Route of exposure and dose
There are a number of ways that the body absorbs the active compounds found in essential oils.
The choice of the optimum route will depend on the area to be treated and the efficacy / toxicity ratio of the essential oil (s) chosen (see the Composition and Toxicity section).
In particular, it should be taken into account that the toxic effect of essential oils will depend significantly on the chosen absorption route. The toxic effect of essential oils will in fact decrease according to the following series of different absorption routes (++++: very high toxic effect -> +: slight toxic effect): ocular route: prohibited <oral route: ++++ <auricular route: +++ = nasal route: +++ <respiratory route: ++ = uterine route: ++ <cutaneous route
- Orally: It is generally one of the most delicate absorption routes because it can lead in some cases to overdoses and more or less serious intoxication, depending on the age of the person concerned, the type of essential oils absorbed and the constitution of the person. It should only be used on the advice of an experienced therapist. This absorption technique is used in cases of treatment of acute infections with doses of the order of 50 mg = 2-3 drops / 3 - 4x / d. The possibilities of oral absorption are numerous, mixed in a syrup, on grape sugar, in honey, in vegetable oil, etc. for direct absorption (passing through the digestive tract), or mixed with a inert carrier in a capsule.
- By rectal route: This absorption technique is also very delicate, because an overdose is all the more risky as this absorption technique is extremely rapid and allows the pure active ingredients to be transferred quickly and with a very good yield into the general circulatory system, thus allowing direct action in infected or inflamed areas located in the ventral area. It should also be applied only on the advice of a confirmed therapist. The doses to be applied are of the order of 150 mg for adults (40 - 80 mg for very young children). The essential oils to be absorbed are in this case mixed with a wax-type excipient (such as Witepsol = semi-synthetic glycerin) to form a suppository using a suitable accessory.
- By vaginal route: The same principles as for rectal absorption are applicable in this case. But beware !!, essential oils based on phenolic derivatives are not recommended by the vaginal route, because of their very high dermocaustic activity (for example, Savory of the mountains (Satureja montana), very rich in carvacrol).
- By percutaneous route: The percutaneous route is a good means of absorption of essential oils (EO) which can be:
* associated with a vegetable oil (Macadamia or hazelnut oil because it is very absorbent), in proportions between 5 and 80% (max. 20% for dermocaustic compounds such as Chinese cinnamon, mountain savory or clove )
* pure in the case of acute pathology (beware of phenolic compounds present in EO such as mountain savory, thymol thyme, clove, etc ..., and aldehyde-type compounds: cinnamaldehyde present in Chinese cinnamon , as they are both irritants to the skin or mucous membranes)
* integrated into a gel or a cream in proportions between 3 and 8%
- By respiratory route: This route of absorption is very often used in cases of problems related to the upper respiratory tract (sinusitis, colds, oily coughs, etc.) and can be applied in a concentrated manner mixed with water vapor, such as This is the case with inhalations. However, depending on the essential oils used, the duration of a treatment session should not exceed more than 5 to 15 minutes.