All essential oils are antiseptic, although this quality is more pronounced in some oils than in others. This means that essential oils make excellent antiseptic washes for cleaning out wounds, foot baths, douches and gargles. Each of these categories uses different essential oils in different ways and in varying amounts, according to the condition to be treated. Therefore you need to make sure that you do not confuse the different types of antiseptic washes.
Types of antiseptic wash
• To clean wounds, make an antiseptic wash as follows: take a bowl of warm to hot water, sprinkle in 5—6 drops of essential oil and mix thoroughly. Use cotton wool pads dipped in the wash to gently clean the wound and carefully remove dirt particles and blood.
• To treat chilblains, athletes foot and verrucas, and to help improve circulation in the feet and lower legs, make a foot bath. You can purchase specialized foot spas that whirl he water around or use a bowl large enough to take both feet comfortably. Fill with sufficient water to cover the feet and then add 6—7 drops of essential oil, mixing thoroughly before immersing the feet in the water.
• To treat vaginal thrush and cystitis, make up an antiseptic douche and local wash. The delicate membrane lining the vagina means that you must use only a small amount of essential oils. Mix 6 drops of essential oil in 5 ml (1 tsp) of vodka and add this to 500 ml (17 fI ot) of boiled and cooled water. Shake well each time before use.
• Never use essential oils near or in the eyes. Rose and cornflower waters may be used to make eye compresses, and chamomile infusions as a wash to
treat eye infections such as conjunctivitis. Place a chamomile teabag in boiling water and allow the chamomile tea to cool. Remove the teabag and then use the infusion to wash out the eyes.
• To treat sore throats, use gargles. To make a gargle, put 1—2 drops of essential oil in a cup of warm water and mix thoroughly. Gargle with this mixture for a few minutes, then spit it out.