DETOXIFYING WITH ESSENTIAL OILS
Open an alternative health magazine, read the signs in the windows of a spa or health food store, check out the website of your local health practice – chances are you’ll see “Detoxifying” treatments offered – from foot baths to FAR infrared saunas, through to cleansing diets and aromatherapy massage. Every culture features traditional practices that help our human bodies detoxify – sweat lodges and saunas, cleansing fasts and herbal teas, hot springs and mud baths
These traditions build on the ways our bodies already work to detoxify. Our bodies continuously eliminate toxins through our digestive, urinary, integumentary (skin), circulatory, respiratory, and lymphatic systems. Traditional detoxification treatments are designed to enhance these built-in mechanisms. It seems that human beings have always sought out and devised ways to cleanse the body of unwanted by-products of foods, especially cooked and smoked foods, the remnants of stress and fatigue, occasional encounters with natural toxins, and sporadic bouts of deliberate intoxication such as that caused by fermented beverages and other substances such as narcotics.
We are designed to process toxins that are naturally occurring, but since the 20th century, human bodies are increasingly bombarded with new toxins from denatured foods and drinks, regular use of intoxicants such as alcohol, pesticides, cigarettes and herbicides, petroleum by-products, air, and water pollutants. Fatigue, constipation, gas, bad breath, low immunity, hormone imbalances, menstrual, menopausal and fertility problems, skin problems, poor circulation, mood swings, depression, frequent infections and mucus build-up all can be signs that the body needs extra help to detoxify.
Like herbs, essential oils can be potent plant helpers in the detoxification process. Traditions correctly identify detoxifying plants and quite a few appear regularly in our diets and folk remedies such as lemon, grapefruit, apple cider vinegar, ginger, bitter greens and hot peppers. Detoxifying foods need not be taken as essential oils; in fact, never ingest an essential oil unless prescribed by a licensed medical practitioner. You can take a tablespoon of lemon juice in warm water each morning to help the liver detoxify, for instance, and it is neither necessary nor advisable to use a few drops of the essential oil instead.
The body eliminates up to 1 pound of waste products every day through the skin. It makes good sense to keep the skin open and able to release waste products efficiently. Perspiring has many functions, chief among them the elimination of waste, so it makes sense to exercise daily, use deodorants instead of antiperspirants and enjoy sauna and steam baths whenever you can. In fact, the body relies on a simple exercise like walking half an hour a day in order to circulate lymph in the lower half of the body. Brushing the skin of the whole body towards the heart from bottom to top is a simple practice that removes dead skin cells and increases lymphatic circulation. Using a salt or sugar scrub in the same way, then soaking in a bath in the dissolved scrub is also beneficial.
- The body eliminates waste every day through the skin. Essential oils can be potent plant helpers in this detoxification process.
- Tradition has correctly identified plants that yield detoxifying essential oils, including Lemon, Frankincense, Patchouli, and Ylang Ylang.
- The ancient rule of thumb – “as above, so below” – is a reference to the way in which botanicals that help dispel negative thoughts and emotions also help rid the body of toxins.
- All citrus essential oils are detoxifying, but as a rule, none should be worn on the skin in daylight because they may be sun sensitizing.
(A FEW) DETOXIFYING ESSENTIAL OILS
- Cypress: Cupressus sempervirens is diuretic, acting to tone the blood and lymphatic vessels, and decongest the lymph.
- Lemon: Citrus limonum stimulates white blood cells to defend the body against infection and is effective against viruses like the ‘flu. Detoxifies through the blood and liver.
- Grapefruit: Citrus racemosa is diuretic, antifungal and speeds up lymphatic circulation and the elimination of toxins. Detoxifies through the skin, urinary tract, liver, gallbladder and lymphatic system.
- Fennel: Foeniculum vulgare dulce is diuretic, and aids digestion and elimination, expelling parasites. Detoxifies through the skin, kidneys and the digestive tract.
- Fir Balsam: Abies balsamia is antiseptic, anti-cancer and detoxifies through the adrenal glands.
- Frankincense: Boswellia carterii gently regenerates tissues and the nervous system through its relaxing effects.
- Juniper Berry: Juniperus communis is antiviral, diuretic, and can help reduce cellulite by eliminating toxins from fatty tissues and expel uric acid from the system. Detoxifies through the kidneys, skin and urinary tract.
- Palmarosa: Cymbopogon martini cleanses the digestive system at a cellular level. Detoxifies through the nervous and digestive systems.
- Patchouli: Pogostemon cablin is known by tradition to act on the glands to detoxify skin and strengthen the immune system through its profound stress relieving properties.
- Peppermint: Mentha piperita is powerful against infections and their toxic residues, but never use it in a bath or directly on mucous membranes. Detoxifies through the respiratory and digestive systems.
- Rose: Rosa damascena is gentle and so relaxing that it is said to balance hormones and stimulate the immune system solely through its action against stress and its by-products.
