Essential oils in plants protect the plant from insects, shield the plant from a harsh environment and help them adapt to their surroundings. By taking essential oils, you are harnessing the protective and beneficial powers of a plant.
Essential oils are composed of very small molecules that can penetrate your cells, and some compounds in essential oils can even cross the blood-brain barrier. They differ from fatty oils (like those in vegetables or nuts) that come from large molecules because they cannot penetrate your cells.
When you ingest an essential oil, it directly enters your bloodstream through your gastrointestinal tract, where it is then transported throughout the rest of your body. As mentioned before, essential oils are lipid soluble, allowing them to be easily transported to all of your organs—including the brain.
As with anything we consume, it is always important to ensure that essential oils are used in appropriate doses in order to avoid toxicity. Toxicity refers to the point at which a substance becomes harmful or damaging to the body. Remember, seemingly harmless substances like water, vitamins, and minerals (substances that are vital to life) can all be toxic when consumed at an inappropriate dose.
Exceeding dosage recommendations for oils can lead to toxicity (just as water, minerals, vitamins, and other substances do). However, the toxic dose of an essential oil is always far above the recommended dosage. An individual would have to far exceed the daily recommendations for an essential oil to reach toxicity.
The chemistry of every oil is different. Some essential oils should not be placed directly on the tongue or directly in the mouth. These oils can be taken internally by adding two or three drops to a veggie cap, using the toothpick method in recipes, or placing one drop of oil in at least four ounces of liquid. The following are considered “strong oils” and should be used cautiously due to their potency: