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 post I’m going to go over some of the basics of EOs, as well as the best EOs for common childhood illnesses and concerns.
The Basics of Essential Oils for Children
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:
- Dilute in carrier oil and rub on the skin (you can use a warm rice pack – heat can help the oil soak in).
- 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)
- Use in a room diffuser.
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
Below are lists of essential oils and/or EO blends that are effective in relieving common childhood illnesses and other concerns. (Click each link to jump to that topic.) For each topic, any one of the EOs listed will be effective – you do not need to make your own blend of every EO listed.
If you are interested in any of the Young Living blends mentioned here, please contact Sage.
Bruises, Cuts, Scrapes, and Scarring
Burns and Sunburns
Cradle Cap Remedy
Teething and Teeth Grinding
Gentle Baby is an EO blend that helps a mother and baby bond.2
Rub one drop gently on baby’s feet and brush a drop or two over mom’s hair and aura (open palms skimming body surface, head to foot).
Gentle Baby is also effective to use on mama’s belly when pregnant, during labor and delivery, and for after birth-bonding.
Bruises, Cuts, Scrapes, and Scarring
Bruises: Geranium, Lavender, Melrose, PanAway, Thieves3
Applying to bruise as soon after bruising as possible will minimize or eliminate bruising.
Cuts: Cypress, elemi (if infected), Lavender, Melrose, Relieve It, Roman Chamomile, Thieves4
Scrapes: Lavender, Ravensara
Scarring: Frankincense (prevents), Gentle Baby, Hyssop (prevents), Lavender (for burns), Melrose, Rosehip (reduces)
To prevent the formation of scarring, use Frankincense, Myrrh, Hyssop, or Helichrysum.
Burns and Sunburns
Burns: The best thing for burns is to put lavender on the burn immediately. This often keeps the burn from blistering and takes the burning sensation away almost immediately. Melrose may be used to clean a burn and Purification may be used on burns that become infected. LavaDerm Cooling Mist cools and soothes burns.5
Sunburns: Lavender, Melaleuca, Roman Chamomile.
Any of these oils can be sprayed or rubbed on sunburn. LavaDerm Cooling Mist also cools and soothes burns.
Cedarwood, Lemon, Melaleuca (ericifolia), Rosemary, Sandalwood, Thyme
Blend: Combine 2 Tbsp V-6 Mixing Oil (or other carrier oil) with 2 drops Melaleuca (Tea Tree), 1 drop lemon. Massage a little of the blend on neck and chest.
Bergamot, Ginger, Marjoram, Roman chamomile, Rosemary, Ylang Ylang
Blend: Combine 2 Tbsp almond oil (or other carrier oil) with 1 drop Roman chamomile, 1 drop lavender, and 1 drop germanium. Mix and apply to stomach and back.
Burping the baby and keeping the abdomen warm with a warm water bottle will often bring relief.
Ginger, Orange, Rosemary
Dilute one drop of any of the above oils with V-6 Mixing oil (or other carrier oil) and massage on stomach clockwise and on feet.
Cradle Cap Remedy
Cedarwood, Geranium, Lemon, Sandalwood
Combine 2 Tbsp almond oil with one drop lemon and one drop geranium or with one drop cedarwood and one drop sandalwood. Mix and apply a small amount on head.
Marjoram, Ravensara, Rosewood, Sandalwood, Thyme
Diffuse or dilute with V-6 Mixing Oil (or other carrier oil) to massage on chest. Bundle the baby up and take outside to breathe cold air.
Cypress, Frankincense, Geranium, Lavender, Roman Chamomile, Ylang Ylang
Diffuse in air or dilute with V-6 Mixing Oil (or other carrier oil) for massage.
Lavender, Roman Chamomile
Blend: Combine one drop Roman chamomile and one drop of lavender with V-6 Mixing Oil (or other carrier oil) or Genesis Hand and Body Lotion and apply.
For sluggish digestion, dilute lemon or orange with a carrier oil and massage on feet and stomach.
