More Than Wellness Care

 Essential oils are an organic alternative to traditional products used for gardening and cleaning around the home. Photo courtesy of Michelle Davis.

In addition to the many uses for essential oils for both personal care and in-home use, you might be surprised to learn that essential oils, including doTerra, are quite beneficial when used in gardening.

Using essential oils can help promote healthy plant growth, deter pests and even attract beneficial pollinators to your plants. Applying essential oils in a variety of ways within your garden provides simple, natural solutions for organic gardening needs. If you practice companion planting, essential oils can be used there too. Essential oils are also used as a safe, non-toxic cleaning solution for greenhouses and gardening tools.

To assure plants grow healthy and strong, consider adding essential oils to soil. Make your own essential oil solution for gardening by mixing two to four drops of essential oil with 8 ounces of water. Spray soil at the base of the plant or add to watering can or irrigation system.

Using tea tree essential oils in the soil surrounding the plants can help to promote natural and healthy fungal balance. And cedarwood essential oil has been found to deter slugs and snails. Peppermint essential oil repels mice, aphids, ants, flies and caterpillars. Arborvitae essential oil can be used to deter pests as well.

Other pests that essential oils have proven effective against include:

Chiggers — use geranium, lemongrass, thyme or lavender oils;

Cutworms — thyme oil can help;

Fleas — effective oils include lavender, lemongrass and peppermint;

Mosquitoes — use geranium, lemongrass, lemon eucalyptus and peppermint;

Moths — lavender, peppermint and geranium work well;

Ticks — use lavender, lemongrass or thyme

To prevent mold and root rot in curcubits (pumpkins, zucchini, cucumbers, winter squashes) and tomatoes, mix 20 drops of tea tree oil with approximately 250 ml of water. Add to spray bottle, shake and spray at least two times weekly.

Some essential oils are even attractors to beneficial pollinators. Try this solution to attract bees, hummingbirds and others… mix five to six drops of wild orange oil or combine three drops of spearmint and three drops of lemongrass with 200 ml of water in a spray bottle, shake and spray over plants that need pollination.

For people and pets, bug spray is a necessity during the spring and summer. It is impossible to avoid getting bitten by black flies and mosquitoes when you venture out into your yard or the woods. Once spring has sprung and all through the summer months protecting yourself, your children and pets from biting insects and ticks with essential oils is safe and easy. You can make your own essential oil bug spray using lemon eucalyptus essential oil. It has been listed by the CDC as effective as deet — learn more at treehugger.com/cdc-confirms-lemon-eucalyptus-oil-as-effective-as-deet-4857955.

The onset of spring also brings with it an intuitive desire to deep clean your home. Lemon essential oil is a great one to use in this realm. Cleaning with such essential oils helps to reduce toxic exposure, keeping you, your family and pets safe from artificial scents and other ingredients found to disrupt hormones and irritate the skin, eyes and nose.

Here is a short list of tips for using lemon essential oil for kitchen cleaning…

Microwave: place a glass cup in the microwave with a few drops of water, run microwave, then wipe down. Removes grime and leaves a fresh, clean scent.

Stove top: mix five drops of lemon essential oil with vinegar; combine in spray bottle to wipe away a grease and grime.

Garbage disposal: drip two to three drops of lemon essential oil into the drain, turn on garbage disposal to cleanse away unappealing odor.

Dishwasher: clean away debris and any stuck-on food with warm soapy water and a cloth, then place distilled vinegar into a small bowl add five to 10 drops of lemon essential oil; run dishwater on high. Cleanses away odor and debris leaving your dishwasher looking sparkling clean.

Washing machine: combine a mixture of baking soda, vinegar, lemon essential oil and water in the washer and run on the highest setting. This mixture will clean away residue and mildew. Wipe clean with a sponge after the cycle and run another cycle with hot water to thoroughly rinse away any remaining residue.

If you’re considering using essentials oils in your home and on your pets, it is very important to choose certified-pure, tested-grade essential oils. I follow recommended board-certified veterinarian guidance with my pets and use essential oils only as recommended based on science-backed, published peer-reviewed studies.

Michelle Davis is an esthetician, Reiki practitioner, yoga instructor and owner of Essential Wellness in Keene. To learn more about how to use essential oils, schedule a custom curated package, or to book a spa service, email info@michelledaviswellness.com.