Essential oils have become a really popular way to incorporate natural remedies into our lives. This is a positive thing because it means that natural remedies are becoming a little more accepted. The big essential oils companies have made these powerful plant oils more accessible and more commonplace among parents. The only caveat to this is we still need to be mindful of using essential oils safely.
The fact that something is “natural” doesn't always mean that it is safe. This is true in regards to anything labeled natural, not just oils. Essential oils, for the most part, are safe to use as long as the proper precautions are taken. Herbs and essential oils are truly powerful medicine, even though many doubt their effectiveness. I am a true believer in the power of herbs and essential oils having experienced real life results in using them. Essential oils have been a part of my life for many years prior to recently popularity.
The first thing to determine if using a particular essential oils is safe is to look at the current state of your health and body. There are a number of essential oils that are not safe to use during pregnancy and while nursing. In addition, be mindful allergies. I have come across some people who have an allergy to the chamomile family of plants. In a case like that you'd need to make sure you avoid chamomile essential oil or products containing it.
Many people choose to take essential oils internally. I can't really say whether or not this is a safe way to use them. There are only two ways that I can honestly say I believe are safe ways to use essential oils.
Diffuse Essential Oils Safely
Diffusing essential oils is really the traditional way of using them and the best way to use essential oils safely. Diffused oils alter the structure of molecules that create odors, rather then masking them. They also increase oxygen availability, produce negative ions, and release natural ozone (Reference: Essential Oils Pocket Guide, Life Science Publishing). Many oils are very effective for eliminating airbone germs, some include lemon grass, tea tree oil, Lavender, and Lemon just to name a few.
Cold-air diffusing (with a diffuser like this one) is the most effective way to get the benefits of diffusing essential oils. Aroma lamps and candles will give you the scent of the oil but the healthy properties of the oils will be diminished due to heating.
Many essential oils are safe to apply directly to the skin. Lavender is one that is safe enough to use topically, even on children, without dilution. When applying most other oils on children it is always best to dilute the oils. Add about 15-30 drops of essential oil to 1 oz of carrier oil. Carrier oils that are popular are olive oil, coconut oil, almond oil, jojoba oil, and many others.
Peppermint, and other oils rich in menthol, should be used cautiously with children. In fact, for children under the age of 2 it is wise to avoid use of peppermint topically.
What Kind of Essential Oils to Use Safely?
This can be a controversial topic (especially on the internet). I have personally used a number of different brands. I tend to like oils that are steam distilled as opposed to solvent extracted. The brands that I keep going back to are Young Living and Mountain Rose Herbs. Many other brands are excellent quality as well.
Learn More About Safely Using Natural Remedies
If you've ever thought about using more natural remedies with your family but you're really just nervous that you don't know enough, I encourage you to take a look at our natural remedies course for parents. It's the best way to ease your mind about using remedies you don't have any experience with using. I was nervous when I first started using natural remedies and I wish I had a resource like this when I first started out.