As a local organic spa owner, I am continually scouring the industry for new products, information, and news regarding alternative and natural forms of health care. Our guests often ask me how to use essential oils at home, not just at the spa. I am always looking for ways to introduce new methods of wellness to my children and they genuinely seemed interested in learning too! Here’s the how’s and why’s broken down, including how they can be used with children.
The term “essential oil” is one of those buzz words trending through social media, wellness communities, and health food stores. Parties that were once Tupperware or Bunko are now being replaced with “Make and Take” oil parties or how to create blends to keep your home smelling like Christmas. So is this just a trend? Fortunately for us, essential oils are here to stay and these are the basics you need to know to make sure you can benefit!
The truth behind essential oils is that they have been used for thousands of years by ancient cultures and eastern medicine; we are actually behind the times! If you look past the tantalizing smell of these oils, they have powerful physical, mental, emotional and spiritual benefits. Different essential oils can alleviate pain or promote organ functions in different parts of your body. With there being over 100 pure oils prevalent to us, the combinations and health benefits are truly unlimited.
What are essential oils and how are they made?
Let’s start off with the basics: Essential oils are found in plants, they are extracted from leaves, roots, fruits, trees, shrubs, flowers and even grasses. These oils are the most powerful botanicals from the plant they are extracted from.
The process of pulling these oils from plants is not easy therefore directly affecting the cost of purchasing these oils. The most common extraction process is called steam distillation. To put it into perspective, it takes 60 roses to make a single drop of essential oil.
What to buy:
When purchasing essential oils there are a few things you need to look out for to make sure you are buying a quality product. Most importantly make sure you staying away from products labeled “therapeutic grade”, “clinical grade”, and “fragrance”. These terms are used by many companies to show their products superiority but unfortunately these sayings are not standardized or actually have any significant meaning. Looking for oils that are “organic” is a good way to ensure it is a more quality product.
To make sure an oil that you’re buying is pure get a piece of paper and put a small drop on it. Essential oils evaporate very quickly and typically leave no residue. If oil is left behind then it maybe diluted with a cheap carrier oil.
How do I use Essential Oils?
The most common ways to use essential oils are through inhalation or skin contact. Make sure to not put pure oils directly on skin. Always follow the diluting instructions on the label of the oil bottle. Sophia Uliano from “Gorgeously Green Life” has some great suggestions on how to best use essential oils:
- Diffusing throughout the home using a diffuser: 3 – 10 drops in the water reservoir, depending on its size.
- As a perfume blend: applied to wrists, temples, or behind ears
- Tissue: a few drops, sniffed when required
- Massage oil: 1 drop to each teaspoon of base oil (such as almond, avocado or jojoba)
- Bath : 8 – 10 drops
- Shower: Add 6-8 drops to a face cloth to use in shower
- Foot bath: 2-6 drops
- Light Bulbs: 1-2 drop on a cold bulb before you turn it on
- Humidifiers: 1- 10 drops in the water
Helpful Everyday Oil Combinations-
- Orange and Peppermint- Together these oils are invigorating and uplifting, also peppermint is a wonderful aid in reducing headaches and migraines
- Lavender- This oil is a must have and great for any beginner! Lavender is soothing and a great remedy for burns, dry skin, stress, headaches, and room freshener.
- Eucalyptus- For allergies or a cold this is truly the best decongestant! Add a few drops to a humidifier or shower to get instant relief.
- Tea Tree Oil- Great for skin conditions such as sunburns, active ingredient in many acne treatments, soothes rashes etc.
Are essential oils safe for use on children?
There are many applications for essential oils with babies and children, but no matter the quality or brand of the oil, are an extremely concentrated combination of multiple chemical constituents and therefore require a certain amount of concern with safety when using them. With safety measures in mind, there are many good reasons to use essential oils topically:
- itching, including from bug bites
- minor cuts and scrapes
- and other skin-related issues
I based a lot of the information provided on the most up to date essential oil safety research in Essential Oil Safety – By Robert Tisserand and Rodney Young. According to the book:
- Essential oils should be much more diluted for use with babies as compared to use with adults.
- There are different dilution recommendations based on age and weight. A .25% dilution is 1 drop of essential to 4 teaspoons of carrier oil.
- Coconut, jojoba, and almond oils are popular choices for carrier oils. Do not dilute oils in a petroleum product such as mineral oil or baby oil.
- When adding essential oils to baths of children, they must first be diluted in a water soluble carrier, such as raw unfiltered honey or vegetable glycerin. Adding essential oils straight to bath water, without a carrier, runs you the risk of causing irritation to the skin.
- Essential oils should be kept away from a child’s face and should not be used in or around the nose in children.
- Essential oils should not be given orally to children.
- Slowly introduce one essential oil at a time as to ensure for allergic reactions.
- It is not advised to use essential oils on babies less than 3 months of age because their skin is not mature yet and therefore more permeable and sensitive to essential oils.
- Peppermint is safe to use at 6+ years, but ALL eucalyptus and rosemary essential oils should be avoided until 10+ years of age.
Yes, I live with essential oils in my house. It’s fun to see my children starting to understand which oils might be good in various situations and asking for them as needed. They’re learning to be cognizant of their own health while actively looking for natural ways to support well-being. I love it!