babies & Children

Naturally we want the best for our children-we want them to enjoy good health & to recover quickly when they are ill. The natural remedies are an invaluable aid in supporting children's health, directing the child's enormous energy towards healing & restoring vitality.

Whilst there are many remedies that are safe & suitable even for very young children, care must be taken to ensure that the intended remedy is suitable. Accurate identification of plants, freedom from contamination, appropriate methods of administration & dosage are important factors to consider when choosing a remedy. We advise that any possible exacerbating factors are eliminated from the diet & environment before administering a remedy, if necessary & with care.

You will find information below on herbal remedies, essential oils & aromatic waters recommended doses & how to take them. 

The first part deals with herbal remedies - which herbs are considered safe for babies & children, how to prepare them & appropriate doses for the age of the child.

The second part deals with essential oils & aromatic waters.


ALLERGIES - Chamomile, Elderflower, Plantain

ALOPECIA - Horsetail, Chamomile, Rosemary

APPETITE LOSS - Centaury, Chamomile, Fennel

ANAL FISSURE - Figwort, Calendula

ANXIETY - Lemonbalm, Chamomile, Californian Poppy, Oats

ASTHMA - Hyssop, Cramp Bark, Valerian, Plantain, Elecampane, Coltfoot Flowers (short term use only, for  children aged 6yrs & over only), Chamomile, Elderflower

BEHAVIOUR PROBLEMS - Oats, Skullcap, Thyme, Chamomile, Licorice (short term use only), Lemonbalm

CHEST INFECTIONS - Echinacea, Plantain, Thyme, Elecampane, Coltsfoot (short term use only, for children aged 6yrs & over only), Hyssop, Angelica archangelica, Ginger

COLIC - Fennel, Chamomile, Dandelion Root, Centaury, Spearmint

COUGH - Hyssop, Coltsfoot (short term use only, for children aged 6yrs & over only) , Elecampane, Licorice (short term use only), Thyme, Wild Cherry, Marshmallow Root

CONSTIPATION - Dandelion Root, Centaury,  Chamomile

CONJUNCTIVITIS - Elderflower, Eyebright, Plantain, Echinacea, Chamomile, Cleavers

CRADLECAP - Wild Pansy (internal & topical)

EAR INFECTIONS - Cleavers, Plantain, Elderflower, Eyebright, Echinacea

ECZEMA - Wild Pansy, Plantain, Chickweed, Cleavers, Centaury, Chamomile, Hyssop, Red Clover,       Dandelion Root

FEVER - Catmint, Cleavers, Elderflower, Spearmint

HAYFEVER - Chamomile, Elderflower, Plantain

HERPES SIMPLEX - Calendula, Cleavers, Lemonbalm

HEADACHE - Chamomile, Skullcap

IMMUNITY (LOW) - Echinacea, Cleavers, Plantain, Calendula

IMPETIGO - Calendula, Echinacea, Thuja

IBS - Chamomile, Meadowsweet, Dandelion Root

INSECT BITE REACTIONS - Chamomile, Skullcap

MENARCHE - Vervain, Lady's Mantle, Dandelion Root

MOLLUSCUM - Echinacea, Calendula, Cleavers, Thuja

NAPPY RASH - Calendula, Aloe vera gel

POST VIRAL FATIGUE - Chamomile, Echinacea, Angelica archangelica, Milk Thistle, Vervain, Oats, Lemonbalm, St. John's Wort (may cause photo-sensitivity)

SLEEP PROBLEMS - Californian Poppy, Skullcap, Chamomile

TEETHING - Catmint, Chamomile, Figwort, Spearmint

THRUSH - Calendula, Thyme, Pau D'arco, Yarrow

TONSILITIS - Sage, Echinacea, Marshmallow Root, Calendula, Cleavers

UTI - Couch Grass, Cornsilk, Marshmallow Root, Echinacea, Yarrow

The traditional methods for administering internal remedies are water infusions or decoctions (ie herbal teas) & tinctures (alcohol extracts). 

Tinctures must be diluted in warm water & both tinctures & herbal teas can be added to other drinks or foods. Most remedies are best taken with food, although some are best taken before food. Buy your remedies from a reputable source & directions for taking them will be available.

Mothers who are breast feeding could try taking the remedy themselves (at the adult dose)

as active constituents are passed into breast milk.

Take the remedy at least 20mins before feeding & not longer than 2hrs before.

Likewise, any exacerbating factors in breast feeding mothers' diets should be eliminated.

The standard ADULT DOSE for most         is 1 heaped 5ml teaspoon of dried herb

per cup (250ml) boiling water. Cover the brewing vessel & infuse for 5mins & strain. 

