January 24, 2017

Natural Insect Repellents

Avoid Ticks and Mosquitos with Essential Oils

by Rob Fischer

Having grown up in rural Minnesota, my brothers and I loved the outdoors and spent copious amounts of time in the wild as kids. One of our favorite haunts was a multi-acre field that we simply referred to as “The Weeds.” One day after spending a whole day exploring The Weeds, we had an experience that still gives me the heebiejeebies to think about!

My younger brother slept in the bunk below me. Not long after the lights went out, I could hear him scratching and squirming. Finally, he called out for Mom and Dad. They came in, turned on the light and threw back the covers. My brother’s body was crawling with ticks!

Seeing all those ticks, I vaulted off the top bunk onto the floor and begin a frenzied search for ticks on me in all the cracks and crevices! Fortunately, in spite of the tick infestation, neither of us contracted Lyme disease. But the 300,000 Americans diagnosed with Lyme disease each year aren’t so lucky.[1]

Of course, Minnesota is also known as the land of 10,000 mosquito hatcheries—er, I mean, lakes. And in the Boundary Waters area of northern Minnesota I’ve seen swarms of mosquitoes as dense as clouds. I swear they could carry away a small child!

No doubt you too like to enjoy the out-of-doors to some extent, even if it’s sitting on your deck or patio, or enjoying a stroll through a park or wooded area. If so, how do we enjoy nature and yet avoid ticks, mosquitoes and other such vermin?

Let me provide a few strategies for avoiding ticks and mosquitoes altogether. Then we’ll look at some ways to repel them when they’re unavoidable.

3 Strategies for Avoiding Ticks and Mosquitoes

1. Know their season.

Both ticks and mosquitoes thrive in cool, wet, and humid areas and times of the year. Generally speaking, spring is their breeding and hatching time, so plan around their schedule to avoid them. On the other hand, expect to have to contend with them if you go hiking, or spend time outdoors in the spring.

2. Know their habitat.

These critters love brush, tall grass, and swampy areas. Shun places like those when you can or be prepared to do battle with these insects. By the way, ticks don’t fall or jump on you from trees. They climb up onto grass and shrubs and cling to your pant leg when you brush by.

3. Know their hosts.

If you have pets that roam the out-of-doors where there are ticks, the ticks will likely hitchhike into your home on them. Check your pets over for ticks to make sure that they’re not bringing in unwanted guests.

How to Repel Ticks and Mosquitoes

Ticks and mosquitoes are attracted to us by the CO2 and lactic acid that we give off when breathing and sweating. In order to repel these bugs, we’re attempting to cloak our scent with something they won’t recognize or don’t like. The longer that scent lingers, the longer we’ll enjoy protection from those vermin.

DEET (diethyltoluamide) is the most popular insect repellent available in the US today. Nearly a third of Americans reach for insect repellent with DEET each year. You’ll find a wide variety of insect repellents containing anywhere from 20 to 100 percent DEET.

But while DEET is considered one of the most effective repellents, it’s a known neurotoxin. Between the years 1961 and 2002, there have been eight known deaths due to DEET exposure. Other DEET side effects include:[2]

  • Deet side effectsRashes
  • Skin or mucous membrane irritation
  • Numb or burning lips
  • Dizziness
  • Disorientation
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Memory loss
  • Muscle weakness and fatigue
  • Shortness of breath
  • Muscle and joint pain
  • Tremors
  • Seizures

Permethrin is another common chemical found in many insect repellents. Permethrin is also a neurotoxin and deemed carcinogenic by the EPA. Both DEET and permethrin are also hard on the environment.

Thankfully, in recent years, a number of more natural insect repellents have arrived on the market. In June 2006 Consumer Reports announced that after conducting their own tests, they found Repel Lemon Eucalyptus to be the best non-DEET mosquito repellent.[4] As the name indicates, the essential oil lemon eucalyptus is the active ingredient in this repellent.

