The tradition of healing ourselves with natural plant-based remedies is as old as time, itself. For millennia, cultures all over the world have practiced herbal medicine. Many people still believe it’s a much preferable alternative to drugs. Essential oils have been growing in popularity in recent years. They seem to be able to help with everything from migraines to digestion. But are essential oils a good, natural choice for our children? Read on to find out what every mom should know about essential oils.
Even as a small girl I knew I wanted to be one thing—a mom. I mean, sure, I wanted to be a doctor, then a gymnast, then any job that meant I shouted “show me the money” all day just like Jerry McGuire. But I always wanted to be a mom. Let’s face it, who wouldn’t want to be a mom? They rank alongside wizards and dragons in the magical beings category. A gently placed kiss on a boo-boo and expelliarmus! It’s gone. You see—magic! Then you become a mom and realize that with the great powers of healing comes great responsibility. Which basically means worrying about your child’s well-being from the moment of conception onwards.
Most of us hate the idea of filling our kids full of drugs for every headache or sniffle they encounter. This is a big part of why herbal remedies appear very attractive to so many people. One thing that has become very trendy is the use of essential oils. Admittedly, initially, I thought it was all a bit kumbaya for me. “So what, I’ve tried every drug going for this migraine but if I rub some oil on my temples it will disappear?” But when you look into essential oils further, you will realize just how many uses they offer. From aiding in relaxation, preventing hair loss, and even as a natural insect repellent; there is an essential oil for everything.
Although plant-based products may be appealing as an alternative medicine for our kids, there are some things you need to know before using them.
9 Facts Every Mom Should Know About Essential Oils
1. Some essential oils are safe for children and babies.
There are a number of essential oils many people keep at home, but not all are safe to use with children. The book Aromatherapy for Babies and Children by Shirley Price lists 19 essential oils as safe to use for children and babies including:
- Bergamot (Citrus bergamia)
- Cedarwood (Cedrus atlantica)
- Chamomile, Roman (Chamaemelum nobile)
- Cypress (Cupressus sempervirens)
- Frankincense (Boswellia carteri)
- Geranium (Pelargonium graveolens)
- Ginger (Zingiber officinale)
- Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia)
- Lemon (Citrus limon)
- Mandarin (Citrus reticulata)
- Marjoram (Origanum majorana)
- Melaleuca-Tea Tree (Melaleuca alternifolia)
- Orange (Citrus aurantium)
- Rose Otto (Rosa damascena)
- Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis)
- Rosewood (Aniba rosaeodora)
- Sandalwood (Santalum album)
- Thyme (Thumus vulgaris CT linalol)
- Ylang Ylang (Cananga odorata)
2. Essential oils are not really oils.
They do not contain the fatty acids that constitute an actual oil.
3. Most essential oils are high in antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral properties.
This fact makes them a great natural cleaner for your home. If you want to avoid harsh chemicals on surfaces your little ones will be touching, try adding some tea tree, lavender, or eucalyptus oil to your homemade cleaning preparations.
4. Essential oils lift your mood.
Lavender, peppermint, and chamomile all help produce happy, joyous moods. Diffusing them in the air at home is a great way to produce a calming, happy atmosphere for you and your kids.
5. Rosemary essential oil helps your brain perform.
Studies have shown that smelling rosemary oil can make you perform better on tests.
6. Essential oils should never be used undiluted.
Essential oils should be mixed with a carrier oil such as a wax or butter. If you use an essential oil undiluted on the skin, you will likely end up with a nasty reaction.
7. Never use undiluted essential oils on children or babies.
Our kids have much thinner, more sensitive skin than we do. Therefore, it’s important to use an essential oil that is not only safe for children but diluted, often twice as much as you would for an adult.
8. Always patch test for sensitivity.
This should be done with both adults and children. Mix 1 drop of essential oil with ½ tsp of olive oil and rub on the inside of your forearm. Leave it for a few hours and if you experience a rash or itching it is likely you have a sensitivity to that oil.
9. Remember allergies count in essential oils too.
If you have an allergy to sage in food, you will also have an allergy to sage oil. It’s important to avoid any possible allergens, especially with kids.
Though essential oils are produced from natural sources, they should still be used with care and precaution, especially when using them with our children. Remember to always keep them out of the reach of kids to prevent any accidents.
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