Essential Oil Benefits

Ingesting Essential Oils: Risks, Benefits, and How-To

Most people are aware of the benefits of diffusing oils. However, you may not be as familiar with the practice of ingesting essential oils.

If done correctly, consuming essential oils can be a good way to spice up your food and experience the health benefits of essential oils.

But is this a safe practice?

That depends on the oil and how you use it.

I’ll dive into the details, but first, a little bit about essential oils in general.

Benefits of Essential Oils

A flower and some essential oils

Essential oils are concentrated compounds that are extracted from the fragrant parts of certain plants.

For centuries, people around the world have used different essential oils for home remedies, to flavor food and drinks, or to invite a pleasant aroma into the room.

Different oils are used for different purposes and each one has its own list of benefits. Some of these are backed by scientific research, while others are based more on anecdotal evidence.

Although everyone may not experience the same results, some people have used essential oils to help support healthy skin & hair, promote relaxation, as a flame-free alternative to scented candles, and more.

But there are several ways you can use oils. The most common use is to diffuse them, but certain oils can also be applied topically or even used internally.

If you’re going to ingest your essential oils, there are a few things you should know first.

Ingesting Essential Oils

A woman drinking a cup of lemon tea

Certain essential oils can be added to food or water to improve the taste, promote healthy digestion, help relieve constipation, and more.

A drop of peppermint, orange, lemon, or lime oil can add flavor to your water, while thyme, ginger, or rosemary can be used in baking.

But although certain essential oils can be safely consumed, it’s almost always a bad idea to drink them in their concentrated form.

Essential oils are extracted from plants, so they’re natural. But even natural substances can be harmful when they’re highly concentrated.

Before you consider consuming a particular oil, make sure to thoroughly research whether it’s safe for internal use, and if so, how to properly dilute it.

Side Effects of Ingesting Essential Oils

A woman holding a hot water bottle to her stomach after ingesting oils improperly

If you decide to test out the internal benefits of essential oils, remember that consuming essential oils straight from the bottle is never a good idea.

Swallowing concentrated oils can cause stomach irritation, ulcers, and other digestive issues. With certain oils,  more extreme symptoms are possible.

That’s why it’s super important to do your homework and assess the safety of a particular oil before you use it.

Some oils, like camphor, eucalyptus, and sage, and others, should never be consumed while others are quite safe when properly diluted.

Once you’ve identified an oil that’s safe for ingestion, make sure to combine it with a carrier oil like coconut or olive, to use the appropriate amount, and to consume it in the recommended manner.

If you experience any negative effects, discontinue use right away.


A bottle of oil with green leaves

When used appropriately, essential oils can provide a ton of benefits. But when it comes to ingesting essential oils, it’s important to do your homework first and never to consume concentrated oil.

Although essential oils are widely used, everybody is different and your body may not respond the same as others.

This is why it’s a good idea to check with your doctor or a healthcare professional prior to ingesting essential oils, especially if you have a unique medical condition.



Writer and expert