The 6 Most Effective Essential Oils for Fighting Allergies

Spring allergy season is upon us, and for some of us, that means, itchy red eyes, runny nose, sinus headaches, aches and pains, and for some, even life-threatening asthma. Respiratory allergies are the most common, for the simple reason that we do not have much choice of the air we inhale. Pollens, dust, and other airborne allergens are everywhere, even indoors.

Allergies are closely tied to inflammation, which is also the beginning of many diseases. The key then is to treat the inflammation. Many people, especially those who are eating a standard American diet of processed foods, vegetable oils and sugar have even higher amounts of inflammation. Result—bigger and stronger allergic reactions.

Allergies and allergic reactions have increased over the last fifty years, and continue to grow, while climate change and warmer winters have created longer and longer allergy seasons as well. While allergic folks try to avoid the triggers that cause reactions, often that is impossible with seasonal allergies. You are literally surrounded by allergens in the air.

Allergies are natural substances that the body reacts strongly to—the same as if a dangerous pathogen has entered your body. The immune system goes into overdrive, trying to fight it, all the while releasing immunoglobulins that contain histamine, creating the allergic reaction. The most common allergens include: pollen, dust mites, mold, insect stings, animal dander, latex, medications, and then foods.

While there are plenty of medications to help with seasonal allergies, they often have undesired side effects, such as sleepiness, dryness, agitation, impaired immune response, and even weight gain. There are some effective alternative natural supplements that help, and essential oils are at the top of the list of safe, natural and effective treatments.

One of the primary ways essential oils help with allergies is to reduce inflammation. Much of what we experience as allergy symptoms is actually the result of inflammation. Tame the inflammation and you tame the response. Essential oils also boost the immune system which can often be run down, fighting the imaginary invaders that allergens are. Essential oils can also help to detox and eliminate parasites, bacteria, viruses, and unhealthy fungal infections. There are also specific essential oils that can mitigate asthma issues, sinus and respiratory problems, and soothe nasal passages, bronchial tubes and even allergic skin reactions.

I put together a list of the most effective essential oils to help overcome allergies, with the help of Dr. Josh Axe’s recommendations on utilizing them.

1. Peppermint Oil
Peppermint oil is at the top of the list when it comes to one of the most effective essential oils. Peppermint is a very effective alternative treatment that can help to clear congestion, open airways, unclog the sinuses, and help relieve a scratchy throat. Peppermint is also valuable for coughs, asthma, sinusitis, and bronchitis.

This study published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology investigated the effects of peppermint oil on the trachea and the conclusion was that peppermint oil acts as an antispasmodic, making it extremely effective at calming a cough—without the harmful side effects of over the counter cough medicine. And this study shows the anti-inflammatory effects of peppermint oil, helping to stop the chronic inflammation of seasonal allergies and asthma.

Peppermint oil can be used topically, diffused in the air, or ingested in small amounts. Use about 5 drops of peppermint oil at home to diffuse in the air to help unclog sinuses and open airways. 1-2 drops of peppermint oil can be taken internally to help reduce inflammation in the body. You can also add a couple drops of oil to water, coffee, tea, etc.

Diffuse five drops of peppermint essential oil at home to unclog sinuses and treat a scratchy throat. This will also help to relax the nasal muscles, enabling the body to clear out mucus and allergens like pollen. To reduce inflammation, take 1–2 drops of pure peppermint essential oil internally once a day. To relieve a headache, rub a drop of peppermint oil on the temples, forehead, over the sinuses (stay away from the eyes) and on the back of the neck. To open up and unclog the nose and sinuses, you can also rub a small amount under the nose. I like to mix 10-12 drops of peppermint oil into a few tablespoons of coconut oil and put it in a tiny tupperware container, and then rub the coconut oil and peppermint oil mixture beneath my nostrils each day.

Peppermint is also a mood lifter and helps to make one feel more energetic and alert, and has even been shown to increase and improve your fitness workouts.

2. Lavender Oil
Lavender oil has a variety of uses, and is a great oil to keep on hand for many different ailments. Lavender oil is excellent for seasonal allergies because it contains natural antihistamines which help to tone down your body’s reactions to pollen, dust, animal dander and other airborne allergens. Lavender oil is also an effective antibacterial cleaner in the home and can be used to disinfect many surfaces safely without creating the super bacteria that many toxic household cleaners do.

Rubbing a small amount on the palms and inhaling it periodically helps to clear your sinuses and reduce inflammation. It also smells great! One idea is to carry a few cotton balls with lavender oil in a container during allergy season, so you can use it as needed. Or try dabbing a bit on the forehead, cheeks and chest.

This oil is mild and will not irritate the skin. Lavender oil is also especially soothing for allergic reactions like rashes, blisters, insect bites, etc. You can rub directly on the affected area or add a few drops to a cool compress. Lavender is also very calming and relaxing and works well at nighttime near your bed. Use a diffuser for its anti-inflammatory, soothing properties and to help you sleep better. You can also try several drops of lavender oil in your hot tub or in a hot bath at night to help relax you before bed. Add some epsom salt with your lavender in a night time bath for the extra benefits of magnesium for relaxation and muscle recovery.

3. Basil Oil
Basil has very powerful antioxidant capabilities, along with its anti-inflammatory properties. Basil also helps to not only strengthen the immune system, but it also has the ability to reduce the inflammation from allergies. Basil oil helps to balance and support the adrenal glands, which has much to do with lowering stress response, and balancing other hormones in the body.

Basil is also a scientifically proven, highly effective antibacterial, antiviral, anti-inflammatory substance. Basil is also very effective at fighting yeasts and molds and can help ward off an asthma attack or other illnesses such as colds and flu.