In another study, the United States Department of Agriculture ranked Bite Blocker number two in effectiveness after Repel.[5] Bite Blocker is touted as the “safest product on the market that works.”[6] Its active ingredients include: coconut oil, soybean oil, purified water, geranium oil, glycerin, lecithin, and vanillin.

essential oils that repel insects Many other essential oils have been used the world over to repel insects. Some of the more common insect-repelling essential oils are:

  • Citronella
  • Lavender
  • Pennyroyal
  • Mountain mint
  • Basil
  • Peppermint
  • Catnip

If you’d like to mix your own natural insect repellent, check out Amanda’s article, A Natural Path to Treating Lyme Disease, for a great recipe that you’ll love and the bugs will hate! Or try mixing your own blend of essential oils with a carrier oil. Perhaps you’ll create the magic potion that wards off those pesky ticks and mosquitoes!

If you liked this article, then you’ll love these:

 

Rob_FischerRob Fischer has been writing professionally for over 35 years. His experience includes writing curricula, study guides, articles, blogs, newsletters, manuals, workbooks, training courses, workshops, and books. Rob has written for numerous churches, for Burlington Northern Railroad, Kaiser Aluminum, and Barton Publishing. He has also trained managers in effective business writing. Rob holds two Master’s degrees, both focused heavily on writing. Rob has published eleven books and serves as an editor and ghostwriter for other authors.

 

Sources:
[1] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Lyme Disease,” August 12, 2015, http://www.cdc.gov/lyme/stats/humancases.html.
[2] Dr. Mercola, “This Natural Bug Repellent Works Better than Deet,” May 25, 2015, http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2015/05/25/natural-insect-repellents.aspx.
[3] Dr. Mercola.
[4] Cathy Wong, ND, “Natural Mosquito Repellents,” About Health, January 6, 2015, http://altmedicine.about.com/od/aznaturalremedyindex/a/mosquito.htm.
[5] Cathy Wong, ND.
[6] Http://www.homs.com/

 

The Art of Using Essential Oils

 

Have you ever had the experience of smelling something that causes you to relive an old experience? You actually feel the old feeling as if you were living it again — not just a memory. Maybe your heart races, or you feel hot all over.

When I was in college, I took a date to a Chinese restaurant. I ordered my favorite Chinese chicken salad, and subsequently spent most of the night kneeling in front of the toilet. For years, every time I smelled sesame oil my stomach would turn and I couldn’t eat. Interestingly, I could tolerate all the other ingredients: chicken, lettuce, green onions, and so forth. It was just the distinctive smell of sesame oil that caused nausea.

benefits of essential oilsOur sense of smell can have powerful effects on the body through our feelings and memory. The link occurs because you process smell in the hippocampus and amygdala, parts of the limbic system, or the “emotional brain” — the same area where memories are processed. This is the same part of the autonomic nervous system that controls blood pressure, heart, hormones, breathing, stomach, organs and so forth. Because of this, essential oils have the potential to have far-reaching effects on the body.

Essential Oil Basics

Essential oils have been called “the life blood of a plant.” Oils are called “essential oils” when they are pure extracts of the plant. They are named “essential” because they bear the very essence of the flower, petals, peels, berries, leaves, bark, wood or roots from which they are derived. All substances can be broken down into an array of molecules and atoms, and essential oils are no different. Each essential oil can be broken down into a collection of different natural chemical constituents. These oils consist of a multitude of different substances:

  • Aldehydes
  • Fats (lipids)
  • Terpenes
  • Ketones
  • Alcohols
  • Phenols
  • Esters

Essential oils are used by plants in somewhat the same way they are by humans. Essential oils:

  • Fight infection
  • Contain hormone-like compounds
  • Initiate cellular regeneration
  • Work as chemical defense against fungal, viral, and animal foes

Each plant’s oils have a unique makeup as a result of the plant’s own physiology, natural environment, and its potential microbial invaders. Despite their plant origins, essential oils have a similar structure to some compounds found in blood and tissues. This allows them to be compatible with our own physiology and easily absorbed into the human body. Essential oils pass through cell membranes, then further on into the bloodstream due to their “lipophilic” nature (a structure in alignment with the lipid components of our cell walls).

