January 20, 2017

Are Essential Oils Safe for Internal Use?


When it comes to essential oils, the phrase, “Too much of a good thing” even applies to them, as wonderful as they are.

There are hundreds of articles that speak of the amazing benefits of these natural medicines called essential oils.

  • Rub peppermint oil on your temples for a headache.
  • Sniff lavender oil to induce sleep
  • Drink grapefruit oil in water to curb appetite.

Are Essential Oils Safe for Internal UseThe recommendations are truly endless.

Most people are ready and willing to follow these recommendations because essential oils are good and natural. And if they are all-natural, then they can’t hurt you, right?

Wrong! Unfortunately, few people are addressing the safety concerns and proper uses of these powerful remedies.

I’m not against using essential oils. I love my oils and I use them often! I promote their use to others and I am excited to see them skyrocket to popularity.

What disturbs me is that among the growing essential oil subculture, there is an enormous amount of misinformation about how to use essential oils.

Many who use essential oils have little information on how to employ them safely. The extent of their essential oil knowledge is often limited to what they have learned from a friend who uses them or what they read in a blog post written by an essential oil consultant.

In my experience, many who promote unconventional applications of essential oils have minimal aromatherapy training and represent multi-level marketing companies who themselves are promoting these controversial methods..

An individual selling essential oils in a multi-level marketing scheme does not possess the same knowledge or background on the safety of essential oils that a licensed aromatherapist does.

I place no blame on the consultants who sell the oils and have created an income for their families by making a business for themselves. These well-intentioned consultants trust and believe in the companies they work for. Furthermore, they have no doubt experienced positive health improvements from using essential oils.

Unfortunately, a multi-level marketing company’s quest to sell more oil often motivates them to blur the truth and exaggerate benefits. I believe that these companies produce quality oils, some of which I personally use. But, I cannot agree with all of their suggested uses.

Hazardous Uses of Essential Oils

There are two hazardous applications of essential oils that are currently promoted as safe. These two unorthodox methods have never, in the history of aromatherapy, been promoted by certified aromatherapists.

The two questionable methods of using essential oils are:

  1. Neat (undiluted) application
  2. Daily internal use (specifically of undiluted oil)

The Dangers of Neat Application

Neat application is the use of essential oils that are not diluted. This method of application is rarely, if ever used in aromatherapy. If neat application is performed, it should be:

  • Supervised by a qualified professional.
  • Used for a very short period.
  • Administered for an acute and very traumatic situation.

Most of the time neat oils can be applied without any apparent issues. However, stronger is not always better when it comes to essential oils. Undiluted oils are extremely potent and concentrated. “Hot” oils like cinnamon and oregano are so potent, that they can cause second degree burns if applied undiluted![1]

The recommended dilutions are as follows[2]:

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