I received a message from a former student advising me that she was on the phone with someone with a crying baby. She asked why the baby was crying, and they indicated that they were trying to put pure frankincense drops in the baby’s mouth and did not like the taste, hence the upset. I can’t believe it!!!
I’ve been teaching and writing about the dangers of ingesting essential oils for years especially with children. It does not matter how pure, natural or organic you think you oils may be, there are harsh naturally occurring chemicals found in most essential oils which should not be ingested. Most of them are terpene class. You know, the ones used in paint thinners and industrial cleaners…. because they are great ORGANIC solvents.
I recently saw this post by a qualified chemist that works with essential oils and does proper analysis. It is a timely and brilliant example of why you should not ingest ANY essential oils, especially frankincense unless extensively trained medically and with essential oils. I have recreated it as best as possible as I don’t know how to link up with specific facebook pages.
ESSENTIAL OIL INGESTION: A Chemist’s Perspective
So many people want to argue over whether or not essential oils are meant for ingestion or not. I will not argue with anyone about this. I have my opinion based on what I know about the chemistry of the oils and analyzing them daily for the last 22 years. Rather than argue I will just tell people to look at the following two chemical breakdowns from GC/MS reports of two natural products and maybe some will understand my perspective. One of the component breakdowns below is the detailed chemical breakdown of a very high quality frankincense oil from a large and well known company, the other component breakdown is that of Turpentine from Home Depot, what many people use as paint thinner because its such a great organic solvent. See any similarities? (the lists are the names of the molecules found in each product with the % of that molecule in the mixture at the far right).
Essential oils have many great uses and can benefit all of our lives greatly but we all need to understand that these products need to be used responsibly and there is still a lot of education that needs to occur about safety. I hope nobody takes this the wrong way. I just don’t want people to be unnecessarily injured. Just because an oil has a Dietary Supplement label on it does not mean that you should put 10 drops of it in your water and drink it down multiple times a day. Yes many essential oils are used in flavors at ppm levels, but that is not the same as drinking them as many are being instructed.
Please people don’t take this the wrong way, I am not saying that turpentine is exactly the same thing as frankincense. The point is to understand they are the same class of molecules (terpenes), even have some of the exact same molecules in common (such as alpha-pinene being the main component of each) and they are both distilled from tree resin. I just want people to understand how these essential oils are tremendously good organic solvents and we need to think about this before deciding how to use them safely. That is all I want people to take from this.
Just be smart, be safe and be informed!
Dr. Rob Pappas