September 08, 2020 2 min read

Can you ingest Essential Oils?

This is a question we get asked daily, here is the long and short of it.

One of the most satisfying aspects of using essential oils medicinally and cosmetically is that they enter and leave the body with great efficiency, leaving no toxins behind.

There are three ways that essential oils can enter into the body:

Inhalation through the olfactory system

Absorption through the surface of the skin

Taken internally (not recommended)

The most effective way to absorb the therapeutic qualities of essential oils is not orally, as one might think, but by a combination of external application and inhalation which can be achieved through massage, bathing and diffusing.


When essential oils are inhaled (by steam, direct from the bottle or a tissue), the molecules rise to the top of the nose and meet the olfactory membrane which has thousands of receptors that act as an amplifier sending signals into the limbic system of the brain which deals with emotional and psychological responses. That’s the shortened version of the scientific stuff what it means is a simple inhalation can cause changes in the body from stimulating the immune system, to initiating the digestive system into action. The entire process from the initial inhalation of the oil to corresponding gland secretion takes place in a matter of seconds.

Skin Absorption:

Essential oil molecules are so minute that when they are applied to the skin; they can pass through the outer layer of the skin. From here the oil molecule passes through the dermis, into the capillaries and the bloodstream. Circulation and warmth created by massage increase the skin’s ability to absorb essential oils. Other methods used include body oils, moisturisers, therapeutic lotions, baths, hand and foot baths and hair rinses.

Oral Ingestion: not recommended        

Studies show that taking essential oils internally is the least effective way to absorb their therapeutic properties. Oils are lipophilic which means ‘fat-loving’. The essential oil molecules attach to the mucous membranes in the mouth, tongue, throat and oesophagus. They can irritate and over time cause damage to the mucous membranes from the mouth to the anus.

The oil ends up in the digestive tract where it has to pass through the stomach and small intestine before it reaches the bloodstream. The livers store of Glutathione works to detoxify the body this can get very overloaded when ingesting essential oils daily, such as in your water.

It is not advised to ever take essential oils internally unless under the advice of a Clinical Aromatherapist.

See our range of therapeutic quality essential oils at