What’s So Bad about Drinking Essential Oils?

A safe alternative to drinking essential oils: a glass with water and sliced lemons

We’ve heard many “recommendations” on drinking essential oils for ailments. You probably have, too. Has someone ever told you to do any of these?

  • Lemon in water for immune support
  • Peppermint in water for good for digestion
  • Grapefruit in water for weight loss
  • Lime in water for detoxification
  • Turmeric and Frankincense taken daily to prevent cancer
  • Flu Bombs in veggie caps with no carrier oil
  • Flu Bombs in shot glass with water

If so, stop! Ingesting essential oils can be harmful.

This is why you should stop drinking essential oils

Essential oils are volatile chemical cocktails consisting of various (hundreds) of chemical components from ten or so chemical families. They are extremely concentrated.

One drop of lemon essential oil is not like one drop of lemon juice. Lemon essential oil is expressed from the rind of the lemon—pounds and pounds of lemon rinds. Do not be fooled by the wonderful aroma and yummy taste — it is heavy duty medicine.

And, did you know that it takes 40 to 60 roses to distill one drop of Rose Otto? Did you know that one drop of Roman Chamomile is equivalent to 35 cups of tea?

What happens if you drink essential oils?

Repeated use of drinking essential oils in this manner can cause serious conditions. Some effects include:

  • Stomach irritation (This is the most common effect)
  • Ulceration in mouth, esophageal tract, and stomach lining
  • Severe allergic reaction
  • Teeth enamel is worn away
  • Seizures

Because essential oils are not soluble in water (they do not dissolve), it makes it that much harder for the body to metabolize and assimilate the essential oil. You are putting stress on your internal organs.

What essential oils are safe to ingest?

The U.S Food & Drug Administration (FDA) has a list of essential oils that they recognize as safe for human consumption. Even though they list common essential oils, like lemon and peppermint, the FDA doesn’t regulate essential oils, so the list, in general, should be taken with a grain of salt. Always consult with a trained aromatherapy professional on what is, or is not, safe.

Can you put essential oils in water and drink it?

When I was a kid in elementary school (second grade to be exact), I learned that oil and water do not mix. This, my friends, includes essential oils. Essential oils are fat-loving, aka lipophilic. They do not love water. Essential oils, as well as carrier oils, do not dissolve in water, so what happens when you put essential oils in water (without a soluble)? As you are swallowing your water, the essential oil molecules look at your mucosa in your mouth esophagus, stomach and say, “Goodbye water! Hello, mucosa.” Your mucosa is the fat they love and they go right to it!

Because essential oils are not soluble in water (they do not dissolve), it makes it that much harder for the body to metabolize and assimilate the essential oil. You are putting stress on your internal organs.

How to safely ingest essential oils

There is a time and place for the internal use of essential oils. The way to ingest an essential oil formulation is to put NO MORE than 3 drops in a veggie capsule filled with olive oil or coconut oil. This capsule can be taken 3 or 4 times a day. So we are talking about ingesting no more than 9-12 drops of oil in a day. This protocol is followed by 5 – 7 days and then is discontinued when you feel better. And guess what, if you feel no better in a few days, stop because it is not working. When using essential oils, the duration of the treatment is similar to allopathic drugs. You can find our general safety information here.

It is absolute nonsense and quite dangerous to ingest essential oils to prevent illness. Instead, eat healthy, use the foods in your cooking, have freshly squeezed lemon in your water, and use ginger and turmeric in your cooking and teas. If you get up every morning day in and day out, year in and year out, and you take Advil, Tylenol, or aspirin every four hours just to PREVENT a headache, what do you think you are doing to your liver, kidney, stomach etc? Well by using oils in the above manner is the same exact thing. Doesn’t it make more sense to take the Advil only when you get a headache?

Next time you use essential oils, pause a moment and ask yourself how many pounds or hundreds of pounds or thousands of pounds did it take to extract this oil. Consider safer alternatives to drinking essential oils.

Curious to explore the world of essential oils in a positive way? Check out our selection of high-quality oils and extracts.


Battaglia, Salvatore. The Complete Guide to Aromatherapy. Brisbane: International Centre of Holysitc Aromatherapy, 2003. Print.

Holmes, P. et al., 2016. Aromatica: a clinical guide to essential oil therapeutics, London, UK: Singing Dragon.

Malle, B., Schmickl, H. & Lehmann, P., 2015. The essential oil maker’s handbook: extracting, distilling & enjoying plant essences, Austin, TX: Spikehorn Press.

Penoël, Daniel, Rose-Marie Penoël, and Brian Manwaring. Natural Home Health Care Using Essential Oils: An Introduction to the Theory, Practice and Technique of Integral Aromatherapy (Osmobiosis). La Drôme, France: Éditions Osmobiose, 1998. Print.

Lawless, Julia. The Complete Illustrated Guide to Aromatherapy: A Practical Approach to the Use of Essential Oils for Health and Well-being. London: Element, 1997. Print.