Birch Hill Happenings Aromatherapy

Your One Stop Aromatherapy Shop since 1997

Birch Hill Happenings Aromatherapy, LLC


Proper use of PURE essential oils for Therapeutic aromatherapy

Inhalation is best, Ingestion is the worst

by Penny Keay

We and other Aromatherapists, who have had schooling, have been telling everyone about the safe ways to use essential oils.

As you know, Inhalation is the best way to use essential oils. They are able to enter the body through your lungs and into the blood and go where needed for various processes or other imbalances that are occurring in your body.

Some will trigger nerve receptors in the nose too as you “smell” them. This will then allow the chemical constituents to cause reactions that affect the emotional centers of your brain.

After all, it is the practice of AROMA therapy – meaning to ‘smell’ or, really to inhale.

We will never tell you to ingest them. We may suggest a mouth rinse or gargle but that would be the extent of anything close to ingesting them.

Even when essential oils are in Massage oils or Body Care products they do their best work by smell/inhalation. 

Very few whole essential oils can penetrate skin and be used by the body. A few of the chemical constituents may be able to penetrate deeper.

Skin applications are common for ‘skin’ problems – as many skin problems do not penetrate beyond the first few layers of the skin.   

Even in massage, is it the act of massage itself (human touch) along with the ‘smelling’ of the oils during the massage that gives the actual relief?   This is the belief of many.   

Over the nearly 20 years of studying and practicing aromatherapy we have found that the BEST way and FASTEST way to ‘do no harm’ using essential oils is to have clients INHALE them.  

The body can use essential oils easily and quickly by simply breathing them in.    

Once inhaled the essential oil molecules will rapidly transport through the lungs into the blood and throughout the body going to where the body actually needs it.  

When you ingest essential oils, which do not taste good in the pure state, can do damage along the way through the intestinal tract.  Damaging mucous membranes, stomach and intestinal linings and eventually cause potential damage to the liver and kidneys.

As members of both NAHA (National Association of Holistic Aromatherapists) and A.I.A (Alliance of International Aromatherapists) where the ‘best practices’ of both organizations which includes many Professional Aromatherapists, Licensed Medical Practitioners i.e. Medical Doctors, Registered Nurses and Chemists etc,  all commit to the use of essential oils by INHALATION or when properly diluted to be used on the skin.

Essential oils are fantastic at doing many things – by inhalation. 

  Herbs – on the other hand can do a TON of things ONLY when ingested. 

However, Herbal use of plants is completely different from the use of highly concentrated essential oils.  In addition, essential oils do not always have the same use or properties that a Herb can. 

Unfortunately, some MLM companies and even some older Aromatherapy books will put HERBAL properties to Essential oils.  This is often times where the miss-information begins. 

To use essential oils safely, please inhale them for a few minutes or diffuse lightly for a few hours. Use them in massage oils and other body-applied products only when diluted properly.

If you are not sure how to use them, please ask a trained Aromatherapist.

My Experiment

When we were first beginning our aromatherapy journey, over 20 years ago, we were shown a similar version of my experiment that follows.

That demonstration involved only one essential oil – Lemon. But, it was enough to convince us that essential oils need to be respected and used safely.

As a little experiment to show just how strong some essential oils are I took several essential oils and other food items and dripped them on a Styrofoam cooler.

I used 2 drops of each essential oil and several drops of the food items.

It took me about 1 minute between drops to apply each item. Starting from the left I used:

  • Lemon Juice – freshly squeezed from a fresh lemon
  • Apple Cider Vinegar
  • Lemon Essential oil
  • Oregano Essential oil
  • Frankincense Essential oil
  • Myrrh Essential oil
  • Tea Tree Essential oil
  • Peppermint Essential oil

Start of the Experiment

First I applied several drops of Lemon Juice fresh squeezed and then some Apple Cider Vinegar.

Start of the Experiment

In addition, about 10 minutes in I forgot that I hadn’t brought out Lavender essential oil. So I added that too the test. You will see that below.

Here I began by applying 2 drops of Pure Lemon Essential oil.

Start of the Experiment

Remember I only used 2 – yes – only two – drops of each essential oil.

Lemon EO applied

As you will see – even between the few moments it took me to apply each essential oil – Lemon oil had begun to eat through the cooler.

Next I applied Oregano essential oil

Oregano EO applied

Then the drops of Frankincense essential oil

Frankincense EO applied

Myrrh essential oil was next.

Myrrh EO applied

Myrrh - even though it is a fairly viscous (thick oil) it ran down the side of the cooler and into the Peppermint EO's area. I had to wipe it off the Peppermint label or have it run into the Peppermint oils area.

Peppermint essential oil also ran down to the bottom of the cooler's base.

Peppermint EO Applied

Tea Tree essential oil also went to the bottom of the cooler, but it took it longer and 'ate' a wider path. Shown later after the 10 minutes into the experiment.

Tea Tree EO applied

The Vinegar and Lemon JUICE ran down to the bottom of the cooler's base. The Lemon JUICE actually ran off the bottom of the cooler and on to the table I was using. The Vinegar hung onto the ledge.

The Vinegar drops went to the bottom edge of the cooler.

Lavender essential oil was the last essential oil added.

Lavender Essential oil applied.

This is 10 minutes after I started to apply the Essential oils.

10 minutes after starting the experiment

This is 1 hour after I started to apply the Essential oils.

After 1 hour the Lemon EO has continued to eat through the cooler and Lavender EO – just 10 minutes behind has done a pretty good number on the cooler too.

There is no reaction or damage to the cooler by either the Lemon JUICE or the Vinegar to the cooler. And after 1 hour Peppermint has had minor reaction as has the Myrrh.

1 hour after starting the experiment

This is 24 hours after applying the Essential oils.

24 hours after starting the experiment

After 24 hours the reaction to the cooler had stopped but as you see the Lemon and Lavender really 'ate' at the cooler.

The photo isn't that great but the cooler was about 1 inch thick and the Lemon EO almost completely went through the styrofoam. The Lavender ate deeply but more wide.

The Oregano and Tea Tree did damage too - wider and longer - slowly but more damage for the surface area that it touched. Frankincense did a little less than those two.

As for the Lemon Juice and Vinegar there was no reaction with the styrofoam - none whatsoever.


Granted the cooler is not skin, nor is it mucous membranes. I feel our skin and mucous membranes are much more tender than the cooler’s material.

So I ask you, seeing the results of what these essential oils are doing to the cooler Styrofoam, do you really think it is a good Idea to use them in your mouth, or added to drinking water?

As for the Lemon Juice and Vinegar. They provide many wonderful nutritional benefits.

Potassium, Vitamin C and many phytonutrients are abundant in Lemon JUICE.

The essential oil of Lemon has none of those - but it will clean your intestinal tract with the power of a mighty degreaser.

If you are one of those folks that have been told to use Lemon Essential oil in your drinking water - PLEASE STOP.

Please do not use any more Lemon Essential oil in your drinking water. USE REAL FRESH Squeezed Lemon Juice!!!

Of the two essential oils with the slightest reaction, Peppermint and Myrrh, are commonly suggested for mouth rinses or gargles. Peppermint when properly diluted is used in food and flavoring industry and as you can see, it was pretty safe to the ‘cooler’.

It can still have a mighty punch in your mouth or on other mucous membranes even when it is diluted.

Again, we never suggest you use any essential oil undiluted or to ingest. It just is not safe to do so.

We have had folks contact us after having been told by various MLM distributors to put such and such EO in a glass of water and drink it or worse yet to add to olive oil and swallow it or put in a capsule and swallow. This is so dangerous to do and if you are not aware, even a small amount of some essential oils can kill a child.

We know of several cases where the ingestion of some essential oils have caused gastro-intestinal distress, kidney and liver damage. Direct application – mild to severe skin rashes and in one case open lesions from chemical burns.

The Safest way to use Essential oils

Yesiree! The best way and safest way is by INHALATION!

Now, when you inhale an essential oil, you will usually know when you’ve had enough.

You will just not desire to breathe it in any longer or if you have been exposed too long you will feel nauseated or get a headache.

The thing is, you can easily open up windows, air the room out and go outdoors for a walk of fresh air. Many of the essential oils will release from your body as you take in nice breathes of fresh air.

If you had ingested them, they can take hours to be released and do a lot of damage along the way. Again, don't ingest them.

Several essential oils only need to be inhaled for just a few whiffs every few hours to work.

For me, I can inhale my Allergy Tamer just 3 times a day during allergy season and my allergies are a thing of the past. But I must be consistent and not miss a ‘inhalation’ or my allergy might flare a bit.

And often times when I feel a cold coming on, I gargle every 2 hours with my choice of essential oils (Thyme & or Oregano) one drop each in 4 ounces of water and I GARGLE – I do not swallow the mix. This "Gargling" usually will nip the cold or flu in the bud and I am fortunate enough to miss the whole ailment.
(Darn, I need a day off – JUST Kidding!! )

We also diffuse in several rooms, our most favorite essential oils on a routine basis. Depending on what we feel like smelling.

Remember all essential oils will help you with many different emotional, physical and more for your own health and well-being, when diffused on a regular basis.

So, what are you waiting for. Start diffusing today!

All the products listed in the article are available at our Shopping Site - see link below.

CLICK HERE to Order supplies

© 2015 Penny Keay All rights reserved Worldwide.
Please do not use my information without my permission.

Print this Article Proper use of PURE essential oils

Keep Learning about Aromatherapy & the use of Essential oills
Sign up for the Birch Hill Happenings Aromatherapy, LLC
News, Tips & More Email Notices

SEARCH for More Aromatherapy information


This search is within Birch Hill Happenings Aromatherapy Website only.

Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon
Sign up for Email Notices to further your Aromatherapy Experience

Birch Hill Happenings Aromatherapy, LLC, Oils  Essential, Barnum, MN

Facebook Graphic

To Learn More & Get Aromatherapy Supplies

More Information

Aromatherapy Recipe Book

Aromatherapy Recipe book
Hundreds of Recipes using Pure Essential oils. Easy to follow formulas, to blend, use and Enjoy! Available in an E-book Version.
Click on image for details.


 Essential oil bottles

Essential Oils
We carry over 110 Single note Essential oils for your aromatherapy needs. A variety of sizes to fit every budget

Choose from over 50 Terra Cotta Disc Diffuser designs!

 Passive Terra Cotta

We have a large selection of diffusers for all your diffusing needs. Shown is one of the Terra Cotta Diffuser.
Great to place in all your personal spaces. Read more about using them in your shower, closet, car and MORE!!
Over 50 designs of Terra Cotta discs


 Synergy samplers

Check out several Synergies at discounted prices!
See the Synergy Samplers

Need Bottles?

 spray bottles

We have a large selection of bottles. Shown here are the Popular Cobalt Blue bottles. Great to use for mixing your massage oils & sprays & more.
Bottles for your needs

Tru Melange Fan Diffuser

 Tru Melange Diffuser

It is a battery or AC adaptor powered diffuser. Our Top Selling, easy to use and budget priced.
Details on the Tru Melange

BUGS Bugging YOU?

 Bug Off in spray bottles

Get yours now Before the Pests are eating you alive!


 Carrier oil bottles

We carry a large variety of Carrier Oils in several sizes to fit any budget.
Carrier Oils