We've previously talked about how essential oils can help with everything from cleaning, boosting immunity, to skincare. But now at the beginning of a new year, it's that time of year again when we're all thinking about starting a detox and getting rid of the excesses after indulging over the holidays. Adding essential oils into your day-to-day routine can support your body and help you stay in the right mindset to start a new year's detox.
If you’re wondering how to detox, be advised that it won't happen overnight. It’s a matter of opening up your detox pathways and giving your body the right tools daily, and that means building up or maintaining your natural detoxification mechanisms. In this blog we included some tips and easy recipes for you to make from the comfort of your home.
It's important to note that detoxing should be incorporated in your lifestyle on a regular basis, not something we should only think about doing once or twice a year after spending months overindulging or forming bad habits. Absolutely everything we use on our skin such as cosmetic products or toiletries, everything we consume in terms of food and drinks, and every minute particle we breathe in (from chemical house cleaners to commercial deodorants and perfumes) will either contribute to our toxic load or help our bodies naturally detoxify from harmful environmental toxins and chemicals that we come into contact with daily.
A lot of detoxing regimens out there focus on food alone, but we truly believe that just cleaning your meals during a detox regimen from ingredients such as caffeine, alcohol, dairy, gluten, corn, nightshades, soy, refined sugar, shellfish, white rice, and eggs is not enough. In addition to your food, you need to detox your mind, your skin, and your surroundings. But don't stress out!
We've included lots of ideas to make it easy for you to choose from, to make it fun, so your detox will be effective and enjoyable.
For example, during your detox, if you feel hungry, eat more, and if you feel full, just eat less. Listen to your body. Maybe eliminating all of the above is too much and you just want to see what happens when you remove dairy or just gluten from your diet for a week. Maybe you’re here only because you need a little recipe inspiration, want to clear your skin, or you just want to sleep better. Either way, we’re glad to have you. We hope this detox guide map makes for a fun reset.
It's important to remember that (if you're not open to lifestyle changes) doing a one-off essential oil detox isn't as sustainable as some might make you think and will probably not contribute to extended health gains. In other words, eating fast food, not exercising, and using essential oils daily is similar to taking 1 step forward and 2 steps back!
Here are a few examples of where an essential oil detox can make all the difference:
- Daily Diffusion and Inhalation – Inhaling essential oils that are rich in antioxidants can help combat free radical toxicity at a cellular level.
- Topical Application – Creating your own skincare products will guard the skin microbiome, improve cellular detoxification, and will inhibit toxins that would otherwise have been listed as ingredients in the conventional products that you might have been using.
- Internal Use – The jury is still out on whether ingesting certain essential oils can bind and help detox heavy metals, but safe internal ingestion of ONLY USDA certified organic essential oils during a short period may help.
There's a vast amount of resources online, that can help guide you on ways that you can create new habits and lifestyle changes through natural approaches and nutrition. These changes will help to emphasize any type of detox and will create more permanent results. We recommend that you utilize the time you've allocated to doing an essential oil detox as a period of change, and apply other methods such as whole food nutrition, intermittent fasting if your health condition allows it, exercise, and meditation as well. These will enhance your detox experience and overall well-being.
Top Essential Oils For Detoxing
Here are 8 essential oils that can help support your detoxing efforts in an easy, cost-effective, natural way that is gentle on the body. As always, please talk to your doctor before using essential oils for detoxing if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding.
When people consider how to do an essential oil detox, lemon naturally springs to mind, not because of the substantial research done on the subject, but simply because of the avidly popular lemon drinks that are being praised in the health community for detox purposes. This all-time favorite citrus is refreshing and generates an aroma that can help brighten your mood, but it’s also a potent antioxidant. Lemon oil is great for fighting free radicals, which makes it a great choice for supporting the liver, kidneys, and gallbladder through the detoxification process. (1) (2)
It's also great if your detox has you feeling sluggish, as its cool, minty aroma is especially uplifting. It can also be used to improve digestion and has excellent elimination properties. The good thing about Peppermint essential oil is that it’s very common and easy to find. (3) (4) (5)
Oregano essential oil is known for its detox aiding and antibiotic-like properties. It fights infections naturally due to its anti-fungal, antibacterial, antiviral, and anti-parasite compounds. Since it contains a natural anti-pathogen, it can be used to improve the body's innate detoxification processes.
