Essential oils, also known as volatile or
aromatic oils, are found in many plants. Plants with a strong aroma
will often contain essential oil. Essential oils are unrelated to
vegetable oils and animal fats.
Pure essential oils are highly concentrated and potent substances and
although they contribute significantly to the therapeutic activity of
many medicinal plants, they are all toxic in relatively low doses when
taken internally. This applies especially to babies and small children
and it is generally recommended not to use pure essential oils
Essential Oil Absorption Through The Skin
Due to the lipid-solubility of essential oils, they are readily
absorbed through the skin. Thus, applying them to the skin is an
indirect form of internal administration. The use of fragrant massage
oils (massage oils containing essential oil) on babies should be
avoided. You should use a good quality cold pressed vegetable oil such
as wheat germ or almond oil instead.
A couple of essential oils can be added to a pure vegetable massage-oil
in very low concentration and used therapeutically to relieve colic in
Essential Oil Steam Treatment
Another way of using essential oils is inhalation. This method is
employed both in aromatherapy and medical herbalism. The simplest way
to administer essential oils this way is:
To add a few drops of essential oil to
Either in a saucepan or in an oil burner
Ceramic oil burners with a small dish for
water and essential oil on top and a candle underneath are readily
Oil burners give the
room a pleasant smell and many people have them burning almost
constantly, filling the room with evaporated essential oil.
This is not
a good idea, however, because the constant exposure to essential oil
can have a negative effect on the lungs. This especially applies to
babies and smaller children. An oil burner with a few drops of
eucalyptus oil is ideal when the child has a cold and the airways are
congested. Have it burning in the child's bedroom for a couple of hours
at night. Do make sure that the burner is out of the child's reach.
Always keep essential oils where children cannot get to them.