Gargling with an essential oil is useful for helping various oral health issues, but it’s important that the essential oil is diluted in olive oil (or another base oil) before being added to the water as the essential oil doesn’t dilute in the water itself and is too concentrated to be in direct contact with the delicate lining of your mouth.
There are two recipes here, one is for acute oral health conditions, where you would use a higher dilution for a period of a few days while the condition clears, for example: sore throats; coughs; chest infections; mouth ulcers; laryngitis; gum disease; halitosis and oral thrush.
If you want to use the gargle as part of your day to day mouth care routine, then use the lower dilution recipe, this would be suitable to use after cleaning your teeth for general mouth health & fresh breath.
Mouth Gargle Recipe – dilution for intense treatment:
All you need is a trusty egg cup (or any little container to hold enough water for a mouth full),
two drops of myrrh essential oil (or lavender essential oil – or one of each)
half a tea spoon of olive oil (3ml)
some water (enough for a mouthful),
Add two drops of myrrh to the olive oil and blend evenly. Fill the egg cup or small container with water, and add the mix of olive & essential oil, then take the water into your mouth, and gargle for as long as you can. Do not swallow.
Mouth Gargle Recipe – dilution for general every day use:
Use the following recipe for a natural mouth wash after cleaning your teeth:
one drop of myrrh or lavender essential oil – use peppermint essential oil for an extra fresh feeling.
I had a request to write a blog on skin conditions from a friend recently, and when I began to consider this, I immediately thought of chamomile, so I decided to focus this particular post on using chamomile essential oil to treat a variety of skin conditions, although there are many other oils that are incredibly useful, I will bring focus to them another time.
There are two main types of chamomile essential oil: one is called Roman chamomile (Anthemis nobilis) which is the oil I would recommend here for use with skin conditions, it has a fresh, smooth, appley, summery scent. The other type is known as German or Blue chamomile (Matricaria recutita) which is more intense, inky blue in colour and incredibly anti-inflammatory.
Skin conditions can be unpleasant, annoying and stressful, I experienced eczema as a child and again more recently as an adult, so I have a good understanding of the issues surrounding this condition. Many other conditions that affect the skin, for example psoriasis, insect bites, rashes such as those caused by measles and chicken pox, will show the same or similar symptoms, and it is the symptoms that chamomile is particularly appropriate for alleviating. Chamomile is very soothing and calming on a physical level and really helps with symptoms like itching, inflammation, pain, weeping, redness, irritation. Chamomile also soothes and calms your disposition. It has a strong anti-inflammatory action and anti-allergic action, so it is ideal for things like bites, spots and rashes. The symptoms themselves in turn cause a feeling of stress and discomfort and general irritation, so chamomile is perfect to help calm and soothe these internal feelings as well as the outside physical ailments. Chamomile is also very gentle, and does not have any contraindications, so this makes it appropriate for use on delicate skin, that may be damaged or sensitive, and for young children (please note that it must be diluted before skin application).
Top Tip: One very annoying symptom of skin conditions is the itching sensation, and of course the worst thing to do is to scratch, yet scratching seems to be the only thing to bring relief. Alas, the after effects usually mean your skin is left in a much worse state. I remember being able to resist the urge to scratch more easily during the day, but in the night, I wouldn’t really be conscious enough to have control, and I would scratch until I drew blood. One of my best pieces of advice here is to cut your finger nails down to the absolute minimum which will help minimise damage. I did consider scratch mitts, but the lack of finger nails really made a difference.
Many skin conditions can leave the skin very dry, so it is important to keep the skin hydrated, hydrated skin will bode better under a scratch attack than dry. Drink plenty of water to keep the skin hydrated from the inside out.
Treatment & Application: I would recommend applying chamomile essential oil diluted in either a simple cream, lotion or in a plain aloe vera gel, as they are easy to apply, address the hydration issue, and can feel soothing and cooling in themselves when massaged into the affected area. See my recent blog on ‘Blending Every Day Products with Essential Oils’ for details on mixing and the appropriate number of drops to use when blending yourself, my recipe for making your own natural cream, or see some recommendations for products below. Make sure you use a base that is very natural and avoid harsh products with nasty chemicals, as they can sting, or cause the skin to react and make it worse. A cream can be applied to large areas of damaged or affected skin, or just dabbed onto spots or bites. I would recommend using this for acne when it is very sore, red and inflamed, although treating only the spots first with neat lavender or tea tree would be more suitable because of their powerful anti microbial and cleansing effects, chamomile would then be ideal to apply afterwards for it’s more soothing gentle action.
An important point to note is that a lot of skin conditions that are not caused by an obvious outside influence (a wasp sting, nettles or allergies) are caused by stress. Stress is a word that can literally mean anything, so it needs to be looked at on a personal level, some might experience stress in traffic on their journey to work, or when trying to get the lid off a jar that is really stiff; some may be dealing with a life crisis for example the death of someone close or a relationship breakdown. What ever the situation is, the body can still be reacting in the same way, and often it can be several months after the upheaval that the skin condition arises. It may be worth keeping a diary so you can become more aware of your symptoms, and notice what has an effect on them. Although there may be many things that effect it such as foods, or products that your skin comes into contact with, there is usually an emotional issue which is the root cause.
