Essential Oils for use with Children

Posted by Niki McCarthy on

Essential Oils for use with Children

  • It is not recommended that essential oils be used (topically, or inhaled) with babies before the age of six months due to their thinner skin and immature immune systems.
  • After the age of sixmonths, you may diffuse child safe essential oils for a specific purpose and short periods of time. For an acute case (like a bee sting or bug bite), you may use essential oils topically, but this should be the exception and not the norm. Children are particularly sensitive to aroma and products applied to the skin.
  • After the age of 2 yearsyou may start topical use with a very low dilution (less than 1%), but keep in mind a child's immune system takes several years to fully develop, making them less able to deal with the adverse affects which may arise when concentrated products are used improperly on or around them. Herbs and hydrosols (like for baby wipes) are often a better and safer choice for children.
  • After the age of 6 yearsthe immune system has likely matured, and adverse reactions from low dilutions of essential oils are not as likely. You'll still want to use low dilutions (usually 1%), but thicker skin is going to provide more protection from topical applications.

 

When used appropriately, in the right situations, with the proper dilution and application, the following essential oils (pay attention to chemotype and Latin/botanical name) are not known to produce adverse reactions when used with children (this list is not exhaustive):

  • Bergamot
  • Black Pepper
  • Blue Tansy
  • Cedarwood
  • Clary Sage
  • Copaiba
  • Coriander
  • Cypress
  • Frankincense
  • German Chamomile
  • Geranium
  • Ginger
  • Grapefruit
  • Juniper Berry
  • Helichrysum
  • Lavender
  • Lemon
  • Mandarin
  • Marjoram (Sweet)
  • Neroli
  • Palmarosa
  • Patchouli
  • Petitgrain
  • Pines-except Ponderosa Pine (Pinus ponderosa), or Huon Pine (Dacrydium franklinii)
  • Roman Chamomile
  • Sandalwood
  • Siberian Fir Needle
  • Spearmint
  • Spruces
  • Sweet Marjoram
  • Sweet Orange
  • Tangerine
  • Tea Tree

     Vetiver                                                

 

Essential Oils to Avoid Using with Children

There are essential oils which should be avoided with children – either just inhaling, just topically, or both (referred to below as “all routes”) – due to various reasons noted below (source: Essential Oil Safety).

Some essential oils have several different species or chemotypes – some are safe for children, and some are not.  Please take note of the species or chemotype noted to lessen confusion with other essential oils with the same name.

NOTE: if it says “avoid using (all routes)” that means everything – do not use topically or allow them to inhale.

