Detoxification is a natural and constant bodily process. We are continually eliminating excess toxins through our digestive, urinary, integumentary (skin), circulatory, respiratory, and lymphatic systems.

While we are designed to handle some toxins, our bodies can become overloaded when bombarded with too much processed food, drink, sugar, parasites, air, and water pollutants. This can lead to fatigue, constipation, gas, bad breath, low immunity, hormone imbalances, skin problems, poor circulation, mood swings, depression, and mucus build-up.

Essential oils derived from the likes of lemon, grapefruit and juniper can help relieve some of these symptoms by assisting the body in ridding itself of unwelcome toxins. When used in conjunction with a dietary and herbal detoxification, essential oils complement the holistic, natural cleaning process.

Entering the bloodstream through the pores of the skin, essential oils are carried to all parts of the body via the circulatory and lymphatic systems. They are chemically complex and their constituents have a direct effect on the body, mind, and spirit.

During a detoxification, aromatic essential oils can be used in a massage oil or in the bath.

Massage

Why not combine the relaxing, manual lymph drainage of a massage with the detoxifying properties of essential oils? Pure essential oils are very concentrated and most should be diluted in a carrier oil before being used on the skin.

Revitalizing and Detoxifying Massage Oil:

4 drops grapefruit
4 drops juniper
4 drops cypress
6 drops laurel
2 Tbsp (30 mL) sunflower oil
Mix essential oils with sunflower oil in a 30mL bottle

Hydrotherapy:

Water is healing and detoxifying, and bathing is an excellent way to use essential oils, as it combines the benefits of inhalation with the powers of absorption through the skin.

Detoxifying Bath Salts:

10 drops grapefruit
10 drops juniper
4 drops helichrysum
1 cup (250 mL) Dead Sea salts
Mix essential oils with the Dead Sea salts before pouring into a tub full of warm water.

Detoxifying Essential Oils

Juniper berry (Juniperus communis): This powerful, detoxifying oil is a purifier, helps avert nervous tension, and reduces cellulite. Juniper essential oil is an antiviral, antiseptic, diuretic, and can help relieve pain, the symptoms of rheumatism, and expel uric acid from the system. Juniper’s spicy aroma helps to strengthen and fortify the spirit during times of low energy, anxiety, and emotional overload. The oil can irritate some people’s skin, and should be avoided during pregnancy.

Helichrysum (Helichrysum italicum): Ideal for use during a drug or alcohol detox, helichrysum helps stimulate liver cells, thin mucous secretions, and acts as a free radical scavenger. It is non-toxic and non-irritating.

Lemon (Citrus limonum): A refreshing citrus oil, lemon stimulates white blood cells to defend the body against infection. Its detoxifying and regenerating properties are beneficial for the liver, and aid in bringing clarity to the mind and emotions. Lemon may irritate those with sensitive skin, and when used in a bath it must be used with a carrier oil.

Grapefruit (Citrus paradise): Having a detoxifying effect on individuals recovering from substance abuse, grapefruit is antiviral, antiseptic, diuretic, and can aid the digestive system and skin. It refreshes the mind, relieves anxiety, is reviving, uplifting, and helps disperse negative energy. It may, however, increase photosensitivity.

Laurel (Laurus nobilis): Characterized by a fresh, sweet smell, laurel contains eugenol which makes it effective in thinning mucous secretions, as an expectorant, and as an anti-viral and anti-fungal. According to chemist Kurt Schnaubelt, author of Medical Aromatherapy: Healing with Essential Oils (Frog Ltd, 1999), laurel has positive effects on the lymphatic system. He suggests rubbing a few drops of oil on swollen lymph nodes for an immediate effect. Laurel should be used in moderation, and avoided during pregnancy.

About the Author

Bev Gray is a herbalist, registered aromatherapist and educator. She owns Aroma Borealis Herb Shop in Whitehorse, Yukon (aromaborealis.com) and is the recent recipient of the Yukon Business