Friends don’t let friends drink essential oils!
Have you heard that? Is it dangerous to drink essential oils? Will it harm your mouth or esophagus? Why on earth are some companies recommending this? Have you had someone tell you “Friends don’t let friends drink essential oils” or maybe you read it on another blog? These cautions are usually passionate and well-intentioned. And certainly none of us want to do anything that could harm us or anyone we share oils with. So let’s get down to the bottom of these alarmist claims and see if we really are harming ourselves by using essential oils internally.
First, what’s the different between using oils orally and internally ….
Oral use – this means using essential oils in the mouth. This could be in water, under the tongue, applied to a tooth, on a sore in the mouth, etc.
Internal use – this is when essential oils are taken internally. This could be in a capsule, softgel or in food.
Here are some common objections….
- Essential oils are highly concentrated so they are dangerous to consume: “Would you drink 30 tea bags of chamomile in a day? Of course you wouldn’t! So, why would you drink a drop of the essential oil?”
- It’s all about making money. That’s why those MLM companies recommend drinking oils.
- Essential oils don’t mix with water so they will irritate the mouth and throat
- Essential oils damage mucous membranes
Let’s take them one at a time…
- Just because something is highly concentrated does not mean its dangerous. That is terrible logic. Yes they are potent and powerful and yes we should respect that power but that does not mean they are dangerous. Sometimes assumptions non-scientists make seem logical to them but are just wrong. See #4.
- Most essential oil companies also recommend diffusing. Most diffusers call for 6 or so drops with each fill. But Ive never seen someone accuse oil companies of being greedy money-hungry villains for recommending diffusing or selling diffusers. Again – bad logic. For internal use we recommend only 1-2 drops at a time. One of my most frequently used oils internally is Lavender – it is 9 cents a drop. Im hardly paying for anyone’s private jet with occasional internal use for seasonal issues. No one should be recommending capsules of 8 drops at a time – and doTERRA as a company has NEVER recommend this type of excessive internal use.
- It’s true that essential oils don’t mix with water. That doesn’t necessarily mean they will irritate the mouth and throat. Using too strong of an oil or too much absolutely could. As with all oil use, common sense should be used and what is best is different for everyone.
DoTERRA essential oils are found on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) list, which affirms the safe use of essential oils as flavoring agents and preservatives. Every substance found on this list has a well-documented history of internal safety. Although essential oils have health applications that extend far beyond flavoring, this list sets a safety framework that can be applied to the internal use of essential oils. (source)
- Essential oils actually don’t damage mucous membranes. A number of research studies have examined how essential oils interact with mucus and mucous membranes. Not surprisingly, essential oils have shown remarkably positive effects on mucous membranes.For example, several different essential oils have been shown to increase digestive tract mucus production*. (1,5-7) In the digestive tract, increased mucus production is a good thing, leading to increased protection for underlying mucous membrane cells. Conversely, mucus production in the respiratory tract must be more balanced to avoid congestion. (8) Some essential oils have been shown to meter the production of mucus by regulating mucin genes. (9,10)When essential oils are ingested, they don’t just sit in the stomach. Research has shown that lipophilic substances bind to certain regions of mucin. (3) Essential oils are lipophilic substances, and likely will also bind to mucin. After binding to mucin, they will travel through the digestive tract until they are absorbed into the blood stream.In short, when taking doTERRA essential oils aromatically, orally, or internally, you don’t need to worry about them harming mucous membranes, as long as you are staying within appropriate usage guidelines (see Recommended Ideal Amounts). The body has developed great methods for utilizing essential oils in a safe and effective manner.
Read more from doTERRA: https://doterra.com/US/en/blog/science-safety-physiology-mucous-membranes-essential-oils
How amazing is that?! Essential oils are not only NOT harmful, they are helpful to the body!
(** All info in this article refers to doTERRA’s pure, top quality, thoroughly tested and therapeutic essential oils only)
Not all oils are safe to put in your mouth ….
- Never, ever consume essential oils from the health food store or anywhere else that don’t have supplement facts on the bottle. Many cheap oils are not labeled for internal use because they have chemicals, additives, carrier oils and other harmful things added to the essential oil – if there is any real essential oil at all.
- Some essential oils, even in their purest form, are not safe to take internally such as Arborvitae, Birch, Cedarwood, Cypress, (some species of) Eucalyptus, White Fir, and Wintergreen. (NOTE: The species of Eucalyptus used in On Guard is safe for internal use. Some species are not) These oils are best used aromatically or topically. Always check the bottle for details on how to use them. DoTERRA oils that are safe to consume have a supplement facts label on them in compliance with the FDA.
