Friends don’t let friends drink essential oils

If you’re interested in reading more on the topics presented in the article below, I suggest reading Friends Don’t Let Friends Drink Essential Oils the ebook. If you’d like to see this subject presented via video, check out Friends don’t let friends drink essential oils on YouTube.


I see it frequently in social media images: just add X drops of X essential oil to a tall glass of water. I see it on advice columns with lines such as “boost your health” or “prevent cancer!” and other diseases or illnesses. Unfortunately taking this kind of advice could make you quite ill. Why?

Let’s get diluted here

Essentials oils are highly concentrated volatile compounds extracted from whole or parts of plants – tree resins, flowering shrubs, peels of citrus fruits, seeds, grasses and so forth. A distiller may use hundreds of pounds of plant material and get only a pound of essential oil in return. In the case of rose essential oil it takes approximately 50 roses to make a single drop of essential oil. It can take 2,000 pounds of plant material from the cypress tree to get a single pound of the essential oil.

At these levels of concentrations a single drop in a glass of water could be the equivalent of drinking boxes of tea made from the same herb. Eeeps! Would you drink 30 tea bags of chamomile in a day? Of course you wouldn’t! So, why would you drink a drop of the essential oil?

Money, money, money

Who is giving this advice to take essential oils internally? Is it your local clinical aromatherapist or is it a layperson selling an essential oil line? Okay, so we may have hit a raw nerve there. If essential oils can be safely used to support wellness goals by inhaling a few drops in a pan of steaming water, or diluting in a vegetable oil (jojoba, coconut, sunflower) to be applied to the skin, what’s the deal with taking them internally?

Let’s say you have an unopened half ounce bottle of lavender essential oil in your home right now. There’s about 300 drops of essential oil in that bottle. If you store it in a cool, dark space you can anticipate that this bottle will have a shelf life of around five years. Which gives you 60 drops a year for a total of five years. Of those 60 drops you could have a monthly aromatic bath all year long, or make four 1oz massage oil blends.

If you’re putting a drop in a glass of water you’re a cash cow client! You might be told to amp up your routine and do 2 drops, or 3. You could go through two bottles of lavender essential oil before a year is up at that rate. And that spells big money!

Let’s go back to the safety

Essential oils don’t mix in water, they need a dispersant. When I’m using them in the bath I will mix them in a surfactant first so that they aren’t floating on the top of the water and irritate that oh-so-sensitive skin when I sit down!

When you add a drop to a glass of water that droplet doesn’t mingle with the water like a drop of an herbal tincture. It sits there, and you sling that glass back and take a big gulp. The first signs of distress from this method are mouth and throat irritations. They’ve been damaged by this concentrated plant oil and repeated offenses exacerbate the situation. After awhile other foods that don’t normally bother you start to sting or burn in the mouth or throat. If you keep up long enough you risk becoming sensitized to the chemical components in this essential oil – when you come into contact with ingredients that share one of those components you might break out in hives, or trigger a migraine. Wanna’ see what that looks like? Ouch!

Is there any safe way to take essential oils by mouth?

Yes, there are! The trick is to have a digestible transport to get it from the mouth and into the digestive system so it can be taken up into the blood stream. There are clinical aromatherapists with advanced training as well as a few nurses and doctors who have received this training. Factors that come into play include things like metabolism, contraindications, known allergens, medications, and the nature of the illness. See, essential oils aren’t used internally like a daily multi-vitamin, instead these powerful plant oils are used internally to rid the body of parasites or worms and in cases of bacterial and viral infections. They are also called upon when antibiotic-resistant infections cannot be controlled.

What’s a good alternative?

If drinking essential oils is sounding less and less like a good idea to you perhaps you’re wondering what alternatives you could turn to. Some of my favorite water additives are sitting in the produce bins in your refrigerator at home! Fresh herbal plants like peppermint and lavender, fresh fruits and vegetables like cucumber and peach and lime can be placed into a pitcher of water and let sit for a few minutes, an hour or overnight for flavoring and to support a wellness goal. The hydrosol that remains after distillation would be a possible alternative provided it is stored in the refrigerator from the time of distillation. Herbal teas can be prepared both hot or cold and are much gentler on the body.



Are Essential Oils Safe? University of Minnesota
Internal Use Statement from the Alliance of International Aromatherapists
Essential Oil Safety Information Aromaweb
Aromatherapy Undiluted – Safety and Ethics Burfield, Sheppard-Hanger
Essential Oil Safety: A Guide for Healthcare Professionals, Tisserand & Young
Clinical Aromatherapy: Essential Oils in Practice (3rd edition), Buckle
Handbook of Essential Oils: Science, Technology, and Applications, Baser & Buchbauer
Aromatherapy for Health Professionals (4th edition), Price

Related Posts:

Why essential oils are not water flavoring agents
Essential 0ils and GRAS: What it really means
What Every Mom Needs to Know About Essential Oils
10 Epic Essential Oil Myths and Dangerous Uses of 2014
What does risk versus benefit look like in aromatherapy?
Aromatic Medicine: Internal dosing of essential oils

By |2018-07-28T17:26:54+00:00July 22nd, 2013|Aromatherapy|150 Comments

About the Author:

Amy holds her board certificate in Reflexology (ARCB), is a clinically-trained Aromatherapist (CCAP), and an Aromatic Medicine Practitioner. She launched her private practice, The Barefoot Dragonfly, in June 2004 with a special focus on women's health, pediatrics, and pain management. Amy sees clients and teaches a 200-hour aromatherapy certificate program and a 300-hour reflexology certificate program at her studio in Northwest Austin. She offers phone consults for private and commercial aromatherapy consultations.


  1. Tracie October 15, 2014 at 5:37 pm

    Thank you for this post. It put the info I already knew in a more logical perspective than what most do.

    Last year, I signed up as an MLM EO distributor and learned it was a very common thing to suggest to people to put EOs in their water. When I did it myself, I quickly learned that the oil settled on the top (yes, I probably knew it would somewhere in my head, but with all that talk, logic took the back seat). I’d get most of the oil in just a couple of swallows due to that effect. My mouth would become irritated with one blend while I learned that the particular blend I was using as well as peppermint actually gave me a headache. I eventually quit adding EOs to my water.

    Something I find disturbing is that these MLM distributors also tell people that adding lemon essential oil to their morning warm water routine is just as good as, if not better than, adding the juice of the lemon itself. No one can seem to verify that it’s actually a better deal to do that; they just offer the advice without anything to back it up. I think they just believe that it has to be better; after all, it’s the essence of the lemon.

    • Amy Kreydin October 15, 2014 at 12:50 pm

      I’m so glad you’ve tapped into your own intuition, Tracie! The fact that so many practices purported by MLMs selling essential oils are not based on research, traditional use, or even in aromatic medicine is shocking to say the least.

      I wouldn’t eat the rind of several lemons every day so I can’t begin to image how uncomfortable the mucus membranes must feel putting that much concentrated lemon essential oil in the mouth day in and day out. Yowzers! I mean, that’s the same stuff used to degrease the floors at the mechanic’s!

      • Trish October 19, 2015 at 9:54 pm

        I put some Clove on my tooth and gum and did not see it said don’t use internally. Yikes, I am nervous! I swished my mouth with CoconutOil and praying all is well!!

        • Lynn November 23, 2015 at 2:22 pm

          Clove EO is one of the most harmful!!!!!! Praying all is well.

