One of the best ways to take essential oils internally is with the aid of capsules. Using capsules allows one to not only bypass any unpleasant tastes, but it also enables the oils to descend to the right area of the body before dissolving to allow for greater absorption.
We have been asked many questions concerning capsules, so we want to address the ones most frequently asked.
What oils can I take internally in capsules?
When taking essential oils internally, only pure, therapeutic-grade essential oils that are labeled as safe for internal consumption as a dietary supplement should be consumed or taken via a capsule. The label on your essential oil should state whether or not it is safe to use internally. A good indication is if the label lists supplement facts (which looks like the standard nutrition information label). If you are still unsure of whether your oil is safe to take internally, Modern Essentials lists this information under the Single Essential Oils or Essential Oil Blends sections and also on page 52 (Internal Application section).
What kinds of capsules does AromaTools® sell?
AromaTools® only sells empty vegetarian capsules that are made of cellulosic raw materials (phthalate-free hypromellose) and that are vegetarian approved and kosher certified. These vegetarian capsules are made from HMPC (hydroxypropyl methylcellulose), which is 100% plant material consisting of purified water and plant fiber or cellulose. AromaTools® does not carry gelatin capsules. Gelatin is typically created from a byproduct of beef or pork collagen.
AromaTools® sells 2 types of vegetarian capsules, regular and Design Release.
What is the difference between the regular and Design Release capsules?
The main difference between these capsules is the dissolving time. The “regular” vegetarian capsules will dissolve quickly (about 5 minutes) and completely in the stomach. The Design Release capsules are specially designed to dissolve slower than normal vegetarian capsules so that they will reach the intestines before releasing the oils. In fact, Design Release capsules take 50 minutes to start to dissolve and typically finish dissolving 20 minutes later in the intestines. (Note: the dissolving time may be different when using essential oils in the capsules.) This longer dissolving time is achieved through a proprietary formula (containing no added chemicals, solvents, or other coating polymers) that allows the capsule to bypass the stomach acid before dissolving. Another benefit of using the Design Release capsules is that it reduces the potential for bad aftertaste, unpleasant odors, or reflux from using certain essential oils.
So, in deciding which capsules you need, ask yourself the following questions:
- When/where do I want the capsule to dissolve, in the stomach or intestines?
- How quickly do I need the contents of the capsule to be absorbed into the body?
- Do I need to mask the aftertaste or odor of the capsule’s contents?
What is the difference between Size 0 and Size 00?
Size 0 capsules are smaller than Size 00. Size 0 capsules hold approximately 10 drops of oil, and Size 00 capsules hold approximately 14 drops of oil. Here is a diagram for a visual size comparison (not actual size):
How do you fill the capsules?
First, there are 2 parts to the capsule: a skinnier bottom half, which holds the oils, and a wider top half that fits over the bottom half and acts as a cap. To fill the capsule, remove the top half and only fill the bottom half; then cap the filled bottom half with the empty top half.
A simple way of filling a capsule is to drop the oils directly from the bottle into the capsule. This does take some hand-eye coordination, and it is easy to drop too many drops or to accidentally get the oil on the side of the capsule, resulting in the user tasting the oil while taking it and causing the capsule to dissolve more quickly.
A more effective and easier way of filling capsules is to use a glass pipette (also known as an eye dropper). Simply fill the pipette with oil, place the pipette inside the bottom half of the capsule, and place the correct number of drops inside.
If you are taking capsules with essential oils often, you may want to make up your capsule formula in a glass dropper bottle for easier filling. Creating your own capsule formula is also a great way to make sure it is properly diluted.
Capsule holders also come in handy when filling more than one capsule. You can find a variety of capsule holders at AromaTools®.
Important things to keep in mind when using capsules:
- Dilution of essential oils is still important. Many people place a few drops of oil in the capsule and fill the rest of the capsule with olive oil. As mentioned above, if you are using capsules with essential oils often, you can fill a glass dropper bottle halfway full of your essential oils and the other half with olive oil so the oils are already properly diluted and ready to use each time you fill a capsule. If giving essential oil in a capsule to pregnant/nursing women or to children, it is best to give smaller amounts of oil with higher dilution. Remember, a little goes a long way! Also keep in mind that some oils may not be advised for babies and young children to use internally. Consult Modern Essentials for recommended dilution amounts based on these factors.
- Follow label warnings or ask a healthcare professional. Pregnant or nursing women and children may be cautioned against ingesting certain oils. It is always wise to check label instructions for warnings and recommended use, or consult with a certified health care professional for further questions.
- Take smaller amounts more often. When taking essential oils internally, it is more effective to take a few drops every few hours rather than more drops at one time.
- Swallow the capsules immediately after filling with essential oils. These capsules are designed to dissolve fairly quickly when filled with liquids (typically within a few minutes); so if you are using essential oils in these capsules, they need to be swallowed immediately after filling them.
What are things you have learned about taking essential oils in capsules? Or what oils do you take in capsules? We would love to hear about your experiences!