Is Ingesting Essential Oils Safe?

As they are natural products extracted from plants, you may think that ingesting essential oils would be perfectly safe. After all, we’ve been eating plants throughout human history. But then again, many parts of plants are toxic to humans. So is it true – can you ingest essential oils? Here’s my personal take on the subject…

Is Ingesting Essential Oils Safe?

Ingesting Essential Oils

There has been much discussion and debate about whether or not ingesting essential oils is safe. Indeed, it remains a subject of some controversy and people on both sides of the debate have very strong opinions about it.

So who’s right then? Can you safely ingest essential oils or not?

The truth is that there needs to be much more scientific research done on the subject before a definitive answer can be given. And so, personally, I would avoid ingesting oils until there’s more evidence they’re 100% safe for consumption.

There are a couple of reasons for this:

  • Firstly, there’s no standard as to what makes an essential oil therapeutic grade. There’s no overall independent body that sets standards, so you can’t be 100% sure of what exactly you’re consuming, even if you stick to the big, well-known essential oil brands.
  • Also, there is definitely evidence that when essential oils are ingested they affect the bacteria in your gut. After all, many essential oils have anti-bacterial properties, which is what makes them so effective in various treatments. But what we don’t know is if the essential oils affect the gut bacteria in a good way or a bad way. A lot more scientific research is needed in this area.

That said, there are a lot of essential oils that the FDA certify as being safe for ingesting. These include oils such as basil, frankincense, ginger and spearmint. You can find a full list of essential oils that are FDA-approved for oral consumption here.


I would suggest you avoid ingesting essential oils until there’s more scientific evidence as to the safety of doing so. If you are going to ingest them, I recommend you only do so under the guidance of a qualified professional aromatherapist. And definitely always read the label for the manufacturer’s recommendations before you do so, and only use one drop at a time. You can read more about essential oil safety guidelines here.


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