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Saturday, September 22, 2007

Five Essential Oils for Happy Healthy Children

Busy parents are always on the lookout for natural, effective alternatives to support their children?s health and happiness. Invoking gentle calm in an otherwise hectic family life is especially appreciated. Essential oils can offer this support in a fun, safe and natural way. A few essential oils are particularly suitable for use with young ones, both for bringing soothing emotional calm and contentment healing the small wounds of childhood ? here?s a quick primer to help you safely and effectively use five valuable essential oils with children.

We?ll begin with a few tips on using oils with children and infants. There are three primary methods of using oils with little ones: Topical application through massage or applying directly to wounds or sores; Inhalation from a handkerchief, spray bottle, warm bowl of water, the bed sheets, or diffuser; and Baths, which actually combines the topical and inhalation methods. The main difference in using essential oils with children and adults is that children will simply need smaller amounts. There are a few oils that should not be used with children ? peppermint, for example, is considered too powerful for the wee ones under two (spearmint is called for instead, which can be helpful with tummy trouble). Ask someone with experience if you are unsure about a particular oil.

Also, the younger the child, the more dilute the concentration of essential oils should be in a formula, bath, or inhalation application. Massage formulas, for example, can contain approximately 1 drop essential oil per ounce of carrier oil for each year of age ? this is flexible depending on the oil and the situation, within a range of 3 drops for each year (i.e. For children one and under, up to 4 drops can be used with gentle oils such as Vanilla, Lavender and Chamomile ? use only 1 or two drops with newborns). The child?s weight can also be considered; if a child is larger for their age, a little more essential oil can be used. If using a diffuser, only enough oil so that the scent can be detected is necessary ? nebulizing diffusers may output too high a concentration of oils for children; warming or humidifying diffusers are more appropriate.The oil?s we?ll look at here are all quite safe and can be used as often as feels appropriate; Tea Tree, though, should be reserved just for it?s potent antiseptic applications.

And now for the oils! We?ll start with soothing the very little ones; comforting an infant can seem a full-time job for many parents, where support is always welcome. For this, there?s one indispensable tool: pure Vanilla essential oil. Mmmm! Who doesn?t like vanilla? Infants really respond to its calming, sweet scent. And it?s so easy to use. A belly, back or foot rub with a blend containing 1/2 percent vanilla in any quality carrier oil (jojoba, hazelnut or other seed or nut oil of your choice) works magic for many parents. To make a 1/2 percent Vanilla blend, purchase a small amount of pure Vanilla essential oil and add 4 drops into each ounce of carrier. Use as frequently as you like, as vanilla is completely non-toxic. You can even add a few drops to your favorite cookie recipe for an exquisite flavor, far surpassing that of the commonly found vanilla extracts.

Next up is Chamomile. There are several varieties of Chamomile, with an array of uses. German Chamomile is an exceptional oil for skin inflammation and rashes, applied in a 1/2 to 1 percent dilution in Hazelnut oil. Roman Chamomile is premier oil calming little ones over two years of age. The oil may be used in a number of ways; aromatherapy massage, in a diffuser or room spray (with this and other oils, dilute 10 drops per cup of water in a clean spray bottle ? shake well and lightly mist the air), a drop or two sprinkled on bedding, or in a bath. According to Dr. Kurt Schnaubelt in Advanced Aromatherapy, "Even in very small concentrations, whether alone or in combinations with other oils (Roman Chamomile) has a soothing effect?it is appropriate to massage a few undiluted drops into the solar plexus." It is noted as particularly suited to calming tantrums or bringing calm after nightmares.

True Lavender essential oil (Lavendula angusitifolia) is wonderful for its soothing effects as well, along with a great variety of other healing actions. It is an excellent remedy for small burns, applied directly to the area, undiluted. For small cuts and scrapes, Lavender may be used alone, or in a 50/50 blend with Tea Tree for added antiseptic properties. Lavender supports sleep, and is an excellent choice for diffusing in the evening time. Lavender may also be used in a bath, and is the first choice for a gentle foot rub. For a good night?s rest, blend 2 to 1 with Roman Chamomile, diluting as needed depending on the child and application method.

For brightening sour moods, the aromas of sweet citrus oils are unmatched. Children especially enjoy Tangerine; Mandarin (a Tangerine variety) has an additional calming action not found in any other essential oil. Mandarin oil is either cold-pressed from the peels of the fruit, or steam distilled from the leaves of the tree (known as Mandarin Petitgrain). The cold pressed oil is excellent for aromatic use (in a diffuser or room spray), and the steam distilled variety is recommended for baths and in body oil blends. Care should be taken with using any cold pressed citrus essential oil on the skin, as they will make the skin more sensitive to UV rays for the following day or two where it has been applied. Citrus oils should not be avoided for this reason, just consider if your child will be bundled up in the darker days of winter, or building sand castles at the beach!

And for all those little abrasions of childhood, Tea Tree is highly regarded as a natural antiseptic for cuts and scrapes. Once a wound is washed, it may be covered with a Band-Aid which has a drop of Tea Tree placed on the gauze. Tea Tree may be a bit strong to apply directly to the injury, though when mixed with equal parts of Lavender, Tea Tree will prevent infection while the Lavender will relieve pain and actually speed wound healing. A few drops of the Tea Tree/Lavender mixture can be added to a warm cup of water to use as a cleansing wash. An effective, home made antiseptic spray can also be made: use 2 ounces water, 1/2 half ounce rubbing alcohol, 8 drops Lavender, 12 drops Tea Tree and 8 drops Roman Chamomile. Shake vigorously and store, shaking again before each use. Tea Tree is considered a ?universal antiseptic?, with a great many uses in first aid and around the home. At 20 drops per cup of water, it can be used as a non-toxic (if not pungent!) general cleaner which you?ll be happy to use instead of many chemical laden household cleaners where your children will be crawling about ? and you can mix with lemon oil for a more pleasing aroma.

This is just a start at incorporating the magic of essential oils into your children?s lives. Safe, natural and effective means of supporting their health and wellness is always welcome. There are a great many more oils, many with profound healing effects. Particularly with children, start slowly ? your nose might tell you when you?ve had just the right amount of aromatherapy, but children may not be able to express this. And where one child may not respond particularly to a certain oil, another will be entranced by the same aroma. There are many wonderful books available for the beginning aromatherapist with oodles of oil descriptions and recipes. Experiment, be creative and have fun!








*The FDA has not evaluated the statements on this website. The information presented here is for educational purposes of traditional uses and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any diseases.


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