- Some essential oils may be too caustic to use in the mouth. Typically these are the same oils that require extra care in dilution because they are harsher on the skin. Take care using these oils directly in your mouth. I recommend 1 drop of these oils in a capsule with some olive or coconut oil to dilute, when needed. Remember as part of a blend they are much gentler, such as Cinnamon in Slim & Sassy. Some of the stronger oils include: Oregano, Cinnamon and Cassia
What happens when you take essential oils internally?
When ingested, essential oils directly enter the blood stream via the gastrointestinal tract, where they are transported throughout the rest of the body. Discussed previously, essential oils are lipid soluble so they are readily transported to all organs of the body, including the brain. Then, like all things we consume, essential oils are metabolized by the liver and other organs and are then excreted.
The composition of essential oils is highly complex. Each constituent possesses a unique set of biochemical properties that react with cells and organs in different ways. Although these mechanisms of action are not completely understood, the positive end results have been demonstrated. However, the body is only equipped to handle appropriate doses of essential oils. Proper dosing according to labeling recommendations and other professional guidelines should be strictly followed to avoid toxicity. (source)
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent disease.
My personal experience using essential oils internally :
Typically I use my oils aromatically or topically. I do sometimes choose internal use when it’s more applicable or I have an issue I want to tackle all three ways. Ive had some incredible results, with me and my older children, using oils internally.
For example I always carry Lavender with me in case I start to react to a food. I don’t have life threatening food allergies however sometimes I can feel my throat get itchy and scratchy. One drop of Lavender under the tongue and typically it’s gone.
Several years ago, my oldest son had a skin issue that lasted several years and was getting increasingly worse. I was really beginning to worry. We tried many different topical solutions and I finally gave him one of doTERRA’s GX Assist soft gels, once a day, for three days. And that issue resolved itself! I’d call that a win and well worth any supposed risk, especially compared traditional solutions.
No one should be internalizing large amounts of essential oils. DoTERRA never teaches that (see chart below).
What about your liver?! Reactions I’ve had to using doTERRA essential oils internally
I’m all about honesty so here are some of the very few side effects Ive experienced from internal use over the last 6+ years. Once after excessive use of Lavender (my mistake) under my tongue the skin there got rough like sand paper. This was after years of use without issue. I took a break for several weeks and I have not had that issue since, even when I use Lavender. It healed quickly.
I also have gotten heartburn from using the Slim & Sassy softgels. I know it’s the peppermint in them which my body had issues with before doTERRA. Finally if I take DDR prime softgels I sometimes burp Lemongrass. But ya’ll …. I have had literally thousands of drops of oils in my water, food, under my tongue, in capsules and softgels and that is all I’ve ever had issues with!!!
And before someone asks about my liver … due to some unrelated health issues I have my liver tested regularly, and have for the last 3 years, and it is tip-top shape. Yes everyone is different but if essential oils were as toxic as some claim I should be dead. (and so would tens of thousands of others) Thankfully I am healthier than ever. Everyone is different, know your body and do what is right for you.
With all things – moderation and common sense.
This is always where safety lies when it comes to essential oils. I can only recommend doTERRA as even other major brands have had proven issues with containing synthetics. So choose a safe oil approved for internal use and use only as needed. I encourage you to your research, ignore the fear-mongering online and do what you feel is best for you. Don’t do excessive things like drink straight oregano or use half a bottle in a day.
Here are the internal use guidelines from doTERRA (source). The ideal column is your typical amount a regular essential oil user may use at one time. Small amounts are more effective because the body can only process and utilize so much at one.
- Note: These are general recommendations that don’t take into account the individual health and experience levels of the user. doTERRA essential oils are very potent and each individual will react differently to them. It is important to be aware of one’s own unique health circumstances and adjust accordingly. A key point from Dr. Hill’s presentation is that we should be more moderate with our essential oil use when our health is in anyway compromised. If you are pregnant or have a serious medical illness please do your research and/or consult your doctor.
Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater! If you don’t want to use oils orally or internally that is your choice and you can still get wonderful benefits with external and aromatic uses. But if using doTERRA essential oils internally is right for you, do so with respect and common sense and all will be well! I’m personally so thankful I have oral/internal use as a an option in my natural healthcare.
If you have questions feel free to comment below and I’ll do my best (haters’ comments will be deleted – this is a happy place :)) If you are ready to have doTERRA essential oils in your home click HERE for more information or message me so we can chat!
More safety-related posts:
Have questions? Need help deciding whats best for you?
Email me [email protected] and I’ll be in touch very soon. Happy oiling! I look forward to working with you!