Dr. Josh Axe recommends one drop of basil oil taken internally by adding it to foods such as soups, drinks, salad dressings, etc. For the respiratory system, add 2-3 drops basil oil to a couple drops of coconut oil and apply topically to chest, back and temples.

4. Eucalyptus Oil
Eucalyptus oil is that refreshing, slightly medicinal, menthol smell that helps to open up the sinuses and bronchial tubes. That cold, slightly numbing feel it produces in the nose actually helps to improve breathing.

Citronellal, one of the primary ingredients in eucalyptus, helps to treat and prevent respiratory infections as well as helping reduce the inflammation from allergies, according to a 2011 study in Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine. Patients who were treated with eucalyptus spray reported an improvement in the severity of their most debilitating respiratory tract infection symptoms compared to participants in the placebo group.

Diffuse 5 or so drops of eucalyptus at home in your diffuser or apply it topically to the chest, back or temples. You can also try adding a couple drops of eucalyptus oil to a bowl or boiling water, and place a large towel over your head to keep the steam in, inhaling deeply for 5-10 minutes. This helps to treat any respiratory issues and any inflammation from allergies.

5. Lemon Oil
Lemon oil’s fresh, sunny smell will help to drain the lymph system (part of the immune system that cleans toxins and pathogens out of the body), and sooth respiratory issues. Lemon essential oil also fights bacteria, molds and viruses, all the while boosting your immune function. Lemon oil is especially effective, when diffused, at killing bacteria, molds and other allergens that are airborne.

Lemon water is also a great detox aid, stimulating the immune function by increasing white blood cell production. On the other hand, it helps to detox the liver, which helps to calm down the immune system and protect against overreaction to allergens. You can also add a couple of drops of lemon oil to water to help balance the body’s pH. Generally, when the body becomes too acidic, you become more prone to illnesses, so it’s a good idea to keep the pH in balance.

Lemon oil, with its fresh, clean, yummy smell also helps to kill germs and mold around the home, which are often allergic triggers as well. It works as well as bleach, without any harmful side effects. Add lemon oil to your laundry, or dilute with water for cleaning.

6. Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil should be on hand in everyone’s medicine cabinet. It has an amazing variety of uses from antibacterial to antifungal and everything in between. Tea tree oil is not to be ingested, but is safe for use on the skin without dilution. Tea tree oil works well for skin irritation, such as redness, inflammation, and even swelling from poison ivy or allergic rashes, insect bites and other allergic reactions.

Tea tree oil has the ability to destroy bacteria, molds and viruses that are airborne. A 2000 study conducted in Germany found that tea tree oil exhibits antimicrobial activity against a wide range of bacteria, yeasts and fungi. These microbes lead to inflammation and force our immune system to work on overdrive.

Use tea tree oil on rashes and hives, or use as a household cleaner to eliminate bacteria and mold—common triggers for allergies. While tea tree oil can be used directly on skin, if you are sensitive, as many allergic people are, you can dilute with a carrier oil first.

Other effective uses for essential oils include taking 1-2 drops of lemon or peppermint oil internally to calm down an allergic reaction from foods; tea tree oil or basil oil work well on rashes, as well as lavender oil.

Use lemon oil and tea tree oil for cleaning around the house by adding about 40 drops of lemon oil, and 20 drops of tea tree oil to water and a small amount of vinegar. This kills bacteria, molds, dust mites, viruses and also catches any animal dander or pollen that may be floating around or sitting on the surfaces of your home.

And lastly, combining 2 or 3 drops of peppermint, eucalyptus, and lavender oil together with coconut oil, makes a great massage oil, especially on the temples, back, chest and bottoms of the feet for allergies.

Essential oils are powerful aids in fighting off the effects of seasonal and other allergies, but combined with a clean healthy diet that eliminates all processed starchy foods, grains, sugars, and chemical preservatives, and is high in fresh, organic, antioxidant filled veggies goes a long way towards calming allergic reactions.

Hand Sanitizers…They Aren’t as Safe as You Think

Hand sanitizers came on the market in 1966 as the “ideal” way to kill germs in a hurry. Society embraced hand sanitizers like it embraced sliced bread. Virtually every purse and diaper bag held a bottle of hand sanitizer.
Using hand sanitizer can become habitual. It feels empowering to kill germs all the time, right? We seem to be applying it constantly since it appears to be such a simple, quick action to take to protect yourself and your family. However, things are not always as they seem. So, we want to tell you why some hand sanitizers are not as safe as you think.
In many hand sanitizers, you will find an ingredient called triclosan. Triclosan is added to hand sanitizers to kill bacteria. While the benefits of triclosan have yet to be proven, it is known to be an endocrine disrupter. These chemicals can interfere with our endocrine (hormone) system. Any system in the body controlled by hormones can be derailed by hormone disruptors causing health issues.
Triclosan can also be found in products such as dish soap, toothpaste, and even clothes. It is very difficult to measure exposure, so we’re suggesting you take a close look at the ingredients you are applying to your skin frequently.
Now, let’s talk about using a product to sanitize your hands with safe ingredients … ingredients you can feel good about using every day. Ingredients that have antibacterial, antimicrobial, antiseptic and antiviral properties to help eliminate bacteria. Without the bad stuff.
PUREhaven offers a safe, effective product alternative called HANDS ON THE GO.
Key ingredients in Hands On The Go are clove, neem and tea tree essential oil. These organic oils work together to cleanse and moisturize hands naturally and safely, with no alcohol. Leaving hands feeling clean and soft. You’ll find Hands On The Go in our specially priced Host Bundle this month.
Photo by matspersson0/iStock / Getty Images

Photo by matspersson0/iStock / Getty Images

New Product! Laundry Detergent is HERE!