A 2016 study showed that the primary compounds in oregano that are responsible for its antimicrobial properties include carvacrol and thymol. Furthermore, several studies show that oregano oil exhibited antibacterial activity against several types of bacteria, including B. laterosporus and S. saprophyticus. (6) (7) (8)
This oil is also high in antioxidants and is a wonderful choice when it comes to detoxing. You can read more about the uses and benefits of Oregano essential oil here. It’s so amazing that we decided to dedicate an entire blog to its magnificent health boosting properties.
This wonder oil helps the body detox at a cellular level by assisting with the production of white blood cells which are your body’s main defense against bacterial and viral infections. It can also help to address the inflammation associated with any kind of infection.
Numerous studies have confirmed frankincense as a powerful detoxification agent and cancer-fighting benefits. This, along with its other properties, may in part explain its usefulness in fighting infection and in treating autoimmune conditions such as asthma, rheumatoid arthritis, and inflammatory bowel disease. (9) (10)
There have been various research studies that have proven that Frankincense benefits extend to detox-enhancing characteristics that help in stimulating our natural defenses and detoxification pathways.
Bay Laurel essential oil is also recognized for its detoxification qualities. These are primarily because it helps to inhibit biotic growth (growth of microbes, fungi, or bacteria) in the body, efficiently safeguarding you against those diseases all while assisting your body's natural detox processes. It's totally safe and has no adverse side effects (unless used in hefty doses), unlike over the counter prescriptions that may cause unwanted side effects on the liver, heart, gut microbiome, and other internal organs. (11) (12)
Bay Laurel essential oil can also increase perspiration and promote the elimination of toxins, excess salt, water, and fat from the body via sweat. You can add a drop to your soups or stews (only one drop) or 2 drops to smoothies; the taste is delicious and its aroma is absolutely incredible! This helps to detox the body and to protect it from diseases caused by environmental toxins, such as heavy metals. (13)
You can find out more about the applications of Bay Laurel essential oil in our blog 10 Secret Benefits of Bay Laurel Essential Oil You Wish You’d Know About Sooner.
Rosemary oil has been proven to have positive effects on the liver and gallbladder. Animal studies show that this oil can cause the body to create more bile, which is an important factor in fat digestion. It also has been proven to stimulate the antioxidant defenses in the liver, which means that it can help remove harmful enzymes in the liver. One way to use this potent essential oil is to massage it diluted with a carrier oil to help detoxify the body. (14)
It’s actually one of the most well-studied detox oils. In one study rosemary essential oil outperformed other detox superstar oils such as oregano, thyme, and clove. (15)
Rosemary oil is truly a treasure! The variety of health benefits are tremendous, not to mention that Rosemary is already a favorite dry herb to use in the kitchen, but the oil is so much better! Check out our full Rosemary Essential Oil blog post here.
Thyme essential oil has special properties and compounds that make it very effective for detoxing. The active compound is called thymol, which is a terpene that can be used in several ways. It has natural antimicrobial and detox enhancing properties that can be used as an effective treatment for most bacteria, viruses, parasites, and most pathogens. Reports indicate that the volatile oils of thyme are among the main essential oils used in the food industry and in cosmetics as preservatives and antioxidants. (16) (17) (18)
Using essential oils like Thyme can help produce homeostasis in the body, which supports proper balance and function of all bodily systems. Essentially, true healing from the inside out!