When using essential oils to treat illness, it’s important to take the individual person into account. One may negatively respond to an oil that will help another. Thus, there is an art to their use. The way we heal from illness is correlated to our internal function, much more than to the chemistry.

For example, of a hundred people exposed to the flu virus, only about 30% actually get an illness. If your balanced immune system is functioning, you may not get sick in the first place. If you do, you will be able to overcome and fight the infection. Antibiotics are really for people with a suppressed or non-functional immune system. Essential oils can be an adjunct to helping your body function properly to prevent and treat illness.

Essential oils can protect us from microbes in many different ways. From keeping the space around us naturally microbe-free, to readying our immune system for defense, to actually destroying the microbes once they’ve entered our bodies.

The two primary effects happen through olfactory reactions, or sense of smell, and the chemical reactions from applying oils to the skin.

Besides the effects caused from the odor, as the oils are absorbed, each substance further affects the body through action on hormones, receptors, the immune system, and energy production. These are generally absorbed readily through the skin, but some are volatile, meaning they evaporate, so they are taken orally.

Essential oils absorbed through the skin go directly into the lymph system before they reach the blood, producing more immune system effects. Click to Tweet.

This also allows more regional application since the lymph system is more local. This is why topical essential oil application is done for more localized effects.

When oils are ingested through the intestines they go straight to the liver, which can affect detoxification mechanisms as well as energy production. From there, they have access to cells and blood, and then to the rest of the body.

Safety of Essential Oils

While quality oils are non-toxic and safe, they are highly concentrated. Because they can have powerful effects on the body, you only need very small amounts. This is not one of those, “If some is good, then more is better,” treatments. When ingesting them internally it is often better to put them into capsules.

Someone told a friend of ours to use a couple of drops of pure oil of oregano for her 4-year-old son’s sore throat. He had been in bed for 2 days and was quite ill. She didn’t know how to administer pure oil of oregano. So she told her son to open his mouth and she shook a few drops of pure oil out of the bottle onto his tongue. The child immediately turned red and went screaming down the hall, running around the house throwing up, gagging and crying.

The mom didn’t understand what all of the fuss was about. After all, it was just an oil from a spice she used frequently in her cooking, so she put a drop or two on her own tongue. She said her tongue instantly felt like it was on fire. She turned red, her eyes watered up and ran through the house screaming and gagging, and finally to the kitchen for a glass of water! She apologized to her son profusely! However, 15 minutes later her son was well, laughing and playing. He was fully and permanently recovered from his illness!

How Essential Oils are Used

Using essential oils is an art that takes some time to master. Oils are not like drugs, which primarily enhance or retard the body’s natural functions. Where there is dysfunction and the body is not able to compensate, the oils will not change it.

For example, a person with diabetes may be told that lavender and cinnamon oils help to regulate sugar. But if there is no change in diet and exercise oils will make little difference. Oils are best used as part of a program, especially in the case of chronic illness.

That said, it is important to understand how our medical system uses drugs:

  • To block or stimulate receptors in the body
  • To kill bacteria or viruses
  • To effect chemical reactions

But, essential oils work differently. Their aromas are a sensory experience, on top of the physiologic effects, which make them much more effective than just relieving symptoms. Click to Tweet.

Let’s look at some common ailments, and some simple regimens that can be useful for specific problems. These examples will provide some of the spectrum of the uses of essential oils.

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Are Essential Oils Safe for Internal Use?

 

When it comes to essential oils, the phrase, “Too much of a good thing” even applies to them, as wonderful as they are.

There are hundreds of articles that speak of the amazing benefits of these natural medicines called essential oils.