    • Brad June 11, 2015 at 10:30 am

      I was researching -orp and essential oils in water when I came across your article. At first I thought it was crazy, then it made perfect sense to me. I got a bottle of Frankincense and put a drop under my tongue. It was great at first. Felt a high energy and meditative balance. The next day I had a canker sore on my tongue. After reading your article I am left as a not so happy camper. I thought I had discovered something amazing.

    • carol Christoffel September 16, 2015 at 5:45 pm

      Glad to see this article. Don’t ever ingest essential oils. Not everything made for topical use mixed in a carrier oil is safe for ingestion.And even be careful with topical use. knew a lady who loved the smell of peppermint. Over did it in her luxury hot bath. Was lovin’ it until she tried to get out and found out her legs were rubber. Her hubby had to pull her out and take her to DR. She also was having heart symptoms. Seem the peppermint is a MUSCLE RELAXANT and the heart is also a muscle…..she had overdosed herself. A drop or two for aromatherapy fine, BEYOND that you better learn the side-effects.That lady was healthy and young. Think what would have happened if she had been on medicine and not so healthy.

  2. Tia October 23, 2014 at 10:57 pm

    Thank you so much for this information, I’m currently in school for my esthetician instructor’s course and I have two young ladies that comes to class with EO’s in their water everyday. Both young ladies works for two different spa’s who you use two different companies that are promoting these EO’s company and benefits of using the internally so I will show this blog!!!

  3. Linda Sliwowski December 16, 2014 at 2:19 pm

    Thank you for this info. I am sentized to lemon eo. I was going to try again in 90 days but maybe not? I had been drinking it for almost 6 months before figuring out what was causing the itching and fine rash. Darn

    • Shannon September 20, 2015 at 9:10 pm

      I have been drinking ESO Lemon drops in hot water evert morning for a week 3-5 drops daily , thought it was great dropping weight like crazy but all I do is pee , now kinda freaked out , will be stopping and using only natural lemon , feel hot and sweaty too

  4. Christina Camilleri December 29, 2014 at 9:21 am

    THANK YOU! Excellent article with valid info that I’ve been spouting on deaf ears. I’m glad I’m not alone in my goal to educate folks on essential oil safety! May I share your article?

  5. Vicki December 31, 2014 at 5:56 pm

    Hi, I’ve been taking a few oils internally without problems. Is something going wrong that I can’t see or feel? I had been suffering with digestion problems for several years and the oils are helping me feel like me again! I just don’t see what could be wrong with that.

    • Amy Kreydin December 31, 2014 at 6:17 pm

      Teratogenicity, hepatotoxicity, and carcinogenicity can be going on in the background and you can be completely unaware. Poisoning can be very slow and symptoms usually do not arise until organs are failing to thrive. In most chronic digestive complaints an herbal treatment plan is recommended since it poses less risks and has a longer history of internal use with positive outcomes. You may want to sit down and discuss your specific goals with an aromatherapist and/or herbalist to weigh risks versus benefits.

    • J.Hinkle November 12, 2015 at 9:35 am

      It’s not safe and many people are experiencing immediate problems. Other people like you could be causing internal damage you can’t see or even feel. Most essential oils are a waste of money. You can buy lavender soap,lotion,oil at apothecary stores and many pharmacies. Same goes for many other essential oils. They are cheaper and I would bet they are even higher quality. Eat a well balanced diet and juice vegetables or consume an adequate amount along with exercise and you will have better results than essential oils. Buy lavender and peppermint oil but get it from a pharmacy and get out of a pyramid scam called essential oils. It’s common sense. Most doctors would say the same.

      • Amy Kreydin November 13, 2015 at 4:57 pm

        I’m a big proponent of purchasing from small, independently owned businesses that have long lasting relationships with the farmers and distillers. I want fresh batches of essential oils that are therapeutically viable. I don’t look for suppliers that work in massive volumes, pooling together kilos and tons of essential oils from multiple sources. I look for suppliers that keep their essential oils in cool storage and don’t keep stock in hot distribution warehouses to then sit on shelves for months waiting to be purchased. Shop small. Look at the little family-owned companies with 20-30+ years of history selling therapeutically-viable essential oils. There’s some really good ones out there with great ethics and great products!

        • Debbie November 30, 2015 at 1:09 am

          I am wondering if you could add 1 drop say of Lemongrass oil per gallon of water then pour 8 oz of that to a glass and then add another 8 oz of plain water so its not as strong but still get the benefits?Or maybe 3 oz of oil water to 13 oz of plain water?.

          • Debbie November 30, 2015 at 1:38 am

            Ahh never mind i see this is not good…I will buy lemongrass tea instead…..A DoTerra rep told me i could use the orange oil drops in my water no problem so when i did i was peeing constantly so i stopped.Then she said it was ok to rub breathe oil undiluted to chest?Now i see big mistake after reading here.Thanks for all this great info!

          • Amy Kreydin November 30, 2015 at 11:08 am

            Lemongrass in its herb form is lovely, especially as a tea, Debbie! I love its cooling properties during our hot Texas summers as an herbal iced tea. Mmm!

        • Courtney February 1, 2016 at 3:19 pm

          Can you recommend any specifically. I’m not sure how to suss out the quality of one vs another since they all make their own claims…Thanks

  6. Lori February 6, 2015 at 8:55 pm

    Thanks for posting! A Young Living distributor told me to add peppermint essential oil to my drinking water to “detoxify” my GI tract. It took me a few weeks to make this connection: every time I drank water with peppermint oil, it burned when I peed! I was taking cranberry extract every day with no relief. A few weeks after avoiding the oil the burning has gone away.

  7. Jess February 9, 2015 at 7:51 am

    Great article. I wondered about oil of oregano – I’ve read that this is the only one safe to ingest for colds/flu/etc?

    • Amy Kreydin February 9, 2015 at 9:27 am

      Herbs macerated in vegetable oil, or an oil infusion, is part of herbalism. What does your herbalist recommend? I’d speak with him/her for dosing, appropriateness, and risks so you can weigh your options on this intervention.

    • Brad June 11, 2015 at 10:34 am

      I used Oil of Oregano and burned my gut. This is in my opinion the worst oil ever. People say to take it internally. Never will I use it again ever.

      • Gordana July 18, 2015 at 5:35 pm

        Hi.How did you use it? With water or in spoon of basic oil (as olive oil,…)

        • Michael November 7, 2015 at 11:25 pm

          This is great, Amy. I’d like to communicate/collaborate with you in the future. I think a huge part of the problem is very interesting, and hit me all at once just why people aren’t getting it:

          Your normal, everyday layperson doesn’t know these terms, or what they mean. Sure, they can FIND that information- everything is at your fingertips these days. Does that take the place of experience? No Way!

          I have yet to meet someone who distributes for a MLM company that can be asked a question on something specific and why it works the way it does; what are the main Biochemical components or constituents of that particular oil are; and have a correct answer. This kind of brings me to a great idea for a game- something our MLM distributor friends really WONT LIKE AT ALL.

          We can go live (On the Internet), have people ask us all questions with people who have background in the Aromatherapy field, VS. our hard charging, distributor friends so we can assess each one’s knowledge base, and see who wins. I can be asked “What would you suggest in X situation, and have an answer great idea, at least for for them, or a…You know, I don’t have a super fast computer, and I think I would say I am confident EVEN THOUGH I am NOT, I repeat- AM NOT a Certified Clinical/ Professional Aromatherapist. The truth is, they would not stand a chance.

          I don’t have to explain myself to people who want to advocate that ingesting is a safe practice. YES, THERE ARE SAFE WAYS and means of doing it available. And when everyone wants to object to my response, READ THAT LAST STATEMENT AGAIN BEFORE YOU GO GETTING ALL UPSET. What comes into play is: WHY do you want to ingest this particular oil anyway? What is your complaint, and what results are you trying to achieve?

