Essential Oils and Children

I love essential oils and I love children, we have 5 boys. I wish I knew about essential oils when my oldest 2 were growing up, life could have been so much easier. Oils may be used from bug bites and bee stings, to allergies and growing pains.

I use essential oils on my boys all the time, they know the healing power and now will ask for them. Kids are little sponges and soak up information. They also "soak up" essential oils differently than an adult would so care must be used when applying any sort of essential oil to them. I get a lot of questions about children and essential oils, here are a few that I have been asked time and time again.

1) At what age can you use essential oils on children?

There are differing opinions on when you are able to safely use oils on children. I personally do not feel there is a need to use an essential oil of any kind on a child under 1 years old. Their skin is extremely sensitive and their bodies metabolize oils differently than older children or adults do. I will err on the side of caution and say not to use oils on a child under 1 and sparingly on children between 1 and 2. Again, using oils on a child this young are not generally needed. I would stick to a gentle oil like lavender for a bug bite or a scratch. Now, there will be exceptions to the rule. Each individual person is different and it will be your best judgement.

2) Must I dilute essential oils to use on my kids?

YES! YES! YES! I cannot stress this enough. Using a neat oil on anyone, even yourself is not a good idea. It can cause a burn on your skin, lead to sensitization or allergies to the oil and cause more stress on your organs.

3) What dilution ratio is safe for children?

  • 0.5% (1/2 percent) - 1 years old to 3 years old

  • 1% - 3 years old to 10 years old

  • 2% - 10 years to adult

Again, we are all different. If you have a very small 4 year old, you might want to use a dilution of 0.5%, or a large 8 year old you could probably use a dilution of 2%, again it is your best judgement.

4) Are there any oils that are unsafe to use on children?

YES! Quite a few actually, see below. Since many oils have the same common name, I have included the Latin names as well so you know exactly which oils I am referring to. Thank you to my friend and colleague Amber Duncan, CA for this list.

  • Anise/Aniseed - Pimpinella anisum - avoid using (all routes) on children under 5

  • Anise (Star) - Illicium verum - avoid using (all routes) on children under 5

  • Basil (lemon) - Ocimum x citriodorum - avoid topical use on children under 2

  • Benzoin - Styrax benzoin, Styrax paralleloneurus and Styrax tonkinensis - avoid topical use on children under 2

  • Birch (sweet) - Betula lenta - avoid using (all routes) on children under 17

  • Black Seed - Nigella sativa - avoid topical use on children under 2

  • Cajuput - Melaleuca cajuputi, Melaleuca leucadendron - avoid using on children under 6

  • Cardamon - Elettaria cardamomum - avoid using (all routes) on children under 6

  • Cassia - Cinnamomum cassia, Cinnamomum aromaticum - avoid topical use on children under 2

  • Chaste Tree - Vitex agnus castus - avoid using (all routes) on prepubertal children

  • Cinnamon - Cinnamomum verum - avoid using (all routes) on children under 10

  • Clove Bud, Clove Leaf, Clove Stem - Syzygium aromaticum, Eugenia caryophyllata, Eugenia aromatica - avoid topical use on children under 2

  • Cornmint - Mentha arvensis, Mentha canadensis - avoid using (all routes) on children under 6

  • Eucalyptus - Eucalyptus camaldulensis, Eucalyptus globulus, Eucalyptus maidenii, Eucalyptus plenissima, Eucalyptus kochii, Eucalyptus polybractea, Eucalyptus radiata, Eucalyptus Autraliana, Eucalyptus phellandra, Eucalyptus smithii - avoid using (all routes) on children under 10

  • Fennel (bitter), Fennel (sweet) - Foeniculum vulgare - avoid using (all routes) on children under 5

  • Galangal (lesser) - Alpinia officinarum, Languas officinarum - avoid using (all routes) on children under 6

  • Garlic - Allium sativum - avoid topical use on children under 2

  • Ginger Lily - Hedychium coronarium - avoid topical use on children under 2

  • Ho Leaf/Ravintsara - Cinnamomum camphora ct. cineole – avoid using on children under 6

  • Hyssop - Hyssopus officinalis ct. pinocamphone - avoid using (all routes) on children under 2

  • Laurel Leaf/Bay Laurel - Laurus nobilis - avoid all routes for children under age 2

  • Lemon Leaf/Lemon Petitgrain - Citrus x limon, Citrus limonum - avoid topical use on children under 2

  • Lemongrass - Cymbopogon flexuosus, Andropogon flexuosus, Cymbopogon citratus, Andropogon citratus - avoid topical use on children under 2

  • Marjoram (Spanish) - Thymus mastichina - avoid using (all routes) on children under 6

  • Massoia - Cryptocarya massoy, Cryptocaria massoia, Massoia aromatica - avoid using (all routes) on children under 2

  • May Chang - Litsea cubeba, Litsea citrata, Laura cubeba - avoid topical use on children under 2

  • Melissa/Lemon Balm - Melissa officinalis - avoid topical use on children under 2

  • Myrtle (red) - Myrtus communis - avoid using (all routes) on children under 6

  • Myrtle (aniseed) - Backhousia anisata - avoid using (all routes) on children under 5