  • Rub peppermint oil on your temples for a headache.
  • Sniff lavender oil to induce sleep
  • Drink grapefruit oil in water to curb appetite.

Are Essential Oils Safe for Internal UseThe recommendations are truly endless.

Most people are ready and willing to follow these recommendations because essential oils are good and natural. And if they are all-natural, then they can’t hurt you, right?

Wrong! Unfortunately, few people are addressing the safety concerns and proper uses of these powerful remedies.

I’m not against using essential oils. I love my oils and I use them often! I promote their use to others and I am excited to see them skyrocket to popularity.

What disturbs me is that among the growing essential oil subculture, there is an enormous amount of misinformation about how to use essential oils.

Many who use essential oils have little information on how to employ them safely. The extent of their essential oil knowledge is often limited to what they have learned from a friend who uses them or what they read in a blog post written by an essential oil consultant.

In my experience, many who promote unconventional applications of essential oils have minimal aromatherapy training and represent multi-level marketing companies who themselves are promoting these controversial methods..

An individual selling essential oils in a multi-level marketing scheme does not possess the same knowledge or background on the safety of essential oils that a licensed aromatherapist does.

I place no blame on the consultants who sell the oils and have created an income for their families by making a business for themselves. These well-intentioned consultants trust and believe in the companies they work for. Furthermore, they have no doubt experienced positive health improvements from using essential oils.

Unfortunately, a multi-level marketing company’s quest to sell more oil often motivates them to blur the truth and exaggerate benefits. I believe that these companies produce quality oils, some of which I personally use. But, I cannot agree with all of their suggested uses.

Hazardous Uses of Essential Oils

There are two hazardous applications of essential oils that are currently promoted as safe. These two unorthodox methods have never, in the history of aromatherapy, been promoted by certified aromatherapists.

The two questionable methods of using essential oils are:

  1. Neat (undiluted) application
  2. Daily internal use (specifically of undiluted oil)

The Dangers of Neat Application

Neat application is the use of essential oils that are not diluted. This method of application is rarely, if ever used in aromatherapy. If neat application is performed, it should be:

  • Supervised by a qualified professional.
  • Used for a very short period.
  • Administered for an acute and very traumatic situation.

Most of the time neat oils can be applied without any apparent issues. However, stronger is not always better when it comes to essential oils. Undiluted oils are extremely potent and concentrated. “Hot” oils like cinnamon and oregano are so potent, that they can cause second degree burns if applied undiluted![1]

The recommended dilutions are as follows[2]:

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Top 10 Essential Oils

 

The use of essential oils is based in a practice called aromatherapy. Aromatherapy uses volatile (quick to evaporate) aromatic plant oils to bring about spiritual, emotional and physical well-being. Essential oils provide healing in many ways including:

  • Strengthening the immune system
  • Penetrating cell walls to deliver nutrients and oxygen
  • Neutralizing free radicals with antioxidant properties
  • Killing bacteria, viruses and fungi[1]
  • Detoxifying cells in the body
  • Passing the blood-brain barrier to treat neurological issues
  • Increasing ozone and negative ions in the air
  • Raising the frequency of the human body. This fights disease and brings balance the physical, emotional, and spiritual health.[2]
  • Acting on the central nervous system. Oils can relieve depression, anxiety, and stress and also bring focus and alertness.
  • Bringing relief to pain and inflammation

Essential oils are not the same as fragrance or perfume. They are naturally potent medicines with constituents based in chemistry. Made of hydrocarbons and oxygenated compounds, essential oils have the potential to be as powerful as pharmaceutical drugs. This is why safely using these powerful and effective oils is so important!

There are three primary and safe methods of essential oil use:

  • Inhalation
  • Topical
  • Internal

Inhalation of Essential Oils

The inhalation of oils is most effective on the central nervous system. When inhaling essential oils, the volatile molecules become a vapor. This vapor travels to the top of the nasal cavity and meet the olfactory mucous membrane. The olfactory membrane has thousands of sensory receptors to:

  • Identify the smell.
  • Convert the smell to an electrical charge.
  • Send the frequency to the olfactory bulb.