Did you know that the average American family totals about 35 billion loads of laundry a year?  That means that 17.5 billion cups of laundry detergent are used every year in the U.S. alone.  Not only can you come in contact with caustic chemicals via your clothing that has been laundered, you can breathe them into your lungs once they become airborne in the process of doing your laundry.
PUREhaven has come to the rescue.  April 1 we will launch “Laundry.”  You’ve been waiting for safe, effective and trustworthy laundry powder and we’ve got it!  FREE from fragrance, dyes, synthetics, sulfates and harsh chemicals.  Ordering opens April 1 and begins to ship Friday, April 14, 2017 or sooner as it becomes available.
Be sure to order right away as our first run has limited quantities until April 21, 2017. A 2lb. package/64 loads is $29.95 – less than 50 cents a load.

Documentary on Toxic Household Products

The movie the chemical industry doesn't want you to see! The film begun when director Jon Whelan bought a pair of pajamas for his two young daughters and noticed a strong chemical odor. After learning the pungency was a trade secret held by the parent company of favored American tween store Justice, Whelan investigated the fragrance industry. This is a must see for all concerned. Click the button below to watch. Enjoy, it can be life changing!

Learn More About Neem Oil

Neem trees are native to India and other parts of Asia and are known as Margosa Tree in English and their botanical term is Azadirachta Indica.  Neem is a multipurpose herb and because of its exceptional medicinal properties it is often referred to as “plant with a promise”.

Neem oil is an effective skin conditioner.  It moisturizes the skin so deeply that it can repair prolonged skin dryness.  It is for this reason that neem oil it is used in our Neem-O product.

Neem also contains high level of antioxidants which protects the skin from environmental damage.  Its properties contain carotenoids that provide high antioxidantsalso defending damaged skin.  Neem oil is high in essential fatty acids and Vitamins. It gets easily absorbed by the skin and rejuvenates it.  With regular usage, Neem-O will alleviate dry, cracked skin.  And, with the addition of pure Tea Tree Oil in our formulation, you also receive the benefit of its antiseptic properties to help soothe troubled skin.

Reading Labels – Why is it so important?

Evening everyone. The home office produced a great article that I would like to feature tonight. Enjoy!

Have you ever tried to read the label on a moisturizer or shampoo? If so, you may have felt like you were reading another language. It can be hard to know which ingredients to identify, how to compare products and what it all means. Or perhaps you haven’t thought about label reading before and you have questions.

In these three simple points, we’ll explain why label reading is important, plus provide a little guidance to make the process simpler.

Exposure is a Reality – From personal care products to cleaners and even cosmetics, you are exposed to countless chemicals on a daily basis. These are products you use on a routine basis and may assume they must be safe.

A False Sense of Protection – Government agencies and corporations aren’t the safeguards you might expect. Take for instance the difference between Europe and the U.S. Europe has banned more than 1,300 chemicals from personal care products, while the U.S. only bans 11. Many ingredients that are permitted actually have harmful links to allergens, neurotoxins, endocrine disruptors and even carcinogens. Is that a risk you’re willing to take?

You Have a Choice – The responsibility lies with you to protect yourself and your family. Being an “ingredient detective” can practically be a full-time job. And unfortunately, there are many companies that will try to mislead and misrepresent their products. That’s why it is important to do your research and partner with a reputable company with proven products. PUREhaven ESSENTIALS is a USDA National Organic Program certified manufacturing facility. This designation is extremely strict and demonstrates our commitment to providing safe, effective and trustworthy products you can rely on everyday.

To start educating yourself, just choose one of your most-used products, like a moisturizer or shampoo. Then reference our Ingredients to Avoid guide. Next, find a similar PUREhaven product and you’ll notice the difference in ingredients. Lastly, experience the benefits PUREhaven provides. Make the choice to take the first step toward living a more toxic-free life!

Method Natural Products Class Action Settlement

Good evening.

Back in September of 2016 a gentleman by the name of Wesley Vincent filed a class action lawsuit again Ecover/Method. He claimed E/M violated certain laws regarding the marketing, labeling and advertising of certain Method and Ecover branded products. "Method Products PBC have agreed to establish a $2.8 million settlement fund. They have denied any wrongdoing but agreed to the class action settlement to avoid the burden and expense of ongoing litigation." 

This is the greenwashing plain and simple. Wesley called them out. Great job! They are offering approximately $1 per unit purchased. 

The natural products class action lawsuit takes issue with the defendants use of the following terms in the labeling, marketing and advertising of certain Method and Ecover products: “Natural,” “Naturally Derived,” “hypo-allergenic,” “non-toxic,” “plant-derived,” “plant-based,” “mineral-based,” “bio-based,” and similar statements.

The products covered under the natural products class action settlement include Method and Ecover branded personal care products, dishwashing products, laundry products and other household products.

Click the button if you are eligible to get paid!

Toxic Toothpaste Ingredients You Need to Avoid

Good day. I was perusing through my archives and came across this article on toothpaste. I wanted to emphasize how no product is safe from scrutiny. I know I was once loyal to a brand just because of the marketing hype. 

Your mouth is highly absorbent, so chemicals lurking in your toothpaste get a fast-track into your bloodstream

Triclosan, sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS), artificial sweeteners, fluoride, and diethanolamine (DEA) are examples of toothpaste ingredients that may be toxic

You can make your own natural toothpaste at home – and remember that a healthy diet is key for optimal oral health

You might not think much about the ingredients in your toothpaste compared to the ingredients in your food or even other personal care products, but those pea-sized dollops on your toothbrush twice a day add up.

Over the course of a lifetime, the average American uses about 20 gallons of toothpaste,1 and even if you spit most of it out, some of the chemicals it contains make their way into your bloodstream.

Your mouth is actually one of the most absorbent places in your entire body. This is why some medications are administered sublingually, or under your tongue.

