase then proceed in the same cautious way.

Lastly, always remember that what proves right and health enhancing for you might cause serious harm to someone else
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