As a parent you’ve had to deal with your child being ill. All that coughing and hacking not only grates on your nerves, but it also keeps you worried. Using something that is not only safe and effective but natural is the greatest thing you can give your child. Essential oils are just that. Used properly they are not only safe, but benefits your child without drugging them up.
Unfortunately popular medicine doesn’t usually see the benefits of natural remedies. An article from the National Institutes of Health in 2011 states that studies on essential oils have shown not only a decrease in symptoms, but they could find no side effects. This article also states that in more than 80% of the children studied, the severity and duration of their symptoms decreased. Because of the decrease in symptoms they required less decongestants and antibiotics. In Europe, the use of natural products including essential oils is more common. The more common essential oils used successfully are eucalyptus, tea tree, lavender, and frankincense.
Eucalyptus is typically used to break up congestion and to open the nose and airways. There are two different species of Eucalyptus, Eucalyptus radiata and Eucalyptus globulus. Always make sure the Eucalyptus you are using is Eucalyptus radiata if the child is under the age of two. The two major uses is diffused into the air, or in a carrier oil and rubbed into the skin of the child. Another way I have used it is to put 2-5 drops into a warm bath. It is not advisable to place Eucalyptus directly onto the face or nose of the child.
Tea Tree oil is antimicrobial and antibacterial. In other words, this oil has been known to kill bacteria and possibly viruses. This is a good oil to diffuse during cold and flu season to keep all those nasty bugs away from you. For acute (sudden) illnesses, diffuse into the room or use a carrier oil and rub on the child. I personally don’t care for the smell, but you can also use a couple of drops of another oil like lavender to mask the smell.
Lavender essential is a wonderful oil to keep on hand as it’s good for just about anything. It is a mild anesthetic, and also has some antibacterial and antifungal properties. It also has sedating effects, which could help you breathe better. Some research has shown that inhaling lavender while on painkillers can help reduce pain, which could also help relax and breathe during a severe respiratory illness. This essential oil has been known to be contaminated for related species, so make sure that you buy Lavandula andustifolia.
Frankincense has been used in Ayurvedic medicine (Indian medicine) for hundreds of years, and traditionally has numerous health benefits. One of these benefits is in treatment of bronchitis and asthma. Research has shown that using this essence helps prevents your bronchial muscles from constricting in asthma attacks. It has known to improve lung capacity, and reduce asthma attacks in people with chronic asthma.
These are only a few of the many essential oils that can help with respiratory illnesses in children. Essential oils are becoming more and more popular, and because of that more and more scientific studies are being done on the effectiveness of the oils. It’s about time that the scientific community is admitting the benefits that so many of us have seen and witnessed.
Author bio: Diana Guidry is the Marketing Manager and Aromatherapist for Tranquil Rivers Doula Services. You can find her at www.doularivers.com
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