I'm on a journey to find health and happiness through a more holistic and green lifestyle.

I find the world to be abrasive. =) That is to say, I feel the need to armor myself, physically and emotionally, in order to face life. Don't we all? Maybe. For whatever reason, it has become a priority in my life to rid my immediate environment of irritating things. And I'm sensitive! So there is much work to be done. But. I have thought for a long time that the things I come in contact with every day, and the stuff used to clean and maintain these things, need to be gentle and non-toxic. I have had eczema my entire life. For a long time I just dealt with it, and accepted that sometimes it's bad, and sometimes it's not, and that it will fluctuate a lot. Gradually over time I have come to find that certain things, fabrics, cleansers, materials, are more irritating to my skin than others. Stress can exacerbate it. In more recent times, I have realized that every aspect of my life improves when I improve conditions for my skin. Hah! What a concept! Thus my (long time) interest in going green, and my more recent desire to live a more holistic lifestyle. (I think I've felt a desire for a long time to live in a harmonious way with myself, my surroundings, and nature, but didn't have a name for it.) Anyhow, this blog is a journal of my trials and errors, and basic crooked path to find a balanced and peaceful existence for myself and my family. Thanks for your interest! I would love to hear your thoughts and ideas!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Essential Oils - Illness Caused By The Oils

For months, I have been trying to figure out what causes me to feel so lousy while I am home.

When in or near my kitchen, I sneeze. And sneeze and sneeze. And get congested. And my ears get plugged up. Sometimes my throat gets scratchy. And I get (minor) headaches. And terrible sinus pressure. Something in this kitchen is incompatible with me!

So over the last several months, I have gradually tried to figure out what is causing the problem. I move slowly, as I'm a stay-home mom with two young kids. Other things are prioritized, most of the time! Anyhow, I have tried to figure out what the newer items are in my environment. Those include soap nuts (maybe a year now?), and essential oils (several months.) My friend suggested that the multiple computer components and printer in the kitchen may be "outgassing" and causing some of the problem. We also got two cats. (about 2 months ago)

Soap nuts: I did a trial of testing the soap nuts some months ago. I removed them from the house, and for a couple of months, used other methods for cleaning our clothes. I still sneezed. I brought them back into the house.

Computer components: I removed everything from the kitchen but my lap top.

Cats: The cats are everywhere in our house except for the bedroom. While I wouldn't doubt that they contribute to my sneezles, I don't seem to have the problem upstairs. Just around the kitchen.

Essential Oils: Sighs. When I'm near my bag that held the EOs, I sneeze. But I so wanted it to be something else that I testing every other thing first. But facts are facts. When I apply certain EOs to myself or my kids, I sneeze. And sneeze. And sneeze.

Last week we went on vacation. Upon our departure I was feeling so lousy that I really looked forward to a week outside of our house, and the much desired return to feeling healthy that I hoped that would bring. I left feeling sinusy, exhausted ALL the time, and depressed. I was also premenstrual, but I hadn't felt that crummy, even premenstrual, in years. I felt AWFUL. So off we went. For most of the week, I cycled through periods of feeling exhausted. I was MOODY. I never felt the internal thrill that comes with going on vacation. Going to the beach was a burden, not a joy. What the heck was wrong with me??

I realized pretty quickly that I had brought my problem with me on vacation. At least in part. I finally took the bag that contained my EOs out to the car. And the soap nuts that I had brought went out, too. It didn't do enough to help the vacation at that point, but as soon as I returned home, I took all of the oils from my bag and from the shelf in my kitchen, and closed them up tight in a plastic container. I stuck them in the laundry room.

And I'm feeling much better. MUCH better. Yes, I do sneeze a bit when I first come downstairs in the morning. I chalk that up, probably, to cat hair. But my nose is not congested. My sinuses aren't swollen. I have no headache, no sore throat, and my mood is much better! I'm still waiting a day or two to see if the bouts of exhaustion settle down. But so far, so good. I'm always tired. That comes with the territory. But it had gotten to the point where I was having trouble functioning.

EOs are as different as the plants they come from, so I know, of course, that I am not allergic to all of them. I own, currently, somewhere between 10-15 different oils. That's 10-15 different plant extracts I have brought in to my home in a very concentrated form. Wow, how's that for an allergy test? Total submersion. So I guess the next step is to try them out one at a time. Now I know there are some that cause me to sneeze immediately. Bergamot, for one. And that is most unfortunate, as I credit Bergamot oil for helping me to wean off of steroid creams in my battle against eczema. I also believe Lavender causes the sneezles for me. But I'll know for sure over the coming weeks as I test them.

But boy am I glad to be feeling better. Phew.


  1. Oh that is SUCH a bummer! It seems like we use EOs for everything! Hope you can find some that don't bother you!

  2. It IS a bummer. I know that there are some that don't bother me. Peppermint, for one, which is one of my favorites. It's just a matter of isolating out the ones that bother me. =(