Inhaling Essential Oils CanThe olfactory bulb then sends those charged impulses to different parts of the brain, including the limbic system.

The limbic system includes parts of the brain that control emotional and psychological responses. Once the charge reaches the limbic region, it stimulates the hypothalamus and continues to the autonomic nervous system or pituitary gland. Once the charge reaches the autonomic nervous system, it can affect body functions such as heart rate and digestion. Its effects on the pituitary gland can initiate hormonal activity in the body.

Through the process of inhalation, essential oils have the capacity to:

  • Heal emotional trauma
  • Stimulate memory
  • Enhance focus and learning
  • Decrease stress levels
  • Balance hormones
  • And much more!

The entire process from inhalation to response from the brain takes place in a matter of seconds![3] The oils also reach the bloodstream during inhalation via the nasal mucosa and the alveoli in the lungs. Certain oils, eucalyptus for example, can also have a direct effect on the lungs.

When inhaled, eucalyptus acts as a natural anti-inflammatory and expectorant. Click to Tweet.

Inhalation can be performed using an essential oil diffuser or an inhaler. Another way that essential oils enter the body is inhalation through the nose or mouth. Diffusers are also an excellent way:

  • To neutralize odors
  • Kill airborne bacteria and viruses
  • Increase ozone in the air

I recommend using ultrasonic diffusers. They are the most effective at creating a fine mist of aromatic molecules. This inexpensive diffuser from NOW is a great introductory diffuser for a great price!

Applying diluted essential oil to the skin through a body oil or lotion is also a great way to incorporate the benefits of both inhalation and topical application.

Topical Use of Essential Oils

Topical application quickly gets the oils into the bloodstream by bypassing the digestive system. When applied to the skin, essential oil molecules pass through dermis of the skin, into the capillaries and then into the bloodstream.

Essential oils can be quickly absorbed through the feet. The feet contain bundles of nerve endings. These nerve endings act as neuroelectrical pathways to different organs throughout the body. Applying oils to the corresponding points on the feet allows healing to reach the particular affected organ.

For example, if you are nauseous, then apply peppermint to the stomach and intestinal locations on the feet.

To induce sleep and relax your mind, apply lavender to the brain’s location on the big toe. Click to Tweet.

Applying certain essential oils, such as peppermint, close to the chest or face of a small child is strongly discouraged due to risk of bronchospasm. Applying essential oils (always diluted) to their feet instead is a great, safer way for small children to get the topical benefits of essential oils.

Foot reflexology chart description

Using a reflexology or vita flex chart gives you a visual mapping of where to apply the oils on the feet to treat a particular organ. Other great application points are:

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Essential Oil Studies and The Sense of Smell

Apple pie fresh out of the oven, lilacs in bloom, sunbaked pine needles on a forest floor, bread baking—all these delicious aromas evoke pleasant memories and a sense of well-being for me. You could probably identify your favorite scents as well.

Of all our senses, smell has the strongest ties to memory. But our sense of smell also serves as an early warning system. Have you ever pulled a container of leftovers out of the fridge, popped the lid off, took a whiff and thought, “That doesn’t smell right!”? Our sense of smell can alert us to a natural gas leak, or assault us with the news that it’s time to change junior’s diaper.

Without our sense of smell, we wouldn’t be able to taste. That’s why we don’t want to put into our mouths that we can’t get past our nose. (Limburger cheese, anyone?) The sense of smell plays into our enjoyment of life, many physical responses, our motivations, the way we learn, and mood.[1]

Is it any wonder, then, that we might benefit from aromatherapy, a complementary alternative medicine that’s so strongly tied to the sense of smell? Of course, aromatherapy extends beyond the olfactory nerves, especially when applied topically. But we could still argue that even in those applications, the aroma of that essential oil continues to play a lead role in its effectiveness.

