Essential Oil Remedies for Children: The Basics

May 13th, 2011 by Dionna | 2 Comments
Posted in Eclectic Learning, Healthy Living, natural parenting

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I am blessed with an amazing acupuncturist (Sage Norbury of Summit Acupuncture Services) who is also trained in the art of essential oils. I recently booked Sage to lead an adult class for our learning cooperative. She did a fantastic presentation on essential oils for children – she discussed everything from bonding to tonsillitis.

I’m excited that Sage has given me permission to share her expertise with you.1 In this two post series, you’ll discover some of the most effective essential oils to use with children.2 Today I’m going to go over some of the basics of EOs, and next time I’ll give you the best EOs for common childhood illnesses and concerns. See the end of today’s post for a list of what’s coming!

The Basics of Essential Oils for Children

Fun Facts

Essential oils (EOs) are extracts of plants. They can come from the roots, leaves, flowers, stems, or a mixture of these. It may take thousands of pounds of plant material to make one pound of oil. For example, Melissa (butterfly bush) takes 6,000 pounds of plant material to make only one pound of oil.

Fragrance oils are synthetic, they do not have the same properties or effects.

The shelf life of good essential oils is measured in years – as long as they are in brown bottles, are not exposed to direct sun, and undergo no big temperature changes, your essential oils should last quite a long time.

Essential oils can be used in three main ways with children: 1) dilute in carrier oil and rub on the skin (you can use a warm rice pack – heat can help the oil soak in); 2) dilute in hot water and allow the child to inhale the scent. Always be sure to research whether a particular essential oil is safe to be used with children (and safe to be either applied topically or inhaled); or 3) use in a room diffuser.

Safety Precautions

Keep all essential oils out of children’s reach. If an oil is ingested, give the child an oil-soluble liquid such as milk, cream, or half & half. Call your local poison control center. (1-800-222-1222) Seek emergency medical attention if necessary.

A few drops of pure essential oil shouldn’t be life threatening, but for your protection it is best to take these precautions.

When using essential oils on babies and children, it is always best to dilute 1-2 drops of pure essential oil with 1/2 – 1 teaspoon of a carrier oil. If the oils are used in the bath, always use a bath gel base as a dispersing agent for the oils.

Do not use synthetic or adulterated oils.

Essential Oils Safe for Use with Children

Remember, never allow children to ingest any essential oil. All of these essential oils may be dangerous if used directly – always use a diluted solution of an essential oil in a carrier oil.

Bergamot (Citrus bergamia)*
Cedarwood (Cedrus alantica)**
Roman Chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile)
Cypress (Cupressus sempervirens)
Frankincense (Boswellia carterii)
Geranium (Pelargonium graveolens)
Ginger (Zingiber officinale)
Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia)
Lemon (Citrus limon)*
Marjoram (Origanum majorana)
Melaleuca – Tea Tree (Melaleuca alternifolia)
Orange (Citrus aurantium)*
Rosemary (Rosmarinus officialis)**
Rosewood (Aniba rosaeodora)
Sandalwood (Santalum album)
Thyme (Thymus vulgaris CT linalol)
Ylang Ylang (Cananga adorata)

*These oils are photosensitive; always dilute. To prevent a rash or pigmentation of the skin, do not use citrus oils when exposed to direct sunlight.
**These oils should never be used undiluted on babies and children. (But again, all oils should be diluted.)

Esoteric Oils contains a list of essential oils that are toxic to both adults and children.

Essential Oils for Common Childhood Illnesses and Concerns

Stay tuned for part two, where I will share lists of essential oils and/or EO blends that are effective in relieving common childhood illnesses and other concerns.3 Below is a list of topics that will appear in part two.

Bruises, Cuts, Scrapes, and Scarring
Burns and Sunburns
Cradle Cap Remedy
Diaper Rash
Dry Skin
Teething and Teeth Grinding


Photo Credit: Ayla87

Statements on this website have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Products and/or information are not intended to diagnose, cure, treat, or prevent any disease. Readers are advised to do their own research and make decisions in partnership with your health care provider. If you are pregnant, nursing, have a medical condition or are taking any medication, please consult your physician. Nothing you read here should be relied upon to determine dietary changes, a medical diagnosis or courses of treatment.

  1. Please be aware that nothing in this and the follow-up post constitutes expert or medical advice. You need to trust your own instincts, research, and experiences when using any kind of treatment for your family. Consult a physician or other expert if you have questions about the use of any essential oil.
    Additionally, please note that Sage, mentioned herein as a representative of Young Living, has an advertising relationship with Dionna of Code Name: Mama.
  2. Sage is a distributor for Young Living Essential Oils. She wanted me to give a word of warning that this information was presented with Young Living Essential Oils in mind – she cannot guarantee the quality, safety, or effectiveness of other brands.
  3. From the Young Living website: This statement has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent disease.

2 Responses to:
"Essential Oil Remedies for Children: The Basics"

  1. Chrystal @ Happy Mothering   HappyMothering

    We’ve been using essential oils a lot more lately in our efforts to go all natural in all areas of our life. I’m looking forward to seeing the second part in this series!

  2. MummyinProvence   mummyinprovence

    Great post! Thanks – will be bookmarking this for reference!

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