The Dangers of Drinking Essential Oils

Most essential oils are made for their scent, so why would anyone want to ingest them?

Aimee Pearcy


Credit: Steve Horrell/Getty Images

TThis summer, a popular YouTuber who calls herself Fully Raw Kristina released a fruit-infused water recipe that included some odd ingredients: What she described as “pure, therapeutic-grade essential oils.” Into the pitcher went two drops each of eucalyptus, rosemary, lime, and cardamom essential oils, which, Kristina explained, she was doing “not only for the taste but also the nutritional benefits.” Kristina is a raw vegan influencer, with over 1 million subscribers on YouTube, and her interest in essential oils is just one indicator of their surge in popularity.

According to a report by Fortune Business Insights, the global essential oil market was worth $7.03 billion in 2018 and is anticipated to surge to $14.6 billion by 2026. Essential oils are highly concentrated compounds derived from plants, and today they’re typically used for their potent scent, in products like cosmetics, perfumes, and air fresheners.

Some studies have suggested that aromatherapy—inhaling essential oils and absorbing them through your skin—can lead to relaxation and relieves stress. It is therefore understandable why people have been led to believe that ingestion could provide even more benefits —…