It wasn’t until I was having a conversation with a friend that I made the emotional connection. I was struggling to manage eczema at the time and she asked me a question about an uncomfortable subject for me at the time -relating to a difficult relationship. Whilst I was speaking, she said to me “Do you realise that you started scratching when I asked you about…..” It was a real ‘ah ha’ moment, and has now become a great marker for me, as whenever I begin to scratch my skin, I know that I must be feeling stressed about something, and having that awareness helps me to question what is going on. When I notice this, I know I need to be more gentle with myself, and look at what is happening in my life to make me feel stressed or overwhelmed. I also like to make time to massage a little chamomile cream into the area on my body that is itching. At the moment, I often get an itch and a little patch of eczema on various parts of my hands, so I have a bottle of chamomile cream by my bed, and massage it into my hands at night, which helps calm and prepare me for sleep too.
If you are not confident blending your own essential oils into a base of cream or aloe vera gel, or it isn’t convenient, then you can contact me to order a bespoke blend: firstname.lastname@example.org
I’ve been feeling a bit under the weather just recently, and decided to write this post after realising I had used lavender essential oil three times for supporting myself when feeling unwell in one morning. When I’m run down, my glands generally start swelling up, I get achy and tired and sometimes a headache. On this morning I applied some lavender oil to my tender glands on my neck, gargled with a drop of lavender oil, to ease my sore throat, and rubbed a little around the top of my neck that was aching a lot. Later that day when carelessly getting up off the floor and scratching my knuckle with my own fingernail, I applied a drop to the cut as an anti-septic and to help the pain. Since it was in an awkward place, I then applied a plaster, but put a drop of lavender oil on the padded section first.
I suspect that I’m renowned by my friends and family for saying “you should put some lavender on that” if I happen to see them with a cut, burn or spot, or if they mention an array of other ailments. Sometimes they will roll their eyes, but sometimes they will try out my advice, and give me positive feedback, along with a little surprise.
Lavender really is the most useful of all essential oils, for one thing it is generally a very safe essential oil to use on your skin, although in the past it has been thought ok to use neat on your skin* I would use lavender essential oil blended in a base oil for all skin applications (5 drops in 10ml base or 2 drops for children & sensitive skin).
Some of the reasons that lavender is helpful in these situations is because it is antiseptic, pain relieving, anti-inflammatory and helps skin to heal. Here is a list of common minor complaints that lavender can be really handy and effective for. Please note that for anything more than a minor condition, you should see your doctor or seek further professional advice.
Athletes Foot – you can either mix 1 drop of lavender into enough skin cream or lotion to massage into your foot. Do this every day until clear. Alternatively, make up a batch to use in advance so if you have 100ml of cream/lotion add 250 drops of lavender (this is quite strong so only use it for the athlete’s foot).
Burns – Lavender is actually used to treat burns in hospitals so it is perfect for burns. After you have held the burn under cold water for 10 minutes you can apply lavender essential oil mixed in aloe vera gel as this will help to heal the skin and reduce scarring. Do not use lavender blended in a base oil initially as you want to avoid any fatty oils while there is still heat in the area.
Cuts, Grazes, Scratches -any little nicks to the skin – apply lavender oil to the affected area, as it has a cleansing action and acts as an antiseptic. If it needs a plaster, you can put a drop of lavender blend on to the soft part that goes over the wound before applying. You could also spay lavender flower water to the area.
Ear Ache – roll a small piece of cotton wool up, apply 1 drop of lavender oil, and place just inside your ear, do not push it deep into the ear, and remember to remove it.
Fungal nail infections – apply 1 drop of lavender oil blend to the effected nail, ensure that it also covers the skin just below the nail, as this is where the new nail is growing from, and you want to be treating this part too.
Head Ache – apply a drop of lavender oil blend to the temples and gently massage with your fingertips. If you feel the ache somewhere specific like around the back of the neck or in the centre of your forehead then I would apply the oil and gently massage this area instead.
Insect Bites and Stings – apply 1 drop of lavender blend to the affected area.
Spots – apply a drop of lavender blend after cleansing morning and evening, do not pick or squeeze, you can use cotton wool pads or buds to apply.
Thrush/ CandidaGenital – for females, put one drop of lavender essential oil blend on a panty pad and attach to underwear as you would during your cycle. Change it regularly, applying a drop to each new pad. I have had some great feedback when suggesting this and it is very simple and non-invasive.
Thrush/ Candida Oral – use an egg cup full of water, add 1 drop of lavender blend to it, and gargle with it in your mouth for as long as possible (at least 2 minutes) but do not swallow. Do this 2 to 4 times a day.
Veruccas – apply 1 drop of lavender oil blend to the effected area once or twice a day, using a cotton wool pad or bud.
Warts – apply 1 drop of lavender oil blend to the effected area once or twice a day, using a cotton wool pad or bud.
Lavender essential oil really is an essential addition to your first aid kit!
Note:Tea tree is very similar in action to lavender, so you can use tea tree in place of lavender for any of the above remedies, however my preference is for lavender as the smell is less medicinal and less aggressive. I would recommend lavender over tea tree in the case of minor burns.
Caution: There are many types of lavender oil on the market, so please make sure you use a good quality product, from a trusted supplier that is actually pure, undiluted lavender essential oil with the botanical or latin name ‘Lavandula angustifolia’. Some other types of lavender oil may be either too harsh due to different chemistry, or may just be a lavender scented product made from synthetic chemicals, which would not have the healing benefits and may irritate the area instead. Click here to purchase lavender essential oil.