This taken 3 times per day. Sweeten with honey or similar if desired.

Age appropriate doses of tea (see below) should be taken from

a cup of infusion prepared in this way, 3 times per day.

The standard ADULT DOSE for most tinctures is 2ml-5ml taken 3 times per day in water.

The table below shows the maximum number of drops of tincture recommended for

children of different ages, the amount of herbal tea for different ages & the percentage of an adult dose that is recommended for each age group.

The amounts recommended for tinctures for children are based upon the adult dose for a particular tincture being 2-5ml 3 times per day.     



     Age              % of adult dose


1 month                        1.14      

2-3 months                   2.27

4-5 months                   3.41

6 months                      4.55

7-8 months                   5.68

9 months                      6.82

10 months                    7.95 

11 months                    9.09

12-13 months              10.23

14-15 months              11.36

16 months                   12.5 

17 months                   13.64

18-21 months              14.77 

22 months                   15.91

23 months                   17.05

24 months                   18.18

2-3 yrs                        19.32 

3-4 yrs                        22.73

5-7 yrs                        26.14  

8-9 yrs                        28.41

10-11 yrs                    34.09

12-13yrs                     45.45 

14yrs                          56.82

 Age              ml of tea taken from                 250ml cup 3 times per day 

1 month                       2.84       

2-3 months                  5.68

4-5 months                  8.52

6 months                     11.36

7-8 months                  14.2

9 months                     17.05

10 months                   19.89

11 months                   22.73

12-13 months              25.57

14-15 months              28.41

16 months                   31.25         

17 months                   34.09

18-21 months              36.93 

22 months                   39.77

23 months                   42.61

24 months                   45.45

2-3 yrs                        48.3

3-4 yrs                        56.82

5-7 yrs                        65.34  

8-9 yrs                        71.02

10-11 yrs                    85.23

12-13yrs                     113.64

14yrs                          142.05

     Age              Drops of tincture

                          3 times per day 

1 month                       1        

2-3 months                  2

4-5 months                  3

6 months                     4

7-8 months                  5

9 months                     6

10 months                   7 

11 months                   8

12-13 months              9 

14-15 months              10

16 months                   11 

17 months                   12

18-21 months              13 

22 months                   14

23 months                   15

24 months                   16

2-3 yrs                        17 

3-4 yrs                        20

5-7 yrs                        23  

8-9 yrs                        25

10-11 yrs                    30

12-13yrs                     40 

14yrs                          50



Essential oils are highly concentrated, fragrant plant extracts of the volatile oil

components of plants.

They are powerful & potent healing remedies when used with respect, acting on a 

physical, mental & emotional level.

Aromatic Waters are relative new comers to the Western repertoire.

Traditionally used for many centuries in The Middle East, a few small scale producers in the UK

now supply the herbal medicine community with beautiful, premium quality aromatic waters.

They are gentler than essential oils in their action whilst still having all the therapeutic actions of the essential oils. Because they contain a wider range of the constituents found in the whole plant, they offer a more well-rounded & balanced way of using the properties of essential oils.

Many of the aromatic waters are safe for use internally & externally & have therapeutic & cosmetic actions.

See the table above for the percentage of adult dose of aromatic waters to give to children internally.

Adult doses & information about the benefits of specific waters can be found


The recommendations for using essential oils with babies & children is somewhat contradictory

& the wise course is always to exercise caution, choose the most gentle option/lowest dose first

& only proceed with stronger remedies if necessary, use the minimum amount required, when introducing

new remedies do so one at a time & do a patch test before using a new remedy topically so as to

ascertain there is no adverse reaction to that particular remedy & seek professional advice

if you need further holistic healthcare support.

Bear in mind that aromatic waters are a recent option in the UK & older sources of reference did not

have access to the range, quality & consistency of supply of aromatic waters that we have now.

Here are some general guidelines:

  • Essential oils must be treated with respect, they must be used with caution & only when necessary. 

       Ensure the oil is safe for the age of your child & for the method of application used - see table below.

  • Babies & children are highly sensitive to aroma, their thinner skin & immature immune system makes them prone to adverse reactions to & highly susceptible to the effects of the powerful essential oils. Just because essential oils are “natural” does not automatically make them “safe”.

  • Aromatic waters, herb infused base oils (vegetable/carrier oils) or water infusions (teas) of herbs are the

        preferred remedies especially for very young children.

  • Babies under 6 months - Several sources recommend that essential oils are not used (topically or inhaled/diffused) with babies before the age of six months due to their thinner skin and immature

       immune systems. Instead choose aromatic waters or herbal infusions (oil or water).

