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Eucalyptus and Peppermint Essential Oil Safety for Kids

In light of the FDA’s recent crackdown on essential oil companies like Young Living and dōTERRA for their outrageous claims on the health benefits of their products and their dangerous recommendations on ingesting essential oils; I wanted to have a word on the safety of peppermint and eucalyptus, and other essential oils that have similar properties to these.

A discussion on my Facebook page cropped up when I shared links to the warning letters the FDA sent to Young Living and dōTERRA. A friend wanted to know if she should continue using Young Living’s “Breathe Again” roll-on on her four-year-old son. I gave her an emphatic “no,” and here is why:

essential oil safetyRobert Tisserand’s latest book, Essential Oil Safety: A Guide for Health Care Professionals (second edition), states on page 109, “…we recommend that peppermint, cornmint, and any oil with 40% or more 1,8-cineole should not be applied to the face of infants or children, or otherwise inhaled by them.” Menthol and eucalyptus were included in this discussion. Hmm…makes you think twice about wanting to slather Vick’s VapoRub on your kid’s chest, doesn’t it?

In the eucalyptus section of the book, it is mentioned that accidental ingestion of eucalyptus oil has very serious consequences in children and adults. Vomiting, unconsciousness, labored breathing and even death are among these. It is nearly just as dangerous when applied to the inside of the nostrils.

Young Living and dōTERRA – Unethical Company Practices?

It concerns me that representatives for these kinds of companies are blindly following the recommendations they are given, without doing their own research on the safety of the practices they recommend. Do you know who is responsible when a customer has a serious health problem and decides to sue? The representative. That’s right, these companies have avoided having to deal with lawsuits like this because they claim they are not responsible for the actions and recommendations that their representatives give to customers. Yet, all the while, the representatives are getting this information FROM the companies they work for.

Oh, and by the way. You know how essential oil companies like Young Living and dōTERRA like to make the claim that they use only “therapeutic grade” essential oils, thus justifying their outrageous prices? Well that’s a bunch of hooey. There are no regulations in place that make this claim possible. Oh, yeah, and people have been doing some private testing on their “therapeutic grade” essential oils, too. Somebody’s not being very honest. *finger wag*

Educate Yourself About Essential Oil

It’s okay if you want to use essential oils. They have a lot of therapeutic benefits! But it’s important to know what you’re doing so you don’t hurt yourself or others. Check out the resources below for some really useful essential oil information:

  • Safe Essential Oil Use With Babies & Children
  • Properly Diluting Essential Oils – Very few essential oils should be applied “neat” to the skin. They always need to be diluted in a carrier oil. If you don’t dilute, not only can you develop a skin reaction where you applied it, but you open yourself up to a greater risk of sensitization
  • Do not, under any circumstances, ingest essential oils. “Given the rapid and almost complete absorption of essential oils ingested orally, this route of administration has the highest potential for toxic effects.” (Source.)

essential oil alternativesBefore going straight for an essential oil, ask yourself what benefits you are looking for. Sometimes infusing an herb in olive oil or making a poultice is just as effective (and safer) for a topical application. Maybe a tea could be brewed from the herb instead, if you are looking to treat an internal symptom. I understand the desire for a more holistic approach to health, but just remember that essential oils aren’t appropriate for everything. For learning more about herbs and how to use them, I highly recommend the Online Introductory Herbal Course from the Herbal Academy of New England.