Ingestible Essential Oils List for Safe Internal Use
When you hear about ingestible essential oils that are safe for internal use, there is sometime confusion. The conversation is usually centered around a list distributed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). This is the closest thing that you will find to an ingestible essential oils list, since these oils aren’t currently regulated by the government. They aren’t required to go through safety testing before hitting the market, so few (if any) have received that testing.
Does this mean that essential oils aren’t safe for consumption? Not exactly. It means that they haven’t been proven safe to a scientific degree. That doesn’t mean that millions of people haven’t used essential oils internally with great results.
Understanding the List of Ingestible Essential Oils
This FDA list identifies select essential oils as substances “generally recognized as safe for their intended use.” This means that they are generally safe as long as they are used as intended by the distributor or manufacturer. You can view the entire list of oils considered safe online, but let’s take a look at some of the more popular ingestible essential oils that have made the cut:
- Most citrus oils (lemon, orange, tangerine, grapefruit etc.)
- Cinnamon bark
- Winter & summer savory
For a complete list of essential oils possibly considered safe for ingestion, see the FDA’s website here.
Internal Use During Pregnancy or with Medical Conditions
If you’re pregnant or have been diagnosed with a medical condition that may interact negatively with some oils, it’s best to treat essential oils as you would prescription or over-the-counter medication. This is especially important if you take prescription medications because the natural properties of many oils may interact with those medications. For instance, some oils may reduce or increase the impact of some medications.
Ways to Safely Use Essential Oils Internally
You can always use food-grade oils in the kitchen to add flavor and health benefits to your food, but the most beneficial methods of delivery are as follows:
- Mouth swishing or gargling – Peppermint oil, spearmint oil and some other essential oils are commonly used as mouthwash or may be added to homemade toothpaste to combat bad breath and periodontal disease. They are often combined with sweet almond oil or another carrier.
- Drink undiluted – This is the simplest method. You simply ingest drops of the oil in small therapeutic doses. Even professionals who know that these oils are safe for ingestion warn that this method may irritate your esophagus, causing acid reflux and potentially other health problems. Many oils are safely ingested by putting one or two drops on the tongue, so they are absorbed in the mouth rather than traveling down the throat and sitting on the stomach.
- Mix with water and honey – This dilutes the oil so that it isn’t as harsh on your throat, esophagus, and stomach lining. Peppermint oil mixed with water is believed to ease an upset stomach, and lemon oil is often mixed with honey to boost the immune system and combat colds or the flu. Since oil and water don’t mix well, it’s important to include the honey to create a barrier between your sensitive tissues and the oil.
- Add to an enema or suppository – A variety of essential oils are commonly used for colon cleansing. Some people prefer to use essential oil enema salts.
- Put the oil in a gelatin capsule – You can take your essential oils just as you would prescription or over-the-counter medications. This is the best way if you don’t like the taste of an essential oil. This method is more protective of sensitive tissue in your mouth, throat, and stomach.
The essential oils that you use will depend on the results that you want to achieve. If you ingest a pre-mixed oil blend, make sure that every oil in the mixture is safe for ingestion.
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