          Drop 1-2 drops on your tongue directly? OK- and go eat an ounce of Peppermint leaves at one time in one sitting.

          Get the advice of a professional in the field.

          Anyone else, get the advice of a professional/veteran in practice, and I guarantee, your casual salesman will not have a leg to stand on, because he/she doesn’t actually know. Experience will always shine through in this aspect. I do so love the arguments, though. As always anyone wishing to challenge this, be prepared to give: Dosage, Route of entry, frequency, oils used, concentrations, length of time used, and one really good follow up/test- Kidney and Liver panels/Labs both before and after.

          Don’t go spouting off something like- “I’ve been drinking lemon oil for years without any problems so it must be fine.” Why don’t you just say- “I just want people to part with their hard earned money because it has worked thus far for me, so it must be OK.” Please miss-informed- STOP. JUST STOP.

    • Helen November 9, 2015 at 5:36 pm

      I used oil of oregano on advice from my mother in law. Not only did it burn my mouth, but it stripped the plastic off the cup I used. Trouble is, my experience has still not stopped both her, and my own mother, promoting the use of EO for things that it has no known safety for. How many people try using these things for kids I wonder?

  8. Deb February 14, 2015 at 7:31 am

    Great article, Amy! And on behalf of herbalists everywhere, thanks for recommending that people see us (I’m an herbalist in Massachusetts). I often tell people who ask me about essential oils that they are strong and complex medicines that are best understood by aromatherapists. Plants may be natural but in are no way are simple; they are very complex and powerful. Thanks for doing your blog!

  9. Juliane March 1, 2015 at 6:01 am

    I appreciate this article as I know many people who are using oils based on the information they receive when purchasing them. I wasn’t as alarmed by the talk of using them internally as I was by the initial few lines talking about where they come from. 50 roses for one drop. A ton of tree material to make one pound of oil. This morning that drop of rose oil you rubbed into your skin came at the cost of growing, harvesting, and processing 50 roses. Does the pricing reflect that? Is this actually where it comes from, and if it is why isn’t the cost more, and if it is are we being responsible consumers and people who are living on a crowded heating planet?? A drop every day for a month 1550 roses, way way more plant material than most of us could even consume in a month. Something isn’t right.

    • Amy Kreydin March 2, 2015 at 4:31 pm

      The environmental impact of essential oil consumption in *any* form should be at the forefront of conversations around the globe! Fortunately this is a oft-discussed topic in the aromatherapy profession but I rarely see general consumers talking about this.

    • Helen November 9, 2015 at 5:40 pm

      Great point

    • Scott April 26, 2016 at 4:28 pm

      Yes, that is why it’s $140-$200 for 5ml of Rose oil. It’s the most expensive that I’m aware of. It has some super uses, like healing burns, but it should be used sparingly in a carrier oil, not as a single drop daily. Rose oil can go a long way in carrier oil. Roses aren’t endangered species and they aren’t hard to grow or cultivate, unlike sandalwood. They are grown for the purpose of making the oil. God gave us the planet and the vegetation to help us. It’s up to us to be responsible with these tools.

  10. Ayshea March 3, 2015 at 2:47 pm

    Some say they take EO’s internally and mean they take them in a veggie cap with or without and oils such as coconut. So is that ok or are you saying, even then, absolutely not? Or it is ok, but only if you are doing it under the advisement of an herbalist it aromatherapist?

    I’ve also heard there are 3 schools of thought on using EO’s. I think they were French, English, and maybe German. One said only safe to diffuse, another says diffuse and topically, and the last said diffuse, topically and internally (may have said only some internally). Of course one person thinks internally means you can injest them in your drink and to another internally means via veggie cap. Thanks.

  11. heather March 20, 2015 at 12:23 pm

    thank you for this! as I learned in 3rd grade science, oil and water do NOT mix! You need a carrier oil to displace that essential oil! so many are hurting their insides without even knowing it. As my instructor (master herbalism course) has said “just because you don’t see damage, doesn’t mean it isn’t there”. I really hope others will head the safety and do their own research on this!

  12. Wendy March 23, 2015 at 12:04 pm

    Great article! Speaking of topical application..I have heard that you could put Thieves oil on the bottom of your feet (3 drops) if you were sick or to prevent illness…does anyone know if this requires a carrier oil or if that could be done with just Thieves??? And I will not be drinking any essential oil, I don’t care how sick I feel 🙂 Thanks for any insight here in advance!

    • Amy Kreydin March 23, 2015 at 1:49 pm

      The feet are one of the poorest absorption sites on the body, Wendy. I’ve written on this topic over here: All of the safety data I’ve read indicates there is no essential oil that can be applied topically without some risk. The essential oils commonly used in a “thieves” blend are often strong skin irritants and known sensitizers that are generally not recommended for dermal applications or in dilutions under 1% (1 drop in 5mls carrier oil). You should talk with your aromatherapist for specific guidelines to your constitution, age, and health history.

  13. Michelle March 27, 2015 at 6:22 am

    I went to an open house vendor event, I sell another direct marketing product – dealing with cookware… I felt concerned she told me NOT to use Styrofoam with the punch (it had several oils in it, undiluted) because it would eat through the Styrofoam. I was concerned about it. These people were spouting that it “eats” cancer cells and “heals” you. I would be worried as a seller of these oils about a personal lawsuit from spouting claims such as this. I asked where the “bad stuff ” goes (in the case of a diffuser and viral infection… it just vaporizes… VAPORIZES… I do not have a degree, nor claim to be the smartest person… but I don’t think I can expect when two of something to collide that they just vaporize… there is always some sort of “waste” product from this collision, even if it is a new object… but to vaporize? I find that hard to grasp.

  14. Gail Schumacher April 12, 2015 at 5:38 am

    Essential oils taken internally can and do damage the kidneys.

  15. Brandi April 19, 2015 at 11:55 pm

    Thank you so much for this article! I haven’t been feeling well and I listened to the up line “experts” advice to detox with lemon water. I was blaming other factors for symptoms such as my mouth irritation and yeast infection. I and across both your article and another on ingesting oils that mentions the disruption of gut flora due to the antibiotic nature of the oils. Both make so much sense to me. I didn’t have these problems before I started ingesting the lemon oil. Thank you again.

    • Amy Kreydin April 20, 2015 at 11:46 am

      I’m sorry to hear about your negative outcome, Brandi, but I am glad to hear you’ve listened to your own intuition and opted for a different path. Wishing you a speedy return to health!

  16. meenakshi April 20, 2015 at 1:23 pm

    Hi my father has a lung cancer patient & when was searching for heal then I read the artical rose oil are good for cancer patient
    Rose oil heal the cancer , therfor I was searching rose oil but suddenly I saw your article & now I don’t understand ….I am totaly blank
    Essential oil is not use internally :

    • Amy Kreydin April 20, 2015 at 1:46 pm

      Many essential oils are contraindicated during cancer treatments, Meenakshi. You will want to consult with a qualified aromatherapist for advice specific to this case before you proceed.

    • meenakshi April 20, 2015 at 11:08 pm

      But that person wrote in his article that put one drop rose oil in one litre of water( in pranic healing)

      • meenakshi April 20, 2015 at 11:10 pm

        Thank you very much for suggestions 🙂

      • Amy Kreydin April 21, 2015 at 8:35 am

        Welcome to the joys of misinformation and advice doled out by well-meaning but ill-informed persons. :-/

        • Helen November 9, 2015 at 5:45 pm

          Totally Amy! Amen to that.

