I love walking into the candle isle during the holidays, closing my eyes, and breathing in the holiday season all at once. Candle companies often come out with seasonal scents such as Peppermint, Gingerbread, Warm Vanilla, and my personal favorite, Christmas Tree. Unfortunately, companies often use artificial fragrances which can be toxic to the body and have even been referred to as “slow poison” (1,2,3). A study using mice and commercial colognes found that side effects of inhaling fragrances included sensory irritation, pulmonary irritation, decrease in expiratory airflow velocity, and possible indications of neurotoxicity (3). Clear the air this holiday season and try replacing artificial fragrance with essential oils.
Essential oils are made by a process called “distillation,” where oils are extracted from a plant. They can be used either topically or by inhalation for therapeutic effects (4). I used to wonder if essential oils were really worth the price until I had the opportunity to distill clove oil myself. Four hours later and hardly any product, I soon discovered why they are pricier than the average scented lotion or candle. Essential oils are potent and last a long time, so you don’t need to use much. Just a few drops in a diffusor can fill your space with an amazing aroma. To get you in the holiday spirit, pair together oils with citrus and spice scents, such as orange and clove or tangerine and cinnamon. Not sure which oils to blend to create that perfect holiday smell? We’ve got you covered with these festive combinations (5).
5 drops ginger
4 drops clove
2 drops nutmeg
2 drops cinnamon
#2 Cozy by the Fire
3 drops cinnamon
2 drops sweet orange
1 drop clove
1 drop nutmeg
#3 Christmas Tree
6 drops fir
3 drops spruce
1 drop orange
2 drops nutmeg
#4 Spiced Cider
5 drops ginger
4 drops orange
1 drop cinnamon
In addition to diffusing oils, you can also use them topically as a personal fragrance alternative. Before you go crazy, take it from me, applying oils straight on the skin can be dangerous. I will never forget the first time I put straight peppermint on my face before I went to bed, it was a long, cold, and painful night. Some oils are dangerous to use topically and all topical oils should be cut with a carrier oil (an oil you use to mix and dilute). Always do your research before using oils, but once you start using them you may never go back.
1) Patel S. Fragrance compounds: The wolves in sheep’s clothing. Med Hypotheses. 2017;102:106-111.
2) Polanska A, Silny W, Czarnecka-Operacz M, Jenerowicz D. Allergic and toxic reaction caused by fragrances – a case report. Postepy Dermatologii i Alergologii. 2010; 27(6):511.
3) Anderson RC, Anderson JH. Acute toxic effects of fragrance products. Arch Environ Health. 1998;53(2):138-46.
4) Essential Oils. Aisle 7. Accessed November 7, 2017.
5) Timm A. 20 Holiday Essential Oil Diffuser Recipes That Will Fill Your Home with Cheer. Keeper of the Home. https://www.keeperofthehome.org/20-holiday-essential-oil-diffuser-recipes-will-fill-home-cheer/. Accessed November 7, 2017.
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This information is not intended as a substitute for the advice provided by your physician or other healthcare professional or any information contained on or in any product label or packaging. Do not use the information from this article for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease, or prescribing medication or other treatment. Always speak with your physician or other healthcare professional before taking any medication or nutritional, herbal or homeopathic supplement, or using any treatment for a health problem. If you have or suspect that you have a medical problem, contact your health care provider promptly. Do not disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking professional advice because of something you have read in this article.