Essential Oils and Aromatherapy: How to Use Essential Oils for Beauty, Health, and Spirituality

INGESTING ESSENTIAL OILS – THE BIG DEBATE

Can you take essential oils internally? That is the big question that has a lot of differing opinions. I hope that it is apparent that if one were to use essential oils this way that they must be pure, plant-base essential oils. The ingestion of artificial fragrance oil or essential oils that have been diluted with a chemical carrier could be fatal.

I admit that I do not promote the ingestion of essential oil in my business – mainly out of fear of public misuse. Many people are used to handling liquids in their kitchen such as vanilla extract, where they usually use an entire teaspoon in whatever they are concocting. Essential oils are vastly stronger than extracts. I would absolutely NEVER take one-eighth of a teaspoon of any essential oil – let alone and entire teaspoon!

I can tell you the way that I have personally used essential oils for internal use – in baking. Once, I made a chocolate cake and used only four drops of peppermint oil in the cake batter. I can tell you that small amount was sufficient for creating a chocolate-mint cake. When making lavender cookies, I use a single drop of lavender in the dough. Of course, with most lavender cookie recipes you see the addition of lavender buds, which I always use. But even with the dried flowers, using too much creates cookies that taste like you are eating perfume. I have also used two drops of sweet orange essential oil in sugar cookie dough with good results and was definitely able to taste the orange. It is small amounts that create a subtle culinary difference in a recipe.

There are some oils that are used in meat dishes to replace dried herbs. Where you might usually sprinkle a little dried rosemary on top of chicken before baking and grilling it, using more than a single drop of rosemary this way can be overpowering and ruin the dish. One drop of rosemary diluted in olive oil or butter to glaze your chicken is plenty of rosemary flavor. Two drops tastes like you just took a bite out of a rosemary bush.

Aside from cooking, I have used essential oils internally when under the weather - but only on rare occasion. Whenever I get a simple toothache, I place a single drop of clove bud oil on my index finger then rub the gum next to the aching tooth. It usually gives instant relief but I can tell you that even that solitary drop makes your mouth feel numb (not for continuous daily use – twice a day, tops). During times of a sore throat, I’ve added a drop of peppermint oil to a small glass of water and gargled with it.

But, not all essential oils can be used this way. Some are extremely toxic and can cause vomiting, internal bleeding, and even death. A short list of the essential oils to always AVOID for internal use is: bitter almond, camphor, cassia, mugwort, pennyroyal, wintergreen, and wormwood. This is not a complete list. Once again, do a lot of reading and research from a variety of sources and when in doubt -just don’t do it!