  17. Melinda April 26, 2015 at 8:16 pm

    As a certified aromatherapist who also received training that emphasized the importance of safety and did NOT promote internal ingestion of oils, it is so refreshing and affirming to bare witness to this discussion thread. Thanks to Amy for being such a sharp and professional example of an informed natural health-care practitioner who also understands the merits of referring out to experts in other fields. Thank you for bringing care, clarity and insight to this very important matter!

    • Mary H Anderson June 12, 2015 at 6:42 pm

      I agree with Melinda and her perfectly worded praise for what Amy does so well…puts an enormous amount of factual information which is quite complex with the science of Aromatherapy into common sense terms that non-practitioners will understand.

      Thank you Amy for sharing your wisdom! When I read what you write and know it is based on your years of experience acquired through clinical work with personal consultations and therapeutic treatments as well as your observations of each client’s reaction I know your information has more than simply technical information behind it. Since I also work in a similar way with my clients being a holistic esthetician/certified aromatherapist who specializes in skin care, I understand the way that working with clients then solidifies empirical evidence to support the current research confirming the healing power of essential oils. And you do this while working with the entire meridian system through Reflexology, a map of the whole body. What we holistic practitioners do is truly working with nature and human physiology to balance and I know these type of treatments are the health care of the future as well as the practice of wisely using Essential Oils.

  18. Heather April 30, 2015 at 2:09 pm

    I am a dog groomer and most clients have been raving about putting coconut oil in their dogs food. I use it on my skin and hair. Is that okay to ingest on a daily basis? Their dogs are…..

    • Amy Kreydin April 30, 2015 at 5:29 pm

      Coconuts don’t give us an essential oil, Heather. I’d recommend talking to your local veterinarian.

    • Vicki Fotheringham June 12, 2015 at 10:02 pm

      Thank you so much for this article! You put it into words that everyone should be able to understand! You have hit the nail directly on the head!!!! Essential oils are NOT safe to ingest and the owner of the company who always states, their essential oils are the ONLY ones that are safe for oral ingestion should be made to cease any and all work he is doing!

    • Kyla June 14, 2015 at 11:08 am

      Coconut oil is safe to ingest, I use it in cooking and smoothies all the time.

    • jo July 11, 2015 at 2:28 am

      You can definitely give your dog coconut oil! =) just be sure to research how much. Coconut oil is not the same thing as essential oils

  19. Josh May 17, 2015 at 7:24 pm

    I’ve been taking LLP and Thieves off and on again for about 4 months and now have a very red/irritated throat and esophagus. I feel like it is slowly getting better but am wondering if this is permanent. Do you have any recommendations on remedies or healing measures? Obviously, I will not be ingesting oils anymore. I really wish I would have done proper research and found this before I started experimenting with EOs. Thanks for all your work and research. I know we all greatly appreciate it.

  20. Angie P June 11, 2015 at 2:41 pm

    I am confused! Am new to EO’s. Came across the GRAS LIST on the FDA’s sight that states which oils are safe to ingest…?

  21. Erin T. Murphy June 12, 2015 at 9:37 pm

    Thank you very much! I have been trying to tell my friend this. I have a BS in biology and she thinks I am brainwahsed. It’s sad to see people being taken advantage of by sale agenda’s.

  22. Lyndia Ramsey June 13, 2015 at 5:24 pm

    I just purchased a bottle of YL’s new softgel that is a blend for immune boosting. What is your opinion on that?

  23. Blue bottle lady June 13, 2015 at 6:16 pm

    I work independently for a British direct selling brand and we amongst other items sell essential oils. Under no circumstances would we ever advise a customer to take an essential oil internally – apart from the fact it’s illegal in the UK it is all very dangerous. I cannot believe other companies allow this to happen!

  24. Patrice June 14, 2015 at 8:06 pm

    Thank you, Thank you, Thank you, from the bottom of my essential-oil loving heart! So well written … I am horrified by the number of people being advised to take e.o.s internally so someone can make a quick buck! So glad i am not alone in decrying this dangerous practice!

  25. alyssa June 14, 2015 at 8:24 pm

    I love essential oils, but I can not believe the blind following that has accumulated in the last decade. I have friends and family that, well, they don’t sell it, they get people to buy it, which is kind of weird to begin with. Then, as time goes on, they are informed about all the healing powers of these really smart oils and that there’s a blend that can go through 17 layers of skin, and that frankincense is the only thing known to man that can break the blood-brain barrier. They are being fed misinformation and expanding on that through a very expensive game of telephone. And that would all be fine, except they use it more and more because they are also being fed a plethora of fear about everything that is not an oil. Absolutely everything out there is toxic, and the only way to save yourself is with essential oils. Eat them, drink them, diffuse them, wear them, use them for all your cleaning, use them in your hot tub, treat your animals with them. These are smart individuals, they are my friends and family, and they have absolutely no sense or better judgement. Molecules are molecules, compounds are compounds, some things can hurt us, and some things won’t, and some things will even if we don’t know it right away. There is no ‘miracle of the oils’ or ‘hidden science’, and someday there is going to be a generation of ‘Oil Damaged’ individuals cursing the government for allowing the use of oils. Again – I like oils, but I don’t like people handing out poison and telling their friends to feed it to their families because some lady at a seminar said ‘well at least we don’t know it will hurt you!’. And they sold me a salve for my dogs paws that has tea tree oil in it. Used it for weeks before getting curious and double checking the toxicity of the ingredients to canines. I’m still furious.

  26. kristen June 20, 2015 at 5:50 pm

    I have been adding a blend to my water for a few months now and really enjoyed it. Lately I have found the skin on my torso is itchy. I have had no other symptoms at all. In fact there is one different oil blend that got rid of a canker sore I had with a slight cold once, but I didnt take that with water. It makes total sense now that I stop adding the oils to my water. I was concerned about the itching being correlated to my liver, just from my own medical knowledge, and never expected the oils in water may have caused that. This just helps me put that together better. I’ll keep using the oils, but I’ll definitely use other ways of flavoring my water from now on.

  27. Sunita June 21, 2015 at 12:58 pm

    Thanks for this article. Always wondered about the safety of EOs. What about diffusers? Is it safe to diffuse as well as burn oils?

  28. Sue June 26, 2015 at 11:10 am

    I’m new to EO, So do you think mixing the oils in coconut oil for pain control is also dangerous for you? I have read where wintergreen can be toxic to you and you have to be careful with that. But what about the others?

    • Amy Kreydin June 26, 2015 at 4:36 pm

      Sue – this is why we have dosing guidelines for every single essential oil. How much, how often, what’s appropriate for the individual’s constitution? All of these are things taken into consideration when planning to incorporate essential oils into a person’s wellness plan. Some essential oils have a very short use guideline, like Wintergreen. The goal in my practice is to offer a safe, effective approach to a wide variety of wellness goals specifically tailored to the individual sitting in front of me (or over the phone when I do a distance consult).

  29. mreed June 28, 2015 at 8:24 am

    Just saw this post after two months of taking slim and sassy and digestzen essential oil from doterra. Are my organs doomed already?

    • Amy Kreydin July 1, 2015 at 9:02 am

      That’d be a conversation to have with your primary care physician. Expert opinion is that most organ damage doesn’t give many symptoms until it is moderate to severe.

    • Jen April 13, 2016 at 1:00 pm

      My understanding is that both slim and sassy as well as digestzen are in capsule form, not drinking the oil straight.