Dilute one drop of Rosewood or Sandalwood with V-6 Mixing Oil or almond oil and apply to skin.
Lavender, Melaleuca (Tea Tree), Roman Chamomile, Thyme
Put a dilute drop of oil on a cotton ball and place in the ear; rub a little bit of dilute oil behind the ear.
Blend: Combine 2 Tbsp of carrier oil with two drops lavender, one drop Roman chamomile, and one drop melaleuca (tea tree). Put a drop on a cotton ball and put in ear, rub behind the ear and on the ear Vita Flex feet points.
WARNING: NEVER put any essential oil directly in the ear.
Lavender: Dilute in carrier oil and massage baby (back of neck, feet, and behind ears).
Peppermint: Diffuse only – do not apply to child’s body.6
Cypress, Lemon, Melaleuca ericifolia, Thieves
Dilute one drop of each in 1 Tbsp bath gel base for a bath.7
Geranium, Lemon, Rosemary
Dilute with carrier oil and apply on the liver area and on the liver Vita Flex feet points.
Lavender, Roman Chamomile, Sandalwood
Dilute with carrier oil and apply to area of concern.
Teething and Teeth Grinding
Lavender, Peace and Calming, Ginger, Marjoram, Melaleuca (Tea Tree)8
Teething: Ginger, Lavender, Marjoram, or Melaleuca (Tea Tree)
Dilute in V-6 Mixing Oil or olive oil and apply to sore gums.
Teeth Grinding: Rub lavender on feet. Rub Peace and Calming on feet or diffuse in the room.
Geranium, Lavender, Lemon, Melaleuca (Tea Tree), Roman chamomile, Rosewood, Thyme
Dilute with carrier oil and apply to roof of mouth.
Ginger, Lavender, Lemon, Melaleuca (Tea Tree), Roman Chamomile
Dilute with carrier oil and apply on the outside of throat.
Which EOs do you use at home?
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.
- Please be aware that nothing in this 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. ↩
- Gentle Baby is a blend sold by Young Living Essential Oils. It contains: Rosewood (Aniba rosaeodora), Geranium (pelargonium graveolens), palmarosa (Cymbopogon martinii), lavender (Lavandula angustifolia), Roman chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile), ylang ylang (Cananga odorata), lemon (Citrus limon), jasmine (Jasminum officinale), bergamot (citrus bergamia), and rose (Rosa damascena). ↩
- PanAway is a blend sold by Young Living Essential Oils. It contains: wintergreen (Gaultheria procumbens), helichrysum (Helichrysum italicum), clove (Syzygium aromaticum), and peppermint (Mentha piperita). Thieves is also a Young Living Essential Oils blend. It contains: clove, lemon, cinnamon, Eucalyptus radiata, and rosemary. ↩
- Relieve It is a Young Living Essential Oils blend. It contains: spruce (Picea mariana), black pepper (Piper nigrum) fruit oil, hyssop (Hyssopus officinalis), and peppermint (Mentha piperita). ↩
- Purification contains: citronella (Cymbopogon nardus), lemongrass (Cymbopogon flexuosus), rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis), Melaleuca (Melaleuca alternifolia) lavandin (Lavandula x hybrida), and myrtle (Myrtus communis). Lavaderm Cooling Mist contains: deionized water, aloe barbadensis (aloe vera) leaf concentrate, lavandula angustifolia† (lavender) oil, and ionic trace minerals. ↩
- Aura Cacia makes an easy and affordable room diffuser. ↩
- Young Living makes a bath gel base that contains: Deionized Water, Decyl Glucoside, Coco Betaine, Lauryl Glucoside, Coco-Glucoside, Glyceryl Oleate, Citric Acid, Glycerin, Levulinic Acid, p-Anisic Acid, Xantham Gum, Inulin, Sodium Phytate. ↩
- Peace and Calming is a Young Living blend that contains: tangerine (Citrus nobilis), orange (Citrus aurantium), ylang ylang (Cananga odorata), patchouli (Pogostemon cablin), and blue tansy (Tanacetum annuum). ↩