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"Libraries: The medicine chest of the soul."
Library at Thebes, inscription over the door
Plant medicine has been used to treat the problems of baby for centuries; today, aromatherapy is a just one of a few natural solutions that can help baby through the early years.
Native American Use of Plants With Baby
American Indians have used numerous natural health care solutions over the years which are still in use today. American Indians treated heat and diaper rashes of babies with natural therapies such as a cleansing wash of strawberry and raspberry leaves. Plants such as sweet grass and sage were also used, in addition to honey made from wild bees.
Aromatherapy Use for Baby
Aromatherapy seeks to achieve balance and harmony of the mind, body and spirit by the controlled use of pure essential oils. Extracted from various parts of a plant, tree or flower, essential oils are formed from the aromas of the plant and do not use the plant itself, unlike herbal and plant medicine. There are many essential oils which can be used to treat baby in aromatherapy.
Babies identify the world around them through the use of smell. Studies have shown that smells 'inhaled' by baby.,via the amniotic fluid pre-natal, are the smells preferred after birth too (Davis and Porter, 1991; Schall et al., 2000). Smell is one of the fastest ways in which essential oils access the body. In addition, baby massage is another popular way to use aromatherapy with baby.
New mothers are re-discovering the benefits of massage with their babies; a strong connection is formed between mother and child through aromatherapy massage with essential oils. Essential oils are also good for baby's skin and can help ensure a good night's sleep – for both mother and baby!
Aromatherapy can help with baby health problems such as colic, crying, cradle cap, teething, colds, earache, eczema and anxiety. Essential oils should be administered via a carrier such as a white lotion. White lotion is preferable to an oil as it is more easily absorbed by a baby's skin and not as slippery. Always remember to reduce the normal amount of essential oils used with baby compared to adult use. One drop of essential oil goes a long way with baby.
Essential Oils to Use With Baby
Different essential oils have different properties and can be often used for a variety of different reasons. These are some of the more popular gentle essential oils to use for baby:
- Geranium (Pelargonium graveolens)
- Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia)
- Rose (Rosa damascena)
- Roman Chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile)
- Lemon (Citrus limon)
- Grapefruit (Citrus paradisi)
- Mandarin (Citrus reticulate)
- Sweet Orange (Citrus aurantium sinensis).
Essential Oils Not to Use With Baby
There are also essential oils which should never be used with baby for one reason or another. These include:
- essential oils high in menthone such as Peppermint (Mentha x piperita) and Cornmint (Mentha arvensis)
- Hyssop (Hyssop officinalis)
- Basil (Ocimum basilicum)
- Juniper (Juniperus communis).
Cautions for Using Essential Oils With Baby
Consult individual essential oil profiles for further information on the use of a particular essential oil before using with baby. In addition, seek advice from a suitably qualified aromatherapist to ensure safe and correct usage of essential oils with baby; used safely and correctly, aromatherapy is a valuable therapy for both mother and child.
2005 International Journal of Clinical Aromatherapy Paediatrics Care Volume 2: Issue 2: Australia
Kavasch, E. Barrie, Baar, Karen 1999 American Indian Healing Arts Bantam: New York
This article was written by Sharon Falsetto and appeared in its original format on Suite101 as Essential Oils for Baby
It is expressively prohibited to copy or use this article in any way unless written permission is given by the author Sharon Falsetto. If it is discovered that copyright laws have not been complied with, legal action will be pursued by the author Sharon Falsetto.
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