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.
There are two main aspects to consider here:
- 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.
For these two reasons, even though all our oils are pure, natural, unadulterated and many are food grade, we still do not recommend to use them internally.
And if you still want to do it, please consider these three important questions:
1) make sure that what you have in front of you is an ESSENTIAL OIL meaning a pure and natural essential oil distilled/extracted from a specific botanical and specific part (leaf, root, fruit etc) and not mixed with anything else (in which case it is a fragrance or perfume blend which can contain some other harmful substances). The best way to verify this is to check the ingredients listing AND ask the supplier.
2) make sure that the oil is indeed food grade as stated before, meaning it is on the positive lists of European or American food nomenclatures.
3) seek advise of a professional who can recommend a dosage, a way to use it and verify you have no health conditions that could create an issue.
And because most consumers do not have this expertise or information, we strongly recommend not to use essential oils internally. Note that this has nothing to do with the quality of the oils we offer vs the rest of the market.