While you’re dutifully brushing and swishing, the ingredients in your toothpaste enter your mouth and gums, which are the gateway to every system in your body.”2

This is why you need to be very careful when choosing toothpaste. Many popular brands contain questionable ingredients that you’re far better off avoiding.

7 Toxic Toothpaste Ingredients

1. Triclosan

The popular toothpaste Colgate Total contains an antibacterial chemical called triclosan, which allows the company to tout it as the “only toothpaste approved by the FDA to help fight plaque and gingivitis.”3

But while triclosan has been shown to help prevent gingivitis, the benefit comes at a steep price. The chemical has been linked to concerns over antibiotic resistance and endocrine disruption.

Endocrine-disrupting chemicals are a serious concern, as they can promote a wide variety of health problems, including breast, ovarian, prostate, and testicular cancer, preterm and low birth weight babies, precocious puberty in girls, and undescended testicles in boys.

Some animal studies showed that triclosan caused fetal bone malformations in mice and rats, which may hint at hormonal effects. Further, triclosan may interfere with a type of cell signaling in brain, heart, and other cells, such that researchers noted it “may not be worth potential risks.”4

The chemical has also been linked to cancer, with research finding triclosan may promote breast cancer progression.5 The state of Minnesota has already banned most uses of triclosan, but it’s still widely sold across the US in toothpaste, hand soap, makeup, and more.

Toothpaste appears to be one of the most potent delivery vehicles for the chemical, as research found people who brushed their teeth with Colgate Total had more than five times as much triclosan in their urine as those who did not.6

2. Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS)

Many toothpastes contain surfactants like sodium lauryl sulfate, sodium laureth sulfate (SLS), or sodium lauryl ether sulfate (SLES). Surfactants are chemicals responsible for the foaming action of the toothpaste, but they also interfere with the functioning of your taste buds by breaking up the phospholipids on your tongue.

This enhances bitter tastes and is thought to be the reason why everything tastes so bad right after you’ve brushed your teeth.

Not to mention, SLS has even been linked to skin irritation and painful canker sores, with research suggesting an SLS-free toothpaste should be used for people with recurring sores.7

However, one of the main problems with SLS is that the manufacturing process (ethoxylation) results in it being potentially contaminated with 1,4 dioxane, a carcinogenic byproduct.8 The manufacturing process also releases carcinogenic volatile organic compounds into the environment.

SLS is also registered as an insecticide and may have toxic effects to marine life, including fish, insects, and crustaceans.9

The manufacturers actually tried to get approval to market SLS as a pesticide for organic farmers, but the application was denied because of its potential for environmental damage.10

3. Artificial Sweeteners

Aspartame and other artificial sweeteners are often added to commercial toothpastes. Aspartame is primarily made up of aspartic acid and phenylalanine. The phenylalanine has been synthetically modified to carry a methyl group, which provides the majority of the sweetness.

That phenylalanine methyl bond, called a methyl ester, is very weak, which allows the methyl group on the phenylalanine to easily break off and form methanol. You may have heard the claim that aspartame is harmless because methanol is also found in fruits and vegetables.

However, in fruits and vegetables, the methanol is firmly bonded to pectin, allowing it to be safely passed through your digestive tract. Not so with the methanol created by aspartame; there it’s not bonded to anything that can help eliminate it from your body.

That’s problem number one.

Problem number two relates to the fact that humans are the only mammals who are NOT equipped with a protective biological mechanism that breaks down methanol into harmless formic acid.

In humans, the methyl alcohol travels through your blood vessels into sensitive areas, such as your brain, where the methanol is converted to formaldehyde. And since there’s no catalase present, the formaldehyde is free to cause enormous damage in your tissues.

Symptoms from methanol poisoning are many, and include headaches, ear buzzing, dizziness, nausea, gastrointestinal disturbances, weakness, vertigo, chills, memory lapses, numbness, and shooting pains in the extremities, behavioral disturbances, and neuritis.

4. Fluoride

Fluoride has long been heralded as the answer to decaying teeth, but it’s been receiving increasing scrutiny in recent years, and for good reason. A groundbreaking study published in the journal Langmuir11 uncovered that the supposedly beneficial fluorapatite layer formed on your teeth from fluoride is a mere six nanometers thick.

To understand just how thin this is, you’d need 10,000 of these layers to get the width of a strand of your hair! Scientists now question whether this ultra-thin layer can actually protect your enamel and provide any discernible benefit, considering the fact that it is quickly eliminated by simple chewing. They wrote:

”… [I]t has to be asked whether such narrow… layers really can act as protective layers for the enamel.”

In fact, toothpaste that contains the naturally occurring cacao extract theobromine better repaired and re-mineralized exposed dentin (the tissue that makes up the bulk of your teeth below the enamel) than fluoride toothpaste, according to one study.12

Not to mention, fluoride toothpaste is often the largest single source of fluoride intake for young children and is a major risk factor for disfiguring dental fluorosis. This is because children swallow a large amount of the paste that they put in their mouth.

In fact, research has shown that it is not uncommon for young children to swallow more fluoride from toothpaste alone than is recommended as an entire day’s ingestion from all sources.13

Swallowing fluoride, as is the case with fluoridated drinking water, is especially detrimental to your health, as the science clearly demonstrates that fluoride is a toxic chemical that accumulates in your tissues over time, wreaks havoc with enzymes, and produces a number of serious adverse health effects, including neurological and endocrine dysfunction.

Children are particularly at risk for adverse effects of overexposure. If you have a young child, therefore, it’s recommended that you use a non-fluoride toothpaste, although I recommend the same for adults as well.

5. Propylene Glycol

Propylene glycol is a type of mineral oil that, in the industrial grade, is used in antifreeze, paints, enamels, and airplane de-icers. The pharmaceutical-grade form is used in many personal care products, including toothpaste, as a surfactant. Research on the safety of propylene glycol in personal care products is lacking, although it’s a known skin, eye, and lung irritant and may cause organ system toxicity.14 This is clearly not a substance you want to be brushing your teeth with.