  • Anise/AniseedPimpinella anisum – avoid using (all routes) with children under 5
  • Anise (Star)Illicium verum – avoid using (all routes) with children under 5
  • Basil (lemon)Ocimum x citriodorum – avoid topical use on children under 2
  • BenzoinStyrax benzoin, Styrax paralleloneurus and Styrax tonkinensis – avoid topical use on children under 2
  • Birch (sweet)Betula lenta – avoid using (all routes) with children
  • Black SeedNigella sativa – avoid topical use on children under 2
  • CajuputMelaleuca cajuputi, Melaleuca leucadendron – avoid using with children under 6
  • CardamonElettaria cardamomum – avoid using (all routes) with children under 6
  • CassiaCinnamomum cassia, Cinnamomum aromaticum – avoid topical use on children under 2
  • Chaste TreeVitex agnus castus – avoid using (all routes) with prepubertal children
  • Clove Bud, Clove Leaf, Clove StemSyzygium aromaticum, Eugenia caryophyllata, Eugenia aromatica – avoid topical use on children under 2
  • CornmintMentha arvensis, Mentha canadensis – avoid using (all routes) with children under 6
  • EucalyptusEucalyptus camaldulensis, Eucalyptus globulus, Eucalyptus maidenii, Eucalyptus plenissima, Eucalyptus kochii, Eucalyptus polybractea, Eucalyptus radiata, Eucalyptus Autraliana,Eucalyptus phellandra, Eucalyptus smithii – avoid using (all routes) with children under 10
  • Fennel (bitter), Fennel (sweet)Foeniculum vulgare – avoid using (all routes) with children under 5
  • Galangal (lesser)Alpinia officinarum, Languas officinarum – avoid using (all routes) with children under 6
  • GarlicAllium sativum – avoid topical use on children under 2
  • Ginger LilyHedychium coronarium – avoid topical use on children under 2
  • Ho Leaf/Ravintsara Cinnamomum camphora(cineole chemotype) – avoid using with children under 6
  • HyssopHyssopus officinalis (pinocamphone chemptype) – avoid using (all routes) with children under 2
  • Laurel Leaf/Bay LaurelLaurus nobilis – avoid topical use on children under 2; avoid all routes for children under age 6
  • Lemon Leaf/Lemon PetitgrainCitrus x limon, Citrus limonum – avoid topical use on children under 2
  • LemongrassCymbopogon flexuosus, Andropogon flexuosus, Cymbopogon citratus, Andropogon citratus – avoid topical use on children under 2
  • Marjoram (Spanish)Thymus mastichina – avoid using (all routes) with children under 6
  • MassoiaCryptocarya massoy, Cryptocaria massoia, Massoia aromatica – avoid using (all routes) with children under 2
  • May ChangLitsea cubeba, Litsea citrata, Laura cubeba – avoid topical use with children under 2
  • Melissa/Lemon BalmMelissa officinalis – avoid topical use with children under 2
  • Myrtle (red)Myrtus communis – avoid using (all routes) with children under 6
  • Myrtle (aniseed)Backhousia anisata – avoid using (all routes) with children under 5
  • Myrtle (honey)Melaleuca teretifolia – avoid topical use on children under 2
  • Myrtle (lemon)/Sweet VerbenaBackhousia citriodora – avoid topical use on children under 2
  • Niaouli(cineole chemotype) Melaleuca quinquinervia – avoid using (all routes) on children under 6
  • OakmossEvernia prunastri – avoid topical use on children under 2
  • OpopanaxCommiphora guidottii – avoid topical use on children under 2
  • OreganoOriganum onites, Origanum smyrnaeum, Origanum vulgare, Origanum compactum, Origanum hirtum, Thymbra capitata, Thymus capitatus, Coridothymus capitatus, Satureeja capitata – avoid topical use on children under 2
  • PeppermintMentha x Piperita – avoid using (all routes) with children under 6
  • Peru BalsamMyroxylon balsamum, Myroxylon pereiraw, Myroxylon peruiferum, Myrospermum pereirae, Toluifera pereirae – avoid topical use on children under 2
  • Rambiazana Helichrysum gymnocephalum –avoid using (all routes) with children under 6
  • Rosemary(1,8-cineole chemotype) Rosmarinus officinalis – avoid using (all routes) with children under 10
  • SaffronCrocus sativus – avoid topical use on children under 2
  • Sage (Greek)Salvia fruiticosa, Salvia triloba Sage (White) – avoid using (all routes) with children under 6
  • Sage (White)Salvia apiana – avoid using (all routes) with children under 6
  • Sage (Wild Mountain)Hemizygia petiolata – avoid topical use on children under 2
  • SannaHedychium spicatum – avoid using (all routes) with children under 6
  • SaroCinnamosma fragrans – avoid using (all routes) with children under 6
  • SavorySatureia hortensis, Satureia montana – avoid topical use on children under 2
  • StyraxLiquidambar orientalis, Liquidambar styraciflua – avoid topical use on children under 2
  • Tea Leaf/Black TeaCamellia 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
  • TreemossPseudevernia furfuracea – avoid topical use on children under 2
  • TuberosePolianthes tuberosa – avoid topical use on children under 2
  • TurpentinePinus 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
  • WintergreenGaultheria fragrantissima, Gaultheria procumbens – avoid (all routes) on children due to methyl salicylate content under age 10
  • Ylang-Ylang Cananga odorata –avoid topical use on children under 2                                    

 

 

 


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