What are Essential Oils

Essential oils are organic compounds extracted from the bark, flower, fruit, leaf, seed or root of a plant or tree and have several healing properties. The oils in the plants are made up of very small molecules that can penetrate your cells, and some can even penetrate the blood-brain barrier. These oils are highly concentrated and have a strong aroma and can be used in aromatherapy and their benefits range from mental to physical healing.

Are Essential Oils Safe

Essential oils are generally safe to use and have very few negative side effect or risks associated with their use especially when used as directed. If you are trying to live a healthier, more natural lifestyle, they make for great alternatives to over-the-counter medications for both physical and mental health. Overall, there is good evidence that essential oils are both safe and can be a powerful healing tool in natural medicine.

Oral Application

Many essential oils can be ingested- taken by the mouth or eaten. You can cook with foods that contain essential oils in them such as lemongrass, ginger or cinnamon. You can also use them in teas to create our own herbal tea remedy. A few popular teas would be chamomile tea or peppermint tea. A few other common ways to ingest them is through capsule form, adding a few drops to your beverage or food dish or by adding a few drops of essential oils under your tongue for fast absorption.

Benefits of Oral Application

As noted above, one benefit of ingesting essential oils is the fast absorption rate. But is that all? Of course not. There are a lot of essential oils that are beneficial to our health when they are ingested. But remember, only 1-2 drops will be efficient and give you the benefits you need. Here are some benefits of ingesting essential oils.

  • Help reduce inflammation
  • Prevent the spread of germs
  • Potentially fight off drug-resistant bacterial infections
  • Soothe and aide digestive tract
  • Ease indigestion and upset stomach
  • Get antioxidants to fight against free radical damage
  • Cardiovascular health
  • Detox bodily systems
  • Calm/ Support nervous system

Learn more about: Benefits of Oral Application of Essential Oils

Oral Application Safety Tips

If you are ingesting essential oils, it is critical to make sure that the essential oils you use are safe and pure, are a very high quality, organic, “therapeutic grade” brand and are appropriate for internal use. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) considers these safe for consumption and has approved some essential oils generically for internal use and given them the generally recognized as safe (GRAS) designation for human consumption.

Be sure to read the warning labels carefully before ingesting. Only consume essential oils that are Certified USDA Organic and labeled as dietary supplements. So many essential oils on the market today have been adulterated, so be sure to use 100% pure essential oils to decrease the likelihood of an adverse response.

Use small amounts of essential oils internally (about 1-2 drops at a time up to 2-3 drops daily). Never use an essential oil internally that you are already allergic to. If you experience any mouth or throat irritation, dilute the oil in liquid, food such as honey or applesauce before swallowing or spit it out. It is also best to take essential oils with food rather than on an empty stomach.

Essential Oils and Medications

Keep in mind that using essential oils at the same time can increase a drug’s side effects if you’re currently taking prescription or over the counter medications regardless if they are being taken internally or topically. Always ask your physician or a professional if you have any safety concerns regarding medication interactions. 

People taking heart medications, such as blood thinners, should avoid using clary sage, cypress, eucalyptus, ginger, rosemary, sage and thyme oils. People dealing with any type of hormonal issue, keep in mind that lavender, tea tress, chamomile, sandalwood and clary sage essential oils may alter hormone levels.

Symptoms of a Negative Reaction

When ingesting essential oils, they are rapidly absorbed by our body. Negative reactions can occur as quickly as 30 minutes after ingestion (some people can experience delayed symptoms up to 4 hours after exposure). The severity of the negative reaction is dependent on the type of oil and the amount ingested.

Children are particularly susceptible. As little as 2mL (less than half a teaspoon) of eucalyptus oil can cause significant poisoning in an infant. Symptoms of toxicity include:

  • Drowsiness 
  • Slow/shallow breathing 
  • Coma (after large ingestion)
  • Seizures
  • Persistent cough
  • Gagging/choking 
  • Shortness of breath 
  • Wheezing
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting 
  • Diarrhea
  • Skin irritation (skin exposure)
  • Eye redness, irritation or pain (eye exposure)

If you experience any of these side effects, call poison control. Do not induce vomiting unless told to do so by a physician. Be sure to check with your physician or healthcare provider to ensure that it is safe to ingest essential oils if you have any questions or other health concerns.

Summing It Up

While essential oils can be ingested, please make sure you take ALL necessary precautions before and after doing so. They have many benefits when they are ingested, but they can also come with severe side effects if not done so properly. Be sure to read all labels and follow the directions and the directions of your healthcare provider as well.

Have you taken essential oils internally? If so, did they work for you? Let us know in the comments!

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This content is for informational and educational purposes only. It is not intended to provide medical advice or to take the place of such advice or treatment from a personal physician. Neither Self Verve nor the publisher of this content takes responsibility for possible health consequences of any person or persons reading or following the information in this educational content. Be sure to contact your physician before trying any of the items stated in the above article.