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Extracted from plants for centuries for their aromatic and therapeutic properties, essential oils have made a comeback in recent years, particularly because of their antibacterial and antiviral properties. The results of a first phase of research at the Centre Armand-Frappier at the Institut national de la recherche scientifique (INRS) in Laval have shown that certain essential oils can inhibit virus replication.

In addition to their calming properties, essential oils can help fight pathogens. Their popularity in France is such that hospitals are increasingly including essential oils in their therapeutic arsenal. For example, sweet orange essence contains linalool, an aromatic substance that has calming, sedative, anxiolytic and analgesic properties.

In Quebec, essential oils are increasingly being used in daily life and have even come to play an important part in children’s wellbeing. These natural plant extracts are a gentle, non-toxic, and effective way of improving the health of young children.

Essential oils basics

Each of these oils has specific properties that vary depending on the plant of origin. Before incorporating essential oils into a child’s care routine, it is important to understand the oil’s properties.

Properly diluting oils is critical, as they are highly concentrated, and some may cause skin irritation or allergic reactions if used undiluted. Consulting a naturopath is recommended before using essential oils with infants and young children, who are much more sensitive.

The benefits of essential oils for children

1. Calming the nervous system, improving sleep, and managing emotions

The soothing properties of Red Mandarin and Litsea Citrata essential oils can help calm restless and anxious children. They can be used in a diffuser in the child’s bedroom or the living room to create a soothing atmosphere at home. You can also add a few drops to a liquid soap and add it to your bath for a deeper, more restorative sleep. To avoid skin irritation, it is important not to put pure essential oil directly into the bath.

2. Immune system support

Some essential oils, such as tea tree, bay laurel, and eucalyptus radiata, are known for their antiviral and antibacterial properties. They can be used to strengthen children’s immune systems and protect them from seasonal infections. A few drops diluted in a carrier oil and rubbed on young children’s backs or on the soles of their feet provide additional immune support.

3. Skin care

True lavender and German chamomile essential oils, as well as calendula oil, can have benefits for kids’ skin. Diluting these essential oils in calendula oil helps soothe rashes and insect bites.

How to incorporate essential oils into a child’s daily life

Essential oil diffuser: Use an essential oil diffuser to disperse aroma in the child’s room. This promotes relaxation, and improves air quality and wellbeing.

Massage: Dilute the essential oil chosen in a carrier oil like jojoba, calendula, or arnica and gently massage it into a child’s skin. This can help relieve tension and promote relaxation.

In the bath: For a soothing, relaxing bath, add a few drops of essential oil to unscented liquid soap or odourless bath salts, which will prevent the essential oil from coming into direct contact with a child’s skin.

By inhaling: To help clear congested airways, add a few drops of Ravintsara essential oil to a bowl of hot water and have your child breathe in the vapours.

As a pillow spray: To promote peaceful sleep, you can spray a hydrolate on your child’s pillow before bedtime. Essential oils are a natural way to support the physical and emotional health of children, and their overall wellbeing. However, it is important to use essential oils carefully and consult a naturopath when in doubt. By carefully integrating essential oils into your child’s daily routine, you can help create a healthy, relaxing, and balanced environment where your child can thrive.

Delphine Kubica, naturopath and EESNQ graduate

École d’enseignement supérieur de naturopathie du Québec

The health and medical information published or presented in this article is the opinion of the author only and should not be used as a substitute for professional medical advice. Readers should use their judgment. It is their responsibility to independently verify the information provided in the article. The contents of this article are for discussion and informative purposes only and should never be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. A medical professional is the only person who can evaluate your health and give you advice following a medical examination. Rachelle Béry will not be liable for any of the information presented in this article or in any associated links, nor the use or misuse of the information.

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