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Aromatherapy/essential oil for internal use


QUESTION: peppermint and some other oils are recommended for digestive health - i have several digestive problems - candida, food allergies that started after a heavy dose of antibiotics many years ago. I have been gargling with peppermint oil and some other oils - I also swallow about a drop of the oil in 1/2 cup of water. is this bad?

ANSWER: Hello Irina. It sounds as if you are being very sensible about the amounts of oils you are using. In my own training we were taught never to encourage taking oils internally. However I know that there are some schools of thought that you can do this, when done with great care, and in minute doses.
I had an Australian friend who remembers,as a child, being given a sugar cube with one drop of Tea tree oil in it, as a very effective device to keep all ills at bay. I have also heard of taking the oils in milk to dilute them, so that sounds just as good. As long as you are diluting them and only taking one drop at a time, you should be fine.

Which leads me to suggest Tea tree oil as a brilliant defense against such fungal infections as Candida. I would add a drop of tea tree to your gargle. It will taste a bit bitter, but the Peppermint oil will  alleviate the taste. I have just successfully got rid of a mouth infection by gargling with Teatree oil several time a day. It is a truly brilliant oil.

With regard to your digestive problems.It sounds as if your whole system has been under attack, so I think  I would use a more gentle approach and make up a warm tummy rub oil consisting of some or all of the following oils in a vegetable oil base.The list below would be for one application, so perhaps about 5 - 10 mls of carrier oil.

Black Pepper 2 drops- for warming and stimulating the digestive system
Roman Chamomile 4 drops - for soothing and calming
Sweet Marjoram 2 drops - Warming, comforting and fungicidal

Massage the tummy gently in circular movements and allow the oils to sink in. They take about six hours to get into the system through the skin, so maybe best done after the bath or shower before bed time.
The mix will not smell beautiful but it will encourage a return to normal after all the trauma it has been through. Do this as often as you can for good effect.

You could add a drop of Lemon Oil - as a liver / digestive tonic. And or you could add a drop of Fennel as a digestive tonic as well.

I do hope this helps. I applaud your using the oils to help yourself. Please come back to me if you need any more advice.Kind regards. Judy

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Thanks very much Judy. it's nice to know that others are doing this. I should have asked this before but is it true that stomach acids destroy the herbal properties of the oil when taken internally?

Hi Irina.

The volatile nature of the oils means they are suited, with dilution, for absorption by the skin, and inhalation where appropriate. Equally these properties could make them problematic when taken internally.
I have always felt that the main problem with anything such as the oils passing through the gut will be passing through the system very quickly and of course they will come into contact with the digestive juices. I imagine the reaction of this encounter will depend on which oils we are talking about.But there is a possibility that the digestive juices will destroy any subtle work the oils can do.

I still believe the slow and gentle process of absorption is going to be most effective for most problems. However if the problem lies within the digestive system, then certain oils could benefit by going that way.

You rightly said that Peppermint is good for the digestive system. However, I would tend to go for Peppermint tea, or cordial. ( The way you are taking it is very similar, with proper dilution.) We often recommend Ginger for instance for a "runny" digestion as Ginger has warming and drying properties - great for nausea too. However I would tend to go for Ginger tea, Ginger in cooking and even crystallised Ginger.I think I would always prefer to take edible foods internally and leave the oils for external use. But this is just my personal preference.

Let me know how you get on.
Best wishes.


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Judy Frayne


I specialise in the mixing of oils. Every problem has a different solution depending on the underlying causes.A simple headache could be caused for a number of different reasons. Tracking down the origins of a problem is the first step. I can then advise on the correct oils to use,how to buy them and the methods with which they can be applied. I can also recommend other complimentary techniques for self help with many physical and emotional problems. Feel free to ask about: Skin disorders - eczema, psoriasis,atheletes foot Muscular aches and pains - arthritis, neck and shoulder tension. Painkilling - headaches, chronic pain, backache. Digestive disorders - IBS, constipation. Stress - depression, anxiety, grief, anger, concentration. Medicine cupboard - bites, stings, cuts, bruises,burns. Babies and childrens - tummy aches, colds, sleep problems. And many more !


I have been a qualified aromatherapist for twelve years, working in my own premises as well as mobile visiting. My clients have been varied - ranging from babies to the elderly and sadly,the terminally ill. Whilst many clients simply wish to use aromatherapy to promote a feeling of well being and keep themselves relaxed and healthy - I have had much experience of clients with specific needs. These are just as wide ranging - from skin disorders to back problems on the physical side - to the emotional and spiritual side of things and problems such as coping with grief and bereavement or helping combat anger and stress. I use a mixture of techniques including reflexology. I believe that aromatherapy is a very simple and natural method of self help that can compliment conventional techniques. I am passionate about passing on safe and sensible advice so that more people feel confident to try aromatherapy for themselves. Aromatherapy is not always a cure - but it's potency should never be underestimated. It can help, it can be life changing - and it's certainly worth trying

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