FHT Statement on the oral administration (ingestion) of essential oils

Released: 17 February, 2016

In recent weeks, the FHT has received an increasing number of queries from members, asking what our position is on the oral administration (ingestion) of essential oils.

FHT comment:

The FHT does not endorse the ingestion of essential oils or cover this particular practice for membership and insurance purposes.  This is irrespective of whether members have covered the ingestion of oils in any training they have completed.

In the FHT’s opinion, the oral administration of essential oils is a potentially high-risk practice, particularly if the individual recommending or administering essential oils is not medically qualified to diagnose or has a lack of knowledge regarding essential oil pharmacology.

In Essential Oil Safety, Tisserand and Young (2013) highlight some of the risks associated with the oral administration of essential oils, including ‘a greater risk of overdose, of gastric irritation, and of interactions with medication’.

Furthermore, Buckle (2015) highlights in Clinical Aromatherapy that the Royal College of Nursing (UK) and most State Boards of Nursing in the United States accept all other methods of aromatherapy as part of nursing care, apart from oral use.

When outlining the methods of use and application of essential oils, the core curriculum for aromatherapy, produced by the Aromatherapy Council, makes no reference to the oral administration of essential oils. Similarly, there is no reference to the oral administration of essential oils in the aromatherapy qualification guidelines produced by VTCT and C&G.

References, additional information and further reading

Buckle J (2015). Clinical Aromatherapy; Essential Oils in Healthcare (3rd edition), Elsevier.

Clarke S (2002). Essential Chemistry for Safe Aromatherapy, Churchill Livingstone.

Tisserand R and Young R (2013). Essential Oil Safety (2nd edition), Churchill Livingstone.

© 2016 Federation of Holistic Therapists (FHT). No part of this document may be reproduced or disseminated without the express permission of the FHT. Although the FHT has taken all reasonable steps to ensure that the information in this document is accurate, we cannot guarantee that it is free from inaccuracies, errors or omissions. No information given by the FHT should be taken as legal advice, nor should it take the place of medical care or advice given by primary healthcare providers. As such, the FHT shall not be liable for any loss or damage whatsoever arising from any information contained in this document.