Essential Oils & Their Forms of Administration

Using Essential Oils Internally, Aromatically & Topically

Essential oils are highly active natural substances that provide us with effective solutions to common health concerns. Because of their highly concentrated nature, it is important to keep in mind certain precautions to ensure we use them safely & properly.

In this article, we look at the different methods of administration (galenic forms) of essential oils. Pranarōm's various galenic formulations are designed for convenient and safe use of essential oils. 

How essential oils are administered

Depending on their state, we can benefit from essential oils via 3 different methods:

The olfactory pathway

Since essential oils are made up of volatile aromatic molecules, this method of administration is likely to be your first discovery of the exciting world of aromatherapy. In this way, scents make their way to the limbic brain, where our emotions and emotional memory are stored.

Olfactotherapy techniques:

  • Palm inhalation: Using a bottle, apply a drop of essential oil to the inside of each wrist and gently massage your wrists together. Then, cup your hands lightly in front of your nose. Take 3 deep, long breaths. Your olfactory neuroreceptors will capture the fragrance of the essential oil, and your memory, emotions and behavior will respond to it.
  • Aromatherapy inhaler: Another convenient way to enjoy the benefits of essential oils is with an aromatherapy inhaler. This pocket-sized inhaler includes a small cotton "wick". Simply place a drop or two of your chosen essential oil on the wick and replace inside the inhaler. Hold the inhaler below your nostrils and inhale deeply.
  • Straight from the bottle: Place the bottle of essential oil about an inch below your nostrils and breathe in gently. Breathe in once under the left nostril, then once under the right nostril.
  • Diffusion: In addition to these 3 approaches, consider diffusion with water (ultrasonic diffusers). This method is used for a number of reasons: to purify the air, to counteract odors, to promote relaxation, to enhance concentration, wakefulness, etc. A room of 100-200 square feet should receive a diffusion of 4 to 6 drops of essential oils, and around 10 drops for a living room of 600+ square feet.

A few words of wisdom:

  • Some essential oils are unsuitable and not recommended for diffusion. These oils can irritate the mucous membranes. They include oregano, savory, thyme, and wintergreen.

The topical (cutaneous) route

The cutaneous route combines effectiveness and safety. Essential oils easily penetrate the skin's layers to reach the bloodstream (capillaries, veins). This makes the cutaneous method the most effective and preferred route for reaping the most benefits from essential oils. However, it's always advisable to dilute them in virgin plant oils, lotion, etc.

Essential oils are applied over the targeted organ or, for action on the nervous system (stress, sleep), to these 4 application points: the inner wrists, the soles of the feet, the spine, and the solar plexus.

Some essential oils can prove irritating. Most of these oils are best applied to the skin when diluted in a virgin plant oil. We recommend that you always carry out a skin tolerance test in the crease of the elbow for at least 48 hours before using them pure or diluted on the skin.

 Internal/sublingual use

The third method of administration includes capsules (Aromaforce Mini-Caps & Pranacaps) and formulas (Aromaforce Throat Spray & Essential Syrup) that are created specifically for safe internal use. 

Pranarōm galenics

Bottle with dropper (orifice reducer)

With protective amber glass, these small bottles are ideal for protecting essential oils and blends of oils or active ingredients from light, as well as for dosing your liquids drop by drop. The cap has a tip that seals the bottle when screwed back on. This is our primary packaging for our Single Note Essential Oils & our Wellness Blends, as well as our Virgin Plant Oils & Diffusion Blends.

Essential oil capsules

Have you discovered our essential oil Mini-Caps or Pranacaps? They're an easy, convenient way to take essential oils internally:

  • Pre-dosed
  • Easy to swallow
  • Practical on the go
  • Neutral in taste

Formulas for internal use

Our Aromaforce Essential Syrup, Soothing Throat Spray & Soothing Throat Pastilles use essential oils with fig syrup and other ingredients to effectively comfort the throat. 

Room Sprays

These formulas, including our Aromaforce Purifying Spray and our Aromacalm Stress Relief Room & Linen Spray, are ready to be spritzed throughout the home.

  • Freshen ambient air
  • Promote wellbeing
  • Freshen linens and fabric furniture
  • Purify surfaces

Topical preparations

Our topical preparations mainly center around skincare, first-aid and muscle & joint care. In these products the essential oils are properly diluted in carrier oils so as not to cause irritation. You can find topical preparations in our Plant Beautiful Skincare and Aromalgesic Muscle & Joint lines, as well as scattered throughout our other product lines.

As always, if in doubt, don't hesitate to ask a health professional for advice.


  • Millet, F. Phytothérapie (2010) 8: 33.

Reading next

Aromatherapy & Essential Oils Defined
The Basics of Skincare: Oil + Water