Greening Our Schools:
Reach for All-Nautural Hand Sanitizers
By Lawrence Rosen, M.D.
It’s back-to-school time, and many schools are undertaking green initiatives to support the environment and children’s health. My children's elementary school has a club called the "Planet Protectors” which toured the Deirdre Imus Environmental Health Center last spring as part of our “GreeningYourSchool” initiative. As a follow-up for Earth Day, I was asked to teach the fourth graders (of which my son is one) about environmental health issues. But what was I going to do for 35 minutes with groups of 9 and 10 year olds? I thought about what would be important and meaningful to them, something they could take away with them to impact their lives.
After learning that all the classrooms were stocked with a top-brand hand sanitizer, I decided I would devote most of the session working with them to make our own "green" formula. We discussed the problem with alcohol-based cleaners, most of which also contain chemicals that are potentially endocrine-disrupting, neurotoxic and carcinogenic. The labels on many actually state in bold letters: "Keep out of reach of children." Equipped with water, aloe vera and a handful of essential oils, we mixed our own spray bottles with great-smelling, non-toxic hand sanitizers. The kids loved the hands-on aspect, and that now -- armed with the knowledge that they could make something so much better for them and for the environment -- they could go home and teach their parents.
I think they especially got into the story of the recipe I used for our mixture -- the infamous "Thieves" blend popularized by Young Living Essential Oils. This brew of lemon, cinnamon, clove, rosemary and eucalyptus oils is rumored to have been used by a band of thieves in the Middle Ages who robbed victims of the Black Plague and lived to tell the tale. They were apprehended, though, and confessed their secret to King James, and the legend was born. In fact, studies have shown the Thieves blend (and the individual oils) to have potent anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties.
Which brings us to this oft-quoted parable regarding the circular nature of medicine:
2000 B.C. "Here, eat this root."
A.D. 1000 "That root is heathen. Here, say this prayer."
A.D. 1850 "That prayer is superstition. Here, drink this potion."
A.D. 1940 "That potion is snake oil. Here, swallow this pill."
A.D. 1985 "That pill is ineffective. Here, take this antibiotic."
A.D. 2000 "That antibiotic doesn't work. Here, eat this root."
Follow These Simple Steps
to Make Your Own Natural Hand Sanitizer
In a small bowl, put one drop each of the following essential oils: cinnamon, clove, rosemary and eucalyptus.
Add five drops of lemon essential oil. Mix in 1 ounce of water and 1/2 teaspoon aloe vera gel (available at pharmacies and health food stores).
Store in an airtight container or a small travel-size bottle.
Essential oils can be purchased online or at health food stores. Alternative:
Instead of purchasing the 5 separate essential oils, use 5 drops of the "Thieves" blend from Young Living Essential Oils (youngliving.com
About Dr. Lawrence Rosen
Dr. Lawrence D. Rosen is a board-certified general pediatrician committed to family-centered, holistic child health care. He recently opened his own private pediatric integrative medical practice -- the Whole Child Center -- in Oradell, NJ. He serves as Medical Advisor to The Deirdre Imus Environmental Health Center ™. Dr. Rosen is a nationally recognized expert in Pediatric Integrative Medicine, acting as Chair of the Integrative Pediatrics Council, a non-profit foundation dedicated to transforming children's health care. Dr. Rosen is also a founding member of the American Academy of Pediatrics Provisional Section on Complementary, Holistic and Integrative Medicine. He is a frequent speaker at both professional and consumer gatherings, discussing topics such as holistic care of the newborn and the integrative management of autism.
Dr. Rosen is a graduate of New York Medical College and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He completed his residency and chief residency in pediatrics at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York and is a Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics.
He recently opened his own private pediatric integrative medical practice -- The Whole Child Center (wholechildcenter.org) -- in Oradell, NJ.
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