Essential oils have been said to have several benefits and used by mankind for many years. Eucalyptus oil, one such essential oil, is said to have antibacterial and antiseptic action. The oil is used for these healing properties and has been in use as a popular home remedy for thousands of years. It is used as a therapy to treat respiratory problems such as cold, bronchitis, cough, and pneumonia in some cultures.
You may love to use this natural oil on your baby. But, halt a second! According to Essential Oil Safety Book by Robert Tisserand, eucalyptus is on the list of essential oils to be avoided on children under 10 years of age.
Did we leave you thinking? Then read this post to learn everything about eucalyptus oil for babies.
Eucalyptus Oil And Its Components
Eucalyptus oil is an extract from the leaves of the eucalyptus tree. The oil has a composition of more than 100 different compounds. Single distilled eucalyptus oil, which is crude oil, may contain more compounds in different quantities than the double distilled eucalyptus oil, which is rectified. For instance, eucalyptus globulus oil has nearly 60% cineole and 40% other compounds. Following rectification, the oil contains 80% cineole and 20% other compounds.
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General specifications and limitations of the oil are mentioned below:
Specifications BP: Eucalyptus Oil
|Constituents||Range – Limit|
|a(alpha) – pinene||Trace to 9%|
|b(beta) – pinene||Less than 1.5%|
|a(alpha)- phellandrene||Less than 1.5%|
|d(delta) – limonene||Trace to 12%|
|1,8-cineole||At least 70%|
|Camphor||Less than 0.1%|
|Sabinene||Less than 0.3%|
This medicinal oil is a common home remedy to deal with respiratory and bronchial system disorders. The healing vapors from the leaves of the Australian botanical native have been used for years to provide relief from respiratory problems. The oil mainly works as a coolant. The topical application of eucalyptus oil may improve blood flow and even disinfect the area. Its expectorant quality makes it a wonderful natural remedy for cough and chest congestion.
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Why Can’t You Use Eucalyptus Oil On Babies?
The many health benefits make us wonder why eucalyptus oil is not safe for babies. Read the below reasons to clear your doubts.
- Essential oils like eucalyptus oil have high 1,8-cinoele, which can lead to the problems related to central nervous system and breathing in young children.
- The amount of 1,8-cineole in eucalyptus oil depends on the chemotype or the eucalyptus species.
- Even though a few eucalyptus species may not have much 1,8-cineole, they have other compounds which could be a concern for children.
- This oil is quite strong and has the potential to harm the delicate skin of babies and infants by causing burning sensation and irritation.
- Ingestion may lead to diarrhea, abdominal pain, vomiting, and severe side effects of eucalyptus oil on babies include wheezing and breathing difficulties.
- Eucalyptus oil, applied topically or ingested, may lead to serious problems such as seizures and in extreme cases coma.
- For children, who are ten years or younger, the oil should not be applied near or on the face, especially around the mouth and nose.
- The eucalyptus essential oil should be totally kept away from babies less than two years of age.
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Points to Remember:
- In case your baby or infant shows breathing problems, take him to a healthcare provider immediately. Your little one needs prompt attention of a doctor, not the home remedies.
- Ensure that your little one does not ingest the oil. Be even more careful, if there is a family history of asthma. The oil can trigger an asthma attack in your little one.
- It is always good to seek an expert advice before using any oil on babies and infants.
Though the eucalyptus oil is medicinal and is as effective as prescribed or over-the-counter medications, it is not applicable for babies. The application of the oil either directly on the chest or inhalation through a vaporizer, to deal with congestion, is good only for adults and not babies.
Parents may assume that a small amount or diluted amount of this medicinal oil may not be harmful for babies, but they can ingest or inhale enough oil (through a vaporizer or humidifier) for a reaction to occur.
Remember: Just because something is called ‘natural’ it is not automatically safe or beneficial for your children.
Hope this article helps you understand enough about using eucalyptus oil for babies. Do let us know your views in the comments box below.
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