17-20 October 2024
International Convention Centre Sydney

Essential oils: good enough to eat?

There is much energetic, and often angry, debate over whether or not essential oils are safe to ingest. There’s no doubt that the recommendation of ingesting essential oils is an unregulated area where the distributors of essential oils are often uneducated and even sometimes irresponsible when it comes to the ‘advice’ they give. This leaves the industry wide open to criticism.

But does that mean you should or shouldn’t ingest essential oils?

Unfortunately, there is no hard, evidence-backed research to categorically determine whether ingesting essential oils is safe and if so, in what quantities. What it boils down to at the end of the day is common sense.

The two main concerns directed at ingesting essential oils are:

  • That it can cause liver damage if used long term.
  • That it can kill the good gut bacteria as well as the bad.

Firstly, as mentioned, there is no substantiated evidence either way regarding the potential damage essential oils can cause to your liver if ingested. One lady complained of an inflamed liver after ingesting Frankincense oil which immediately reversed when she stopped taking it.

Essential oils are powerful substances which should be treated with respect and caution – “Everything in moderation” should be remembered. The Atlantic Institute of Aromatherapy advises diffusing oils and using them topically on a daily basis, but ingesting oils only for remedial purposes when necessary.1

With regards gut bacteria, one interesting clinical study which tested the treatment of e-coli in pigs using ingested essential oils, discovered that the oils were successful in treating the e-coli without adversely affecting the good bacteria in the pigs.2

I do ingest essential oils, both in capsules and in water, and I use them for my children also, but I do so in moderation and not every day. You will know what you feel is right for you, but essential oils should never be taken without first consulting a professional.

 

Sources:

http://www.atlanticinstitute.com/blog/2014/11/8/essential-oils-can-be-taken-internally
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16430506