Can essential oils be ingested? It is one of the most common questions I’ve been asked. At the beginning of my journey with essential oils I was very interested in the ingestion of essential oils and took French Aromatherapy class to learn more about it. Oral administration allows for aromatic molecules to enter the digestive tract. When essential oils are taken into the mouth without a vegetable capsule some components that enter the mouth may be absorbed through the cheeks, the tongue or the lining of the throat.

Essential oils can be diluted in honey, alcohol, gelatin capsules, sugar cube, milk, fatty oil capsules, charcoal, bread, rice flour capsules, syrups, dried powdered herb capsules.

Indications for internal use:

Digestive disorders, infectious diseases, immune support, candida infections, liver detox/cleanse, liver support, preventative to tropical diseases, colds, coughs, flu, sinusitis, oral candida, periodontal disease, mouth ulcers, urinary tract infections, insomnia, some acute nervous states like anxiety, etc.

How to dilute essential oils to take orally:

Honey: gently warm the honey jar in a pot filled with water to liquefy the honey, add 1-3 drops of essential oil to a tablespoon of honey, stir with a toothpick and take orally.

Alcohol: alcohol is a good solvent for aromatic molecules, some of the heavier aromatic constituents such as sesquiterpenes are soluble only in strong alcohol.

Gelatin capsules: This is the optimal and my favorite way of delivering potentially harsh essential oils such as cinnamon bark. The internal use of capsules is mostly for digestive system, so they are indicated for constipation, difficulty swallowing, certain liver imbalances, tropical disease prevention, and hepatitis. Other indications for capsules include bronchitis, chronic smokers’ cough, urinary tract infections or cystitis, and some nervous system imbalances such as insomnia, stress and anxiety.

Sublingual route

Essential oils are administered sublingually by placing one drop of essential oil under the tongue. The essential oil passes into the blood stream through the ventral surface of the tongue and the floor of the mouth. Essential oil components are absorbed into the reticulated vein underneath the oral mucosa and are transported through the facial veins to the internal jugular vein and finally to the brachiocephalic vein, where the blood flows into systemic circulation. Sublingual route is indicated mostly for upper respiratory congestion, respiratory tract infections, acute anxiety, lowered immunity, acute insomnia, energetic properties, nausea, rhinitis, allergies.

Advantages of Sublingual route:

  • Rapid onset of action (peak blood levels are reached in 10-15 minutes)         
  • Does not require swallowing
  • Absorption through the sublingual route is 3 to 10 times greater than through the oral route and is only surpassed by hypodermic injection.

General Recommendation for Oral Route

The recommended dosage of essential oils is 1-3 drops for adults, 2-3 times a day, maximum 12 drops a day.

Oral route can be used once a child is 7 years old. In France, rectal suppositories are used to treat children under the age of 7.

Acute Conditions: use oral dosage for up to 21 days.

Chronic Conditions: use essential oils for up to 2 weeks of a month. essential oils.

Most common essential oils used for ingestion are: German Chamomile, Roman Chamomile, Basil, Bergamot, Cinnamon, Clary Sage, Cypress, Eucalyptus citriodora, Eucalyptus Radiata, Laurel, Lavender, Lemon, Sweet Marjoram, Peppermint, Rosemary, Thyme, Helichrysum, Clove. Please consult with a Certified Aromatherapist before choosing essential oils for internal use.

Written by Lena Isayev, B.A., C.A.

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