Essential oil use is documented as early as 4500 B.C., and the reintroduction of essential oils into modern society began in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. As essential oils gain prominence, people are rediscovering their profound impact on health, appearance, and well-being. Most consumers, however, are educated only about topical application or the effects of the oils’ aroma. Being a progressive company, Young Living teaches that using all available methods, including taking them internally, can bring greater results in shorter periods of time. Oils are our powerful allies, and it makes sense to use all methods of application appropriately to bring about desired results.

How people use essential oils is largely influenced by what is accepted within their culture, For instance, the English dilute small amounts of essential oils and massage them into the body. The German model of essential oil use focuses on the inhalation of the oils. They believe that the aroma of an oil affects body and mind. The French, who are more aggressive users, recommend rubbing them into the skin-in most cases undiluted, or neat. They also take certain quantities (depending on the size of the person and the kind of oil) internally to obtain therapeutic benefits.

Even before the establishment of Young Living Essential Oils, D. Gary Young taught with confidence all three methods of application. He knew from personal experience that in certain circumstances the oral route is the most beneficial way of using the oils. Gary’s vast knowledge was gained from study, practical use, and from the teachings of various European essential oil masters such as Dr. Jean Valnet, Dr. Daniel Penoel, and Rene-Maurice Gattefosse. Unlike other essential oil leaders, Gary took the best information from different philosophies and incorporated them into a varied and unique system promoted by Young Living. Enlightened essential oil users worldwide are benefiting from Young Living methodology.

Historical Influence and the Internal Use of Oils

Fear and misconceptions surrounding the oral use of essential oils may be largely due to the personal beliefs of Marguerite Maury. Austrian-born Maury moved to France; there, she gained interest in essential oils after reading a book called Les Grandes Possibilities par les Matieres by a Dr. Chabenes, a teacher of the later renowned Rene Gattefosse. Maury eventually married a French doctor and continued her research on the use of essential oils. After much study, Maury developed a technique that included diluted essential oils and massage. Her oil blends were created for external use only.

While the doctors around her prescribed essential oils for a number of maladies, Maury felt uncomfortable recommending oils for internal use. It is unclear why she did not use her husband for such prescriptions. In any event, it was mainly her lack of medical expertise that influenced Maury’s decision for advocating only external application and not that the oils were dangerous or toxic. Maury later left France and moved to England where she taught future aromatherapy leaders (Daniele Ryman and Marceline Arcier). Maury’s strong belief in topical use and dilution became England’s guiding influence for the topical application of essential oils.

A majority of teachers and users of essential oils in the United States follow the English methodology, which supports diluted topical and inhalation application. However, closer scrutiny reveals that the U.S. has a long history of the oral use. Nurses and physicians often gave oils such as cinnamon, clove, peppermint, sandalwood, and eucalyptus for digestive disturbances and urinary tract infections. These oils are actually listed in the eighth edition of Useful Drugs, a handbook published by the American Medical Association in 1930.

Gattefosse and early French doctors also utilized high doses of oils topically and internally to obtain pharmaceutical effects. The work of medical doctor Jean Valnet is well documented. Much of his practical experience resulted from using essential oils on wounded soldiers during World War II. His vital, documented work became a guiding influence for future doctors. Today, the French lead the world in research for internal use and they ingest essential oils to successfully treat a number of diseases.

Toxic Oils – the Myth and the Reality

Clinical reports support proper internal use of oils. Ron Guba, a noted essential oil expert and practicing aromatherapist, states that toxicity reports “are generally due to accidental ingestion by young children, attempts at creating abortions in past years, and the use of essential oils for suicide attempts. There are more rare cases of toxic effects due to overly large doses of specific essential oils being ‘self-prescribed’ to children by parents or prescribed to clients by ill-informed therapists.” The reality is that all essential oils are powerful, and it is therefore wise to observe precautions. Most authors agree that it is dosage that determines the safety of internal use.

Len and Shirley Price, authors of Aromatherapy for Health Professionals, state:
Essential oils are powerful, otherwise they would be of no use therapeutically, and this means that they must be employed with care and knowledge to achieve beneficial results. Inappropriate use in whatever way can bring about undesired effects. Dosage, in terms of both quantity and time, is ail/ important since too little may mean little or no result, while too much may (depending on the oils used) have a beneficial effect or create a serious problem …. Many substances in common use are toxic in overdose-e.g., carrots are beneficial in moderation, although a surfeit will produce illness, and this is true of many other everyday foods such as tomatoes, saffron and mustard.

Robert Tisserand, a recognized essential oil expert notorious for his exuberant number of cautions, states, “All reported cases of serious poisoning with essential oils have occurred after the ingestion of relatively large amounts of essential oil. Only In a very few cases were the oils being taken for therapeutic purposes, and in these few instances the person was generally self-administering rather than following the advice of a practitioner.”

It is evident that the dose is the main factor affecting safety. It is extremely important to follow instructions carefully. In the case of essential oils, more is not necessarily better.

Internal Considerations

Good benefits may be obtained by dropping diluted essential oils into a capsule, directly onto the tongue, or onto a teaspoon of agave. However, to receive optimal benefits from taking oils internally, the delivery method must be appropriate. Price and Price note the possibility of changes of essential oil molecules from encountering digestive enzymes, strong acids, and metabolization.

The scientific director of the Pacific Institute of Aromatherapy, Kurt Schnaubelt, Ph.D., states, “Many authors and practitioners agree … that ingestion or rectal absorption of essential oils are often the most appropriate therapy. The lipophilic nature of essential oils causes them to be rapidly absorbed. If not placed in an appropriate carrier substance or emulsified in a liquid, the essential oil will not reach its intended destination in a concentrated enough dosage”.

From the information provided by experts, the best method of taking essential oils internally is to suspend a small amount of it in an oil-soluble liquid (e.g.V-6™ Enhanced Vegetable Oil Complex or vegetable oil), and then protect it by encapsulation. In pharmacies across Europe, essential oil capsules are familiar products. One Belgian company has been producing essential oil capsules for several years for such maladies as infections, digestion, and painful menstrual periods.

Another major issue concerning the internal use of essential oils is the purity factor. All literature is emphatic that if essential oils are to be used internally, they must be pure. Young Living and other industry experts insist that if the oils are used internally they need to conform to pharmaceutical standards of quality and be free of adulterants, heavy metals, pesticides, dioxins, polychlorinated biphenyls, and other undesirable substances.

Sue Chao, Director of Quality Control and Laboratory at Young Living, is directly responsible for maintaining high standards of purity and efficacy of all of Young Living’s products. Sue states, “As our world becomes more and more polluted, it becomes increasingly difficult to maintain the high standards that Young Living sets. Because we care about the health of our distributors, we take every precaution to make sure that all Young Living essential oils are of the highest quality available.”

More essential oil experts are following the lead of Young Living in pronouncing the amazing benefits of the oral use of essential oils. As our world becomes more toxic, and as our prescriptions weaken because of their excessive use, we once again turn our attention to our most powerful allies, the plants. Continuing education will expose false philosophies surrounding the internal use of the oils. Continued research will reveal to the world the great health benefits of the powerful essential oils.

Note: Not all essential oils are safe for oral consumption. Read label directions carefully or seek the advice of a health care professional before administering internally.

 Reprinted with permission of Young Living, Lehi, UT 84043