The popularity of essential oils has significantly risen in the last 10 to 15 years. While it’s awesome that the amazing benefits of the oils are being used to heal all sorts of ailments, proper education of the oils seems to have been lost in translation. It used to be that the people advising about and selling the oils were in majority, certified aromatherapists. These days, many people selling them have not been provided with the knowledge that they should be to be recommending particular oils, especially in regards to pregnant women and children.
I became aware of oils from a certified aromatherapist about 16 years ago. I am in no way an expert, like she is, which is why I had her write a guest post here last year, called The Ins and Outs of Essential Oils by Someone who Knows. In the article, she touches upon children and some of the oils that should not be used on them, specifically peppermint and certain varieties of eucalyptus. In addition, it was through her classes that I learned that though Ylang Ylang is great for PMS, and for bringing on a period, it should be avoided by pregnant women as it is a uterine stimulant and could cause miscarriages.
Just yesterday I read, in awe, comments in a response to a question that a woman posted on Facebook about her daughter having a febrile seizure. A handful of commenters recommended putting peppermint oil on the child, when in reality, peppermint oil is linked to causing seizures in children. (I will include links specifically about peppermint oil towards the end of this post).
Essential oils are potent, obviously, that’s why they are so great at healing so many afflictions, be it emotional, physical or mental. Because of this, it’s important that people know how to use these oils safely. And for the record, it’s not about one brand being better or safer than another (as people sometimes claim).
Here’s what you need to know about specific oils, as posted by Lea Harris, certified Aromatherapist, on her blog, Learning About EOs.com One Drop at a Time. I find her website to be a wealth of knowledge when it comes to the proper use of oils.
This material comes from the esteemed aromatherapy textbook, Essential Oil Safety: A Guide for Healthcare Professionals. It was compiled by Lea Harris. This is a partial list. You can view the entire list of essential oils here: Essential Oils and Children.
- *Cajuput Melaleuca cajuputi, Melaleuca leucadendron – avoid using on children under 6
- Chaste Tree Vitex agnus castus – avoid using (all routes) on prepubertal children
- Clove Bud, Clove Leaf, Clove Stem Syzygium aromaticum, Eugenia caryophyllata, Eugenia aromatica – avoid topical use on children under 2
- *Eucalyptus Eucalyptus camaldulensis, Eucalyptus globulus, Eucalyptus maidenii, Eucalyptus plenissima, Eucalyptus kochii, Eucalyptus polybractea, Eucalyptus radiata, Eucalyptus Autraliana, Eucalyptus phellandra, Eucalyptus smithii – avoid using on children under 10
- 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 on children under 6
- Oregano Origanum onites, Origanum smyrnaeum, Origanum vulgare, Origanum compactum, Origanum hirtum, Thymbra capitata, Thymus capitatus, Coridothymus capitatus, Satureeja capitata – avoid dermal use on children under 2
- Peppermint Mentha x Piperita – avoid using (all routes) on children under 6
- *Rosemary (1,8-cineole chemotype) Rosmarinus officinalis – avoid using on children under 6
- Wintergreen Gaultheria fragrantissima, Gaultheria procumbens – avoid due to methyl salicylate content
- Ylang-Ylang Cananga odorata – avoid topical use on children under 2. (not for use when pregnant)
* indicates essential oils that are high in 1,8-cineole and can potentially cause respiration to slow in children. If you are looking for age-appropriate anti-congestion suggestions, read this post: Anti-Germ and Anti-Congestion blend recipes.
More about Peppermint Oil and Children:
– Avoid use on children under 30 months of age. The nasal mucosa is an autonomic reflexogen organ, which has a distance action to the heart, lungs and circulation and may lead to sudden apnoea and glottal constriction.
– Direct application of peppermint oil to the nasal area or chest to infants should be avoided because of the risk of apnea, laryngeal and bronchial spasms, acute respiratory distress with cyanosis and respiratory arrest. (The Longwood Herbal Task Force)
– Do not apply undiluted peppermint essential oils to the feet, particularly on infants and children under the age of 12.
– Inhalation of larges doses of menthol may lead to dizziness, confusion, muscle weakness, nausea and double vision. (Natural Standard Research Collaboration, Peppermint oil. Evidence based monograph 2005; Medlineplus)
Essential Oil Safety: A Guide for Healthcare Professionals (This is a textbook, so it is expensive. It is a good buy for those in the field.)
I believe that there are many PURE brands of essential oils out there. Companies that claim to have the only PURE oils are not telling the truth. Poofy Organics oils are therapeutic grade, distilled via steam or cold pressed. There are no carriers in their oils. While I endorse and love Poofy’s oils, I recognize that their are other great brands.
*Photo Credit: The top image belongs to comment-economiser.fr, with some rights reserved. Text has been added and photo cropped.