How to Limit Your Exposure to Toxins in the Home
What is one of the best things that you can do to create a healthy home today? Minimize your exposure to toxins in the home by changing the products that you use on a daily basis. Essential oils are a great place to start!
And the good news is that this is actually going to be a lot easier than you think. It can be intimidating, but it is the QUICKEST lifestyle change you can make to create a healthy home so that you can thrive. You can rely on Mother Nature to provide a natural solution for you that is not only just as effective as the chemicals but also great for your health.
Essential oils are made up of a number of powerful natural compounds. These compounds have been designed by nature to help plants thrive and ward off disease. They can do the same for you.
All essential oils have some kind of anti-bacterial properties and so can be incorporated into your home-cleaning routine. Studies show that eucalyptus oil, for example, is as powerful an anti-bacterial agent as many common cleaning chemicals, without the negative side-effects.
Essential oils can be used as a part of your first aid kit. They can help to reduce pain, fight infections and promote healing. And they smell great as well. There are many practical applications for essential oils. For example, citronella repels bugs.
Let’s examine the essential oils that you should consider adding to your home arsenal. We’ll go through what the benefits of each oil are.
Before we start, though, unless otherwise stated, essential oils should never be applied neat to the skin – most must be mixed with a carrier oil or aqueous cream at a concentration of no more than 3% before being applied topically.
It doesn’t get much greener than essential oils – when used correctly, they are one of Mother Nature’s most potent remedies.
Lavender – Lavandula anguvstifolia
Most people will recognize this oil. It is one of the most well-loved and most recognizable of all the essential oils. It is also one of the most useful. If you just get one bottle of oil, this should be it.
In fact, it is thanks to lavender oil that aromatherapy experienced a revival in popularity. In 1910 a French chemist, René-Maurice Gattefossé, burned himself very badly. The nearest item on hand was a tub of lavender oil and so he plunged the injured hand into it. He found that the hand healed a lot faster and that the skin didn’t scar and so he began to investigate the benefits of essential oils.
Lavender oil is one of the only oils that can be applied neat to your skin. It is even safe to use on children from the age of ten weeks onwards. Keep lavender oil on hand to treat burns, minor cuts, scrapes, scratches, insect bites, and bruises. It is a good analgesic and can be topically applied to reduce pain. It will soothe inflammation and also help to calm allergic reactions. In addition, it is a strong anti-fungal agent so can be applied neat to fungal infections such as ringworm.
It is a wonderful skin healer and can be used to promote skin regeneration and prevent scarring. Lavender can be used in a diffuser to decongest the sinuses or help to soothe a bad cough. It is also extremely useful to use if you have a headache or are trying to sleep. Either use it in a diffuser or rub a drop or two into each temple for fast relief.
Add a couple of drops to your bath water or mix it into your favorite body lotion to help to soothe aching muscles.
Eucalyptus Oil – Eucalyptus globulus var. globulus
This is another one of the oils that is extremely useful. It should not, however, be used neat. Either add a couple drops to your bath, diffuse the oil or add it to a carrier oil when applying it directly to the skin.
Eucalyptus has a strong, clean smell and potent anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties. It will help to clear up congested sinuses and combat the symptoms of colds and flu. It will also help to prevent the virus spreading.
This oil is particularly good for soothing aching muscles after hitting the gym hard.
Mix it into the rinse water when wiping down your counters to disinfect them and keep flies at bay.
Chamomile – Matricaria recutica
Chamomile is another of the oils that is extremely useful. It is gentle and can be used on kids aged ten weeks and older. It should be used diluted.
This has the best analgesic properties of all the oils. Blended with lavender oil and diluted, it works wonders for a headache. It is also one of the best choices when you have a bad toothache – apply it to the cheek outside where the tooth is sore. Do not use it inside the mouth.
If you have an earache, a lavender and chamomile blend will soothe it.
Chamomile is also a good anti-inflammatory. Use it to help sore and stiff muscles and joints and for menstrual cramping. It will also soothe allergic skin conditions and eczema.
