Essential Oil: Why You Shouldn't Ingest Them
There are many great uses for essential oils, but ingesting them can be very dangerous. This type of oil is not diluted, therefore making them super concentrated. This makes them extremely damaging to kidneys, liver, digestive system and can be very toxic. Adding essential oil to your water does not dilute the substance as we know oil and water don't mix. The oil remains on top of the water making it a separate componet from the water. This can lead to burning of mouth, esophagus and stomach tissue due to the high concentration. These effects of ingesting essential oils may not be experienced imediately, but over time organs can be effected. This is similar to people who ingest excess sugar, processed foods, alcohol or smoke. They can experience long term effects. Dr. Alan Woolf defines the toxicology of essential oils as "any of a class of voltile oils composed of a mixture of complex hydrocarbons (usually terpenes) and other chemicals extracted from a plant, usually by a method of distillation. Essential oils gives the plant its characteristic of aroma and will evaporate quickly off skin or other surface."
Herbal medicine uses different extracts of plants, but is diluted. For example, phytoembryotherapy uses the young buds and shoots of plants for their growth hormones that repair or regenerate tissue in humans. 1kg of buds is put into 20kg maceration of 50% glycerine and 50 % alcohol (96% alcohol and 4% water) making it a 1:20 ratio.
Why do they use glycerin, water and alcohol? Overall, they help pull the good things out of the plant. There are water, alcohol and oil substances within a plant. Water pulls out the energetic part of the bud that are water soluble like minerals, vitamins, tannins, flavonoids and acids. Alcohol extracts alkaloids, heterosides, glycosides and some acids. Glycerin (plant oil) extracts essential oils (phenols), fat soluble flavonoids and vitamins. This type of essential oils (phenols) are a chemical compound found naturally in foods.
When essential oil is extracted by steam releases the plant's aromatic molecules and turn them into vapor. The aroma liquid by-product is easily separated from the water because the oil and water don't mix. The aromatic molecule is great for aromatherapy. The use of aroma plant extracts are best used topically and disfused to get their benefits. Many essential oils have antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral and anti-inflammatory properties that can address skin problems, pain and inflammation. Others can help repel bugs, relax and stimulate energy. Make sure you use essential oils in a safe way.
Woolf, Alan Dr. Essential Oil Poisioning. Massachuttets Poison Control Systems, Boston, Massachuttetes. Clinical Toxicology, 37(6), 721-727 (1999).
Abell, Robert Dr. Phytotherapy: Clinical Applications to Elevate Patient Outcomes and Build Your Practice. (seminar). Genestra, 2019.
Pilapil VR: Toxic manifestation of cinnamon oil ingestion in a child. Clin Pediatr (Phil) 1989
A Comprehensive Guide To Essential Oil Extraction Methods. New Directions Aromatics, 2017.
Webb NJ, Pitt WR: Eucalyptus oil poisoning in childhood: 41 cases in south-east Queensland. J Paediatr Child Health1993
Seawright A: Comment: tea tree oil poisoning. Med J Aust1993