Essential Oils

A beautiful field of lavendar

Photo by Mark Kent

 

What are essential oils?

Essential oils are highly concentrated aromatic compounds from plants.  A wide variety of different essential oils are available, and may be produced from seeds, bark, leaves, flowers, roots or peels of some fruits.  Essential oils are more than just scents though – they can provide many therapeutic benefits.

What kinds of things can you use essential oils for?

Anything really!  Oils can be beneficial to anyone, for a variety of physical and mental health complaints as well as for general wellness.  Some of the most common uses for oils include skin conditions such as acne and eczema, pain complaints, cold/flu symptoms, anxiety or depressed mood, promoting relaxation and relieving stress.

How are essential oils used?

Oils can be used topically, diffused into the air, and some oils can be ingested.  In general when used topically oils should be diluted with a carrier oil such as coconut, almond, or jojoba oil.  If diffused it is best to use an ultrasonic diffuser that does not use any heat as this can destroy many of the therapeutic properties of the oil.  For children I would generally not recommend ingestion of oils. Using them topically or diffusing would be the best option.

Safety precautions for oils?

In general oils should be diluted, but there are some exceptions to this rule.  Extra care should be taken with young infants.  For babies up to 2 months of age I recommend sticking with just lavender and German or Roman Chamomile and heavily diluting.  A diffuser in the general area of an infant is also a great way to use oils.

Lavender or Peace & Calming essential oil blend could also be applied to mom for younger babies and used this way, baby will still get the benefits from being near mom.  Lavender diluted in oil or lotion is also great for infant massage after bathing.

Great!  Where can I get oils?

Please be careful, do your research, and find a company that you can trust.  Quality and purity vary greatly.  Consider how the oils are distilled – steam distillation or cold-pressed are preferred.  My personal favorite and what I choose to use for my family is Young Living Essential Oils.  You can read more about how we use oils on my blog.

Favorite Recipes for Babies & Children

Clove Teething Oil

In a 1 oz glass dropper bottle, use 2-3 drops of clove essential oil and fill the rest up with organic olive oil.  As always I recommend using an essential oil that is truly pure and safe for ingestion – Not all oils are safe for internal use.

Use the oil by putting a drop or two on your finger, and applying topically to gums.  You can use 1-2 drops per location, as needed.  Works fast!

Seborrheic Dermatitis or “Cradle Cap” Remedy

In the palm of your hand mix about a tablespoon of coconut oil and 1-2 drops of lavender essential oil.  Gently massage into baby’s scalp, coating all areas of flaking.  Wait 15-20 minutes, then use a fine tooth comb to gently remove all flakes from scalp.  Bathe as normal.  Many babies will only need one treatment if all flakes are removed, however you can repeat this after several days if there are still areas of concern.

Homemade Wipe Solution

We cloth diaper, and make our own wipe solution. I use this in a spray bottle, or wipes can soak in a container of this until use. Invert or gently shake bottle prior to use

In a 4 oz glass spray bottle:

  • 1 tsp olive oil, almond oil, or fractionated coconut oil
  • 1 tsp castile soap (I use Dr. Bronner’s Baby)
  • 2 drops lavender oil
  • 2 drops melaleuca alternifolia (tea tree) essential oil

Fill the remainder with distilled water

Sunburns

Lavender and coconut oil is a great remedy for sunburns.  10-15 drops per ounce (or half that amount in 1 tablespoon) of coconut oil is plenty.  Apply topically every few hours as needed.  Works quickly!

*Make sure you are using true lavender, not lavindin which is unfortunately sold by many companies as lavender.

Diaper Rash

Lavender and melaleuca alternifolia (tea tree) oil is great for diaper rashes.  Mix in some coconut oil and apply with diaper changes.  Use 5-10 drops total in about an ounce of coconut oil.

Sleep Blend

Mix in your diffuser: 2-3 drops each lavender, cedarwood, and Peace & Calming to help children sleep better at night

The same oils can also be diluted in coconut oil and used topically.  Suggest up to 10 drops per ounce of coconut oil, applied to bottoms of feet, or behind ears, back of neck.  Avoid putting oils on baby’s hands to discourage accidental ingestion.

Do you have a favorite home remedy using essential oils you would like to share?

Amanda Queen

Amanda Queen, PA-C is a mom, a graduate of Dr. Andrew Weil's Integrative Medicine program at The University of Arizona, and a Blogger. She blogs about nutrition, botanicals, essential oils and family wellness at Essentially Be Well.

Note: This Perspectives Blog post is written by a guest blogger of DrGreene.com. The opinions expressed on this post do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Dr. Greene or DrGreene.com, and as such we are not responsible for the accuracy of the information supplied. View the license for this post.

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