      • Amy Kreydin April 21, 2016 at 10:22 am

        I’d also point out that just because an essential oil is in a capsule doesn’t guarantee it meets DSHEA standards or that the dosage is correct. Look at the popular Lemon-Lavender-Peppermint gel caps on the MLM market and you’ll quickly see that the Peppermint exceeds the daily oral dose guideline and that the gel caps permit the dose form to open into the stomach upon ingestion. That kind of metabolic stress to the liver and endocrine system has some pretty far-reaching health effects not advertised on the labels. 🙁

  30. Colleen July 5, 2015 at 1:00 pm

    Thank you so much for your article. I believe in essential oils but have wondered about this. When you are told to dilute it for use on your skin how can it be better undiluted inside?. Logic says if it burns on the outside it will burn on the inside, Your insides are much more tender than your skin which was built to protect your insides. Also at such high concentrations I am not surprised at how much itching and rash have been mentioned in previous comments. When you bombard the immune system it tends to overreact and go into hyper mode. Most people tend to think if a small amount is good (inside or outside) a lot is better. This type of thinking is what gets dangerous when it comes to essential oils. Also checking out the page sources, references, etc. I could write a blog that looks and sounds good and people would just follow along. Check the sources and follow your intuition. If it feels strange stay away. This goes for juicing as well or concentrated anything. How many people feed this type of stuff to growing children? A little scary.

  31. Laura July 6, 2015 at 3:52 pm

    Thanks so much for this great post. I have cautiously been using EO’s for a while now, and very recently had someone come in an do a presentation on “what are essential oils” (A MLM company) to learn more, and have someone there to explain thing to my partner and some friends. I was quite shocked to hear the advice given about ingesting oils and putting them on your skin without diluting, since everything I had researched on my own said the opposite!! Shared your article today on my FB wall and hopefully a few people will take the time to read it. I quite enjoyed looking through the comments as well. Seems many have had similar experiences.

  32. butterfly July 11, 2015 at 1:45 am

    I am new to oils and an estrogen fed breast cancer survivor. Although I’m on an estrogen receptor I watch for estrogen in meat, dairy, etc. and attempt to eat organically. My husband read that lavender oil has a high level of estrogen. My daughter is heavy into oils and I am concerned about the cancer risk for both of us. Are there other oils that are high in plant estrogen that we should avoid?

    • Amy Kreydin July 11, 2015 at 11:35 am

      While lavender doesn’t have a “high level of estrogen,” or rather any estrogen at all, there are certainly a number of essential oils contraindicated for estrogen-dependent cancers. I would discuss this with a qualified aromatherapist that has experience working with this area.

  33. fifi July 15, 2015 at 12:05 am

    What about cooking with EO’s, also when I buy sparkling water from the local grocery store what is it flavored with? Is that essential oil? Gum, candies, hair products???
    It is getting very confusing…we seem to have essential oil products in our lives, in our food and drinks and beauty products are these safe? what about synthetics?
    how can companies recommend ingesting oils if it is totally unsafe and causes harm and worse death?
    the bottles on some EO’s give the daily recommended dosage
    are you really saying it is all down to them making money? how is it that they are not being sued 24/7
    i love the EO’s , diffusing, making scents, using for burns and cuts…i am thinking of all the nasty synthetics in perfumes, flavorings and food…how can these compare to the real thing?
    thanks for any guidance

  34. Lauren July 22, 2015 at 10:18 pm

    I’ve been putting drops of lemon essential oil in my liter bottles of seltzer. I hoped it would be good for me. I only just started this week. Is this not a good idea? I’m embarrassed to say I put way too many drops in, too.

  35. Mary September 5, 2015 at 8:24 am

    I’ve been using 2 drops of lemon in my water bottle twice a day for a week and I’m feeling extremely dizzy. I’m going to stop,using it. Anyone else have this reaction?

  36. Francine Petroskey September 10, 2015 at 9:22 am

    Are essential oils safe to diffuse?

  37. Emma September 23, 2015 at 1:56 pm

    If earl grey tea has bergamot oil in it, is it safe to drink it? I’ve recently been drinking it multiple times a day and do not want to ingest something harmful.

    • Emma September 23, 2015 at 2:04 pm

      Also, I have heard of cooking with essential oils by putting a drop into meals. Does the heat change the oil so that it will not harm your body and just give the food flavor, or is it the same as drinking essential oil in water?

    • Amy Kreydin September 23, 2015 at 2:13 pm

      If the manufacturer is following Federal guidelines you should be quite safe, Emma:

      • Emma September 23, 2015 at 2:28 pm

        Thank you so much for this article and your replies. I am glad that I discovered this before I started drinking the oils and cooking with them. There is so much false information on the internet regarding this subject.

        • Amy Kreydin September 23, 2015 at 2:42 pm

          You are very welcome, Emma! Be well.

  38. Isabelle September 25, 2015 at 2:17 am

    hi, I bought grapefruit essential oil for digestion. Suggestion on website was to take 1/2 drops in bottle of water which I was about to do before I read this article. How to you suggest I use it if not in my water?

  39. Larry October 21, 2015 at 2:42 pm

    What a mess YoungLiving and doterra have made of a very useful tool that are essential oils. I tell all my clients to not ingest essential oils unless they first safe to use and they are diluted properly.
    I have already seen clients with gastritis from ingesting lemongrass oil. One client literally burned her gums so badly from rubbing essential oils on them she now has literal holes in her gums.

    The ONLY essential oils I tell my clients to use internally are oregano or peppermint. Both of these oils have been properly diluted in olive oil before they are put in capsules or softgels. Even with these precautions some people still have bad reactions to these oils.

    You need to think of essential oils like a chemist thinks of them. They are called either isolates or distillates. This means the oils have been removed from the plant by steam or chemicals. The oil no longer has the natural buffering chemicals naturally present in the whole plant.

    Essential Oils are a great tool. They are not the only tool. Herbs contain many more water soluble compounds that are not present in the oils. I always use the herb first and then use the essential oils for specific purpose.

    • Lupita October 28, 2015 at 6:51 pm

      I use doTERRA Clove oil in my water every day due to the antioxidant properties it has; is this bad for me? I put 1 – 2 drops in 24oz of water… now I wonder :/

      • Amy Kreydin November 2, 2015 at 11:00 am

        Clove oil isn’t used in food and beverage form over 0.06%. Best to look at the toxicology and pharmacology of an essential oil before considering its application in any dose form but most especially uninformed, internal dose forms.

  40. Britny Stroud October 28, 2015 at 4:22 am

    One of my friends ingests EO’s. It’s a Doterra oil, I believe, and it is specifically designed to be ingested. Is that safe? It worries me because she has such bad anxiety she tries any and everything to help herself feel “normal”.

    • Amy Kreydin November 2, 2015 at 10:51 am

      If she’s using it in accordance with federal and international dosing guidelines it may be safe. An essential oil on its own does not meet the FDA’s requirements for it to be a nutritional supplement since essential oils do not contain vitamins, minerals, or anything missing in the diet. Wreaking havoc on internal organs seems like a huge price to pay for mental wellness when other dose forms have substantially fewer health risks. :-/

  41. Eileen November 12, 2015 at 12:56 am

    Ugh! Glad I came across this article. My husband used the thieves on his tooth ache. It worked and went away but never again am I going to injest EO! This may be a dumb question but can I put the oil in a spray bottle with water. Then spray onto my skin I’ve done this with eucalyptus oil to keep away fleas and other buggers!

