Are Essential Oils Safe for Ingestion?

BasilYlang-YlangBlue ChamomileSpikenardLavenderCinammonFrankincensePeppermintHelichrysum

The short answer is 'yes'. There does seem to be some confusion due to the very cautious nature of many guidebooks and websites. While we are absolutely concerned for your safety, we also respect your freedom to know the truth about essential oil safety. Most essential oils are safe for ingestion in amounts commonly prescribed in medical aromatherapy protocols. These amounts are VERY small (read on about this!). At the end of this page is a listing of essential oils which are considered 'GRAS'. This does not imply they are safe at any dosage! Please be aware of the safety considerations!

What is GRAS and FA?

GRAS is the Food and Drug Administration's designation for food additives 'Generally Recognized as Safe'. FA is the designation for ingredients approved as food additives. Essential oils are included on these list, as many of them are used for food flavorings and preservatives (due to their high anti-oxidant capacity and anti-microbial actions).

The FDA's GRAS list does not include dosages that are considered safe. The FDA's documents note only that the items on the list are safe in commonly used amounts, or amounts sufficient to acheive the necessary effect as a food additive. For essential oils, this means approximate doses in the range of 1 to 3 drops, 1 to 3 times per day. These are the amounts noted in most medical aromatherapy protocols. The oils should certainly be used with respect, and kept away from children.

There are oils that are NOT recommended for ingestion, and oils that are not recommended for use by folks with particular medical conditions, or whom are pregnant or nursing. Even some of the oils on the GRAS list should be used with caution -- for example, while Wintergreen is considered a safe food additive, ingestion of the essential oil is NOT recommended (here, the commonly used amount as a food additive is exceptionally small, and even a few drops of the oil is significantly greater than the amount in a piece of chewing gum, for example).

If you choose to ingest essential oils, it is crucial for your safety that you are following a protocol appropriate for your health. You are responsible to know what appropriate dosages might be. Consider that most protocols indicate only 1 or 2 drops of essential oil be ingested once, sometimes twice, per day. The Ananda Apothecary staff cannot recommend any ingestion protocols for our customers. We highly recommend you receive the guidance of a qualified health professional before proceeding ingesting essential oils.

Essential oils are generally diluted before ingestion. This can be done in nearly any liquid, though we generally do not recommend this is done in milk, as milk tends to bind many botanical ingredients and make them inactive in the body. Soy or rice milk may be used, or warm water or tea. Some oils can be ingested 'neat' though extreme caution must be used as to not cause burning of the inside of the mouth and esophagus. DO NOT ingest highly pungent oils such as Oregano, Ginger and Cinnamon without dilution!

IN SUMMARY:


The FDA's GRAS list of Essential Oils:

Essential oils, oleoresins (CO2's), and natural extractives (including distillates) that are generally recognized as safe for their intended use, within the meaning of section 409 of the Act, are as follows:

Common nameBotanical name of plant source
AlfalfaMedicago sativa L.
AllspicePimenta officinalis Lindl.
Almond, bitter (free from prussic acid)Prunus amygdalus Batsch, Prunus armeniaca L., or Prunus persica (L.) Batsch.
Ambrette (seed)Hibiscus moschatus Moench.
Angelica rootAngelica archangelica L.
Angelica seed Do.
Angelica stem Do.
Angostura (cusparia bark)Galipea officinalis Hancock.
AnisePimpinella anisum L.
AsafetidaFerula assa-foetida L. and related spp. of Ferula.
Balm (lemon balm)Melissa officinalis L.
Balsam of PeruMyroxylon pereirae Klotzsch.
BasilOcimum basilicum L.
Bay leavesLaurus nobilis L.
Bay (myrcia oil)Pimenta racemosa (Mill.) J. W. Moore.
Bergamot (bergamot orange)Citrus aurantium L. subsp. bergamia Wright et Arn.
Bitter almond (free from prussic acid)Prunus amygdalus Batsch, Prunus armeniaca L., or Prunus persica (L.) Batsch.
Bois de roseAniba rosaeodora Ducke.
CacaoTheobroma cacao L.
Camomile (chamomile) flowers, HungarianMatricaria chamomilla L.
Camomile (chamomile) flowers, Roman or EnglishAnthemis nobilis L.
CanangaCananga odorata Hook. f. and Thoms.
CapsicumCapsicum frutescens L. and Capsicum annuum L.
CarawayCarum carvi L.
Cardamom seed (cardamon)Elettaria cardamomum Maton.
Carob beanCeratonia siliqua L.
CarrotDaucus carota L.
Cascarilla barkCroton eluteria Benn.
Cassia bark, ChineseCinnamomum cassia Blume.
Cassia bark, Padang or BataviaCinnamomum burmanni Blume.
Cassia bark, SaigonCinnamomum loureirii Nees.
Celery seedApium graveolens L.
Cherry, wild, barkPrunus serotina Ehrh.
ChervilAnthriscus cerefolium (L.) Hoffm.
ChicoryCichorium intybus L.
Cinnamon bark, CeylonCinnamomum zeylanicum Nees.
Cinnamon bark, ChineseCinnamomum cassia Blume.
Cinnamon bark, SaigonCinnamomum loureirii Nees.
Cinnamon leaf, CeylonCinnamomum zeylanicum Nees.
Cinnamon leaf, ChineseCinnamomum cassia Blume.
Cinnamon leaf, SaigonCinnamomum loureirii Nees.
CitronellaCymbopogon nardus Rendle.
Citrus peelsCitrus spp.
Clary (clary sage)Salvia sclarea L.
CloverTrifolium spp.
Coca (decocainized)Erythroxylum coca Lam. and other spp. of Erythroxylum.
CoffeeCoffea spp.
Cola nutCola acuminata Schott and Endl., and other spp. of Cola.
CorianderCoriandrum sativum L.
Cumin (cummin)Cuminum cyminum L.
Curacao orange peel (orange, bitter peel)Citrus aurantium L.
Cusparia barkGalipea officinalis Hancock.
DandelionTaraxacum officinale Weber and T. laevigatum DC.
Dandelion root Do.
Dog grass (quackgrass, triticum)Agropyron repens (L.) Beauv.
Elder flowersSambucus canadensis L. and S. nigra I.
Estragole (esdragol, esdragon, tarragon)Artemisia dracunculus L.
Estragon (tarragon) Do.
Fennel, sweetFoeniculum vulgare Mill.
FenugreekTrigonella foenum-graecum L.
Galanga (galangal)Alpinia officinarum Hance.
GeraniumPelargonium spp.
Geranium, East IndianCymbopogon martini Stapf.
Geranium, rosePelargonium graveolens L'Her.
GingerZingiber officinale Rosc.
GrapefruitCitrus paradisi Macf.
GuavaPsidium spp.
Hickory barkCarya spp.
Horehound (hoarhound)Marrubium vulgare L.
HopsHumulus lupulus L.
HorsemintMonarda punctata L.
HyssopHyssopus officinalis L.
ImmortelleHelichrysum augustifolium DC.
JasmineJasminum officinale L. and other spp. of Jasminum.
Juniper (berries)Juniperus communis L.
Kola nutCola acuminata Schott and Endl., and other spp. of Cola.
Laurel berriesLaurus nobilis L.
Laurel leavesLaurus spp.
LavenderLavandula officinalis Chaix.
Lavender, spikeLavandula latifolia Vill.
LavandinHybrids between Lavandula officinalis Chaix and Lavandula latifolin Vill.
LemonCitrus limon (L.) Burm. f.
Lemon balm (see balm)
Lemon grassCymbopogon citratus DC. and Cymbopogon lexuosus Stapf.
Lemon peelCitrus limon (L.) Burm. f.
LimeCitrus aurantifolia Swingle.
Linden flowersTilia spp.
Locust beanCeratonia siliqua L,
LupulinHumulus lupulus L.
MaceMyristica fragrans Houtt.
MandarinCitrus reticulata Blanco.
Marjoram, sweetMajorana hortensis Moench.
MatéIlex paraguariensis St. Hil.
Melissa (see balm)
MentholMentha spp.
Menthyl acetate Do.
Molasses (extract)Saccarum officinarum L.
MustardBrassica spp.
NaringinCitrus paradisi Macf.
Neroli, bigaradeCitrus aurantium L.
NutmegMyristica fragrans Houtt.
OnionAllium cepa L.
Orange, bitter, flowersCitrus aurantium L.
Orange, bitter, peel Do.
Orange leafCitrus sinensis (L.) Osbeck.
Orange, sweet Do.
Orange, sweet, flowers Do.
Orange, sweet, peel Do.
OriganumOriganum spp.
PalmarosaCymbopogon martini Stapf.
PaprikaCapsicum annuum L.
ParsleyPetroselinum crispum (Mill.) Mansf.
Pepper, blackPiper nigrum L.
Pepper, white Do.
PeppermintMentha piperita L.
Peruvian balsamMyroxylon pereirae Klotzsch.
PetitgrainCitrus aurantium L.
Petitgrain lemonCitrus limon (L.) Burm. f.
Petitgrain mandarin or tangerineCitrus reticulata Blanco.
PimentaPimenta officinalis Lindl.
Pimenta leafPimenta officinalis Lindl.
Pipsissewa leavesChimaphila umbellata Nutt.
PomegranatePunica granatum L.
Prickly ash barkXanthoxylum (or Zanthoxylum) Americanum Mill. or Xanthoxylum clava-herculis L.
Rose absoluteRosa alba L., Rosa centifolia L., Rosa damascena Mill., Rosa gallica L., and vars. of these spp.
Rose (otto of roses, attar of roses) Do.
Rose buds Do.
Rose flowers Do.
Rose fruit (hips) Do.
Rose geraniumPelargonium graveolens L'Her.
Rose leavesRosa spp.
RosemaryRosmarinus officinalis L.
SaffronCrocus sativus L.
SageSalvia officinalis L.
Sage, GreekSalvia triloba L.
Sage, SpanishSalvia lavandulaefolia Vahl.
St. John's breadCeratonia siliqua L.
Savory, summerSatureia hortensis L.
Savory, winterSatureia montana L.
Schinus molleSchinus molle L.
Sloe berries (blackthorn berries)Prunus spinosa L.
SpearmintMentha spicata L.
Spike lavenderLavandula latifolia Vill.
TamarindTamarindus indica L.
TangerineCitrus reticulata Blanco.
TarragonArtemisia dracunculus L.
TeaThea sinensis L.
ThymeThymus vulgaris L. and Thymus zygis var. gracilis Boiss.
Thyme, white Do.
Thyme, wild or creepingThymus serpyllum L.
Triticum (see dog grass)
TuberosePolianthes tuberosa L.
TurmericCurcuma longa L.
VanillaVanilla planifolia Andr. or Vanilla tahitensis J. W. Moore.
Violet flowersViola odorata L.
Violet leaves Do.
Violet leaves absolute Do.
Wild cherry barkPrunus serotina Ehrh.
Ylang-ylangCananga odorata Hook. f. and Thoms.
Zedoary barkCurcuma zedoaria Rosc.



*The FDA has not evaluated the statements on this website. No claims are made as to any medicinal value of this oil. The information presented here is for educational purposes of traditional uses and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any diseases.
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