To learn more about some practical ways in which you can use Thyme oil in your daily routine, check out this link. We also have a variety of food and drink recipes that include Thyme essential oil as a main ingredient.
With one of the most potent antioxidant properties among essential oils, Clove essential is impressive due to its countermeasure effects against free radicals that can cause toxin-overload.
With its strong antiviral and antibacterial protective abilities, clove essential oil can help ward off or even prevent illness by destroying the unwanted nasties that make us sick. Furthermore, researchers are realizing just how powerful antioxidants are and how important they are for health and cloves come in as one of the highest esteemed antioxidants. This means that clove is a key essential oil for anyone who wants to detox and rid their body of unhealthy toxins. (19) (20) (21)
It’s also important to note that conventional cleaning products contain many harsh and toxic chemicals that are harmful to our bodies and our planet, so when it comes to detoxing it’s essential to keep this in mind and lower environmental toxin exposure. Clove essential oil makes for a great substitute ingredient in home-made cleaning products, check out our article here for DIY recipes and solutions.
Lastly, here are four more honorable mentions (we like to overdeliver) of essential oils that contain compounds or offer properties that can support detoxing.
- Juniper berry Essential Oil: It's believed to help the body to throw off toxic wastes, as well as promote health in several ways. This oil has traditionally been used to improve elimination and support liver capacity. (22) Check out our anti-oxidant bombs recipe made with these amazing oils, which are great for your body and super delicious.
- Helichrysum Essential Oil: The gut-healing and anti-inflammatory capability of helichrysum can help effectively detox the body from pathogens. In recent studies, the flavonoids of Helichrysum essential oil showed inhibition of harmful bacteria, viruses, and fungi, even powerful enough to fight off herpes simplex virus type 1. (23) (24) You can find out more about Helichrysum Oil here.
- Lemongrass Essential Oil: Can be used to support healthy detoxification in many ways. Some of the therapeutic properties of lemongrass include anti-fungal, antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antibacterial, and sedative, which all contribute to helping the body detox successfully. (25)
- Grapefruit Essential Oil: Has traditionally been used to support the lymphatic system and detox pathways. Grapefruit contains antiviral, antiseptic, and diuretic properties, and animal studies show it may even help with weight loss due to the elimination and minimization of toxin overload. (26)
Ways To Use Essential Oils For Detoxing
It's important to remember that essential oils are potent substances and need to be applied and used responsibly. They're also powerful detoxifying agents and can help you get rid of toxins and purify the skin microbiome and oral cavity. These are some practical ways to frequently enjoy the detoxifying capability of essential oils while creating new lifestyle habits that can be added to your weekly routine:
1. Daily diffusion for stress reduction: I’m sure we all know by now the negative effects that stress can create in our body’s, and for this reason it’s crucial to add some form of mind-body exercise into your daily routine. Keeping your stress in check will help your body function optimally, meaning that any detox will have better results. Check out:
The Best Essential Oils for Meditation and Simple Secrets to Maximizing the Best Essential Oils for Stress and Anxiety Support for stress busting diffuser recipes.
2. Make your own skincare products with essential oils: DYing your skincare can help minimize your toxin exposure and will give you the added benefit of health enhancing properties that come from the oils. Furthermore, you could create a 3-5% dilution detox massage. 3% = 9 drops of Essential Oil per tablespoon of carrier oil. 5% = 15 drops. Check out: Cosmetic Recipes with Essential Oils and Top 9 Essential Oils for Healthy, Glowing Skin in Winter for lots of cosmetic recipes that are non-toxic, sustainable and super affordable.
