The Essentials of Essential oils for your Home and Health
An essential oil is a specific constituent of a plant concentrated into an extract. Essential oils are why many of our culinary herbs have the aromatic smells we love. These extracts are very concentrated and can have strong effects. Essential oils can be used in cleaning, as topical applications to the skin (when diluted in a carrier oil), for inhalation or for aromatherapy.
Here are some ways to use these helpful oils
Tea Tree Oil
- Combine 3 drops with 1 tbsp of carrier oil like olive oil and use on skin or nails to combat fungal infections
- Add a few drops to your shampoo to help with dandruff
- Add to the Naturopathic Green Cleaner (recipe below) for mould in the bathroom and as a general disinfectant.
Lemon or Orange
- These two are great to add to homemade dishwashing powder, laundry soap or the Naturopathic Green Cleaner for a fresh scent
Oregano*, Thyme and Sage
- A few drops of these excellent antimicrobial essential oils can be added to a humidifier to help clear a chest infection or cough
- You can also do a steam inhalation.
-Boil water and pour the water into a wide
-add 5 drops of antimicrobial essential oils
-grab a towel and create a drape over your head and the bowl
-breathe deeply for 5-10 minutes
- Eucalyptus oil can be used in a similar way as oregano, thyme and sage but has a specifically soothing effect for an irritated airway
- This oil is great for aromatherapy
- It can help treat stress and anxiety and to help relieve headaches
- Use an oil diffuser or mix 1 drop with a tbsp of a carrier oil (olive, grapeseed, coconut) and apply to the temples
Essential oils are highly concentrated plant extracts and should be treated with the same level of caution and respect as pharmaceutical drugs. Some of the strongest pharmaceuticals available through prescription only, with the most harmful side effects (e.g. digoxin) were derived from plant extracts. Essential oils should be used internally (or ingested) only in limited circumstances. Consult a Naturopathic Doctor or herbalist before using essential oils internally. Further, if you are on any medication, consult your healthcare provider prior to using essential oils through any delivery method (e.g. inhalation or topical use), as essential oils may interact with medications even when inhaled or applied topically. Do not use essential oils through any delivery method if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. Store essential oils away from children (and pets), accidental ingestions of as little as one teaspoon have resulted in death.
*Oil of oregano is a commonly used essential oil for internal use. It is a very strong antimicrobial and will help to combat infections. It will, however, also destroy good gut bacteria and can lead to gut dysbiosis. A probiotic should always be taken when using oil of oregano (taken away from the time of day when taking the oil). Children should not take oil of oregano. There are many alternative antimicrobial herbs in their full form (i.e. not just the essential oil component) that can be effective (and have less potential for side effects) when combating a cold or flu. Try andrographis for a cold or consult your Naturopathic Doctor to find the botanicals that are most effective in your particular case.
Naturopathic Green Cleaner
I like to experiment with making my own cleaning products and this simple recipe has been a staple in our house for several years. With this recipe I extract the essential oils out of citrus fruit peel but you can use purchased essential oils as well.
Get a large bottle of white vinegar and put the peels from several citrus fruit into it (I usually use a couple oranges). Let the bottle sit for 2 weeks. Fill a spray bottle half with water and half with your vinegar essential oil mixture (leave the peel in the vinegar bottle). Whenever your spray bottle needs a top up just add 1 part water and one part of your mixture, and that is it!
You can find more green cleaning recipes posted on my Pinterest!
Find out more ways you can use essential oils, herbs and botanicals to benefit your health by booking an appointment with Dr. Harmonie Eleveld, Naturopathic Doctor, here in Guelph at Natural Choice Medical Clinic.
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