  • Babies & children between 6 months & 2yrs - Age appropriate oils may be used in a diffuser or inhaled

       at the appropriate dose (inhalation is preferred over diffusion). As always when using essential oils with             babies & children, only use essential oils for a specific therapeutic purpose & with caution.

       If using a diffuser, use for a short period of time only.

      At this age, essential oils may be used topically at the safe dilution for emergency use such as burns,

      stings, severe nappy rash, infected wounds. Aromatic waters & herbal infusions are preferred &

      essential oils are indicated only if the gentler remedies are not effective.

      Use essential oils topically ONLY in extreme circumstances & do not make a habit of it!

  • From 2yrs to 6yrs topical application of essential oils may be used at the appropriate dilution in carrier oil. Again, aromatic waters & herbal infusions are preferred for topical use & essential oils delivered via inhalation/diffusion is the preferred route of essential oil use. Your child’s immune system is still developing at this age & less able to respond to demands placed upon it.

  • From 6yrs to 12yrs adverse reactions, allergic reactions & sensitivities to essential oils both topical & inhaled are less likely. The immune system is developed, as is a thicker skin. Essential oils must still be

       used with caution, must be age appropriate & used at a safe dilution.

  • When using essential oils topically avoid using on a child’s face. It is often suggested to massage the feet with young babies rather than the chest and back, for the safest application of essential oils.

       Under no circumstances should essential oils be taken internally by children.

  • When selecting an essential oil for your child please research that oil carefully before going ahead to

        ensure that you are satisfied it is safe for use via the intended method.

  • Whilst there are differences in the recommendations given by aromatherapists, bear in mind that

       YOU are the expert in your child’s particular needs, sensitivities & constitution. If in doubt, err on the side         of caution & consult a professional health care practitioner if you need their expertise.



The best method for essential oil inhalation for children is to pop drops of essential oil onto

a cotton pad and leave it on a warm radiator to evaporate gently into the room. 

Use the quantities recommended for baths.

1 or 2 drops may be put on cotton wool & held under the nose (at a safe distance!)

for easing congestion - see recommendations below for safe decongestant blends.

Aromatic waters may be inhaled for a gentler option


Use an electric aromatherapy diffuser or a candle oil-burner.

Add the approrpiate number of drops of oil to 15ml water.

Use the number of drops recommended for baths.
Aromatic water may be used in a diffuser for a gentler option.

Create a spritz to spray on bedding to help baby sleep at night, to keep them

cool in summer or to ward off insects. 

For this, pour 100ml of water or aromatic water into a spray bottle and add:

6 drops of essential oil for babies/for infants use 12 drops/& use 18 drops for children/ & for older children and up to 36 drops.   




When using essential oils in the bath make sure to mix them thoroughly into a water soluble dispersant

such as honey or milk (dairy/goat/nut/oat), salt or unfragranced natural liquid soap or bath foam, or bicarbonate of soda, before adding the mixture to your child’s bath water.

See table below for amounts of essential oils to use.

Aromatic waters may be added to baths for a gentler option.


For massage use the number of drops of essential oil given in the table below in 30ml of base oil

such as apricot kernel oil & then use this diluted oil mixture to massage your child - use the

minimum amount of massage oil blend necessary.

When choosing a base oil bear in mind that children with nut allergies may also be allergic to

nut oils such as sweet almond, hazelnut & coconut.

Topical application can also be done via direct application of an undiluted aromatic water.


The number of drops in the table below refers to the total number of drops in 30ml base oil or

in the bath  & NOT the number of drops of each oil.

Essential oils marked with * must be used at a lower concentration than other oils - the maximum

number of drops for these oils to be used in 30ml base oil is shown in brackets after each oil.

Do NOT use the oils marked * in the bath.

I include the recommendations from Robert Tisserand & Valerie Worwood & Lea Harris, certified clinical aromatherapist & author of “Using Essential Oils Safely"


From 24hrs             INHALED & TOPICAL

1 drop in 30ml base oil

Lavender, Chamomile Roman,

Chamomile German, Yarrow, Dill

2-6 months          INHALED & TOPICAL

3-5 drops in 30ml base oil

All the above plus:

Mandarin, Coriander, Neroli

6-12 months         INHALED & TOPICAL

3-5 drops per 30ml base oil

BATH 1 drop in dispersant

All the above plus:

Palma rosa



Tea tree

1yr-5yrs      INHALED & TOPICAL

5-10 drops per 30ml base oil

BATH 1 drop per yr of age in dispersant

up to max 3 drops per bath

All the above plus:

Ginger @ one third dose of other oils

5-7 yrs             INHALED & TOPICAL

5-12 drops in 30ml base oil

BATH 3 drops in dispersant

All the above plus:

the following @ one third dose

of other oils:

