January 10, 2014

DIY Essential Oils: Anti-bacterial blend

If you've taken a peek into the world of essential oils it can be quite intimidating. I have to admit that I'm still a bit intimidated by them. There is so much to learn!  But I've taken the approach like Bob on What About Bob?... "Baby steps..."!  I first became acquainted with essential oils when I started making goat milk soap a few years ago.  Then I became interested in using oils for other purposes.

It started with peppermint oil (diluted) rubbed under our noses for congestion and lavender for the rinse cycle in the washing machine and has gone on from there.  There are several companies from which you can purchase good quality oils. The brand that I prefer is Mountain Rose Herbs.

 Photo courtesy of Mountain Rose Herbs

What to look for are oils that are organic is best so you can be sure there are no chemicals or pesticides.  Make sure you have a pure oil, not one that's diluted.  Steer clear of fragrance oils that are either synthetic or a bit of essential oil mixed with a carrier oil (like almond, jojoba, etc.) You'll probably hear the label "therapeutic grade" thrown around, too.  Some debate that it means nothing.  I'm not sure, but Mountain Rose Herbs are labeled as "therapeutic grade".

There are a few very popular essential oil companies that have great oils, but for my budget they are too pricey.  It is more economical for me to mix up my own blends than to have a bunch of specialty blends around the house.  I like to have individual bottles and mix up my own blends how I like them, adding a bit more of this or a bit more of that for my personal liking.

I purchase amber bottles from Mountain Rose Herbs and put my own labels on them.  My current favorite is a thieves blend (For legal purposes we'll call it "anti-bacterial blend"...I've heard a certain company can have a problem with that.).  If you don't know the story of the thieves oil do an online search and you'll find all sorts of stories. It's an anti-bacterial oil blend that I use in my diffuser (this is my current favorite diffuser ).  I have it diffusing in the living room during the day during cold season and also for cleaning.  So far since I've been having the family take extra vitamin C and diffusing my anti-bacterial blend in the diffuser this winter we've had sniffles and coughs (mostly from our asthmatic kiddos) and that's about it. 

This recipe will fit into a 1 ounce bottle (30 mL) amber bottle that costs $1.  I buy the ones with the little dropper-type cap built in so you can dispense drops at a time and don't need an eye dropper. This blend, made with oils from Mountain Rose Herbs, cost me less than $10 to make a 1 ounce bottle (less than $5 if you're looking at the average sizes the other companies sell).  Over 75% less than the name brand blends.  Yes, you read that right...75%!

Ways I use my anti-bacterial (thieves) essential oil blend :
  • diffuse it for fresh smelling and clean air (3-4 drops)
  • put in a spray bottle with water to disinfect (1 tsp (or 100 drops) per 2 cups water)
  • spray on insect bites and poison ivy to reduce inflammation and itching (you can use the same solution that's in the disinfectant bottle!)
  • mix the blend with a carrier oil (jojoba or olive oil) and rub on sore muscles (1/4 tsp (25 drops) per 1/2 cup oil (don't forget to keep it in a dark glass bottle)
  • rub the same oil mixture on chests for congestion
  • dab on acne to help it heal and shrink
  • make an anti-bacterial soap for the shop soon!

A word of caution ... while the essential oils can help with healing they can also do harm.  For instance Tea Tree Oil (or Melaleuca) is a great anti-bacterial oil that is wonderful for acne, cleaning, etc., but it's potent! Like a lot of undiluted essential oils it can burn your skin!  They should be diluted in carrier oils such as jojoba, almond oil, olive oil, sunflower oil, etc., before being applied. I know a few companies advertise that their oils are so pure you can ingest them.  I am hesitant to ingest most essential oils. I do, however, put a drop of lemon essential oil in my water because we eat lemons.  If you choose to do so be sure to use a glass (not plastic) cup or a glass bottle such as Lifefactory Glass Bottles since essential oils can break down plastic in drinking bottles and cups and that's the last thing we want in our bodies.

Next week I'll share how we use other essential oils for other medicinal purposes in our home. Baby steps everyone! 

Photo courtesy of Mountain Rose Herbs

I'm not a licensed health care professional.  The information has been found through various books, websites and word of mouth.  What I use seems to work well for our family.
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I am an affiliate for Amazon and Mountain Rose Herbs.  While our family makes a smidge of income if you order through our links neither company has swayed my opinion.  Only their great products have!  

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