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Internal Uses for Essential Oils

Terri FosterSeptember 28, 2021

Internal uses for essential oils is a controversial topic. Do a search on the internet (wait, don’t do it!) and you will find a lot of conflicting information. I will admit that I was afraid to use essential oils internally for years because of this. Boy was I missing out.

I hope to clear some of this confusion up for you. Today I am going to share with you how to use essential oils safely, when it is appropriate to ingest oils. Of course, I will share my favorite recipes too!

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. This includes some affiliate links and I may earn a small commission on products recommended at no extra cost to you.

What are the benefits of internal use for essential oils?

internal uses for essential oils

Immune system support

Many oils are good for maintaining your immune system when taken internally. These oils include Cassia, Cilantro (which also supports the response of the immune system), Cinnamon Bark, Clove, Copaiba, Frankincense, Helichrysum, Lime, Marjoram, Melissa, Myrrh, Oregano, Roman Chamomile, Tangerine, Thyme, Vetiver, and Wild Orange.

Respiratory system support

Internal use of Black Pepper and Lemon help the respiratory system when seasonal threats are high. Peppermint and Cardamom help with clear breathing.

Antioxidants

The antioxidants found in the following oils may help to protect your cells from free radicals: Black Pepper, Copaiba, Juniper Berry, Lime, Oregano, Petitgrain, Wild Orange, Ylang Ylang.

Healthy digestion or occasional upset stomach

Oils like Cardamom may help with indigestion, while Ginger (also helps with gas and bloating), and Spearmint can help with nausea or upset stomach.

Cardiovascular System support

The cardiovascular system is responsible for transporting oxygen, nutrients, hormones, and cellular waste throughout your body. The heart is the body’s hardest working organ. Even when you’re resting it pumps over five liters of blood through your body every minute. Oils that can help include Bergamot, Cinnamon Bark, Clove, Marjoram, Thyme, Lime, and Helichrysum. Black Pepper, Cinnamon Bark, Clove, Fennel, and Thyme all help assist in healthy circulation as well.

Internal cleansing

Oils to include in your next cleansing smoothie or tea include Cilantro, Helichrysum, Juniper Berry, Lemon, Thyme (specifically for the gastrointestinal and digestive systems), and Wild Orange.

Nervous System

Essential oils that can help support the nervous system are Bergamot, Copaiba, Helichrysum, and Marjoram. Oils that are calming to the nervous system are Cilantro, Clary Sage, Copaiba, Lavender, and Petitgrain.

Pure Essential Oils vs Fragrance Oils

There is a difference! If you are considering ingesting essential oils it is important that you know there is a difference in quality and purity of essential oils.

Most essential oils on the market are fragrance oils. Fragrance oils have other synthetic material added to them and are not safe for internal use and can actually be harmful when ingested.

Look for the supplemental fact label on the side of your essential oil bottle. If the oil you are using is pure and safe for internal use there will be a label indicating “safe for internal use” along with internal use directions.

This is why I use doTERRA essential oils. Every batch is third party tested and certified to be pure essential oil free of additives, dilution and synthetic chemicals. Need proof? I know I did! Look on the bottom of the bottle for a code and go to sourcetoyou.com. Enter that code and view a report of the exact chemical makeup of each batch of essential oil produced.

Safety Guidelines

You are most likely already incorporating essential oils into your daily diet, as many of the foods we eat contain a small amount of essential oil. Because our bodies are designed to metabolize and process natural compounds like plants and fruit, we are already equipped to metabolize essential oils. While some essential oils are never appropriate for internal consumption, there are plenty of oils that can be safely taken internally and processed by the body—much like other substances found in nature.

Remember that list of “hot” oils you want to be extra careful with? Cassia, Cinnamon Bark, Clove, Thyme and Oregano. Use caution if you are trying these for the first time. Less is more!

If you still have concerns about ingesting essential oils I encourage you to speak to your physician and look for trusted resources. Here is some more info on emerging research on the safety of internal use of oils.

