Today I was asked what my issue with ingesting essential oils is.
I was asked this by someone who sells essential oils for a MLM company and was taught to believe that ingesting
essential oils is a very safe practice.
I never gave her any reason to believe that I am against ingesting essential oils, she simply assumed that I am because I am an aromatherapist!
Because my thoughts on ingesting essential oils are way more complex than she gave myself or other aromatherapists credit for, I decided to lay my thoughts out for anyone who may want to hear a perspective that is not simply black or white.
I am not fundamentally against oral administration of essential oils. I am actually “pro-ingesting” IF I know that the constituents in the essential oil have not been proven to contraindicate
a person’s issue
or other forms of treatment they may be on.
A constituent is a “component part of something”.
In the case of an essential oil, we are talking about the individual chemicals that make up
the whole of the substance.
Now… What I am against is irresponsible and unethical use of essential oils when they are being ingested.
My first question when considering whether or not ingesting
is the correct choice of administration is simple….
What is the issue that the client is having and is ingesting an essential oil the proper and most advantageous
way to support this person?
There are situations where oral administration is preferable
as it allows for better precision in how much of the
essential oil is being absorbed.
Also, the bioavailability of the constituents is much greater with ingestion than when administered topically or through inhalation, this makes for a great tool for certain acute issues!
The following is an excerpt from "Essential Oil Safety"
by Tisserand and Young.
“The typical oral dosage range is approximately ten times greater than the amount typically absorbed from massage. We have assumed that 100% of any oil administered orally is absorbed. Although this is unlikely in every instance, it is appropriate for a worse-case scenario. Absorption in the bloodstream after dermal application is slower than after oral dosing and the mucous membranes of the GI tract are likely to be more readily penetrated and more easily irritated than the skin, therefore requiring greater caution. With oral administration there is a greater risk of overdose, gastric irritation and with interactions with medications. Therefore, only practitioners who are qualified to diagnose, trained to weigh risk against benefits and have a knowledge of essential oil pharmacology should prescribe essential oils for oral administration.”
My 3 main avenues of thought regarding common ingestion practices.