Ginger, Peppermint (6yrs)

Nutmeg, Benzoin, Thyme,

Hyssop, Clary sage, Geranium

7-12 yrs          INHALED & TOPICAL

5-15 drops in 30ml base oil

BATH 7yrs-10yrs 4 drops in dispersant

10yrs-12yrs 5 drops in dispersant

All the above plus:

the following @ one third dose

 of other oils:

Fennel, Frankincense, Cypress, Basil


3-6 months           INHALED & TOPICAL

1-2 drops per 30ml base oil

Lavender, Chamomile Roman,

Chamomile German,Yarrow, Dill

6 months-2yrs      INHALED & TOPICAL

5 drops per 30ml base oil

BATH 1 drop per yr of age in dispersant

All the above plus:

Bergamot*(2.4), Carrot seed,


Cinnamon bark (inhalation only),

Cinnamon leaf*(3), Citronella*(2), Cypress, Coriander, Fir needle, Geranium, Grapefruit, Helichrysum, Lemon (inhalation only), Mandarin, Neroli, Palma rosa, Petitgrain,

Pine*(3), Ravensara, Rosalina, Rose otto, Sandalwood, Spruce, Sweet orange, Sandalwood, Tea tree,

 Ylang ylang (inhalation only)

2yrs-6yrs      INHALED & TOPICAL

20 drops per 30ml base oil

All the above plus:

Lemon basil, Sweet basil, Benzoin, Black pepper*(5), Cassia (inhalation only), Clary sage Clove bud/leaf* (3), Cocaipa balsam, Frankincense, Garlic (inhalation only),

Ginger*(5), Hyssop, Juniper, Lemongrass*(2), Lime, Melissa, Myrrh, Oregano, Sweet marjoram, Patchouli, Spearmint, Lemon tea tree, Thyme*(7.8), Turmeric, Lemon verbena, Vetiver, Valerian, Ylang ylang

6yrs-10yrs         INHALED & TOPICAL

5-12 drops in 30ml base oil

All the above plus:

Cajeput, Cardamom*(5), Corn mint,

Fennel sweet & bitter*(10), Bay Laurel, Marjoram (Spanish), Niaouli, Nutmeg*(5), Peppermint, Sage,

 Star anise*(10.5) 


Most other essential oils that are

safe for adults.

Eucalyptus & Rosemary may be used from

this age onwards.


6 months-2yrs           INHALED ONLY

Bergamot, Black Pepper, Blue Tansy,

Cedarwood, Clary Sage, Copaiba,

Coriander, Cypress, Frankincense,

German Chamomile, Geranium, Ginger,

Grapefruit, Juniper Berry, Helichrysum,

Lavender, Lemon, Mandarin, Marjoram (Sweet), Neroli, Palmarosa, Patchouli,

Petitgrain, Pines -except Ponderosa Pine (Pinus ponderosa), or Huon Pine (Dacrydium franklinii)

Roman Chamomile, Sandalwood,

Siberian Fir Needle, Spearmint, Spruces,

Sweet Orange, Tangerine, Tea Tree,


2 yrs-6 yrs           INHALED & TOPICAL

1-2 drops per 30ml base oil

All the above may be

inhaled & taken topically

6yrs-10yrs         INHALED & TOPICAL

30 drops in 30ml base oil

All the above 


Many of the citrus oils can cause photo-toxicity when used topically (sensitive/irritated/burnt/inflamed skin when exposed to sunlight) for up to 48hrs after application. 

Sweet Orange, Tangerine & Mandarin are NOT photo-toxic, nor are steam distilled lemon & furanocoumarin-free Bergamot. Child safe citrus oils & the number of drops which can be used in 30ml base oil before they become photo-toxic are:

Bergamot 1 drop, Lime (cold pressed) 4 drops, Orange, bitter 8 drops.

Lemon (cold pressed) 12 drops, Grapefruit 24 drops



The oils commonly used as decongestants-Eucalyptus, Rosemary & Peppermint 

should NOT be used for children.

Peppermint may be used from 6yrs onwards.

Eucalyptus & Rosemary may be used from 10yrs old onwards.

The following blend of oils is for children from 6 months old for inhalation & may be used as a

chest rub or in the bath if necessary using the dosages & methods in the table above.

8 drops total of 1 or more of Fir, Pine, Cypress, Spruce, Juniper


7 drops total of 1 or more of Sweet Orange, Grapefruit, Tangerine


5 drops total of 1 or more of Clove, Cinnamon Leaf, Cedarwood

Use this blend to dispense the appropriate number of drops as outlined in the table above.

                                  can be used as a gentle & anti-inflammatory decongestant inhalation for children.