Are Essential Oils edible?
Many - but not all - pure and natural essential oils are indeed edible, yet we write 'do not ingest' on our packaging. And we feel all essential oil companies should do the same. Here is why.
- Firstly, not all essential oils are edible, or as the FDA puts it in the US "GRAS - Generally Recognized As Safe". This means that some essential oils can be toxic even at very low dosage. They could damage the liver for instance and they just should never be consumed. This is the case for instance for cedar or sandalwood.
- Secondly, the essential oils that are food grade such as lemon, orange, bergamot, ginger, peppermint, etc. still present a safety concern. One have to remember that essential oils are very very concentrated: 50Kg of lemon make 1Kg of lemon oil, 500Kg of geranium leaves make 1Kg of geranium oil, 750Kg of basil leaves make 1Kg of basil oil, etc. so they can't be compared to the botanicals they are extracted from. When distilling an essential oil, certain aromatic compounds are concentrated and these can be toxic if ingested at high levels. So using edible essential oils at the right dosage for flavouring or health benefits requires some knowledge.