When it comes to health, nature provides. For thousands of years Humans have harnessed the power of nature to improve their health – whether it be using Ginger Root to boost immunity or Tea Tree Oil for treating skin conditions. So why has nature been so underutilised when it comes to cleaning? Apart from the odd lemon juice or white wine vinegar recipe, cleaning has been slow to capitalise on the cleaning benefits of natural ingredients used in the health and cosmetic industries. Here are just some of the hundreds natural extracts and oils used in ALKIMI that could help you keep your home clean, without the need for harsh or toxic chemicals.
The first recorded mention of Ginger root appears in the writings of Confucius in the 5th century BC. Since then Ginger has been cultivated all over the world, from the Far East to South America, and has been used medicinally for thousands of years. Traditionally used in both Chinese and Western medicine to stimulate appetite, calm the stomach, and treat nausea and motion sickness. More recent studies have found that Ginger Root shows anti-bacterial and anti-fungal benefits.
Tea Tree Oil
Tea Tree Oil was first ‘discovered’ by Captain James Cook on his famous around the world expedition in the 1770’s. His expedition party made tea from brewing the leaves of the Melaleuca Alternifolia tree after landing in Australia’s Botany Bay. Cook’s crew initially used tea tree leaves to prevent scurvy, but after observing aboriginal Australians who had used the oil to treat wounds for centuries, Tea Tree Oil quickly became widely used as a natural antiseptic. Right up until the Second World War, Australian Soldiers used Tea Tree Oil to treat wounds. With the discovery and proliferation of penicillin, the use of natural antiseptics went into decline. However, Tea Tree Oil is still used in a variety of applications, including treatments for skin infections and cosmetics, as it possesses anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-viral properties.
This grass is native to the Tropics of Africa, South East Asia, and Oceania where is has been used for centuries for its medical, cosmetic, and culinary benefits. In India and China lemongrass was widely used to make ‘fever tea’ to treat fever, upset stomachs, menstruation cramps, and skin infections. In the West, Lemongrass Essential Oil has been found to exhibit analgesic, anti-bacterial, anti-microbial, and anti-viral properties and is used in a wide number of applications including; relieving joint and muscle pain, treating headaches, as an antiseptic for wounds, improving digestion, to treat skin infections, and as a natural de-odourant.
Similarly to most citrus fruits, orange oil is anti-septic, anti-bacterial, and anti-microbial. Orange essential oil is also a great natural cleaner and is fantastic at cutting through grease. Used in traditional folk medicines throughout the Mediterranean, India, and China. Orange Oil scent is incredibly popular and has been used for centuries around the world for its therapeutic benefits. It’s anti-septic, degreasing, and fragrance qualities make Orange Oil a fantastic ingredient for natural household cleaning products.
Clove gets its name from the French word ‘clou’ meaning nail – due to its physical appearance. Believed to originate from the Malucca Islands in Indonesia it is one of the oldest traded spices -Cloves were discovered on ship wrecks as far back as 1721 BC! Cloves were brought to the attention of Western Society by Dutch Colonialists in the 1600’s. As well as flavouring food, cloves were used in dentistry to numb the mouth and disinfect the gums up until the twentieth century. Clove oil is a strong anti-septic and anti-fungal and can be used in various medical applications, as well as around the home to inhibit moulds and deter insects.
First cultivated in Egypt and the Middle-East, Anise spread to Europe for its medicinal value. In biblical times Anise was so valuable that it was used to pay taxes in Palestine. Anise was used throughout the ancient Roman and Greek civilisations to aid digestion and was often baked in cakes that were served towards the end of Wedding ceremonies. Anise oil is used to kill lice and other insects and is a powerful anti-bacterial, although it can be harmful if not properly diluted or applied to broken skin.
Much like Tea Tree Oil, the wonders of the Eucalyptus tree came to the attention of Western Settlers to Australia through observing how the Aborigines used the leaves, referred to as ‘kino’, to treat all number of wounds. Eucalyptus quickly became widely used in Western Society as an anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, decongestant, deodorant, and antiseptic. As well as numerous medical and therapeutic applications, Eucalyptus is widely used as a key ingredient in many eco-friendly cleaning solvents and as a natural de-odouriser and insect repellent.
Grapefruit Seed Extract
Grapefruit Seed Extract (GSE) is an oil produced by grinding the seeds, membrane, and juiceless pulp of the grapefruit. Unlike most of the ingredients on this list, GSE has not been around for millennia, or even centuries. First developed by Jacob Harich in 1972, the anti-bacterial, anti-viral, and anti-fungal benefits of GSE were soon championed by many in the cosmetic industry. Research into the properties of Grapefruit Seed Extract is ongoing, but studies have found that it appears to be an effective treatment for candida, earache, and fungal skin conditions like athletes foot. When diluted with water, Grapefruit Seed Extract works well as a general disinfectant on household surfaces.
There are differing theories on how the Bergamot fruit got its name. Some believe it is derived from the Turkish for ‘the king’s pear’ others state it is named after the Italian town of Bergamo, where the fruit was extensively cultivated and sold. Historically Bergamot was used in Italian folk medicine to treat malaria, as a general anti-septic, and to reduce fever. Bergamot oil is also used in Ayurveda medicine as a general anti-septic to sooth sores, acne, and rashes. Bergamot Essential Oil possesses anti-bacterial, fungal, and anti-viral properties.
Mint gets its name from the Greek mythical character Menthe, a river nymph who was turned into a plant by the goddess Persephone when her husband Hades fell in love with her. The Ancient Greeks used the herb to clean their banqueting tables and added it to their baths. Today, mint oil is used in toothpastes, shower gels, and medicines for its antibacterial and cooling qualities. Still used the world over to sooth mild burns as well as treat numerous ailments from the common cold to heartburn and skin irritation.