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safe amounts to use

How much Essential oils should I use?

What amounts are safe to Use with Babies, Children, Adults and the Elderly?

by Penny Keay

This is a question that we get asked a lot and especially now with flu season upon us it is more important now that you know how much and what essential oils are safe to use especially with babies and young children.

They get just as miserable as us and have difficulty sleeping, have aches and pains, along with stuffy noses and chest congestion.

Although essential oils can help relieve symptoms, young children and babies can’t really tell you if they are working for them. You have to be very observant and of course use common sense.
As for the elderly, again, some may not be able to tell you much you need to watch for how they are responding.

When properly used essential oils are very safe and very effective ways to make life more comfortable in our lives.

Remember - less, is safer to use than more when it comes to using essential oils.  You can always add more, but you can't take them out of a blend or the air once added.

In, this article we will discuss the safe amounts to be used for various age groups when used in massage and also for use when diffused in close proximity (within a few feet - 5 ft or less) for these ages.    

Of course, there are exceptions to the rules in almost everything, but with essential oils you should always be cautious and follow the recommendations listed here.  

Starting with Babies - You can use a few essential oils around even the tiniest of babies but there are some that should not be used until they are much older. 

Newborns to 12 months.  - 1 drop of essential oil such as Lavender or Roman Chamomile placed in a 2 teaspoons of a fixed oil such as Sunflower oil or Grapeseed oil for use as massage.  

Or you can mix them in whole milk (or cream) and then add to the bath water.  The amount of milk   to use is approximately 2 teaspoons also.

Do use extra caution if using fixed oil as the baby can become very slippery especially when oil is used in the bath.   

For massage use the fixed oils of course.  1 drop of essential oil to 2 teaspoons fixed oil is very safe amount to use.   

The safe oils for babies 1-12 months include Lavender, Roman Chamomile, German Chamomile, Mandarin, Eucalyptus radiata, Eucalyptus citriodora, Neroli, Geranium and Rose Otto.  Even though these are safe for use around this age group, if irritation or rashes should develop discontinue use.   

Caution: Do not use any of the following around or near the baby (especially the nose)  as they have been known to cause a natural reactive response that can close the throat and air passages - These oils include Peppermint, Eucalyptus globulus, Rosemary and any other camphorous oils.  

Also, it is extremely important that you wash your hands thoroughly after handling the bottles of essential oils before handling and especially before feeding or nursing your baby. 

A little bit of undiluted essential oil on a baby can be very uncomfortable and can burn or sting delicate mucous membranes.  A babies' sense of smell is very acute and strong smells near the infant could be more irritating and upsetting than helpful.  

Toddlers 2 to 5 years - At this age, you can now add up to 3 drops of essential oils per 2 teaspoons of fixed oils or to the milk/cream before adding it to a bath.   Again with the really young children avoid the above mentioned essential oils to prevent breathing problems.   Avoid use of any essential oil that is considered heating or penetrating. Their skin is just too delicate.  

Ages 5-12 years - You can use 1/2 the amount of essential oils used in any recipe used for adults, while still using the same amount of fixed oils.  In other words if the recipe for an adult calls for 12 drops total of essential oils in 2 tablespoons of massage oil, then you would use 6 drops of the essential oils and still use 2 tablespoons of the fixed oil.   For diffusion in a close area, again it is preferable to use the reduced amounts.  

12 years to adults - Follow the aromatherapy recipes as written or if using a single note or synergy blend.  Remember you will smell it at first, but within a few minutes your nose will become accustomed to it and you will only smell it occasionally.

For diffusion: 10-12 drops is very strong when used within a 5 foot diameter circle.  For Massage: 10-12 drops essential oils when used in massage oil per 2 tablespoons of fixed oil should give a very nice massage at a 2% dilution.     

Elderly and infirm -  Depends on the overall health condition of the individual but normally you will start with half the amount of the suggested recipe and if no adverse reactions can be increased as necessary up to the full recipe amounts.  

If ever in doubt, please write to ask for suggestions.  For any question related to Aromatherapy, please send us an e-mail and we'll get you an answer as quickly as possible. 

~ Penny Keay

Certified Clinical Medical Aroma Therapist

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The information provided on this Website is for informational and educational purposes only. 

You should not use this information to replace medical advice given by a licensed medical practitioner. Anyone considering alternative therapies should remember to consult with their licensed medical professional before using any alternative or complementary method.  We do not give nor is any opinion on our web site medical advice, they are merely suggested uses.

© 2009, 2014  Penny Keay - All Rights Reserved World wide.