Generally Regarded As Safe (GRAS) List

Today, many essential oils are found on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) list, which permits the use of certain essential oils for use in food products. Every substance found on this list has a well-documented history of safe use.

  • Basil (Ocimum basilicum)
  • Bergamot (Citrus bergamia)
  • Black Pepper (Piper nigrum)
  • Cassia (Cinnamomum cassia)
  • Cinnamon (Cinnamomum zeylanicum)
  • Clary Sage (Salvia sclarea)
  • Clove (Eugenia caryophyllata)
  • Coriander (Coriandrum sativum) 
  • Cumin (Cuminum cyminum)
  • Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare)
  • Geranium (Pelargonium graveolens)
  • Ginger (Zingiber officinale)
  • Grapefruit (Citrus paradisi)
  • Juniper Berry (Juniperus communis)
  • Lemon (Citrus limon)
  • Lemongrass (Cymbopogon flexuosus)
  • Lime (Citrus aurantifolia)
  • Marjoram (Origanum majorana)
  • Melissa (Melissa officinalis)
  • Oregano (Origanum vulgare)
  • Peppermint (Mentha piperita)
  • Petitgrain (Citrus aurantium)
  • Roman Chamomile (Anthemis nobilis)
  • Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis)
  • Spearmint (Mentha spicata)
  • Tangerine (Citrus reticulate)
  • Thyme (Thymus vulgaris)
  • Wild Orange (Citrus sinensis)
  • Ylang Ylang (Cananga odorata)
lemon capsule recipes

Ways to use essential oils internally

The quickest way to take an essential oil internally is to add a drop to 4 oz of water and drink it like a shot. My favorite way to use most essential oils is to add a drop under the tongue. Of course, some aren’t so tasty and this is when I will add them to a veggie capsule. A pro tip for those oil burps: If you get oil burps add some MCT oil to your veggie capsule.

Add to a veggie capsule

Veggie capsules are vegetable based capsules that break down easily when taken with water. It is best to make these up when you are ready to take them. The capsules break down pretty easily and you will have a puddle of essential oils. But, I do have a time-saving hack for you! If you have a recipe that you use frequently, make a master blend and add a dropper top to make preparing capsules quick and easy.

Flavor your beverage

Add a drop or two of essential oil to your plain or sparkling water. Great soda replacer!

Because essential oils are so powerful they have the ability to break down plastic and this gets into your water. When adding essential oils to your drinking water use glass or stainless steel. I have a hack for you! Take the label off and clean your pasta sauce jars which make great drinking glasses. Using reusable straws is a good idea too! Better for the plant and better for you.

Make a tea

When adding essential oils to water they do not mix readily (oil and water do not mix). What you can do is add the oil to honey, milk or stevia first then mix it into the beverage. Try a relaxing cup of Roman Chamomile Tea or Earl Grey is black tea with Bergamot oil. Add a drop of Lemon or On Guard to some honey for a great throat soothing tea.

DIY Golden Milk Recipe

*Fat or black pepper will increase absorption of the beneficial properties of turmeric essential oil and/or herb. vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free, paleo

  • 1 Cup Almond Milk
  • 1/2 Cup Full Fat Coconut Milk 
  • 1 Drop Ginger Essential Oil
  • 1 Drop Turmeric Essential Oil 
  • 1/4 teaspoon Cinnamon 
  • *optional: pinch of black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon coconut oil
  • 1/2-1 teaspoon of honey

Cooking with essential oils

Essential oils can give your dish a boost of flavor. Because they are so potent start out adding a little by dipping a toothpick into the essential oil and swirling it into your dish. You can always add more but can’t take it back if you add too much. Some of my fave ways are to add Oregano or Basil to my pasta sauce or wild orange to yogurt for a healthy dip everyone loves! Have you ever wanted to make guacamole or salsa and didn’t have a lime? Grab that essential oil and add a drop or two, yummmm.

When using oils in your recipes you will want to know what part of the plant the oil is extracted from. For example, lemon is cold-pressed from the rind. So it makes a great replacement for lemon zest but not lemon juice since the oil does not come from the fruit.

internal uses for essential oils recipes

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