Open an alternative health magazine, read the signs in the windows of a spa or health food store, check out the website of your local health practice – chances are you’ll see “Detoxifying” treatments offered – from foot baths to FAR infrared saunas, through to cleansing diets and aromatherapy massage. Every culture features traditional practices that help our human bodies detoxify – sweat lodges and saunas, cleansing fasts and herbal teas, hot springs and mud baths

These traditions build on the ways our bodies already work to detoxify. Our bodies continuously eliminate toxins through our digestive, urinary, integumentary (skin), circulatory, respiratory, and lymphatic systems. Traditional detoxification treatments are designed to enhance these built-in mechanisms. It seems that human beings have always sought out and devised ways to cleanse the body of unwanted by-products of foods, especially cooked and smoked foods, the remnants of stress and fatigue, occasional encounters with natural toxins, and sporadic bouts of deliberate intoxication such as that caused by fermented beverages and other substances such as narcotics.

We are designed to process toxins that are naturally occurring, but since the 20th century, human bodies are increasingly bombarded with new toxins from denatured foods and drinks, regular use of intoxicants such as alcohol, pesticides, cigarettes and herbicides, petroleum by-products, air, and water pollutants. Fatigue, constipation, gas, bad breath, low immunity, hormone imbalances, menstrual, menopausal and fertility problems, skin problems, poor circulation, mood swings, depression, frequent infections and mucus build-up all can be signs that the body needs extra help to detoxify.

Like herbs, essential oils can be potent plant helpers in the detoxification process. Traditions correctly identify detoxifying plants and quite a few appear regularly in our diets and folk remedies such as lemon, grapefruit, apple cider vinegar, ginger, bitter greens and hot peppers. Detoxifying foods need not be taken as essential oils; in fact, never ingest an essential oil unless prescribed by a licensed medical practitioner. You can take a tablespoon of lemon juice in warm water each morning to help the liver detoxify, for instance, and it is neither necessary nor advisable to use a few drops of the essential oil instead.

The body eliminates up to 1 pound of waste products every day through the skin. It makes good sense to keep the skin open and able to release waste products efficiently. Perspiring has many functions, chief among them the elimination of waste, so it makes sense to exercise daily, use deodorants instead of antiperspirants and enjoy sauna and steam baths whenever you can. In fact, the body relies on a simple exercise like walking half an hour a day in order to circulate lymph in the lower half of the body. Brushing the skin of the whole body towards the heart from bottom to top is a simple practice that removes dead skin cells and increases lymphatic circulation. Using a salt or sugar scrub in the same way, then soaking in a bath in the dissolved scrub is also beneficial.



A note about citrus essential oils: All are detoxifying, but as a rule, none should be worn on the skin in daylight because they may be sun sensitizing.

Remember the ancient rule of thumb “as above, so below” – botanicals that help rid the body of toxins also help dispel negative thoughts and emotions. Most importantly, take the opportunity of a self-directed detoxification program in order to thoroughly enjoy yourself – the taste of clean water, the textures, and colors of fresh foods, the satisfaction of moving the body, and the sensory delights of homemade essential oil treatments. When it comes to toxins, the rule is: Reduce, Relax, Refresh and Relish!





Use this blend to help detoxify your skin and body and reduce cellulite. Be careful when rinsing this off in the tub, as it can make things slippery!

Juniper Berry Essential Oil 4 drops
Pink Grapefruit Essential Oil 4 drops
Angelica Root Essential Oil 2 drops
Carrier Oil of your choice 20 mL / 4 t.


  1. Mix the ingredients.
  2. Massage the targeted area with firm strokes to activate and encourage lymphatic circulation. You can also use a cellulite roller available at body-care shops.


  1. Use fractionated coconut as your carrier oil for a no-scent, no-stain option.
  2. You can blend a larger quantity and keep in a dark amber glass bottle to use as needed.

Caution: It is possible that these blends may cause sensitivities; their recommended use is in dilution (no more than 1 -3 drops for children, and 4-7 drops for an adult’s full-body treatment) and not as a replacement for traditional medicine.






Essential Oils

(Tangerine, Lemon, Lime, Grapefruit, Orange, Juniper Berry, and Cypress recommended)

30 drops in total

Approximately 4 drops of each oil

Carrier Oil

(such as: Almond, Grape Seed, Sesame, or Hemp)

2 tbsp (30 mL)



  1. Add the essential oils to the carrier oil.
  2. Mix in a glass bottle, and use ASAP.
  3. Select essential oils that you enjoy and that detoxify the systems of the body that you need to work on most urgently. Try new combinations without regard to convention, and switch blends every two weeks in order to maintain effectiveness and prevent sensitization.

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