If you battle with insomnia or are stressed out, chamomile should be in your first aid kit. Boost its relaxing qualities by blending it with lavender oil.
Sweet Marjoram – Origanum majorana
This is a more strongly scented oil but don’t let that put you off. It is one of the best oils for treating sore and stiff muscles. It is an anti-spasmodic agent which makes it useful to ease cramping.
Sweet Marjoram has a strong anti-bacterial and anti-viral agent and helps to decongest the sinus and fight off colds and flu. These properties also make it ideal for adding to the rinse water when cleaning off counters.
Sweet marjoram oil is very effective in helping you relax. Mixed with chamomile and lavender oils, it will help to ease headaches.
Peppermint – Mentha piperita
Peppermint is another of those oils that should be a staple in your home.
It works extremely well to help decongest the sinuses and fight colds and flu and helps to soothe and warm stiff and sore muscles. To boost these effects, blend peppermint and eucalyptus oils.
If you have indigestion, bloating or flatulence, a peppermint oil blend can be very helpful.
Be careful not to use the oil too late at night as it stimulates the mind and might keep you awake.
If you are taking homeopathic medicine, or are pregnant, do not use peppermint oil. Best for only short term use when used internally.
Rosemary – Rosmarinus officinalis
You are either going to love it or hate it. Rosemary has a strong scent that can quickly overpower a blend. For this reason, use half as much rosemary oil as you do your other oils.
Rosemary is best known for its ability to clear foggy thinking and helping you to stay alert. Roman soldiers used to place a sprig of rosemary behind their ears when going into battle to help them stay alert.
If you have had a long night, a few drops each of rosemary and peppermint oils on a tissue that you sniff regularly will help you stay awake. It will also help ease an upset stomach and promote detoxification when a blend is rubbed into the abdomen.
Rosemary oil helps to treat respiratory system infections. Blended with eucalyptus it makes a potent anti-viral agent.
If you have a headache brought on by stress, apply a blend of rosemary and lavender to the temples. Alternatively add to the water for a cold compress and apply it that way.
Rosemary stimulates your circulation and helps to soothe aching muscles.
Rosemary should not be used by women who are pregnant.
Tea Tree – Melaleuca alternifolia
Tea tree oil has a very strong scent and can be very overpowering. It is still an extremely useful oil to have on hand. This is the only oil, aside from lavender, that can be applied neat to the skin.
This is another of the oils with exceptionally strong anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-viral properties. tea tree and eucalyptus used together make an exceptional treatment for colds and flu.
You can also use tea tree to treat cuts and scrapes. If you have a fungal infection such as ringworm or athlete’s foot, you can apply tea tree oil neat (without a carrier oil) a few times a day for effective relief.
Tea Tree is great for disinfecting your home.
Basil – Ocimum basilicum
This is another one of the “kitchen” herbs and it also has an extremely strong smell. It is also one of the best essential oils to have on hand when you really need to focus. You can make the scent a little less potent by mixing in lime oil and bergamot oil.
It helps to clear out a head cold in next to no time and can help to clear the air of germs that cause colds and flu when diffused through the home or office.
It has a balancing influence on the mind, making it ideal when you are feeling stressed or anxious.
A basil oil blend, when rubbed into the abdomen will help to relieve an upset stomach and cramping related to menstruation. When rubbed into sore muscles it brings relief quickly.
Basil oil can be used during your cleaning routine to help disinfect the home.
It acts as a strong insect repellent, especially when combined with citronella oil.
If you are pregnant, you should not use basil oil at all.
When applying the oil topically, keep it at a low concentration as it may irritate the skin.
Citronella – Cymbopogon nardus
Citronella oil is probably best known as a good bug repellent but there is a lot more to this oil as well.
It works well to clear out colds and flu and is a good oil to use to wake you up.
It helps with headaches, neuralgia, and migraines.
Essential oils are the quickest and most economic way to create your non-toxic healthy home. For more essential oil remedies and information, check out my Essential Oil Handbook or check out this DIY All-Purpose Cleaner recipe!