6. Diethanolamine (DEA)

DEA is found in many foaming products such as toothpaste. It’s a known hormone disrupter and can react with other ingredients to form a potential carcinogen called NDEA (N-nitrosodiethanolamine), which is readily absorbed through the skin and has been linked with cancers of the stomach, esophagus, liver, and bladder.

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) ranks DEA as a number 10 in its cosmetics database (the most toxic score) due to high concerns of organ system toxicity, contamination concerns and irritation, along with moderate cancer risk. The California Environmental Protection Agency lists DEA as a possible human carcinogen.15

7. Microbeads

Microbeads are tiny plastic pellets found in body washes, facial scrubs, toothpaste, and more. The microbeads go down your drain, through the filters at most wastewater treatment plants, and out into the environment. Plastic microbeads absorb toxins from the water and are eaten by a wide variety of marine life and, ultimately, by humans as well. There’s good reason to boycott any toothpaste containing microbeads, even aside from the obvious environmental threat. Last year, a Dallas dental hygienist reported finding the microbeads in patients’ teeth.

The bits were found in Crest microbead toothpaste and were getting trapped under patients’ gums. This gives food and bacteria an entrance to your gum line, which could actually cause gum disease.16 Procter & Gamble, which makes Crest, reported they would stop using the microbeads by 2016 as a result. But while it seems the use of microbeads is on its way out, the Personal Care Products Council (PCPC) is lobbying to have microbeads made from biodegradable plastic such as polylactic acid (PLA) remain in personal care products.


Be sure to check out our two flavors of toothpaste at the store tab: peppermint and sweet orange!

Frankincense Oil: The 'King' of Oils

Switching gears tonight and highlighting essential oils. For those of you that aren't privy, essential oils are any class of volatile oils that give plants their characteristic odors and are used for aromatherapy. It is extremely important to use high quality oils when diffusing. Frankincense is one of the myriad of oils we carry. Here's an article featuring the 'king' of oils.

Story at-a-glance
Frankincense oil promotes healthy cell regeneration and keeps existing cells and tissues healthy

It’s useful for skin health, and can help treat dry skin, reverse signs of aging and reduce the appearance of stretch marks and scars

Frankincense has a significant meaning in Christianity, and is believed to be one of the gifts offered by the three wise men to the newborn Jesus.

Today, this fragrant resin is transformed into an essential oil that’s valued not only in religious practice, but also in aromatherapy and natural health. Read on to learn more about frankincense oil.

What Is Frankincense Oil?

Frankincense, also known as olibanum,1 comes from the Boswellia genustrees, particularly Boswellia sacra and Boswellia carteri. The milky white sap is extracted from the tree bark, allowed to harden into a gum resin for several days, and then scraped off in tear-shaped droplets.2

Boswellia trees grow in African and Arabian regions, including Yemen, Oman, Somalia and Ethiopia.3 Oman is the best known and most ancient source of frankincense, where it’s been traded and shipped to other places like the Mediterranean, India, and China for thousands of years.4

The highest-quality frankincense is clear and silvery, but with a slight green tinge. Brown-yellow varieties are the cheapest and most readily available. In Oman, the best frankincense is usually reserved for the sultan and is rarely shipped out of the country.5

Frankincense is traditionally burned as incense, and was charred and ground into a powder to produce the heavy kohl eyeliner used by Egyptian women. Today, this resin is steam-distilled to produce an aromatic essential oil with many benefits.

Frankincense oil has a woody, earthy, spicy and slightly fruity aroma, which is calming and relaxing. It’s said to be sweeter, fresher and cleaner than frankincense resin.6

Uses of Frankincense Oil

Frankincense oil has long been revered in the Middle East, where it’s been used in religious ceremonies as an anointing oil for thousands of years. It is also a popular ingredient in cosmetics, and has even been found in the remains of Anglo-Saxons and ancient Egyptians.7

I believe that frankincense oil is one of the top essential oils you can use for your health. It’s known for its comforting properties, and is useful for visualizing, improving one’s spiritual connection and helping overcome stress and despair.8

In aromatherapy, frankincense oil is either inhaled or diffused via a vaporizer — a sedative that has been known to help induce a feeling of mental peace, relaxation and satisfaction, and helps relieve anxiety, anger and stress.9

Frankincense oil may also help in healthy cell regeneration and keep existing cells and tissues healthy. It’s useful for skin health, and can help treat dry skin, reverse signs of aging and reduce the appearance of stretch marks and scars.10 Frankincense oil’s astringent properties help:11

Strengthen gums and hair roots
Stop wounds from bleeding
Speed up the healing of cuts, acne, insect bites and boils
Composition of Frankincense Oil

The main components of frankincense oil are ketonic alcohol (olibanol), resinous matters (30 to 60 percent) and terpenes such as a-and p-pinene, camphene, dipentene and phellandrene.12 It also contains alpha pinene, actanol, bornyl acetate, linalool, octyl acetate, incensole and incensyl acetate.13

The monoterpenes and sesquiterpenes are the most valuable elements of frankincense oil.

According to the book, “Reference Guide for Essential Oils,” by Connie and Alan Higley, monoterpenes help prevent and discharge toxins from your liver and kidneys, and have antiseptic, antibacterial, stimulating, analgesic (weak) and expectorant properties.14

Meanwhile, sesquiterpenes can go beyond the blood-brain barrier and help simulate the limbic system of your brain, as well as your hypothalamus, and pineal and pituitary glands.15

Benefits of Frankincense Oil

The health benefits of frankincense oil are mostly attributed to its anti-inflammatory, astringent, antiseptic, disinfectant, digestive, diuretic and expectorant properties. It also has cicatrisant, carminative, cytophylactic, emenagogue, uterine and vulnerary effects.