    • Amy Kreydin November 12, 2015 at 9:43 am

      An essential oil (or combination of essential oils) won’t mix in water, Eileen. You’d need something to disperse the droplets, like grain alcohol, in the water otherwise you’re gonna get big globs of essential oils coming out of the nozzle and hitting the skin (or furniture if you’re making a room spray). If memory serves me correctly the blend you’re referencing has to be diluted into tenths of a percentage for it to be appropriate for topical applications on the skin. There’s some rather aggressive constituents in some of the essential oils used in that blend and it’s pretty universally agreed that that’s a diffuser or counter spray only type of product, never to come in contact with skin or the mucous membranes. See if you can find an aromatherapist in your area offering community classes – that’s a great way to learn some basics about how and why to dilute and the hands-on lab work is worth its weight in gold in my opinion!

  42. Adele C November 16, 2015 at 3:18 am

    It’s amazing how many times I hear this, but it’s usually American and Canadian multi level marketing firms that suggest this on blogs. Here in Europe there is level MLM around Essential Oils. Many UK aromatherapists like myself buy oils from companies that don’t even advocate putting the oil on neat (never mind consuming it). Both of the biggest Essential Oil companies in the UK: and
    recommend that you dilute first and use topically (outside the body). It’s for this reason I trust them and buy from them. I personally think it’s disgusting what is happening with the MLM in North America and I am confused why the respective governments haven’t clamped down on it.

    Thanks, I am going to send people here when they ask about consuming oil. 🙂

  43. Nicole November 19, 2015 at 9:33 pm

    I’m really glad to see this article. There are a lot of companies and people out thee encouraging people to ingest essential oils without realizing that they could be an irritant or even dangerous. Ii am still learning about this, but based on what I have learned so far I am not sure I would ever recommend for people to ingest essential oils even if diluted. Without a lot of knowledge on the subject I’m not sure that someone should prescribe themselves something medicinal. Thank You for writing this article.

  44. Laura November 27, 2015 at 8:32 pm

    My question is then how do you reverse damage potentially done to internal organs from ingesting essential oils on a regular basis? This article makes me question the safety of using them, but now I am wondering is it too late, have I caused damage that can not be undone?

    • Amy Kreydin November 30, 2015 at 12:35 pm

      Talk with your doctor about the usage and what testing is available, Laura. Your doctor may wish to observe you a bit more closely in the coming months depending on the extent of oral usage. Some irritations are easier to spot than others, like gum inflammation or scarring in the throat, while others may need blood panel tests and observation. It wouldn’t hurt to take a list of what you were taking, for how long, and what the breakdown of chemical constituents are in each of the essential oils to your appointment so your doctor can have a better idea of what to look for.

  45. jedbel December 17, 2015 at 9:36 am

    Is diffusing an essential oil the safe way to use it then or is diffusing not safe either?

    • Amy Kreydin December 17, 2015 at 1:06 pm

      Essential oils can be very safe when you observe two guidelines:
      1.) the chemistry of the essential oil
      2.) the individual receiving the therapy

      Every essential oil has dosing parameters that, when observed, make it a reasonably safe wellness intervention. For example, some essential oils are carcinogenic when the dose exceeds a certain level of exposure. Most essential oils will cause respiratory distress and toxicity issues when diffused in large quantities or for long periods of time. In short, if you’re following guidelines based on the chemistry and the individual who is receiving the therapy, then yes, diffusing is very safe.

  46. Kristin December 23, 2015 at 12:41 pm

    I have a question. About a year and a half ago I started having some IBS symptoms after drinking grapefruit EO in my water for about 6 mo…several times a day. I didn’t know much about EOs but a friend of mine said they were so good for you and I believed it. First, could that be a contributor to my symptoms. I stopped drinking the EO but I have still had symptoms for the last year and a half and been on meds to help control them (after losing over 15 lbs and feeling like I was going to die if I didn’t do something soon). A friend recently suggested diluting 2-4 drops of a digestive blend with olive oil in a capsule and taking it a couple times a day. Is this safe?? I would really appreciate the help!

    • Amy Kreydin December 26, 2015 at 3:35 pm

      Hi Kristin – the only advice I can offer you in this setting is to speak with your doctor about your concerns of an adverse reaction. If you would like to discuss specific wellness goals with aromatherapy you can schedule an appointment here:

  47. Molly January 5, 2016 at 1:03 pm

    For the past 20 years I’ve used various essential oils with different results and reactions: always topically, always diluted, often diffused. These days, I purchase most of my oils from an MLM that has been around for 20+ years. One thing many people overlook in an MLM arrangement is that it attracts people for different reasons: community, possible income opportunity, convenience etc. I happen to like the blends this company offers and I do notice a difference in quality: this makes a difference *to me*. Nonetheless, whether MLM or small business, I will never allow anyone to tell me how to spend my money or what to put into my body. Even in relatively new fields like functional medicine I’ve worked with practitioners who prescribe things and dismiss other things without complete and credible analysis, just their say-so which is often not much more than much of what I can find with some in depth googling on my own. We don’t live in that world anymore where experts are only the ones holding a paper credential: at least not in these newer emerging fields which are accessible to all. Knowledge, learning, data it’s all easily available online, no more smoke and mirrors. And one’s own experiences can’t be dismissed so easily. As a patient/client I believe self-advocacy is essential. I do my own research, study aromatherapy and in learning about French aromatherapy I understand a lot of the misinformation and confusion between the dominant British school which fills the Internet blogs and online schools, vs. French. It’s disappointing to me that these two schools don’t acknowledge this inherent difference but rather place the blame for misuse of essential oils rather conveniently on a business model that they don’t like for their industry, at the same time steering people to other brands through smear tactics and fearmongering.

    All that to say, each individual is accountable for their choices, educating themselves and seeking the complete picture.

    For the record, I don’t like drinking essential oils. It makes my throat uncomfortable and nothing I have studied or experienced has shown me that daily drinking of oils is of value in any way. For years I’ve used them topically and aromatically and now, using the brand and blends I prefer I am getting the results I seek. When friends/family ask, these are the two ways I recommend using essential oils. Do I see value in taking them internally: yes, and I have, but not as a daily drink and I do not advise anyone on internal use. Education is key as is working with a qualified and experienced aromatherapist. But even there, I find few who have the whole picture and approach with healing first, agenda second. So, that leaves an individual like me still skeptical, even when I read a blog like this, which is essentially helpful but incomplete in information.

    • Amy Kreydin January 14, 2016 at 12:47 pm

      Hi Molly – you’ll probably want to dig a little deeper on the myth of French vs British aromatherapy. My dear colleague wrote an article on this topic here:

      Aromatic medicine absolutely has its place in aromatic therapies but in this country you need a prescription and someone who has a deep grasp of the pharmacology of essential oils to formulate for this dose form. Putting essential oils in a gelatin capsule is a great way to bypass the mucous membranes and go straight to the liver where it does what it does best – removing substances that have no nutritive value from the body. Which is another reason we’re seeing such a high volume of hepatic injuries from the introduction of oral aromatics. 🙁

  48. Christie January 14, 2016 at 11:57 am

    It seems to me that many don’t do it properly. I study under David Wolfe and several other very respectable practicitoners in this field and when used correctly… And the right kind they are extremity beneficial. Especially when ingested. Because topical, inhaled, ingested… It’s all going in your bloodstream. If you argue this point, then topical is no good either.

