The use of essential oils (aromatherapy) has been a contributing factor in health care for babies, children and adults for centuries. The effectiveness of aromatherapy is backed not only by countless personal testimonials, but also by science. It is a safe, gentle approach to making your little ones feel better.
Only pure, non-synthetic, organic therapeutic grade essential oils should be used on babies and children. Oils should always be diluted and never used full strength. Coconut, olive, grapeseed and almond oil are some excellent carrier oils frequently used for dilution.
Since infancy, the lives of my children have been touched by aromatherapy. Lavender-scented sheets and blankets helped calm restlessness and bring sweet sleep more easily. My nickname for it is “lullaby lavender!”
When your baby cries continuously for hours and doesn’t seem to want to eat; and constantly pulls her legs up towards her stomach, she is exhibiting symptoms of colic. Along with other things your pediatric provider may suggest, essential oils can be helpful for this painful and frustrating condition.
According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, colic may be lessened with chamomile or peppermint. Fennel tea, consumed by a nursing mom, can be helpful in relieving colic in breastfed babies.
When I was a child visiting my grandparents, I would occasionally awaken in the morning to the sharp, invigorating aroma of eucalyptus on my pillow. I learned from my grandmother, who frequently was awake at night, that stuffy noses were encouraged to breathe more easily by breathing in the scent of eucalyptus oil that is dabbed onto bedding or night clothes. Peppermint and wintergreen also act as effective decongestants.
Earache and infections are a common problem through infancy and early childhood. Diluted lavender, tea tree, eucalyptus or chamomiles are some of the oils that can help relieve this discomfort. Diluted oil should be gently massaged around the front of and behind your little one’s ear. Oils should never be dropped inside the ear.
Always see a pediatrician if drainage from the ear occurs or if pain lasts for more than a day.
Since they started school, I’ve had my kids breathe peppermint oil on a tissue to improve mental clarity during tests. One of their teachers was so impressed with the effects of this approach that she diffused peppermint during testing times!
According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in 2012, approximately 11% of children 4-17 years of age, in the United States alone, had been diagnosed with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD); and the numbers were rising.
Organic therapeutic grade essential oils known for improving concentration are also believed to help children with ADHD. These include:
- Lavender, which calms and reduces anxiety
- Roman chamomile, for soothing
- Mandarin quiets irritability and restlessness. Additional oils that have been noted to improve concentration include: Ylang ylang, because it sedates and calms the emotions. Vetiver calms, focuses the mind. Frankincense supports the immune system.