3. Add detoxifying oils to your smoothies or juices: To enhance your lemon juice morning ritual, add 1 drop of lemon essential oil a couple of times per week in a teaspoon of honey or coconut oil. You can also add oils to your smoothies or hot drinks, here are some ideas:
Detoxing Orange Oil Smoothie
- Energizing Soda Drink with Organic Grapefruit Essential Oil
- Vitamin C Smoothie with Organic Thyme Essential Oil
- Anti-inflammatory Smoothie with Organic Gingergrass Oil
- The BEST Healthy Hot Cocoa Recipe with Peppermint Essential Oil
4. Adding detoxifying oils to your food: A practical way to take essential oils internally is to add them as an ingredient in food recipes. The potency of essential oil creates so much flavor and you can use it to substitute the dry herb in every recipe that calls for it. You can find a multitude of food recipes in our blog section here. The possibilities are endless! Furthermore, if your goal is to detox simply add the essential oils we’ve outlined in this blog to your cooking for maximum detoxification results.
5. Detoxing your regular cleaning products: It’s not a secret anymore that conventional cleaning products contain many harsh and toxic chemicals that are harmful to our bodies and our planet. Essential oils harness the power of plants, and most of them contain antibacterial, antiseptic, antimicrobial, and antiviral properties which makes them great for keeping unwanted bacteria and germs at bay without the nasty side effects of store-bought cleaners. Studies have shown that commercially sold cleaners may cause over long use allergies, dermatitis in both humans and pets, and even asthma in some individuals. Less environmental toxin exposure, equals better detoxification capacity!! You can check out this blog “DIY Natural Cleaning with Essential Oils + 4 Affordable Recipes” for inspiration. Our DIY hand sanitizer recipe is one you won't want to miss either!
6. Routine detox baths: Baths are a fantastic way to help your body detox, the heat is similar to that of a steam room or sauna, meaning that because of the raised temperatures our body’s are more prone to perspiration which is one way we eliminate toxins. Add some essential oils into the equation and you’ve created a match made in heaven! The recommended amount is two to three times per week, although you could add more weekly sessions into your routine should you wish. The recipe below is one of our favorite detox bath blends.
Detox Bath Salt Blend
This detox bath blend is not only great for helping flush out toxins; it's also a wondrous way to relax and relieve stress.
- 5 drops USDA Organic Peppermint Essential Oil
- 10 drops USDA Organic Thyme Essential Oil
- 5 drops of USDA Organic Frankincense Essential Oil
- 1 tablespoon liquid Castile soap (or your favorite carrier oil)
- 2 oz Himalayan salt
First, dilute all of the essential oils in the Castile soap or carrier oil of your choice. (This is a very important step as it allows the essential oil to blend with the carrier oil and later into the water before adding it to the bath water. Adding essential oils directly to the bath water will cause the oil molecules to separate from water and the treatment will be worthless.) Then pour the oil mixture into the bath water and immediately add the salt blend to a warm bath while the water is still running, swirl water with your hand to disperse the blend. Who said detoxing had to be uncomfortable and hard? In the winter time, they can be very pleasant and relaxing for the body and mind. You can mix and match the oils depending on your personal preference, or how you’re feeling that day. Enjoy!
It's always recommended to dilute any Essential Oil with a carrier oil before using it on the skin. Also pay special attention when using it on children, especially those 10 years old and younger.
If you're considering starting a therapeutic regimen using Essential Oils, it's better to consult a naturopathic doctor or an aromatherapy professional first. Some skin types can showcase allergic reactions, so before using this oil in any of its forms, it's recommended to do a skin test first, which you can do at home, if you prefer, by applying 2 drops of the oil on your wrist and wait for 24 hours to see if any irritation occurs. If not, then you’ll be safe to use it..
And finally, try to use the exact amounts of the oil as per prescriptions or recipes above, don’t overdose, otherwise, it could be toxic and cause irritation, allergies and other unwanted problems.
NOTE: Always choose USDA Organic oils to prevent toxicity caused by the artificial fertilizers & pesticides sprayed on all non-organic crops; otherwise you’re defeating their effectiveness.
Enjoy these wonderful recipes/ideas and let us know in the comments below which ones you tried and how they worked for you. We’d love to hear it!