This question is always being asked, so I decided to go directly to the source and share some info on using essential oils internally.


Can Essential Oils Be Taken Internally?

by Dr. David K. Hill, dōTERRA Chief Medical Officer


Are essential oils safe for internal use? Can every oil be used internally? Are there actually health benefits from using oils this way?  These questions have been topics of growing debate among the essential oil community for many years. While dōTERRA appreciates the value of historical application models, we also recognize the value of the growing library of essential oil research. The truth is, essential oils are powerful therapeutic agents capable of transforming health in an all-natural way. Many essential oils are safe for internal use. Excluding this method of application would eliminate perhaps the most powerful mode of administration. The ever-expanding body of essential oil research continues to confirm the safety of internal application and validate its many therapeutic uses.

Understanding Toxicity

Toxicity is a term used to describe the point at which a substance causes harm or damage to  the body. Even water, vitamins, and minerals—substances vital to life—can be toxic if consumed at a high enough dose. Likewise, all essential oils have a toxic dose, though it is always far above appropriate usage recommendations. Perhaps more important than considering the negative effects associated with excessive use, is considering the incredible benefits that can be reaped when essential oils are used appropriately and safely.

Some essential oils should not be used internally. Take Wintergreen, for example, an oil characterized by high amounts of the constituent methyl salicylate. Its chemical profile makes Wintergreen an effective agent for managing discomforts and supporting a healthy inflammatory response; however, it is not recommend for internal use. Instead, it is most beneficial used topically where it can be applied directly to specific areas for a targeted benefit. Although safe to take internally at low doses, it is simply most effective when used topically.  An important part of using essential oils is regarding them on an individual basis, noting their specific chemistry, profile of therapeutic effects, and appropriate application methods.

Quality Matters

essential oils smellingCurrently, no accepted regulatory body oversees the production of essential oils, nor is there a universal standard governing essential oil usage protocols. For this reason, dōTERRA has created a quality assurance process: Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade (CPTG). To be safe and effective, especially for internal use, essential oils must have the proper chemical profile and also be free of any impurities or adulterations. dōTERRA uses a canon of third-party analytical methods to ensure that every bottle meets our high standards of composition and safety.

Additionally, many essential oils are found on the FDA’s Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) list that approves essential oils for internal use as non-medical constituents. Although this list does not approve the internal use of dietary supplements, it does set general safety guidelines. The plants and substances included on this list have a well-documented history of safety when used internally. Essential oils do have usages and applications that extend far beyond these parameters; however, the GRAS list is still an accredited tool that contributes to confirming the safety of internal use of essential oils.

Scientific Forefront

lavender on feet Although topical and aromatic applications have been most widely studied, emerging research has now begun to validate the efficacy and safety of internal use. From improving emotional status to protecting vital organs, internal use of essential oils is an exciting field that is developing at an accelerating rate. The further we delve into the science of essential oils, the more we understand their physiologic relevance. While there is much yet to understand and a great need for continued research, we should embrace the power and safety of internal use that has been clinically and anecdotally substantiated.

Because of their potent nature, it is  important to use essential oils with the same level of caution and safety as any other drug or medication. But, when used mindfully, many essential oils can safely and effectively be administered internally. Their multi-faceted range of health applications empowers every individual with the opportunity to naturally manage their health with the utmost confidence.

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June 1, 2017

Can Essential Oils Be Taken Internally?