When it comes to the internal use of essential oils, we see all sorts of ideas. We see some groups that only say that you should only smell essential oils. Some groups will say well, you can smell them but also apply them to the skin. Then other groups will say, yeah, so the smell and topical application but you can also ingest them too. Lastly we see some people that say yes, do all of those things plus, well, drink them too. Well they don't actually say "Drink" them, but the amount they suggest to ingest is about the same as drinking them, volume wise. IE: they advocate high use of ingesting. When looking at the topical only, they say, use 10 drops of this oil, 15 of this one and on and on, at the same time, and several times per day in some cases. This is akin to drinking them through your skin. So what is the deal with high use of essential oil, but internally and externally?
A number of years ago, as I recall it was about 2014 or so, the FDA came down hard on some people and companies because of how they advocated the use of essential oils and the promises that went along with those recommendations. This alarm went unheeded by some people, some people have tried to figure out how to get around or in some sense, scam the system so they could go about "selling" oils and selling huge amounts to anyone who would use them. Then with some people, I like to think I fit in this grouping of people, went about reexamining the whole deal. For the most part I don't feel like I was that far off to begin with. But as we learn and grow we usually figure out that yes, we can do better, we can always do better. In doing this we have to learn from others and learn from our own experiences.
So as we move forward with things, I feel like the internal/ingestion thing can be a good thing if used with care and not over do it. The line between over doing it and getting in trouble with legal issues and such is kind of a fine line. Let me explain. One of the hallmarks of essential oils, at least most of them are the fact that they are anti-bacterial. Now stay with me here, OK! What does something that is anti-bacterial actually do? It kills bacteria. Generally speaking something that kills bacteria is an Antibiotic, correct? Really I am being rhetorical here, the answer is yes. We totally depend on bacteria for us to live. Certain bacteria is without question and absolutely necessary. These good bacteria are generally pretty strong, ie; tough little buggers. Generally speaking, the "bad" bacteria are usually weaker than the good one. I say that generally speaking, but it is not always the case. So in theory, you can use a small amount of essential oil internally or by ingestion, without a lot of negative effect. But it really depends on what kind of essential oil. If you take the ones like distilled or the absolutes or concretes, then it can be problematic. These behave a lot differently than does the extracted ones, or the cold pressed type of oils. However, one must make sure some of these types are not the chemical extracted types. Those aren't the best for internal use. Then you have the C02 extracted types. As a general rule these are digestable. Perhaps the main reason is that everything in the plant is there on those, basically, you you don't have a certain, incomplete plant chemical profile with those. But for the sake of this discussion, we are not going to add those to the list and increase the confusion.
When one uses the oils internally, which I feel like the only safe ones are the cold pressed types, which are for the most part, the citrus oils. But they are extremely anti-bacterial. So you have to be very cautious here. A few years ago the FDA came out with the Veterinary Feed directive, of as I recall, 2017. everything about this is elevating Veterinary care to the same level as Human care. Up until this time it was OK to add anti-bionics to animal feed. In small amounts it really helped with the growth of the animals. But in larger amounts it caused some serious issues with the end users, ie; humans. So they put the end to that practice. So now for the most part, internal use of anti-bionics use in animals is under the same laws as with humans. IE: you have to have a prescription for use by the Veterinarian that is of record for your animal operation to use anti-biotics if you are using any amount of anti-biotic sthan just a first aid type ointment, for example.
I make a tooth powder that is unbelievably effective and really cleans the teeth. I do have essential oils in the stuff. Even though it is not recommended to use the essential oils internally, I do get questions and concerns about the internal use of oils in this manner. In reality, the PPM of the oils per use of the tooth powder is so low that it isn't really a concern. It is much like the use of Florine in tooth paste. The amount is so small if the stuff is limited to being used in the mouth that it isn't a real concern. Which begs the question, why is Florine used in the mouth and is approved to be used in the mouth but if it is swallowed, it can be a serious concern, serious enough that most tooth paste makers have a warning label to the effect that if you swallow the tooth paste then go to the hospital emergency room immediately. Same type of thing. So what is this Florine/Floride thing? It kills bacteria does it not? So that makes it a anti-biotic does it not?
If you are considering using one of these citrus oils internally, then keep other things in mind. It is not always the use of an oil that does this or that, but the amount of the oil that does. For example, Grapefruit oil will be a very effective diuretic if used in larger amounts. But not do much if used in small amounts. I like to use Orange oil, (a certain type BTW) in my drinking water on occasion. I might use maybe 2 drops in a huge, 32 ounce bottle of water. Where as I have seen these people that "drinks" the essentials oils, use say 10 or more drops in a 16 ounce water bottle. Basically, I am using the essential oil much like an essential oil used in cooking applications. The drinkers are basically, well,, drinking the essential oil. That usually will produce a negative out come sooner or later. I think you can see the amount I use and as used in cooking applications, is a very low PPM number. Where as with the drinkers of the oils, the PPM is enough to produce more than just flavoring. Plus, you then get into the First Pass issue with the Liver if you use a lot of essential oils internally.
I know some people can be very passionate about the internal using of essential oil thing These people are usually on one side of the road or the other; for or against. For me I am with the very small number of people in the middle. We say well, it depends when it comes to the internal use of essential oils. Internal use depends on a long list of conditions. If you have to ask about those conditions, then it is best that you don't go there with internal use. I do know one thing though, if you are a person on the front end of the Dunning-Kruger Effect deal then maybe you should not be advocating the internal use of essential oils. Sometimes people can get stuck at first base on this issue and never mover from that point. In clinical situations or with people that actually know there stuff, a lot of good can come from the use of essential oils,both internally and externally.But for most people topical use is generally very safe and will keep you out of trouble, on several levels.
Anyway, I hope this gives you some perspective on the internal/external use of essential oils Until next time, take care and enjoy your essential oils.
End of Report. KK