Frankincense oil is considered a tonic, as it benefits all the systems operating in the body, including the digestive, respiratory, nervous and excretory systems. It also aids the absorption of nutrients and strengthens your immune system.16 Frankincense oil has been found useful for certain health conditions, such as:

• Arthritis and rheumatoid arthritis (RA) — Research by Cardiff University scientists found that frankincense can aid in inhibiting the production of key inflammatory molecules, helping prevent the breakdown of the cartilage tissue that causes these conditions.17

In addition, Indian frankincense or boswellin, also a member of the Boswellia genus, has been found to significantly reduce inflammation in animal studies. It is actually one of my personal favorites, as I have seen it work well as a natural painkiller for many of my former rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients.

• Colds and respiratory disorders — Frankincense oil can help break up phlegm deposits in your respiratory tract and lungs, and can potentially relieve bronchitis-related congestion.18

• Oral health problems — The antiseptic qualities of this oil can help prevent bad breath, cavities, toothaches, mouth sores and other infections.19

• Digestive disorders — Frankincense oil can help speed up the secretion of gastric juices, bile and acids, and help stimulate peristaltic motion to allow food to move properly through your intestines.20

• Uterine health — Frankincense oil regulates estrogen production in women and helps reduce the risk of post-menopause tumor or cyst formation in the uterus (uterine cancer). It also regulates the menstrual cycle of premenopausal women.21

Frankincense is also being studied for its potential to treat cancer. Scientists have observed that there’s an agent in this oil that may help stop cancer from spreading.22

How to Make Frankincense Oil

Frankincense oil is made by steam-distilling the raw resin. When buying frankincense oil, make sure that you only choose 100 percent pure essential oil of the highest quality.

Also, do not confuse frankincense essential oil with fragrance oil. Essential oils come from plants, while fragrance oils are usually artificially created and often contain synthetic chemicals. Although they smell good and are typically less expensive, fragrance oils do not give you the therapeutic benefits of organic essential oils.23

How Does Frankincense Oil Work?

The effects and benefits of frankincense oil can be acquired by applying it topically, inhaling it using a diffuser or vaporizer or ingesting it in very small amounts.24 For pain relief, simply massage the oil onto the affected areas. Meanwhile, using a diffuser or inhaler works for treating colds and clearing up respiratory blockages. You can also sprinkle a few drops on a clean cloth and inhale the scent or add it to your bathwater for a rejuvenating soak.25

Frankincense oil can be directly applied to the skin or blended with other carrier oils such as jojoba or sweet almond oil.

Is Frankincense Oil Safe?

Yes, frankincense is generally safe. However, I advise doing a spot test first, to check if you have any sensitivity to this oil. When taking frankincense oil internally, it’s best to dilute a drop in an edible carrier oil (like coconut oil), a teaspoon of honey or a glass of purified water or any non-acidic, non-dairy beverage.26 You can also put a drop or two under your tongue.27 However, ingesting this oil is not recommended for children ages 6 and below. Older children and teens may also require higher dilutions.



Center for Environmental Health Releases Official List Of Shampoos That Cause Cancer

Good evening. Check your showers for any of these shampoos!

It seems like every day that a new study is released showing a correlation between our daily household goods and cancer causing ingredients. The use of carcinogenic ingredients in manufacturing is on the rise, and they are finding their way into our homes in unexpected places.

When you read this story about the latest detection of cancer-causing ingredients in something you use every day, you will have to tell all your friends.

A study on soaps and shampoos conducted by the Center for Environmental Health, based in Oakland, California, discovered that your shampoo could be deadly. In fact, the study concluded that 98 of the included products contained a potential carcinogen called cocamide diethanolamine (cocamide DEA). California listed cocamide DEA as a known carcinogen in 2012 under its Prop 65 law, which requires warning labels on consumer products containing carcinogens or reproductive toxicants.

Michael Green, the executive director of CEH, stated that, “Most people believe that products sold in major stores are tested for safety, but consumers need to know that they could be doused with a cancer-causing chemical every time they shower or shampoo. We expect companies to take swift action to end this unnecessary risk to our children’s and families’ health.”

The dirt on toxic chemicals in household cleaning products

Evening everyone. This next article was one of my "go to" articles until I carried our "did you know" brochure. It's a resource guide of products to avoid!

Canadians spend more than $275 million on household cleaning products in a year. We buy these products to fight germs, streaks, stains and odours to keep our homes sparkling clean. Cleaning is supposed to be about maintaining a healthy home, yet some common household cleaning products contain chemicals that can harm human health and the environment. What a mess.

Acute and chronic effects

You're probably familiar with the hazard symbols that appear on some cleaning products, along with word like "poison", "corrosive" or "irritant."

These hazard symbols warn consumers about acute health hazards associated with a single or short-term exposure to chemicals in the product.

But there is no parallel requirement in Canada for manufacturers to warn consumers about the health and environmental hazards associated with chronic, or long-term, exposure to chemical ingredients in household cleaning products. Most of us are exposed to cleaning products and their residues at low levels on a daily basis.

When we use these chemicals to clean our home, they linger in the air and we breathe them in. Researchers in the U.S. identified 133 unique volatile organic compounds (VOCs) emitted from a small sample of consumer products, including six cleaning products. Each product tested emitted between one and eight chemicals classified as toxic or hazardous under U.S. federal laws 

Chemicals in cleaning products can also enter our bodies by absorption through the skin or through ingestion of household dust and chemical residues left on dishes and cutlery. And when cleaning products are flushed down the drain, they can have a serious impact on aquatic ecosystems. 