- Rose Geranium: Pelargonium odorantissium or graveolens enhances circulation, balances hormones especially in menopause, and fights yeast while protecting helpful bacteria. Detoxifies by toning the liver, pancreas, and spleen.
- Rosemary: Rosmarinus officinalis increases circulation. Detoxifies the respiratory system and clears mucus.
- Ylang Ylang: Cananga odorata is powerfully relaxing and detoxifies through the nervous and digestive systems.
A note about citrus essential oils: All are detoxifying, but as a rule, none should be worn on the skin in daylight because they may be sun sensitizing.
Remember the ancient rule of thumb “as above, so below” – botanicals that help rid the body of toxins also help dispel negative thoughts and emotions. Most importantly, take the opportunity of a self-directed detoxification program in order to thoroughly enjoy yourself – the taste of clean water, the textures, and colors of fresh foods, the satisfaction of moving the body, and the sensory delights of homemade essential oil treatments. When it comes to toxins, the rule is: Reduce, Relax, Refresh and Relish!
BODY DETOX BLEND
Use this blend to help detoxify your skin and body and reduce cellulite. Be careful when rinsing this off in the tub, as it can make things slippery!
|Juniper Berry Essential Oil||4 drops|
|Pink Grapefruit Essential Oil||4 drops|
|Angelica Root Essential Oil||2 drops|
|Carrier Oil of your choice||20 mL / 4 t.|
- Mix the ingredients.
- Massage the targeted area with firm strokes to activate and encourage lymphatic circulation. You can also use a cellulite roller available at body-care shops.
- Use fractionated coconut as your carrier oil for a no-scent, no-stain option.
- You can blend a larger quantity and keep in a dark amber glass bottle to use as needed.
Caution: It is possible that these blends may cause sensitivities; their recommended use is in dilution (no more than 1 -3 drops for children, and 4-7 drops for an adult’s full-body treatment) and not as a replacement for traditional medicine.
- Juniper Berry Essential Oil: This healing, calming oil is ideal for topical use to deal with skin-related problems such as acne, psoriasis, and infections in general.It is known to relieve the discomfort of arthritis as well as anxiety, nervous tension, and stress. It can help with hangovers and fluid retention while preventing cellulite formation.
- Pink Grapefruit Essential Oil: This oil boosts immunity and helps the body protect itself from the harm caused by toxins by combatting free radicals that lead to signs of premature aging. It works to eliminate existing infections and defends the body against future infections.
- Angelica Root Essential Oil: This oil is Diaphoretic, meaning it causes the user to sweat, which helps the body naturally rid itself of toxic elements and a buildup of waste while helping reduce blood pressure.
- Carrier Oil of your choice: Carrier oils help to dilute essential oils before topical application, as their potency can be harmful when used in high concentrations without dilution. Carrier oils also help essential oils remain on the skin longer without quickly evaporating.
DETOXIFYING MASSAGE OIL (5% ESSENTIAL OILS)
(Tangerine, Lemon, Lime, Grapefruit, Orange, Juniper Berry, and Cypress recommended)
|30 drops in total
Approximately 4 drops of each oil
(such as Almond, Grape Seed, Sesame, or Hemp)
|2 tbsp (30 mL)|
- Add the essential oils to the carrier oil.
- Mix in a glass bottle, and use ASAP.
- Select essential oils that you enjoy and that detoxify the systems of the body that you need to work on most urgently. Try new combinations without regard to convention, and switch blends every two weeks in order to maintain effectiveness and prevent sensitization.
- Tangerine, Lemon, Lime, Grapefruit, Orange, Juniper Berry, and Cypress Essential Oils recommended): Lemon essential oil is renowned for being astringent, detoxifying, and antiseptic and for having anti-infection, disinfectant, and antifungal properties. It helps to cleanse, purify and nourish the skin while providing a sense of rejuvenation. Orange essential oil is known to prevent fungal infections and to inhibit the growth of further bacterial growth, which is useful for disinfecting wounds. When externally applied, Lime essential oil can also be a remedy for skin infections.
- Carrier Oil (such as Almond, Grapeseed, Sesame, or Hemp): Almond carrier oil provides an intense hydration suitable for all skin types. This skin-softening lubricant is almost odorless and is packed with vitamins, minerals, proteins and essential fatty acids. Skin will look and feel nourished and revitalized. Grapeseed is a light, fast-absorbing oil that promotes the speedy healing of wounds, minimizing the look of scarring. It is odorless and is not known to stain sheets. Skin, being the largest organ, excretes the most toxins from the body thus boosting blood circulation. Sesame essential oil is an excellent oil for helping with this process by eliminating environmental toxins from the body through the skin. Hemp carrier oil is another fast-absorbing oil that effectively balances and maintains the skin’s moisture, helping to prevent the look of aging by hydrating the skin. For this reason, it is beneficial for skin types that suffer from dryness caused by such afflictions as psoriasis, eczema, acne, and minor abrasions. It is enriched with Omega 3 and 6 essential fatty acids, amino acids, gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), protein and vitamin D that boosts calcium absorption.