Tap into the power of essential oils for a range of issues, from back-to-school anxiety to insomnia, colds, and poor mental focus.

For kids, aromatherapy just makes sense. Essential oils are a fast, gentle, and effective way to combat colds and flu, improve mental focus and self-confidence, relieve stress, and promote sleep. Though they’re generally very safe, essential oils should be stored out of the reach of younger kids. To avoid skin irritation, don’t apply directly to skin; dilute pure essential oils with a carrier such as jojoba or coconut oil. If you’re using oils in a water-based diffuser, clean it every day to avoid bacteria and mold growth. And always choose high-quality, organic, pure essential oils from a reliable source.

Get ready for back-to-school and arm yourself with aromatherapy. 

5 Best Essential Oils for Kids:

1. Tea Tree Oil for Colds and Flu

Support immune function and protect against pathogens with tea tree oil (Melaleuca alternifolia).

Tee Tree Oil

Support immune function and protect against pathogens with tea tree oil (Melaleuca alternifolia). It has proven antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties. Research shows that tea tree oil can protect against a variety of pathogens and support immunity. Other studies show that terpinen-4-ol, the main active component of tea tree oil, has an inhibitory effect on the influenza virus, and it may also protect against fungal and bacterial pneumonia. Use tea tree oil in a diffuser, or add a few drops to a spray bottle of water and spritz throughout your house. To relieve coughs, sniff it directly from the bottle. Or mix a few drops of tea tree oil into shea butter or coconut oil and spread on your child’s chest to relieve congestion. One note: tea tree oil should never be swallowed, so keep it out of reach of younger kids.

2. Peppermint Oil for Mental Focus

Because peppermint, eucalyptus, and rosemary contain compounds that may cause slowed respiration in some children, it’s best not to use them for kids under the age of 5 (eucalyptus shouldn’t be used for kids younger than 12).

Peppermint Oil

Help your child or teen stay alert and focused with peppermint oil (Mentha piperita). Studies show that the smell of peppermint can stimulate areas of the brain responsible for alertness. Other research shows that peppermint can improve memory quality and enhance performance on visual tasks. In sports and other physical activities, peppermint has been shown to lessen reaction time.

Because peppermint, eucalyptus, and rosemary contain compounds that may cause slowed respiration in some children, it’s best not to use them for kids under the age of 5 (eucalyptus shouldn’t be used for kids younger than 12). To improve focus, alertness, and clarity, sprinkle a few drops of peppermint oil on a cotton ball or sniff it directly from the bottle. You can also use it in a diffuser, especially in rooms where kids are doing homework or other mental tasks.

3. Lavender for Sleep

Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) can safely soothe kids to sleep and ease stress and anxiety.

Lavender

Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) can safely soothe kids to sleep and ease stress and anxiety. Studies show that lavender essential oil improves sleep quality and duration, and promotes deeper sleep. It’s especially effective with chamomile essential oil, which has long been used to calm nerves, relieve anxiety, and stop nightmares. Lavender’s main compounds, linalool and linalyl acetate, have also been shown to relieve anxiety, reduce stress, and calm the nervous system. To promote peaceful sleep, use lavender oil in a diffuser in your child’s room; add a few drops of chamomile essential oil to ease nightmares. Sprinkle a few drops on pillows and sheets, or dilute lavender in jojoba or sweet almond oil and use for a gentle massage before bed.

4. Ginger for Nausea

Stop stomach issues in their tracks with ginger essential oil (Zingiber officinale). Studies show that it helps relieve digestive issues and reduce the occurrence and severity of nausea. Other studies have found a significant reduction in nausea and vomiting after using ginger essential oil. Ginger is also rich in gingerol, a polyphenol compound that has powerful antimicrobial effects and can protect against stomach bugs, ulcers, and other gastrointestinal issues. To soothe stomach woes, add a few drops of ginger essential oil and a little honey to a mug of warm water. Use it in a diffuser or spritz in your child’s room. For instant relief, just take a whiff directly from the bottle.

5. Clary Sage for Mood and Depression

Clary sage (Salvia sclarea) is traditionally used to boost confidence and self-esteem, as well as to improve mood. Studies show that clary sage has powerful antidepressant effects, and it seems to work by modulating dopamine and serotonin, brain chemicals linked with feelings of pleasure, happiness, and well-being. It may be even more effective when combined with ylang ylang oil—studies show that ylang ylang can improve mood and boost self-esteem. Mix clary sage and ylang ylang essential oils in a diffuser in your child’s room or combine in a spray bottle of water and spritz throughout your house. Sprinkle a few drops of clary sage on a cotton ball and inhale or sniff it right from the bottle. Or stir a few drops into a tub of warm water for a mood-lifting bath.

Essential Oils Safe for Children to Use in Diffusers or Topically in Proper Dilution

  • Orange
  • Clary Sage
  • Lavender
  • Frankincense
Essential Oils Safe for Children

Essential Oils Not Safe for Children by Age

Not safe for children two years and under:

  • Spike lavender
  • Hyssop
  • Peppermint
  • Camphor
  • Star anise
  • Wintergreen
  • Eucalyptus globulus
  • Eucalyptus radiata
  • Marjoram (Spanish Type)
  • Rosemary

Not safe for children five years and under:

  • Star anise
  • Wintergreen
  • Eucalyptus globulus
  • Eucalyptus radiata
  • Marjoram (Spanish Type)
  • Rosemary

Not safe for children twelve years and under:

  • Wintergreen
  • Eucalyptus globulus
  • Eucalyptus radiata
  • Marjoram (Spanish Type)
  • Rosemary

Not safe for children sixteen years and under:

  • Wintergreen

Related

When you can’t stop thinking about that certain food—ice cream, French fries, chocolate—reach for these essential oils.

Constant Cravings?

When you can’t stop thinking about that certain food—ice cream, French fries, chocolate—reach for these essential oils.

Essential Oil Recipes - Essential oils can be antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, astringent, cell regenerative, or wound healing, depending on the properties of the plant.

Essential Oil Recipes

From turning your bath into a healing soak to cleaning your kitchen, there isn't much essential oils recipes can't do.

Aromatherapy offers a respite for stressed-out souls with a range of essential oils to lift you out of the doldrums and help you greet 2018 with a newfound, positive attitude.

Come On, Get Happy!

Aromatherapy offers a respite for stressed-out souls with a range of essential oils to lift you out of the doldrums and help you greet 2018 with a newfound, positive attitude.

3565

Happy, Healthy Kids

Six ways to boost mood, calm ADHD, and ease anxiety. Only 30 years ago, it was thought that children did not experience depression or other mental health issues.