Why I Say NO to Four Thieves Blends for Children

Picture the scenario...

You go to your child's pediatrician. You mention that you are looking for something to help your child whenever he gets sick. Your doctor gives you two options:

Option A:

A strong, effective formula but has the following cautions:

  • may irritate the mucous membranes
  • may inhibit blood clotting
  • can interact with medications
  • may cause embryo toxicity
  • not recommended for pregnancy and breastfeeding
  • can burn the skin 
  • can cause an immune reaction if used improperly
  • should not be used on or near the face of children
  • potentially neurotoxic
  • can induce seizures in epileptics
  • should not be used topically in children under 2
  • can stimulate the cold receptors in the lungs which can slow down breathing
  • certain kinds can cause a phototoxic reaction if used on the skin and exposed to UV light

Option B:

A gentle, effective formula that has the following cautions:

  • can cause skin irritation if oxidized
  • certain kinds can cause a phototoxic reaction if used on the skin and exposed to UV light 

 

Which one would you choose?

 

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Did I also mention Option B is cheaper?

Let's look behind the curtain and reveal the names of these options. 

Option A: Blends containing Cinnamon Bark, Clove, Rosemary, Lemon/Orange, and Eucalyptus. The cautions listed above is a quick snapshot for each of these essential oils. The source is  "Essential Oil Safety 2" by Robert Tisserand and Rodney Young. For full profiles, you can purchase the book here. (No, I do not get any financial payment for recommending this book. I just get the satisfaction of introducing you to your newest best friend when it comes to research-based essential oil safety.)

Option B: A citrus essential oil. A familiar, lovable aroma for children with immune boosting power. 

There are also other immune supportive essential oils for children beyond citrus oils. Some of my favorites are 

  • HoWood (Cinnamomun camphora ct linalool)
  • Rosalina (Melaleuca ericifolia)
  • Thyme ct. linalool (Thymus vulgaris ct. linalool)
  • Palmarosa (Cymbopogon martini var. motia)- great for the diffuser

In the world of essential oils and children, the key is risk vs. benefit. When two options would work, you choose the lesser of two evils. You do it with everything else for your children.

Essential oils should be no different.  

Before you get all up in arms saying I'm fear mongering, think about it. When presented with a health issue, do you not as a parent, research as much as you can? Try to find all possible side effects? Weigh the pros and cons? As a parent myself, I can assure you that this is true of most parents. If there is a possible problem with using anything with my children, I WANT TO KNOW. I want to make the most informed decision possible. These are my children I am talking about. The very human beings I would lay down my life for. I would be doing them a disservice if I were to not explore all options and choose the safest, most effective one. 

Right about now is when someone would chime in and say they are plant botanical extracts, therefore they are safe. Poison ivy is a botanical. So is tobacco. So is deadly nightshade. Heck, even too much sun exposure can cause skin cancer and too much water can cause hyponatremia, which can be deadly. Therefore...

Natural doesn't always equal safe.

Everything has a possible toxicity factor if misused. Essential oils are no exception. These possible hazards are due to incidents that have occurred or research that has prompted the caution. These blends have the possibility of adverse effects. Does that mean every child will have a problem? No. But that also means, just because they don't have a problem with it now, doesn't mean they won't in the future. 

As someone who works with children on a daily basis, I implore you to be your child's best health advocate. Encourage them to eat nutrient dense foods. Make sure they get adequate sleep every night. Keep them physically active. Keep them hydrated via water. LET THEM PLAY OUTSIDE IN NATURE! And don't take anything you put on their bodies or expose them to lightly. Research from unbiased sources. Weigh risk versus benefit. Be the informed parent. Your children deserve it.

 

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