Friday, May 22, 2009

The Anti-Bacterial Myth

I thought this would be appropriate to post from my aromatherapy blog since I am currently battling a minor cold...

Originally posted: Wednesday, October 04, 2006
The Anti-bacterial Myth

NaturAromas Newsletter
The Anti-bacterial Myth
September/October 2006
In This Issue

Do You Ever Need An Anti-bacterial?
Recipe: Anti-bacterial Wipes

I am frequently asked whether the soaps I offer are anti-bacterial. The answer is that traditional soaps are naturally anti-bacterial. The belief that added anti-bacterial ingredients, like Triclosan, offer benefits that regular soaps do not is largely the result of marketing.

Several studies have proven that products marketed as anti-bacterial are no more effective than regular soap and water to clean and fight bacteria. Even the FDA has gone on the record saying that anti-bacterial products are a waste of money.
Besides being unnecessary, synthethic anti-bacterials can do more harm than good. According to a recent report from researchers at John Hopkins University, the anti-bacterial chemicals that we send down the drain survive treatment at sewage plants and make their way into the sludge used on agricultural land.

The overreliance on these anti-bacterials, as well as the prevalence of anti- bacterials in the market may actually create the same situation they are designed to prevent.
Bacteria and microbes, like humans, are very adept at adapting. When continually exposed to the same anti-bacterial agents, microbes eventually develop a resistance to its killing effects. This means that over time, the bacteria become stronger and more virulent.

Do You Ever Need An Anti-bacterial?

An anti-bacterial is useful in some situations.
When you are caring for an ill person in your home. Hospitals use anti-bacterials to limit the spread of germs among its patients. Cleaning sick rooms with alcohol is also an effective way to kill bacteria.
When washing with soap and water is not practical or available. If you choose one of the anti-bacterial "hand sanitizers", be sure to keep it on your hands for at least 2 minutes and allow it to dry to increase its effectiveness. Some recommend using an anti-bacterial soap to help control body odor. Other than making you smell extremely perfumey, the anti-bacterial soap won't control body odor any better than traditional soap.

It is important to note that there are many essential oils that contain well researched and proven anti- bacterial and anti-microbial properties. If you prefer to use an antibacterial, using one that relies on natural ingredients is probably a safer bet in the long run. Tea tree oil is probably the strongest anti- bacterial anti-fungal, and anti-microbial essential oil. Other oils high in anti-bacterial properties include patchouli, lavender, eucalyptus, lemon, clove, oregano, black pepper, thyme, bay, sage, lemongrass, bergamot, and peppermint.

Recipe: Anti-bacterial Wipes

This easy recipe for antibacterial wipes is a natural alternative to the chemical laden wipes found in grocery stores. Use them to wipe down counters and other surfaces, and to clean hands or messy little faces. They can even be used as baby wipes!

1/4 cup natural liquid Castile soap
2 cups hot water (aloe vera gel can be substituted if using as baby wipes)
2 teaspoons vinegar
1 roll of good quality paper towels
10 drops lavender essential oil
5 drops rosemary essential oil
5 drops tea tree essential oil

Have handy two containers with tight fitting lids that are large enough to hold the flattened paper towels. Tear off the paper towel sheets and either fold each in half for tougher jobs or tear each paper towel in half and place one in each container for lighter jobs. If folding the paper towel, alternate placing in both containers so that each container contains an equal amount of sheets. If you have a conical shaped container like the one shown in the picture, cut the roll in half, remove the inner cardboard tube and place each roll half in a container.Mix all the other ingredients together in a separate container. Pour half of the mix into each container over the paper towels. Cover tightly and let sit for 24 hours to allow liquid to sink into the paper towels.

1 comment:

AMY said...

Thanks for this post. I will most definitely use this recipe. I am a clean freak but would rather use natural cleaning products. I bet your wipes smell much better too!