Is Eucalyptus Essential Oil Safe to Ingest?

June 14, 2018

By Rebecca Carden

The question of whether an oil such as Eucalyptus can be ingested or not is one that comes up regularly and we know it can be a confusing topic.

On one hand we have straight Eucalyptus which directs us to use only topically and aromatically on the bottle yet we can ingest the On Guard oil blend, toothpaste and throat drops each which contain Eucalyptus.

Paracelsus wrote in 1530 “all things are poisons. It is only the dose which make a thing poison”.
Even water and coffee which are normally harmless may cause illness or death if taken in excess.
Keep this in mind ok as we continue on…..

Firstly there almost 900 species of Eucalytpus and they all possess different chemistry profiles.
Some have really high Cineole content others have really high Citronella or Limonene contents so we can’t throw them all into the same basket.

doTerra use Eucalyptus Globulus in it’s On Guard products and Eucalyptus Radiata for the single oil.  The globulus species is GRAS listed as is the chemical compound Eucalyptol which makes up a significant portion of the Radiata species as well as several others. Eucalyptus oil from the species Eucalyptus radiata and Eucalyptus globulus both have very similar chemistry and usage. Both oils are not typically recommended for internal use as pure single oils because of their high potency however as mentioned above – it really is a case of the dose makes the poison.

The species used in the common supermarket brand Bositos is Eucalyptus polybractea (Blue Mallee).

When you go deep diving into all the relevant journals of aromatherapy and research available, both globulus and radiata are actually suggested for both internal and external use and funnily enough, in Jamaica for centuries families have traditionally used a drop of Eucalyptus in Honey as a method for dealing with Bronchial infections…..even for kids.

The stories that abound of adverse side effects stem from misuse, in one case accidentally consuming ½ a cup of Eucalyptus oil of unknown origin.

The highly respected and authoritative German Commission E (a governmental regulatory agency composed of scientists, toxicologists, physicians, and pharmacists. Similar to the FDA) monograph on eucalyptus oil under ‘Dosage’ states-
“for internal use, a daily dose of 0.3 to 0.6g. It is acceptable to take eucalyptus oil orally provided the dosage is kept within this use range. It is not advisable to take eucalyptus oil over a long period (a year or more) as it may cause liver damage”.

1 drop of essential oil can be (in general) .02 to .03 grams so this would equate to roughly 10 drops p/day being suggested as safe but only when used with a carrier such as honey, olive or coconut oil. Eucalyptus is an oil that must be used diluted no matter the method of application.

It’s interesting to note that the Bositos Eucalyptus Oil which uses polybractea (Blue Mallee) is considered to the be the strongest and most potent Eucalyptus thanks to it’s super high Cineole content of 85-95%. I think doTerra have specifically steered away from this species because of it’s power, knowing full well that they want to be able to use it safely for both adults and children alike.

Remember that all over the world Eucalyptus is commonly used in cough lozenges, cough syrups, toothpastes, mouth washes and as a flavour ingredient in foods.

It is simply the dose that makes the poison. Eucalyptus oil is toxic if ingested in excessive quantities. Excessive being the key word but excessive use of nearly every essential oil can have adverse affects.

Did you know that Australia is the only country in the world to legislate that products containing 25% or more eucalyptus oil must be labelled poison and packed in a poison container.

Products containing less than 25 per cent eucalyptus oil can be sold without having to be labelled poison, without having to be packed in poison containers and without being sealed with a child-resistant closure. Their use is not restricted in any way.

The TGA simply isn’t willing to risk advising people on the side of the bottle that it can be taken internally as they cannot control the amounts used, quality of the oil ingested or common sense of people using it.

Rest assured that doTerra do know what they are doing. They have an entire team of researchers and scientist’s working to ensure the safety of these oils for us.

There are actually numerous studies that rate the use of Eucalyptus internally (if you are comfortable) for a variety of different oral health and respiratory conditions.

It all boils down to common sense, Eucalyptus is not an oil we would seek to use internally on the daily is it. The same thinking applies to both Tea Tree and Wintergreen essential oils, both of which are also commonly found in over the counter chewing gums, lozenges and food products.

When we perhaps might seek to use it in this manner, we’re not going to chug back 5ml in one sitting because we’re smarter than that and understand that mother nature and her pure potent plant extracts need to be respected and that less is always more.

Hope this is helpful everyone 🙂

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