    • Amy Kreydin January 14, 2016 at 1:09 pm

      Every route of absorption has the potential to be beneficial and harmful. The dose separates an essential oil from being poisonous to the body versus therapeutic. For example, we know that drinking Lemon essential oil in a glass of water erodes the mucous membranes and stresses the liver, and that applying it to the skin without appropriate dilution increases the risk of irritation and phototoxicity, and that vaporizing it in the air all day is a respiratory irritant. But, if Lemon essential oil is dosed according to its chemistry it is a safe, therapeutic tool.

      Unfortunately we have uninformed persons who want to make a quick buck off of unsuspecting consumers and they market dangerous uses with a poor understanding of aromatic chemistry but a clever understanding of marketing. Money talks, and unfortunately the deception and pseudoscience runs pretty deep with unqualified spokespersons. Respectable practitioners would have a full grasp of industry standards and wouldn’t be marketing risky usage, in my opinion.

  49. Krista January 14, 2016 at 8:03 pm

    Ive taken On Guard from doterra at the first sign of sickness for years – and it alwaya stopped the illness in its track. Just 2-3 drops in a capsule. $40 for a small vile is a lot for me, but it helped give me years of health – without having to go to a doctor or take synthetic drugs. From your article, it seems you are advocating paying more money to someone else in order to benefit from EO. This is upsetting because it seems you are saying that what the public can use to their benefit should only be allowed for those who can afford seeking professional help. Just like many pharmaceuticals that are overpriced and prescription only. This seems more like an advertisement then an honest push for the wellbeing of others.

    • Amy Kreydin January 15, 2016 at 10:36 am

      That’s one way to look at it, Krista. From my side I see the tens of thousands of dollars in medical care when someone is harmed by using essential oils in just the way you’re describing. So a bottle goes from $40 and balloons out of control with $1,000 ER visits and months, or years, of doctor visits. One case had to have throat surgery after drinking essential oils in a glass of water, another lost weeks of work while recovering from taking essential oils in a gelatin capsule that went straight to the liver. My question would be, can you afford to not seek out professional advice about the safe and therapeutic usage of essential oils?

  50. Jolene January 20, 2016 at 9:51 am

    I am so glad that your article showed up at the top of the search engine when I asked about putting lemon essential oil in water. The comments here are also worth reading! Thank you so much for an amazingly clear and gracefully written article.

    The person that commented about CLOVE EO being the most dangerous – THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU.

    I am a person that was also convinced (the company I was talking with states their essential oils are safe to ingest) to put lemon EO in my water I knew that cloves EO can be harmful to the liver. So even though their ‘fancy medical analysis device’ recommended CLOVES EO for me I told them they needed to do more research.

    I had just put 2 drops of essential oil in my glass of water to drink…. instead I am going to use it in my bathwater.

    Again. thank you and I hope EVERYONE lands on your page.

  51. Taiyo January 22, 2016 at 5:25 am

    A few months ago I attended an informational session with a doTerra rep where the primarily encouraged methods were ingestion and topical application without dilution. I admit to even trying them (and what I’ve learned since leads me to believe that it led to an unwell feeling for a time afterward). Luckily before I got too deep into anything those same individuals advises me to put peppermint oil directly on an infant. That clicked in my brain because I remembered university training in health class that had talked about adverse reactions infants had to menthol. I started doing a lot of research at that point and asking a lot of questions and learned that pretty much everything that was said at that session not only violated Canada’s safety regulations regarding essential oils, but also went against everything I could find in the various books on using essential oils safely. (The one saving grace to the whole issue was doTerra’s answer when I asked the company directly … they stated not to use peppermint oil on an infant unless approved by the pediatrician.)

    What I keep asking myself is this … ‘Is what they’re doing criminal?’ Since alternative medicine is becoming more and more popular, I can’t help but wonder if a person who follows the advice of these ‘experts’ could go after them legally.

    Thank you for this post … I just wish more people would listen to it. My refusal to blindly accept what these individuals told me and to buy their oils resulted in the end of a fifteen year friendship since my refusal to follow her expert opinion meant I was a bad mother and implying she was a bad mother. (It would have ended up going that way anyway, because I was uncomfortable taking my infant child to a home where she diffuses oils that I constantly see on the no-no list for children 24/7.)

    • Amy Kreydin January 22, 2016 at 10:04 am

      How sad for the lost of your friendship, Taiyo. It is troubling that such unethical behavior is so rampant in these marketing events. After a handful of years in this industry I still don’t understand the need to put health in jeopardy to market essential oils. 🙁

      • Taiyo January 22, 2016 at 7:22 pm

        At the end of the day, my child’s safety meant more and I don’t regret that. If harassing me about using and buying oils because she knew better than a doctor meant more (which is what she ended up doing) to her than a child’s safety, I have to go with whatever is best for my child. I’m just thankful I knew enough not to follow their recommendations, and I’ve become much better educated regarding essential oils as a result.

  52. Julia January 22, 2016 at 1:24 pm

    Thank you for all the interesting information and the comments that followed. Just learning about EOs so definately food for thought. Thank you!

  53. Anna February 1, 2016 at 7:25 am

    Hello and thank you for the artical.
    I work as a licensed massage therapist and use them daily in my practice.

    Should I be concerned about the amount I’m absorbing thru the skin? I probably absorb 3-4 drops daily that are used in the carrier oils.

    Thanks and I look forward to your reply.

    Anna Mejia, lmt

  54. yvonne February 2, 2016 at 5:10 pm

    Have you heard of Zen MONQ personal diffusers? Is this product safe? States: “breathe therapeutic air into your mouth and exhale through your nose. The MONQ diffuses an eclectic blend of essential oils and wild plant extracts”

    • Amy Kreydin February 4, 2016 at 8:28 am

      I have and remain concerned about the toxicity of: 1.) the direct heating of essential oils that changes the chemistry of the aromatic molecules, and 2.) the heating of glycerin which turns into a foul aldehyde known as acrolein which is a respiratory irritant. Find more about acrolein at the EPA’s website here:

      I will continue to advise against this product for my clients because of those safety concerns.

  55. Katie February 10, 2016 at 2:49 pm

    I have heard both sides of the spectrum on essential oils but was leaning more towards the other side until I read this article. I will admit I am at the moment obsessed with essential oils. I just put 6 drops of lemon oil into a water bottle and drank a few sips before reading this article, which I afterwards immediately poured out in a nervous fit. I hope nothing bad happens! I also use lavender oil mixed with orange oil diluted in water to spray on furniture that I don’t want my cats to scratch, does anyone know if this dangerous to them? They stay away from it for the most part.
    Anyway, thanks for your article – I’m now doing more research and will try to be smarter about how I use the oils. My eyes have been opened for sure!

    • Amy Kreydin February 10, 2016 at 3:15 pm

      Cats don’t have the same ability to metabolize essential oils as humans so yes, there is a risk of harming a feline companion with essential oils. I have cats and am keen not to overexpose them to any aromatics (another reason I have a lab outside of the home for formulary work). I’ve never seen any research that would indicate orange and lavender essential oils would discourage a cat from scratching furniture.

      • Katie February 10, 2016 at 3:30 pm

        Thank you for the response! I will stop using the spray around my cats and hope I haven’t done too much harm already. I’m finding out the hard way how very wrong it is to ingest essential oils. I already have a severe head and throat ache from the lemon oil/water mixture I made. NEVER AGAIN. It’s really sad that the majority of articles I read tell me that essential oil has basically no side effects besides possibly irritating your skin. I really wish this side of the story was more public. Especially for people with children and animals! Thanks again!