  • Myrtle (honey) - Melaleuca teretifolia - avoid topical use on children under 2

  • Myrtle (lemon)/Sweet Verbena - Backhousia citriodora - avoid topical use on children under 2

  • Niaouli - Melaleuca quinquinervia ct. cineole – avoid using (all routes) on children under 6

  • Oakmoss - Evernia prunastri - avoid topical use on children under 2

  • Opopanax - Commiphora guidottii - avoid topical use on children under 2

  • Oregano - Origanum onites, Origanum smyrnaeum, Origanum vulgare, Origanum compactum, Origanum hirtum, Thymbra capitata, Thymus capitatus, Coridothymus capitatus, Satureeja capitata - avoid use on children under 2

  • Peppermint - Mentha x Piperita - avoid using (all routes) on children under 6

  • Peru Balsam - Myroxylon balsamum, Myroxylon pereiraw, Myroxylon peruiferum, Myrospermum pereirae, Toluifera pereirae - avoid topical use on children under 2

  • Rambiazana - Helichrysum gymnocephalum - avoid using (all routes) on children under 6

  • Rosemary - Rosmarinus officinalis ct. cineole - avoid using (all routes) on children under 6

  • Saffron - Crocus sativus - avoid topical use on children under 2

  • Sage (Greek) - Salvia fruiticosa, Salvia triloba – avoid using (all routes) on children under 6

  • Sage (White) - Salvia apiana - avoid using (all routes) on children under 6

  • Sage (Wild Mountain) - Hemizygia petiolata - avoid topical use on children under 2

  • Sanna - Hedychium spicatum - avoid using (all routes) on children under 6

  • Saro - Cinnamosma fragrans - avoid using (all routes) on children under 6

  • Savory - Satureia hortensis, Satureia montana - avoid topical use on children under 2

  • Styrax - Liquidambar orientalis, Liquidambar styraciflua - avoid topical use on children under 2

  • Tea Leaf/Black Tea - Camellia sinensis, Thea sinensis - avoid topical use on children under 2

  • Tea Tree (lemon-scented) - Leptospermum petersonii, Leptospermum citratum, Leptospermum liversidgei - avoid topical use on children under 2

  • Treemoss - Pseudevernia furfuracea - avoid topical use on children under 2

  • Tuberose - Polianthes tuberosa - avoid topical use on children under 2

  • Turpentine - Pinus ayacahuite, Pinus caribaea, Pinus contorta, Pinus elliottii, Pinus halepensis, Pinus insularis, Pinus kesiya, Pinus merkusii, Pinus palustris, Pinus pinaster, Pinus radiata, Pinus roxburghii, Pinus tabulaeformis, Pinus teocote, Pinus yunnanensis- avoid topical use on children under 2

  • Verbena (Lemon) - Aloysia triphylla, Aloysia citriodora, Lippa citriodora, Lippa triphylla - avoid topical use on children under 2

  • Wintergreen - Gaultheria fragrantissima, Gaultheria procumbens – avoid (all routes) on children under 17

  • Ylang-Ylang - Cananga odorata - avoid topical use on children under 2

As you can see, a lot of these essential oils are not in your normal arsenal of oils, not even

mine. Please be careful, dilute and check to make sure the oils you are using are not on this list. Note the ages of the children as well.

Remember, "you don't know what you don't know", education is the key, never stop learning!!!! Should you have any questions, please email me at melissa@sweetwillowspirit.com.

Have a wonderful day!

Love and light,

Melissa

Caution: The material on this page is not meant to take the place of diagnosis and treatment by a qualified medical practitioner. Since the actual uAnd, as always.... the fun disclaimers. Caution: The material on this page is not meant to take the place of diagnosis and treatment by a qualified medical practitioner. Since the actual use of this product by others is beyond our control, no expressed or implied guarantee as to the effects of their use can be given nor liability taken. Use at your own discretion. Any application of the recommendations is at the user’s risk. Sweet Willow Spirit, LLC disclaims any liability arising directly or indirectly from the use of this information and assumes no responsibility for any actions taken. This should not be used in place of traditional therapies but solely as a complementary means for bringing well-being. The FDA has not evaluated the statements on this website. No claims are made as to any medicinal value of any oil or healing modality.

* Some information gathered from my studies at Aromahead Institute and from the book Tisserand and Young; Essential Oil Safety A Guide for Health Care Professionals: Second Edition. New York: Churchill Livingstone Elsevier, 2014. Print EndFragment

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The material on this entire website is not meant to take the place of diagnosis and treatment by a qualified medical practitioner. Since the actual use of this information by others is beyond our control, no expressed or implied guarantee as to the effects of their use can be given nor liability taken. Use at your own discretion. Any application of the recommendations is at the user’s risk. Sweet Willow Spirit, LLC disclaims any liability arising directly or indirectly from the use of this information and assumes no responsibility for any actions taken. This should not be used in place of traditional therapies but solely as a complementary means for bringing well-being.   The FDA has not evaluated the statements on this website. No claims are made as to any medicinal value of anything here.