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?
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. There is an essential oil for everything from aiding in relaxation, preventing hair loss, and even as a natural insect repellent.
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.
Many people keep several essential oils 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 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.
5. Rosemary essential oil helps your brain perform.
6. Essential oils applied on the skin 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 safe for children and diluted, often twice as much as you would dilute for an adult.
8. Always patch test for sensitivity.
This should be done with both adults and children. Mix one drop of essential oil with ½ tsp of olive oil and rub it on the inside of your forearm. Leave it for a few hours, and if you experience a rash or itching, you likely have a sensitivity to that oil.
9. Remember allergies count in essential oils too.
Though essential oils are produced from natural sources, they should still be used with care and precaution, especially with our children. Remember to always keep them out of the reach of kids to prevent any accidents.
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