There is no regulatory requirement for ingredients to be listed on the label in a consistent format, so it can be hard to identify chemicals of concern. Here's the dirt on some hazards that may be hiding in your cleaning closet:

2-Butoxyethanol (2-BE, also known as butyl cellosolve)

A skin and eye irritant also associated with blood disorders. In laboratory experiments, exposure to high doses of 2-BE has been shown to cause reproductive problems. This chemical is listed as a toxic substance under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act on the basis that it is harmful to human health. Health Canada identified indoor air and skin contact with cleaning products as the main pathways of exposure. Regulations limit the concentration of 2-BE in most household cleaners to 5 or 6 per cent, but higher concentrations are permitted in other products, notably and laundry stain removers (up to 22 per cent).

Found inglass cleaners, laundry stain removers, carpet cleaners, automobile cleaners, windshield wiper fluid, degreasers, oven cleaners, and rust removers.


Vapours may irritate the skin, eyes, throat, and lungs. People with asthma may be particularly sensitive to the effects of breathing ammonia. Ammonia may also cause kidney and liver damage. While ammonia also occurs naturally, the use of cleaning products containing this substance can result in higher levels of exposure to vapours than from natural sources. If ammonia is mixed with products containing chlorine bleach (sodium hypochlorite), highly poisonous chloramine gas is formed. 

Found inwindow cleaners, drain cleaners, toilet cleaners, bathroom cleaners, oven cleaners, stainless-steel cleaners, car polish, and all-purpose cleaners.

Coal tar dyes

Derived from petrochemicals, and may be contaminated with trace amounts of heavy metals like arsenic, cadmium and lead. There is concern that synthetic dyes may cause cancer and that heavy metals can harm the nervous system and cause other adverse health effects. Dyes in cleaning products can be absorbed through the skin or ingested in the case of soap residue on dishes. They are completely unnecessary to the cleaning function of the product.

Found inmost types of cleaning products.

MEA (monoethanalomine), DEA (diethanolamine), TEA (triethanolamine)

Can react with nitrites to form carcinogenic nitrosamines. Nitrites may be present as preservatives or contaminants in other products, or in some water sources. These ethoxylated alcohols may also be contaminated with 1,4-dioxane, a possible human carcinogen that is persistent in the environment. 1,4-dioxane can be removed during the manufacturing process, but there is no easy way to know if that has occured. DEA is a mild skin and severe eye irritant. MEA is known to induce asthma in workplace settings. 

Found inliquid laundry detergents, all-purpose cleaners, floor cleaners, car wash products, degreasers, dishes soap, oven cleaners, and glass and surface cleaners.

Fragrance chemicals

More than 3000 chemicals are used in fragrance mixtures. Many are irritants and can trigger allergies, migraines, and asthma symptoms. In addition, synthetic musks used in detergents build up in the environment and can be toxic to aquatic organisms. Certain synthetic musks are also suspected endocrine disrupters that mimic or interfere with the function of hormones. Phthalates are another common fragrance ingredient in products such as laundry detergents, fabric softeners and deodorizers. Glass cleaners and floor polishes have also been found to contain dibutyl phthalate (DBP). Phthalates are suspected endocrine disrupters associated with reproductive effects, including reduced sperm count in men. The European Union classifies DBP as very toxic to aquatic organisms. Under the Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment of the North-East Atlantic, DBP is listed as a Chemical for Priority Action. Air fresheners contain a potpourri of fragrance chemicals, in some cases including cancer-causing benzene and formaldehyde, as well as phthalates and numerous VOCs. See also...

Found inmost types of cleaning products.

Nonylphenol ethoxylates (NPEs)

Degrade into nonylphenols (NPs), which can mimic the hormone estrogen. In laboratory experiments, NP has been shown to stimulate the growth of human breast cancer cells and cause adverse reproductive effects in fish and other aquatic organisms. Several chemicals in this class are listed as toxic substances under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act. Environment Canada required companies to develop plans to reduce NPEs in cleaning products (as well as textiles and pulp and paper products) by 95 per cent by the end of 2010, but stopped short of banning these chemicals. As of July 2010, only 63 per cent of manufacturing facilities subject to the planning requirement had met the target, although the use of these chemicals in products has declined significantly.

Found inliquid laundry detergents, stain removers, all-purpose cleaners, air fresheners, toilet bowl cleaners, degreasers, and car wash products.


Function as a fertilizer in water. High concentrations of phosphates in bodies of water can promote harmful algal blooms and increase weed growth. This can cause oxygen levels in the water to decline, potentially killing fish. Excess algal growth a can also plug filtration devices at water treatment facilities and affect the taste and odor of the water, resulting increased costs of water purification. Certain algae blooms produce chemicals that are toxic to animals and people who drink the water. New regulations took effect in 2010 that limit phosphorus concentration in household cleaning products to 0.5 per cent — a big improvement. But why not opt for phosphate-free brands?

Found indishwasher detergents, laundry detergents, and bathroom cleaners.

Quaternary Ammonium Compounds (Quats)

Irritants and sensitizers that can induce an allergic response following contact with the skin. Quats are also known to cause occupational asthma in cleaning workers and preliminary evidence indicates they may cause adverse genetic and reproductive effects. Chemicals in this class are persistent in the environment and toxic to aquatic organisms. Like triclosan, quats are anti-microbial agents and there is concern that their widespread use in household disinfectants and cosmetics is contributing to antibiotic resistant bacteria, thus limiting treatment options for microbial infections. The Canadian Medical Association has called for a ban on antibacterial consumer products.

Found inbathroom cleaning products, all-purpose cleaners, fabric softeners, and degreasers.

Silica powder

Rated by the International Agency for Research on Cancer as a known human carcinogen. This natural ingredient (made from finely ground quartz) is hazardous as a dust if inhaled.

Found inabrasive cleaning powders.

