Like adults, children can benefit from the use of herbs and essential oils, but we must remember that because they do not have as much body mass as we do and have also not reached full development, their systems are somewhat more fragile than ours and we must adjust the dosage accordingly. In fact, it is a good rule of thumb to remember that we would use about one-third the dose we would normally use on adults for children. This is perfect anyway, because children will respond very well to even a little bit of aromatherapy or herbs.
My nephews, Austin and Alex (7 and 4 years old), for example, seem to calm down with just a single whiff of lavender. In fact, they like to boast to all who are watching when they are running amok around the house, “We only calm down when Aunt Mare gives us lavender!” How do I “give” them lavender? I put a drop on their T-shirts, or on their pillow, or simply hold a bottle to their adorable little noses for them to inhale. I also have given them “Calm Child,” a formula created for colicky children by our herbalist Bridget Owen, of Sweet Herb Medicinals. This actually tasted so good to Alex that he would “act up” just to get another drop on his tongue.
AROMATHERAPY FOR KIDS
Whenever I visit my sister-in-law in Chicago, I tote along the perfect essential oils for kids: Lavender, Chamomile, Dill, and Sweet Orange. Between these four oils, you can get a lot done, from inducing sleepiness, to diffusing tantrums, to soothing the painful teething process. Keep in mind, if you didn’t already know, top 7 electric toothbrushes reviewed to date are excellent for adults but small children seem to not reap the benefits, maybe it’s their size, maybe it’s their technique.
To get two rambunctious boys to go to sleep is no easy task. This is where the Lavender and Chamomile come in handy; just mix one drop Lavender with one drop Chamomile and put it in their bath, on their pillow, or in a diffuser. The aroma not only induces relaxation, it also can ameliorate irritation and anxiety.
I like to diffuse Sweet Orange oil at all times so that tantrums don’t start in the first place. But if one does, any citrus oil (especially Mandarin, Bergamot, and Sweet Orange) has an uplifting scent that seems to erase depression, stress, tension, and frustration. Another good combination is Chamomile and Sweet Orange, in equal parts.
A good remedy to ease the pain of teething and the inflammation associated with it is done with Chamomile essential oil. You put 6 drops of it in 5 teaspoons of a vegetable oil (like Jojoba or Olive), and you mix it up well. Then, you take 1 teaspoon of the mix and put it in an eggcup, and fill the rest up with ice cold water, making sure to stir it very well. You can then dip a cotton ball into the eggcup mixture and wipe it around the baby’s gums. Then, using just the oil mix (the one you haven’t diluted with ice-cold water), you can rub a little along the outside of your baby’s face, along the jawline.
This is where the Dill essential oil saves the day. You put 15 drops of it in 2 tablespoons of a vegetable oil, then massage the child’s abdomen in a clockwise direction (more or less around the belly button). It might also help to massage the lower back, also in a clockwise direction. If you can’t find Dill (sometimes I have trouble finding it), you can use Peppermint or Ginger or Geranium as well.
BUMPS & BRUISES
Lavender really makes itself useful for the cuts, scrapes, bruises, and grazes that children are getting themselves into constantly. You can harness the healing powers of Lavender by putting a few drops in water and bathing the affected area, or even just putting a single drop of undiluted Lavender on the wound (which will help it heal quickly and scarlessly). If the injury is a bruise, you can wrap some ice cubes in a towel and hold it to the bruised area. Afterwards, apply an oil made with 30 drops of Lavender diluted in 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil.