Is Taking Essential Oils
The subject of taking essential oils internally is one that arouses a lot of debate among aromatherapy practitioners. Of course, some essential oils are toxic if ingested, but many other essential oils are food additives that you probably unknowingly already eat.
In fact, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), in Title 21--Food and Drugs, Chapter I, Part 182--Substances Generally Recognized As Safe includes essential oils that the FDA recognizes as generally regarded as safe (GRAS) for consumption.
So, what's all the controversy? The issue is quality. The generally poor quality of many essential oils sold on store shelves makes internal use risky. Poor quality oils may have undesirable side effects or may just be ineffective.
If you are considering internal use of essential oils, follow these guidelines:
- Know why you want to use the oil and what you expect from it.
- Start by reading the label; if it says not to ingest the oil, don't.
- Make sure the essential oil is GRAS.
- Make sure you understand any contraindications (that is, reasons not to use the oil because you have a certain medical condition, allergy, sensitivity, etc.)
- Make sure you use only high-quality, therapeutic-grade essential oils.
- Use common sense. Essential oils are potent. One drop is often enough. You can overdose on anything. Stop use immediately if you feel any adverse effect.
- If in doubt, get professional advice.
Common ways for taking essential oils internally are to add a drop or two to a cup of water and drink it, add the oil to one teaspoon of honey and eat it, or put the oil in a gelatin capsule and take it.
In The Healing Intelligence of Essential Oils, aromatherapist Kurt Schnaubelt, PhD, includes the following uses for one drop of essential oil in a glass of water:
- Cardamom: Helps digestion and eases emotional upset
- Cypress: Relieves nervous cough
- Dill: Relieves indigestion
- Fennel: Relieves pain and sedates reflexes (do not use fennel if you have epilepsy)
- Ginger: Acts as digestive tonic
- Juniper: Relieves nerve pain
- Lavender: Eases carvings caused by low blood sugar
- Lemon: Helps balance the liver
- Marjoram: Has a slight tranquilizing effect
- Melissa: Deepens sleep
- Peppermint: Relieves nausea (not for children under five years old)
- Tarragon: Relieves shock
Click here for where to buy essential oils.
Photo Credit: Carol Wiley
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