Feel better by smelling better
Feel better with essential oils
The time around the Christmas holidays is, for many, associated with the smell of oranges, mulled wine, cloves and cinnamon.
Smells evoke memories
Our body responds to smells quickly — think back to how quickly memories are evoked by smelling an aroma you recall from childhood.
Modern life is inundated with smells; air fresheners and perfume sprays abound, but many scented candles and commercial air fresheners contain artificial scents that can contain phthalates.
University of California, Irvine Professor Bruce Blumberg coined the term “obesogen,” which is when a synthetic chemical, such as phthalates or parabens, displays endocrine disrupting qualities.
The endocrine glands (for example the thyroid and adrenal glands) are complex and vital. Avoiding substances that have a tendency to disrupt such a precious system is paramount.
When I see “parfum” or “fragrance” on a personal care or household product label, or see a ludicrous description of a scent that doesn’t exist in nature, that is a good sign for me to put the product back on the shelf. I prefer to adopt the precautionary principle.
Learn more about phthalates with this video
Do it Yourself is easy with essential oils
Making natural air fresheners from edible ingredients like orange, clove and cinnamon is easy and has a duel purpose; they smell nice and since they contain essential oils are naturally antiseptic, antiviral and antifungal, respectively.
An uplifting smell is sweet orange essential oil, which according to Valerie Ann Worwood, author of The Fragrant Pharmacy, is beneficial for digestion, over-indulgence, disinfecting, anxiety and stress. Oranges can be filled with cloves to make a traditional pomander to fragrance a bathroom or sitting room.
If someone has influenza or a cold in your home, an ancient air purifier is a couple of drops of “Marseille’s Remedy” in a bowl of hot water. This traditional Thieves Oil makes an antibacterial, anti-fungal and antiviral aromatherapy air freshener. Thieves oil contains organic essential oils of clove, lemon, cinnamon, eucalyptus and rosemary.
Be aware that essential oils are very concentrated plant essences and should be used thoughtfully. A few drops are powerful.
Whatever plants and fruits you choose for an air freshener, or pomander, choose a smell you like and let your creativity scent your home, naturally.
Essential oils are available from Quantum Vitamins and Nesters Market, which carries Thieves Oil.
Please note: This is my own adaptation of the DIY Natural Room Scents from TheYummyLife.com – do go to her site for other combinations of air freshener.
Make natural air fresheners
• one small orange;
• one lemon or lime — you can use the peel of lemons used in cooking;
• two cinnamon sticks;
• If you have them: a few cloves and a couple of star anise;
• 500 mls of water;
• 500 mls glass canning jar;
Put all the ingredients in the saucepan and bring to a simmer.
Gently simmer for 10 minutes — just enough to release the fragrance of the fruits and spices. Do not leave the room whilst the pan is on the stove.
Allow the oils to cool before putting in the canning jar.
Refrigerate in between uses. To revive: pour back in to a pan, heat, and top up with hot water. Depending on how often you use it, this air freshener will last a week or so.
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