Sodium dichloroisocyanurate dihydrate

Corrosive; severe eye, skin and respiratory irritant. It can also form chlorine gas, which will burn the eyes, nose and mouth. Studies have found that high doses of this chemical cause kidney damage. In its concentrated form, this chemical is very toxic to aquatic organisms and may cause long-term effects in aquatic ecosystems.

Found intoilet bowl cleaners, deodorizers, surface cleaners, and disinfectants

Sodium hydroxide (also known as lye and caustic soda) 

Highly corrosive; can burn the eyes, skin and lungs and is a respiratory irritant. Long-term exposure in the air may lead to ulceration of the nasal passages and chronic skin irritation. If discharged in large quantities, sodium hydroxide can alter the pH of water. In 2005, a large spill of concentrated sodium hydroxide in the Cheakamus River canyon, north of Squamish, B.C., killed virtually all the fish in the river.

Found inoven cleaners, bathroom cleaners, disinfectants, drain openers, and toilet bowl cleaners

Sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) and sodium laureth sulfate (SLES)

Sodium lauryl sulfate is a skin irritant and Environment Canada's preliminary categorization of this chemical indicates that it may be toxic to the environment. Sodium laureth sulfate is the "ethoxylated" form of this chemical, which is less harsh. However, the process of ethoxylation can leave behind traces of 1,4-dioxane, a possible human carcinogen that is persistent in the environment (see also DEA, MEA, TEA). 

Found indish soap, liquid laundry detergents, cleaning towelettes, and toilet bowl cleaners (as well as sudsy cosmetics).


Toxic and a suspected endocrine disrupter that can mimic or interfere with the function of hormones. The European Union classifies triclosan as irritating to the skin and eyes, and as very toxic to aquatic organisms, noting that it may cause long-term adverse effects in the aquatic environment. Triclosan can also react in the environment to form dioxins, which bioaccumulate and are toxic. Triclosan is an anti-microbial agent and there is concern that its extensive use in consumer products is contributing to antibiotic-resistant bacteria, thus limiting treatment options for microbial infections. The Canadian Medical Association has called for a ban on antibacterial consumer products.

Found indish soaps and disinfectants, as well as a wide range of other household products. Look for it listed as an "active ingredient" in antibacterial products

Trisodium nitrilotriacetate

Rated by the International Agency for Research on Cancer as a possible human carcinogen. In an assessment of nitrilotriacetic acid (NTA), a related chemical that is analytically identical in solution, Health Canada concluded that the concentrations of NTA/trisodium nitrilotriacetate in drinking water are low enough that they don't constitute a danger in Canada to human health when ingested. The problem is that individually small doses add up in the environment and contribute to our overall toxic burden. In aquatic ecosystems, trisodium nitrilotriacetate can also cause heavy metals in sediment to redisolve and many of these metals are toxic to fish and other wildlife. 

Found inbathroom cleaners and possibly some laundry detergents (more common in industrial formulations).


ATSDR. 2002. "ToxFAQsTM: Sodium Hydroxide."

ATSDR. 2004. "ToxFAQsTM: Ammonia."

ATSDR. 2011. "ToxFAQsTM: 2-Butoxyethanol." Toxic Substances Portal.

B.C. Ministry of Environment. "CN Rail — Cheakamus River Sodium Hydroxide Spill." Environmental Emergency Management Program.

Burrows, Mae, Sean Griffin, and Larry Stoffman. 2009. Cleaners and Toxins Guide. Toxic Free Canada.

Canada. 2006. 2-Butoxyethanol Regulations.

Canada. 2009. Regulations Amending the Phosphorus Concentration Regulations.

Environment Canada. 2010. "2010 Progress Report — P2 Planning and Nonylphenol and Ethoxylates in Products." Pollution and Waste.

Environment Canada, and Health Canada. 2001. Priority Substances List Assessment Report: Nonylphenol and Its Ethoxylates.

Environment Canada. 2010. Assessment Report for Glycine, N,N-bis(carboxymethyl)-.

Environmental Working Group. 2008. "EPA Proposes Roll-back of Food Safety Standards at Request of Pesticide Manufacturer."

Environmental Working Group. "Sodium Lauryl Sulfate." Skin Deep Cosmetics Database.

European Parliament and Council. 2009. Regulation on Classification, Labelling and Packaging of Substances and Mixtures.

Foundation for Water Research. "Toxic Algal Blooms in Drinking Water Resevoirs."

Gorman, Alexandra. 2007. Houshold Hazards: Potential Hazards of Home Cleaning Products. Women's Voices for the Earth.

Hegstad, K, S Langsrud, BT Lunestad, AA Scheie, M Sunde, and SP Yazdankhah. 2010. "Does the Wide Use of Quaternary Ammonium ... [Microb Drug Resist. 2010] — PubMed — NCBI." Microb Drug Resist. 16 (2) (June): 91-104.

Labour Environmental Alliance Society. "Toxins in Household Products."

Renner, Rebecca. 2002. "From Triclosan to Dioxin." Environmental Science & Technology 36 (11) (June 1): 230A.

Santa Cruz Biotechnology, Ltd. "Sodium Dichloroisocyanurate Dihydrate Material Safety Data Sheet."

Steinemann, A, I MacGregor, S Gordon, L Gallagher, A Davis, D Ribeiro, and L Wallace. 2011. "Fragranced Consumer Products: Chemicals Emitted, Ingredients Unlisted." Environmental Impact Assessment Review 31 (3) (April): 328-333. doi:10.1016/j.eiar.2010.08.002.

Steinman, David, and Samuel Epstein. 1995. The Safe Shopper's Bible. New York: Macmillan.

US EPA. 2011. The Inside Story: Indoor Air. US EPA.

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PS: If your wondering what the "did you know" brochure is be sure to attend one of my workshops and find out!