Germ fighting blends can’t be ingested. Actually, this is very dangerous. I’ll tell you why.
There are various germ-fighting formulas on the market. They’re sold by different companies. Typically, they contain clove, cinnamon, lemon, rosemary and eucalyptus essential oils.
Germ fighting blends are really popular. I always have at least one in my house.
These blends seem to be based upon a Medieval legend of four thieves. These men robbed the sick and dying. But they didn’t get sick themselves.
Once caught, they were forced to confess. They told the king they used an aromatic plague-fighting formula. It had been in their family for generations.
Why You Can’t Ingest Germ Fighting Blends
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I’ve had good luck with germ fighter blends. I’ve used them at the beginning of a cold. Several times, the cold didn’t develop.
This might be just a crazy coincidence. I can’t claim a cause and effect. Nor can I suggest anyone else will have the same experience. But I do consider germ-fighting blends really useful. As long as they’re used correctly.
This means not ingesting them. Essential oils shouldn’t be ingested unless you’re working with a medical professional with special training in this field.
Also, most germ-fighting blends contain eucalyptus oil. This is an oil that shouldn’t be ingested. Period. Ingesting rosemary essential oil is dangerous as well.
Why You Can’t Use Germ Fighting Blends Internally
I’ve seen terrible essential oil advice on social media. Some of the worst includes telling people to put a certain germ-fighting blend in a capsule and then take it as a dietary supplement.
This is bad advice under any circumstance.
Telling strangers to ingest essential oils means you’re doing this without knowing their medical history. Are they pregnant? Are they taking medications that will interact with essential oils? Do they have allergies?
Why You Can’t Ingest Eucalyptus Essential Oil
Recommending that people ingest eucalyptus oil make this bad advice even worse. Because eucalyptus oil shouldn’t be ingested at all.
One analysis published in the Medical Journal of Australia looked at eucalyptus oil poisoning in babies and young children. It caused drowsiness, loss of conscious, vomiting and lung damage. (Fortunately, all of the 109 children recovered, although a number of them required stays in the intensive care unit.)
Can You Ingest Germ Fighting Blends?
There’s a stunning amount of bad information about essential oil use. Especially on social media. Much of it appears related to the germ busting formulas.
Typically, these formulas consist of five aromatics – clove, cinnamon, rosemary, lemon and eucalyptus essential oils. It’s true that four of these are derived from the same plants as common kitchen spices. However, this doesn’t mean they’re safe to eat or drink, in essential oil form.
Essential oils are made from herbs. But they’re exponentially stronger. I’ve heard varying estimates on strength. I’ve read that one drop of peppermint essential oil is the herbal equivalent of multiple cups of herbal tea. This may be anywhere from 15 to 70 cups of peppermint tea.
I’m sure everyone would agree that drinking this much herbal tea is a bad idea.
Actually, there’s even been a case report of an almost fatal reaction to peppermint oil ingestion, in a 40-year-old woman. This account was published in the Indian Journal of Anesthesia. The women was comatose and required ventilation to keep her alive. (I’ve seen at least one germ-fighting formula with peppermint oil.)
Ingesting Rosemary Essential Oil
Eating rosemary as a spice comes with health benefits. Rosemary is contains antimicrobial compounds, as well as cancer-fighting agents.
Rosemary essential oil has also been shown to increase memory recall in elderly patients. (I’m not elderly. But I’ve often used rosemary oil while working, as a mental boost.)
However, ingesting large quantities of rosemary leaf can be dangerous. It can cause stomach irritation, seizures and kidney damage. In high enough quantities it can even be lethal. Rosemary is an essential oil that should never be used on children under the age of 10. (Essential oils shouldn’t be used at all on babies and toddlers.)
Why You Can’t Ingest Rosemary Essential Oil
Unfortunately, the social media posts that suggest ingesting germ-fighting blends don’t include this information. I’ve even seen natural mama types online advocate giving germ-fighting blends in capsules to their family during cold and flu season. This would mean daily doses of potentially dangerous levels of eucalyptus and rosemary oils.
I’ve also seen people say to drink these strong aromatics with a beverage, or to put them under the tongue (undiluted). Missing in these creatively designed social media graphics is the fact that these are powerful doses of a substance that shouldn’t be ingested.
Also not included is a warning against using germ blends on children under the age of 10. Only the lemon essential oil is considered safe for children. (External use only.) The other four oils are not, according to Plant Therapy, a company that’s become a leader in essential oil safety. (This is where I buy many of my oils.)
Trust me, I try to do things as naturally as possible. But just because something is natural doesn’t mean it’s safe. (Arsenic and mercury, technically, are all natural.)
Can Essential Oils Cause Injury?
Every now and then, we see published reports of serious injuries from essential oils. Typically, this is due to ingestion, without proper supervision or using essential oils on babies.
But I don’t want to scare you away from essential oils. I use them everyday. I don’t know what I’d do without these highly concentrated plant extracts. Essential oils are very safe. As long as you use them the right way.
Just for the record, I’m not a professional aromatherapist. But I have read up on safe use of essential oils. And I want to pass along this information to my readers.
If you have more specific aromatherapy questions, I urge you to reach out to a reputable essential oil company. Plant Therapy has trained aromatherapists on staff.
What’s particularly concerning, though, is that people are selling aromatic oils and also telling their customers to swallow them. The idea of salespeople encouraging ingestion is very controversial. This is one reason I’m so happy to have found Plant Therapy. It’s an ethical company that encourages safe use of essential oils.
Plant Therapy Essential Oil Safety Recommendations
Plant Therapy has published volumes on how to use essential oils the right way. Its literature notes that ingestion of essential oils should only be done under strict medical supervision, if at all. Plant Therapy also provides clear guidelines on which essential oils are safe for children.
The germ fighting formulas that contain clove, cinnamon, rosemary and eucalyptus are not a good choice for children under 10. So if this formula is not safe for external use in children, it certainly shouldn’t be ingested.
Only lemon essential oil is considered safe for children, according to Plant Therapy, which features this oil in its KidSafe line. Plant Therapy has two germ-fighting formulas. One is designed for adults and older children, which you can see on the left. The other is designed with children in mind. It contains only essential oils known to be safe for children. (Neither formula is meant to be ingested.)
Plant Therapy Germ FighterKidSafe Germ Destroyer
How To Use Germ Fighting Blends Safely
The good news is that there’s no need to ingest potent germ-fighting blends. Inhalation is a very efficient means of deriving the benefits, without the risks.
Essential oil molecules are tiny. When you inhale them, they travel to your lungs. Then they go directly to your bloodstream. Even small amounts are therapeutic, since essential oils are so strong.
Massage is another way to enjoy the potential germ-fighting essential oil benefits. A standard adult dilution is 3 drops of germ-fighting blend to 1 teaspoon of carrier oil. (Grapeseed oil and fractionated coconut oil are good carrier oils.) Plant Therapy recommends using a less potent dilution for children and for the elderly. This would be half of the usual adult dilution.
Anyway, I encourage my readers to reap the benefits of essential oils, while ignoring the unsafe advice that abounds on social media.
These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). These products are not meant to diagnose‚ treat or cure any disease or medical condition. Women who are pregnant or nursing should not use essential oils unless directed to do so by a healthcare professional. Certain aromatics must be used with caution around young children.
For Additional Reading
Eucalyptus Essential Oil Poisoning in Children
Rosemary and Alzheimer’s Disease