Studies on Essential Oils Exist, but are Difficult to Stage

Remember when your mother would massage your chest with Vick’s Vaporub to help sooth congestion from a nasty cold? Was it the aroma; the warm, gentle massage; or the loving care of your mother that you found so soothing? Probably all three!

This example begins to get at the problem of designing clinical tests to demonstrate the effectiveness of an essential oil. As with the example of Vick’s Vaporub, when evaluating a complementary therapy, it’s not always easy to tell which part of the therapy played which role.

Second, when trying to determine the efficacy of a new drug, researchers will often create a “blind” study involving two like groups: a control group receives a placebo and a test group receives the drug. But with essential oils, this methodology is very difficult to pull off.[2]

thyme EO stops snoringAlso, essential oils are not standardized in their chemistry. The region, its soil, climate, and extraction methods all play into the chemical makeup of an essential oil. At this time, the International Standards Organization has set criteria for essential oils that measure a range of acceptable concentrations for their primary chemistries.[3]

Another difficulty with testing essential oils is the fact that individuals sometimes respond differently to the same oil. This is true of synthetic drugs as well. For instance, when I was a child my father smoked a pipe for a while. To this day, when I smell a certain pipe tobacco, it stimulates fond memories of my dad. But for others, the smell of pipe smoke may dredge up unpleasant memories, rendering the odor repugnant.

Finally, funding for research on essential oils is difficult to come by. Most major drug research is conducted by major pharmaceutical companies who stand to profit from the sales of that drug. These companies have little motivation to fund a study on a plant-based substance that cannot be patented and sold as proprietary.[4]

Still, there are numerous studies available on a broad selection of essential oils. In a blog article on lemon essential oil, Dr. Axe notes that at the time of his writing, he had found 519 scientific studies referring to lemon essential oils alone![5] So the studies are out there.

A Natural Remedy Approach to Essential Oils

Granted, we all like to read that something is backed up by scientific evidence. However, I know that when a trusted relative or friend tells us about a home remedy that worked for them, we generally accept their testimonial and may try the remedy ourselves.

thyme essential oils stops snoringLet me give you an example. Until recently, I knew nothing about essential oils. However, I did know that our youngest son snores like a sailor and sometimes his snoring drives his young wife from their bed. She finally had had enough of it and began looking for a remedy.

She read that thyme essential oil, when mixed with a carrier-oil and rubbed onto the feet before bed, stops the person from snoring. She ordered thyme oil and convinced her husband to try it. That night he mixed the oils, rubbed the mixture onto his feet and put socks on. He slept like a baby—NO SNORING! It has worked every night since. What can I say? I’m a believer.

Talk to people who use essential oils successfully and prudently. My guess is that asking an essential oil salesperson what oils to use is like asking a barber if you need a haircut. So ask someone you know, like and trust. Try out what they recommend and see if it works for you. But remember, not every solution works for everyone in the same way.

This way you can build your own experiences with essential oils and pass your knowledge on to others…but not your sense of smell. 🙂

If you liked this article, then you’ll love these:

Rob_FischerRob Fischer has been writing professionally for over 35 years. His experience includes writing curricula, study guides, articles, blogs, newsletters, manuals, workbooks, training courses, workshops, and books. Rob has written for numerous churches, for Burlington Northern Railroad, Kaiser Aluminum, and Barton Publishing. He has also trained managers in effective business writing. Rob holds two Master’s degrees, both focused heavily on writing. Rob has published eleven books and serves as an editor and ghostwriter for other authors.
Sources:
[1] Piet Vroon, Anton van Amerongen and Hans de Vries, Smell, The Secret Seducer, The New York Times, http://www.nytimes.com/books/first/v/vroon-smell.html.
[2] University of Minnesota, “What Does the Research Say about Essential Oils?” nd, http://www.takingcharge.csh.umn.edu/explore-healing-practices/aromatherapy/what-does-research-say-about-essential-oils.
[3] University of Minnesota.
[4] University of Minnesota.
[5] Dr. Axe, “Top 10 Lemon Essential Oil Uses and Benefits,” nd, http://draxe.com/lemon-essential-oil-uses-benefits/.