  56. John February 15, 2016 at 1:05 pm

    “Pure” on the label means the bottle contains oil only. Not the type of oil. Carrier Oils are commonly used to dilute the actual Essential Oil. The Carrier Oil is commonly not mentioned. Also, the extraction process used to produce the oils are not commonly mentioned. Different distilation processes will allow compounds to be present, or not, in the end product. Peptides and Amino Acids are eliminated with certain processes. Alergic, or “Bad” reactions could be related to how the Essentiald Oils are extracted. Before using any Essential Oils, make yourself aware of which company produced them, AND, their written and published recommendations for use. Don’t take anybody’s verbal approval that their use is good for you. The PURITY of any Essential Oil is very important. Make sure the EO you use is 100% PURE ESSENTIAL OIL. NOT just “Pure”.

    • Amy Kreydin February 16, 2016 at 12:18 pm

      Sounds like you’ve been fed some pseudoscience on essential oils, John. To clarify:

      – Companies are selling synthetic fragrance oils as 100% pure essential oils – you’ll find a number of GCMS reports on fake essential oils on the market on Chemist Robert Pappas’ Facebook page here:
      – Vitamins, minerals, peptides, amino acids, and other non-volatile plant components do not come across in steam distillation of an aromatic plant (See:
      – Pure essential oils can and do cause skin irritations, allergic reactions, and poisonings. The purer the essential oil the greater the risk for harm if used improperly. (See:
      – Consumers should seek out companies that abide by FDA guidelines for sales, and a qualified aromatherapist for individual dosing and usage.

  57. Chelsey February 23, 2016 at 12:14 pm

    Great article! Now I’m second guessing buying that oil diffuser though. I love peppermint so I bought a large bottle of it. I was just reading about homemade air freshener, it called for water and a few drops of an EO. I also thought that maybe I could make a fly spray out of it to help keep the flies and other pests off the dogs and horses. I added a few drops of peppermint to my hair conditioner (half full bottle) now I wonder if I need to throw it out.

  58. Robyn February 28, 2016 at 5:01 pm

    Is CBD hemp oil considered an EO? It says it’s a supplement so I think it’s ok to ingest. I use it to calm my husband’s agitation caused by Alzheimer’s. The directions say to place 15 drops under his tongue, but he won’t stand for that so I have been dropping five drops 3xday onto food and occasionally into his cup of tea! At $100 a fluid ounce that’s crazy expensive for 60 doses (days).

    • Amy Kreydin February 29, 2016 at 10:43 am

      What is the extraction method? If it was steam distilled then it is an essential oil and 15 drops would be a substantial dose and the dose form is insufficient in both delivery method to the blood stream and safety. A consult with the prescribing physician or pharmacist would be in order to ensure appropriate dosing. For what it’s worth most of my Alzheimer’s clients spend a few pennies a day for their aromatic treatment plans, have you consulted an aromatherapist?

  59. Olympia March 6, 2016 at 3:08 pm

    I keep reading to be careful about drinking lemon and grapefruit EO, but what if I take it in a capsule?

    • Amy Kreydin March 7, 2016 at 4:33 pm

      The problem with DIY aromatic medicine (or taking essential oils by mouth) is that the average consumer doesn’t have a background in aromatic pharmacology to inform their preparations. So we have a bunch of people overloading their livers with essential oils that never had a chance to be therapeutic because the dose was wrong and the dose form was wrong. 🙁

  60. Kerry March 13, 2016 at 8:08 pm

    Thanks for your article, I found it because I just purchased my Young Living Kit and have been trying the past few days to drink peppermint EO as I am trying to go off of my acid reflux prescription meds (Nexium). I couldn’t take drinking just one drop as it was so strong going down! I did feel better today with less acid, but have felt the peppermint all day long in my throat. I would love to go off of prescriptions for acid reflux because of all of the negative implications these drugs have been shown to have, especially since I’ve been on them for years. Should I try like peppermint tea instead, or a drop of peppermint EO in a gallon of water?

    • Amy Kreydin March 27, 2016 at 9:20 am

      Kerry, peppermint essential oil and herb is contraindicated for acid reflux.

  61. Melanie March 17, 2016 at 12:26 am

    Thank you so much for this article. I’m signed up with an MLM and was recruited to sell. After sitting back and watching my upline for a month or so I absolutely knew I wanted no part of selling at that point. I watched her Google answers all day long, cuz you know you can trust everything on the internet, wink wink. Of course I’ve been told internal use is ok. I’ve read other articles against it that didn’t convince me at the time. I’m completely convinced now with a great understanding of why is isn’t good and the motive behind why they say it is. Recent findings in the aromatherapy world have left me sad and confused. I have a lot to learn. TY for being so thorough!

  62. John April 4, 2016 at 6:37 pm

    What if a drop is mix with 50mm vegetables oil for electric vaporizer. It produce smoke like the e-liquid instead of adding nicotine. Will it give that sleeping feeling that the tea gives? I have anxiety disorder specially when sleeping and I am trying to find something better then the meds which I hate because of withdraws side effect when trying to quit. I just bought the distillation equipment to do it myself and I am excited to try it out in hope to help not only me but many people suffering from anxiety and sleeping disorder.

  63. Beverly April 11, 2016 at 9:13 pm

    This is an excellent article. Thank you. I love to clean with essential oils and use them often. I have had people tell me they are safe for oral use and even come in supplement form. I’ve never felt that they were safe and your article confirms that and was very thorough and informative.

  64. Char Wilcox April 25, 2016 at 12:27 pm

    What about using essential oils in capsule form? I am doing this slowly and so far have had no reactions. My friend, a DoTerra Rep did tell me to take lemon oil in water. I had a bad reaction to using a combo of essential oils for pain topically so that is why she recommended I take them internally.

  65. Pam May 2, 2016 at 1:31 am

    Thanks for a great article. Started with YL. Even though the things they said made no sense to me (oil & water do not mix) I drank the oily kool aid. After issues with a bladder infection I stopped drinking oil in my water. And applying oils neat. I found an awesome Facebook group that doesn’t promote any one company. But gives you the criteria to see if the company you want to use is safe or not. They also promote safe usage of oils. Erring on the side of caution too. It’s run by a couple of certified clinical aroma therapists. And through that group I’ve found 2 companies that promote safe usage, have their GCMS info available (although I don’t totally understand it yet) AND the best part is their oils cost less than the MLM oils. Glad that I’m finding reliable sources that promote safe practices.

  66. Believing VS Doubting | InspiredBySunny January 29, 2017 at 9:02 am

    […] Kreydin, A. (2013, April 22). Friends don’t let friends drink essential oils. Retrieved from The Barefoot Dragonfly: […]

  67. […] Friends don’t let friends drink essential oils […]

  68. […] are not safe ingest, regardless of what some popular essential oils brands are trying to tell you. Here's a good article I found about the dangers of ingesting essential […]

  69. […] from my personal research (youtube, speaking to the owners/staff of the two companies I do use, general reading) it seems ingesting essential oils is not a wise idea, or at least it is a contested one. In fact […]

  70. […] a massive amount of potent plant material. As one aromatherapist says, if you wouldn’t drink 30 cups of chamomile tea in a day should you drink that much with the essential […]

  71. […] a massive amount of potent plant material. As one aromatherapist says, if you wouldn’t drink 30 cups of chamomile tea in a day should you drink that much with the essential […]

  72. […] Dit is zorgelijk! En dit is veel breder en groter dan wat iemand aan kan raden via instagram. In dit blog wordt sterk afgeraden om essentiële oliën zomaar op te […]

  73. […] many people out there are recommending willy nilly internal use of essential oils. This post goes into more detail about why you need to be careful about […]

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