Should You Add Essential Oils to Your Water?
As a certified aromatherapist people often ask me if it's ok to add essential oils to their water. It's true that essential oils have a history of internal use. They are natural and come from plants so it makes sense that we can consume them right?
I often see posts on how to create a flu bomb or essential oil cocktail by adding a bunch of essential oils to a shot of water and drinking it. Such cocktails or steam blends often include heavy hitter essential oils such as oregano, cinnamon, or clove.
But if you look to organizations such as the National Association of Holistic Aromatherapists or the Alliance of International Aromatherapist they don't suggest such advice. Instead they suggest you seek out a clinical aromatherapist knowledgable on internal use.
Since I don't work in a clinical setting I am not eligible to apply for a clinical aromatherapist certification despite having the advanced graduate training in aromatherapy along with training in the internal use of essential oils. However I do know that in the training I received adding essential oils to water rather than a carrier oil, capsule, or other carrier invites a risk of mucus membrane irritation.
Would you ever apply undiluted oregano or cinnamon bark oil to the skin? If you do -- it will burn and may even blister the skin. And furthermore even if you do apply these oils diluted to the skin the dermal limits are very low.
Oils like oregano and cinnamon bark are mucus membrane irritants. Essential oils and water don't mix. The potential for mucus membrane irritation is high. A much better option (and one I learned in clinical aromatherapy classes) is to add the essential oil to a carrier oil in a gelatin capsule and consume as you would an antibiotic or herbal capsule.
We learned that you could use this carrier oil/essential oil/ capsule blend several times a day for seven to ten days and then move on to using essential oils topically (appropriately diluted) and inhaled that support the body's terrain and help with recovery.
Should you add essential oils to your water? In my training I've learned a gargle with a drop of less irritating essential oils may be helpful (a drop of tea tree or sustainably harvested sandalwood stirred into 4 oz of water for example), using a carrier oil and gelatin capsule to create an essential oil capsule, or even creating an essential oil pastille/candy, but adding essential oils to drinking water was not recommended.
Additionally some essential oils such as peppermint are suggested to be used in time-release capsules (that make it to the small intestines) so as not to cause irritation of the stomach lining.
I've met and read stories of people who suffered irritation drinking essential oils not realizing they were actually harming their mucus membranes (throat, esophagus, stomach).
It was only when they consulted a clinical aromatherapist or actually completed professional aromatherapy training themselves that that recognized that drinking essential oils was actually the cause of their malaise.
I love using essential oils and yes they are powerful and extremely beneficial for supporting wellness. But it is also important to truly know how to use them properly.
If you want to add lemon or orange to your water why not add a slice of the fruit rather than the essential oil to obtain all the key components both oil and water soluble?
Yes I admit I use essential oils internally but I treat them like medicine -- diluting the essential oils in a carrier and housing in a gelatin capsule, and using them purposefully for a short time like the medicine they are.
We all make personal choices about our wellness. We can take advice from well meaning friends or essential oil advocates or seek the advice of professionals in their field and people with years of training using essential oils.
If you take add a drop of oregano essential oil to a shot of water and drink it -- it's going to burn. And for the record if you add oregano essential oil to a bowl of steaming water and try to inhale it -- it is going to burn and hurt a lot and make your house smell like a pizza restaurant.
What people don't realize is that by actually eating herbs on a regular basis, using small amounts of essential oils in a safe way, and if necessary using them like medicine for short periods of time plants and essential oils are extremely effective and potent at helping support wellness.
Essential oils and herbs can help support immune health among many other things -- this we know. Just be sure to seek educated guidance or educate yourself appropriately. People have been using plants to support wellness since ancient times. Study the science and seek out those who use essential oils and plant extract professionally, those who have invested time in the study of science, safety, anecdotal evidence, and the wisdom passed down through generations.
As for me, I'll add lemon juice or slices to my water to obtain all the nutrients, I take frankincense resin capsules that contain water soluble boswellic acid not present in the essential oil to support my joints, and glean the benefits of diffused oils and herbal extracts to stay well during cold and flu season, If I ever feel I need to fight a cold or flu that is trying to settle in, I combat it with an aroma steam with a drop or two of appropriate essential oils or blend (NEVER oregano -- burning pain warning!!) or use a gelatin capsule with essential oils diluted in carrier oil for a few days.
To learn more about this topic here are a few links: "Friends Don't Let Friends Drink Essential Oils"
If you have questions or comments please feel free to reach out to me: contact Tricia
Aromatic blessing my friends,