How to Add Essential Oils to Your Workout

When it comes to exercise, there’s a lot more at play than simply lacing up our running shoes and going out for a jog.  There are a number of factors we need to consider to ensure that we actually follow through with our exercise plan and that our experience is positive.

We may not always consciously think about these factors, but often have them pre-built into our routines. Regardless of the particular form of exercise that we choose, we are probably concerned about:

  • how to add essential oils to your workoutDeveloping healthy routines
  • Making our workout as pleasant as possible
  • Improving stamina
  • Staying hydrated
  • Preventing strains and sprains
  • Maintaining energy and endurance
  • Preventing/minimizing muscle fatigue
  • Overcoming post-workout soreness
  • Avoiding risk of injury

What we may not have considered before now is that aromatherapy can help address any and all of the above challenges. Because many oils have antiseptic, anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties they are a great addition to your exercise routine and help you stay in great form. For instance, merely introducing a pleasant-smelling essential oil into your workout routine can evoke a desire to engage in that routine more consistently. Let’s consider some other ways that aromatherapy can complement your of plan and become a part of preventative medicine for any sport enthusiast young or old, blue ribbon winner or beginner.

How does Aromatherapy Play into Fitness?

Aromatherapy, as a complementary alternative medicine, neither takes the place of exercise itself nor serves as a substitute for heeding other important factors associated with exercise like eating right, getting plenty of sleep, and not overdoing it when we exercise. Any one of those factors can significantly impact how we feel during and after a workout. Aromatherapy won’t replace any of these essentials, but it can augment them beautifully.

Consider the following applications:

Peppermint oil

In 2013, a small study was published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition. Twelve healthy male students drank one 500 ml bottle of mineral water mixed with 0.05 ml peppermint essential oil for ten days. Various readings were taken before and after the 10-day period.

Researchers found that peppermint oil proved effective on exercise performance, gas analysis, spirometry parameters, blood pressure, and respiratory rate of all twelve students.[1] In other studies, peppermint essential oil used as aromatherapy has been shown to raise the pain threshold, lower perceived physical workload, effort and anxiety.

Eucalyptus, wintergreen and cypress oils

Following a hard workout, mix these essential oils with a neutral carrier oil like coconut or grape seed oil and work the mixture into your sore muscles for relief.[2]

frankincense and ginger essential oils reduce inflammationFrankincense and ginger oils

Together, these two essential oils help reduce inflammation and support joints. Mix with a carrier oil and rub onto sore joints or to knead out the inflammation from a cramp.[3]

Lavender oil

After a hard workout, you want to allow your body the rest and relaxation it needs to recover and replenish itself. Lavender oil applied aromatically, in bathwater, or topically as a lotion can help you achieve the relaxation you need.[4]

Oregano or melaleuca oil

A downside of working out in a public gym is the likelihood of picking up a fungus in the locker room like athlete’s foot. Oregano or melaleuca oil with their powerful antifungal properties can help prevent and remedy such an outbreak.[5]

Eucalyptus oil

In preparation for a workout, mix eucalyptus oil with a carrier oil and apply it to your neck, throat and temples. This will improve circulation and help open up your airways.[6] If you suffer from asthma or allergies, eucalyptus oil can provide relief following a workout as well.

Lemon oil

This essential oil may be the most powerful anti-microbial oil of them all. This oil assists in the breakdown of fat, stimulates lymph drainage, quenches the thirst, and protects the immune system.[7]

How to Add Essential Oils to Your Workout

Typically, essential oils are inhaled, applied topically to the skin, or ingested, although this is not as common in the US and should only be done under the supervision of a professional.

