Please, read my Exploration + Wisdom = Empowerment introductory post to understand the narrative in this series!
So, I’m going to address an aspect of one of the most contentious issues in the EO using community: Internal use through oral consumption.
The New Kids are using EOs internally through oral consumption. They are doing this through a couple of methods: Dropping the oil into vegetable based capsules or drinking them with liquids, usually water or some sort of non-dairy “milk” (like rice or almond milk).
The Natives are freaking out. It’s in their training to fear it- poor creatures- they can’t help themselves. They almost never want to go there, and in the rare occasion they do, they feel the road should only be traveled with a “trained professional”.
The New Kids see the benefit of exploration with internal consumption and cite the fact that many EOs make the FDA’s GRAS (Generally Recognized As Safe) list. They also point to less restricted practices of oral consumption outside American and British training.
The Natives try to disqualify the validity of the GRAS list and assert that the oral consumption of EO’s by our less restricted, French neighbors comes only through supervision by trained aromatherapists and only in the form of enteric coated pills.
The Caution Cone:
To the New Kids: The reason the Natives are against consuming the oils in water has to do with the fact that oil and water don’t mix. Drinking the oils in water doesn’t dilute them because the oil rises to the top and hits sensitive skin neat (or undiluted) on the inside of our mouths and throats. In some cases, this can cause a real problem for the skin on our insides! Think about it: if we wouldn’t put a hot oil like oregano or cinnamon undiluted on our skin why would we put it undiluted on our throats where the skin is more sensitive and there are mucus membrane that could be adversely affected? They have put out a valid caution cone over a real pothole. However. . .
To the Natives: The New Kids want to explore this method of application. I know I’m only addressing one aspect of why you’re freaking out about oral consumption, and I hope to address other aspects later, but the point is, we busted down the “do not enter” sign you put up, and we’re exploring this road, like it or not. You’re yelling from the corner curb, “get off the road because it has potholes, and it could have more potholes than we know about!” However, we want to know what’s on this road because it could have amazing possibilities for our neighborhood! So many of your warnings involve putting caution cones around “this could be a problem”. We want to know what is a problem and what we can do to more safely explore what might lead to real benefits.
The natives don’t want us on the road at all because it is dangerous in some ways and might be dangerous in ways we don’t yet know about. The New Kids want to try out the road, believing it can’t be that bad. The compromise comes in this:
Natives: stop trying to blockade the road with fear tactics. If there is a problem, be specific about what it is, and include ALL the specifics. The road is open, people are on it. If your real concern is safety, stop giving vague “could be” problems, and then pointing to “see your trained aromatherapist” as the answer.
I’m not coming to see you.
I’m not going pay you to tell me how to use the oils because, even though you’re acting like the information the new kids have is all wrong, I’ve only been able to find a few valid practice differences that separate you from the information I already have access to.
New Kids: let’s take the real wisdom and see if we can apply it to a more safe exploration of the road, because I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to be responsible for hurting myself or others.
Since the problem I’m addressing today is undiluted oil against sensitive skin, here are some of the ways that you can minimize the risk if you’re concerned:
**The company from which I order my oils put out a list of essential oils safe for internal use this past summer. Here’s their list.**
- Stop drinking the oils in water, or at least stop drinking the more caustic (hot and cold) oils and seek other methods of oral consumption.
- Pre-dilute oils in a carrier oil base such as virgin olive oil or some other vegetable based oil- which both have health benefits to us- and drop the diluted mixture into a vegetable base capsule for consumption (which, I believe will also help with some of the Native’s other concerns).
- Consume oils as a medicinal “syrup” mixed in with either an oil base like, extra virgin olive oil, or in a honey base. I would think 1 drop per tsp- Tbsp would work well.
But for those of you who like drinking your oils, I took last months earnings and set forth on an expedition of my own!
** I compared oils in water to oils in animal milks, vegetable milks, sweetener bases, and the “toothpick” options to see which might do something to reduce the amount of oil that rises to the top undiluted.
Here is what I found:
The Animal Milks
I tested a drop of wild orange in 5 Tbsp each of: raw, whole cow’s milk; whole, 1%, and skim pasteurized cow’s milk; whole, pasteurized goat’s milk, and whole, Lactaid lactose free cow’s milk. All performed similarly, and better than water, as far as oil that rose to the top after stirring the drop of oil in, BUT not much better. I’d say that if you were very concerned about this particular problem, animal milks aren’t going to offer much relief.
The Vegetable Milks
Amazingly, these preformed better (to various degrees) then the animal milk. Maybe that wouldn’t surprise those of you who understand more about this, but it surprised me. I tested one drop of Wild Orange oil in Silk brand, no sugar, almond milk and cashew Milk, Silk brand original coconut milk, and Rice Dream brand original rice milk. Rice milk performed just as water did, and so, it’s not a good substitute for this problem. Of the three Silk milks, cashew greatly decreased the amount of oil that rose to the top compared to water. Almond and coconut performed similarly to the animal milks: they were better than water, but not a lot.
I also tested a drop of Wild Orange in 5 oz each of plain Kefir and Aloe Vera juice. Aloe Vera juice performed just the same as water, and so, it’s not a good substitute for this problem. Kefir performed much better, and so, like cashew milk, it might be a good option for those of you concerned about this problem.
Honey is a surfactant (something that helps the oil and water stay mixed together). I have found, that for myself, if I use about 1/2 tsp of honey in the bottom of a cup, mix the oil in with the honey (it’ll make the honey a little thicker and cloudier), and then pour in the hot or cold water, the oil stays very well mixed into the water and is my prefered method of dealing with the problem of dilution in a drink. Then I thought, if honey works what other sweeteners might also work? I tested 1 drop of lemon in some and 1 drop of wild orange in others. Here are the sweeteners I tried: Xylitol (granulas, not liquid), Sugar in the Raw brand sugar, real maple syrup (grade A dark), a chocolate flavored stevia syrup, a maple flavored agave syrup, and compared them to both water and honey. In each case, I mixed them with the oil before pouring the water. Xylitol and maple syrup performed just the same as water. Sugar in the raw and the agave syrup were only slightly better, enough to note, but not enough to make them good options for avoiding the problem. The only one that was worth any real note was the stevia syrup. It performed similarly to honey, but honey was still the best option.
The Toothpick Trials
Many of us know about using oil soaked toothpicks to dilute proportions in our drinks and food. There’s the “dip” (simply dip the oil soaked toothpick into the drink), “swizzle” (dip the oil soaked toothpick into the drink and “swizzle” it around), and I also tried dropping the toothpick in the water and leaving it there. While all three will reduce the amount of oil that is in the water, none of them do anything to help keep the water and oil mixed together so, they are not a solution for this particular problem.
Seeing that pre-mixed oil and honey is by far the best option for diluting the oils in beverages, for convenience, you could pre-make a favorite drinking oil in a 1/4 cup of honey with 3-6 drops of oil mixed in. Make sure you store this mix in a glass container and keep it covered between uses. Use 1/4- 1/2 tsp in your water.
If you wanted it very diluted you could add 1-2 drops to that 1/4 cup (12 tsp) of honey and use 1/4 tsp at a time.
Remember! Children under 6 years of age should not be taking oils internally through oral consumption and older children should use a higher dilution ratio then adults!
So, as far as the dilution problem goes: Problem solved, pothole filled in.
Keep exploring New Kids, and thank you Natives for your wisdom!