Can You Ingest Essential Oils?

Can you ingest essential oil? Ask and you will get all sorts of answers. Some people say you can ingest essential oils, while others believe you should not. Some say essential oils can be ingested in certain cases. What should you do? Are there any benefits and situations to consider ingesting essential oils? Let's find out now!

Can You Ingest Essential Oils?

You will be better off not to ingest essential oils. Although essential oil occurs naturally in fruits, nuts, spices, herbs, and other food items, you should not use it as a dietary supplement. The reason is that the amounts of essential oil in food items is very low – the amount is not that high even when used as flavorings in ice cream, candy, pickles, etc. In most cases, these food items do not have more than a drop of essential oil, which is why they are usually safe to consume. You are likely to experience safety issues if you ingest essential oils in larger quantities.

Safety Issues

Due to many safety issues, the answer to your question, "Can you ingest essential oils?" is NO. Essential oils have many constituents that can make it harmful in many ways. The thing to understand is that it is hard to avoid being in contact with harmful substances, as they are found everywhere in food, air, water, medications, cleaning products, and toiletries.

Many commonly consumed foods contain toxic substances – cyanide precursors are in almonds and apple seeds, whereas broccoli and cabbage contain allyl isothiocyanate. Moreover, green potatoes contain teratogenic alkaloids and acetaldehyde is a carcinogen that you can find in a number of veggies and fruits.

However, the important thing is that the amount of these toxic substances is too low to cause serious health issues. Your body's defense mechanisms are usually strong enough to eliminate these substances from your body. The thing is different though when you consume these toxic substances in larger quantities, and the same holds true for essential oils, which are present in many food items but in smaller amounts only. However, if you ingest essential oils, many safety issues can result. For example:

  • It can be irritating and sensitizing. Ingesting essential oils in larger quantities can have toxic effects on your body. The same is true even if you opt for 100% pure and natural essential oil. It may still contain impurities. The constituents of certain essential oils make them more dangerous – a teaspoon of Wintergreen oil or Eucalyptus oil consumed by a child is enough to cause life-threatening complications.
  • It may interact with medications. You really want to avoid ingesting essential oils because they can interact with whatever medications you may be taking. There are instances confirming that peppermint oil and Blue Chamomile oil can interact with medications. Some essential oils contain methyl salicylate that can interact with blood-thinning medications, which may increase your risk of bleeding and bruising. How other oils interact with medications is not yet clear but you need to be on the safer side.
  • It may cause skin irritation. Most of essential oils are skin reactive – Ylang-Ylang, Clove, Cinnamon Bark, and Lemongrass oils fall in this category. Lavender and tea tree oils can also cause skin reaction, especially when you use them undiluted. Remember, it is not about purity, but it is more about safety.
  • It can damage your liver. Studies have shown essential oils, when ingested in larger doses, may affect your liver in a negative way. It is the responsibility of your liver to process whatever you put in your body but essential oils can make your liver to work more. It may lead to several complications and health problems, especially when young children and elderly people are ingesting these oils – pregnant women may also experience ill effects of ingesting essential oils.

What it implies is that you should avoid ingesting essential oils. It is true that there is a debate about how much essential oil you can consume safely, but there is no clear evidence to back any claim. Therefore, you should try to be on the safe side and do not ingest essential oils. Even when you are using essential oils externally, it makes great sense to dilute the oil first. This is even more important for people with sensitive skin. Taking these steps will keep you from dealing with adverse skin reactions and toxic effects of constituents in essential oils.

Better Alternatives to Try

Can you ingest essential oils? It is better try not to. To get amazing benefits of essential oils, you can try other alternatives though. You can find some great options in the produce bins in your refrigerator. For instance, you can opt for fresh fruits and veggies such as peach and cucumber and lime. Fresh herbal plants like lavender and peppermint are also some nice choices. Just put these herbal plants in a pitcher of water overnight. It will make the water taste good and you will enjoy amazing health benefits as well.

Similarly, the hydrosol left after distillation may also be a great choice. You can also use these ingredients to make herbal teas, which can be both cold and hot. They are better because they are much gentler on your body as compared to essential oils.

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