Inhale essential oils using a diffuser, by placing oil directly on a cotton ball or tissue, via steam, or through a mist sprayed into the air.[8]

When applying essential oils topically, most oils must be diluted with a carrier oil or water, usually at a concentration ratio of no more than 3-5%. And for a whole body application (bath or massage), dilute the oil to a 1% solution.[9]

Can you exercise without essential oils? Certainly! But I’ve given you seven good reasons to complement your exercise routine with essential oils. These oils can provide relief from debilitating pain, boost your performance, increase circulation, and can make your workout more pleasurable.

Most of us wouldn’t go out for a run without the proper equipment. Perhaps the essential oils hold a place in the category of “proper equipment!” Why not test them out and see for yourself.

If you liked this article, then you’ll love these:

 

Rob_FischerRob Fischer has been writing professionally for over 35 years. His experience includes writing curricula, study guides, articles, blogs, newsletters, manuals, workbooks, training courses, workshops, and books. Rob has written for numerous churches, for Burlington Northern Railroad, Kaiser Aluminum, and Barton Publishing. He has also trained managers in effective business writing. Rob holds two Master’s degrees, both focused heavily on writing. Rob has published eleven books and serves as an editor and ghostwriter for other authors.

 

Sources:
[1] Abbas Meamarbashi and Ali Rajabi, “The Effects of Peppermint on Exercise Performance,” Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 21 March 2013, http://www.jissn.com/content/10/1/15.
[2] Dr. Axe, “101 Essential Oil Uses and Benefits,” nd, http://draxe.com/essential-oil-uses-benefits/.
[3] Dr. Axe, “Dr. Axe’s Essential Oils Guide,” nd, http://draxe.com/essential-oils-guide/.
[4] Dr. Axe, “Dr. Axe’s Essential Oils Guide.”
[5] Dr. Axe, “Dr. Axe’s Essential Oils Guide.”
[6] WikiHow, “How to Use Aromatherapy During a Workout,” nd, http://www.wikihow.com/Use-Aromatherapy-During-a-Workout.
[7] Dr. Axe, “Top 10 Lemon Essential Oil Uses and Benefits,” nd, http://draxe.com/lemon-essential-oil-uses-benefits/.
[8] University of Minnesota, “How Do I Choose and Use Essential Oils?” nd, http://www.takingcharge.csh.umn.edu/explore-healing-practices/aromatherapy/how-do-i-choose-and-use-essential-oils.
[9] University of Minnesota.

Win the Bed Bug Battle Naturally

“Sleep tight, don’t let the bed bugs bite!”  This phrase may bring back fond memories for some, but for thousands of people across the United States and elsewhere, it has become nothing less than a nightmarish reality.

Bed Bug History

Bed bugs have been wreaking havoc for thousands of years.  They were mentioned in Greece as early as 400 B.C. and were brought to the Western Countries by the European Settlers.  Upon the invention of DDT, a powerful and extremely toxic pesticide, they were almost completely eliminated in the West.  In the 1990’s, following the ban of DDT, bed bugs made a comeback in cities like New York and San Francisco.  They have since made their way across the U.S.A. and have invaded dormitories, hotels, apartments, and even the personal homes of unsuspecting families.

Bed Bugs vs. Dust Mites

First of all, please don’t confuse bed bugs with dust mites.  They are two very different organisms.  Dust mites are microscopic and feed on human skin cells.  Bed bugs on the other hand can grow up to a quarter of an inch in size and are parasitic creatures. They feed off the blood of warm-blooded animals or humans.  They can cause a whole host of allergic reactions in those who sleep in their presence. Bed bugs have also been known to carry pathogens for several diseases such as anthrax, plague, yellow fever, and typhus.  However, there is no conclusive scientific proof linking bed begs to the spread of these diseases.

Bed Bug Identification

 

  • Adults are broad, oval, with a wingless flat body and are about

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