The best detoxifying essential oils
If you’re feeling a bit under par and not quite firing on all cylinders, it could be that your body needs a detox.
Unfortunately, modern day life means our bodies are constantly bombarded by toxins, not just from environmental pollution but also from everyday items such as cleaning products, sprays, aerosols, toiletries, cosmetics, food, alcohol, cigarettes, paints and solvents.
Although our body is designed to naturally neutralise or remove these harmful substances, toxins can start to build-up if we take too many on board, or if our body becomes run-down. A lack of exercise, an unhealthy diet and stress can also impair the body’s ability to detox.
Symptoms of toxicity include fatigue/exhaustion, headaches, brain fog, digestive problems such as bloating, wind and constipation, sore joints, allergies, coughs, colds and skin problems. Exposure to toxins is also thought to play a major role in many diseases including cancer, Alzheimer’s, arthritis and cardiovascular disease.
The body’s natural detox process
We are fortunate that our body has its very own internal detoxification system.
- Its first line of defence is the liver which acts as a filter to prevent toxins entering the blood stream. The liver essentially dis-arms harmful substances and makes them easier to excrete from the body via faeces or urine.
- The colon is part of the large intestine and one of its main roles is to process waste products and prepare them for elimination via faeces.
- The kidneys are constantly filtering blood, removing waste and excess water in the form of urine.
- The lymphatic system is part of the circulatory system and immune system and consists of a network of vessels that collect excess tissue fluid, known as ‘lymph’. Lymph is filtered by a series of lymph nodes, which trap and destroy toxins, bacteria and other waste products, before returning the 'cleaned' lymph back to the blood stream.
- The lungs help prevent unwanted substances that we breathe in from entering the body. Mucus is produced in the walls of the small airways to lubricate the lungs and keep them clean. Unwanted substances stick to this mucus and tiny hairs called cilia help transport the mucus out of the lungs and into the throat, where it is usually swallowed. It then travels through the digestive system, helping to lubricate waste products as they move through the intestines.
- Finally, it is thought that toxins such as heavy metals, can be removed via the skin through sweating.
How aromatherapy and essential oils can assist with detoxification
According to Battaglia (2003), regular aromatherapy treatments in conjunction with exercise and a healthy diet can ‘assist the body’s natural eliminatory response by stimulating the liver, lungs and lymphatic system, kidneys, bowels, and sweat glands.’
As always there are many different pure essential oils that can be used. Those with depurative (blood-cleansing), diuretic (increases the production and secretion of urine) and stimulant properties are the most helpful.
- There are several essential oils that possess both depurative and diuretic properties which makes them particularly useful for supporting the body’s natural detox process. These include Angelica, Carrot Seed, Fennel, Grapefruit, Juniperberry and Lemon.
- Other useful diuretic oils are Cypress, Geranium, Mandarin/Tangerine, Patchouli and Rosemary.
- Spice oils such as Black Pepper, Clove, Cardamon, Cinnamon Leaf and Ginger can help to stimulate the circulation and flow of lymph. Fennel also helps stimulate the circulatory system.
- Grapefruit and Orange Sweet have a stimulant effect on both the digestive and lymphatic system.
- Carrot Seed, Cypress and Rosemary are also hepatic, which means they help stimulate and aid liver function.
How to use aromatherapy oils for detox
Massage is one of the most effective methods of application as it helps stimulate the circulatory and lymphatic system and assists with lymphatic drainage. It’s always best to book an appointment with a professional aromatherapist, but if this isn’t possible then you can still enjoy a detoxifying massage at home.
Try our ready to use Detox Massage Oil with Patchouli, Juniperberry and Orange Sweet – or mix any of the following essential oil blends with 20ml of carrier oil.
- 5 drops of Grapefruit
- 5 drops of Fennel
- 2 drops of Carrot Seed
- 4 drops of Juniperberry
- 4 drops of Rosemary
- 4 drops of Lemon
- 6 drops of Geranium
- 4 drops of Fennel
- 2 drops of Angelica Root
Tip: Try dry body brushing before applying your massage oil. Using a body brush, lightly stroke your skin in a direction towards the heart. This helps increase blood and lymph circulation, as well as exfoliating the skin which aids the absorption of your oil. When applying your massage oil, start from the feet and work upwards, again in a direction towards the heart. Pay attention to the back of your knees, your groin, the crease of your elbows, and your armpits to stimulate the lymph nodes.
You could also try using your chosen oils in a detox bath:
Mix 2 tbsp of Epsom Salt with 1 tbsp of Bath Oil, 5 drops of Lavender, 4 Geranium, 2 Juniperberry and 1 Lemon.
For a really powerful detox bath try making a 'Sole Bath'. Full instructions are available on our Himalayan Pink Salt recipe tab.
General detox advice
In addition to using aromatherapy oils, a mini detox for just one week, can be a fabulous way of releasing congestion and toxins.
- Eat a healthy diet, including lots of fresh fruit and vegetables.
- Increase fish intake and protein (e.g. from eggs).
- Reduce meat, refined sugar, starch and gluten intake.
- Drink nettle tea first thing in the morning, with half a fresh squeezed organic lemon, to help flush the liver and boost the lymphatic system.
- Drinks 2 litres of water per day.
- Reduce alcohol / caffeine to a minimum.
- Get 20 minutes of exercise per day even if it’s just a vigorous walk. A lack of exercise/movement contributes to a sluggish lymphatic system.
- Try alternating shower temperature between hot and cold to stimulate the circulation.
- Try dry body brushing and applying a detox massage blend of your choice.
- Take a detox bath 3 times per week.
Always read the essential oil safety notes on each of our product pages before selecting your oils.
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