Your baby is teething. You want to help. You reach for the Clove essential oil…
Before you apply that ultra concentrated product to your baby’s gums, please read this post. I want to explain why this is not recommended, and offer you some safe alternatives.
Why you want to avoid using Clove essential oil on teething babies
Clove essential oil is on the list of essential oils to avoid using on children under age 2 (you can find that list here: Essential Oils and Children).
Let me explain why… I am sure we’d all agree that cloves (the herb) are strong. It only takes a small sprinkling of ground cloves in a pot to simmer to waft through the house pleasantly. If you’ve ever added ground cloves to your oatmeal, you know a little bit goes a long way! Steam distillation of the herb into an essential oil increases the potency by 100X or more.
According to Essential Oil Safety, Clove Bud (and Leaf and Stem) essential oils have a moderate risk for mucous membrane irritation and skin sensitization, and therefore should not be used on children under age 2.
To further emphasize the importance of using clove essential oil with caution, it is further recommended that those with hypersensitive, diseased, or damaged skin avoid this essential oil. Even healthy adults need to use with caution and use at no greater than a .5% dilution.
If you have used Clove essential oil on your baby before, don’t panic.
Although irritation is immediate and noticeable (redness), sensitization happens after using several times. To be honest, sensitization is a tricky one to predict. It might happen after the 3rd application, or the 10th (read more about sensitization here: A Word on Sensitization) or not until the 20th time it is applied.
This is why it’s important to stop now, even if you’ve used Clove essential oil before and figure you might as well keep using it. Do your baby a favor, and use another method.
So what can I do for my teething baby if I can’t use Clove essential oil?
German Chamomile hydrosol is a safe alternative. Like other hydrosols, this one can be used straight on your baby’s gums for teething relief, but is usually not available locally.
Lavender essential oil can be used, diluted according to age, and applied to the jawline or cheek for teething relief. You can find the proper dilution by using the chart on this page: Properly Diluting Essential Oils.
Where to Buy Essential Oils & Learn More About How to Use Them Safely
The author of this post, Lea Harris, is a certified clinical aromatherapist who offers thoughtful, well-researched, and unbiased information about essential oils on her site Learning About Essential Oils. She is not affiliated with any essential oil brand or company, and she’s generously agreed to create this series of posts for us Food Renegades to help educate us about essential oil safety.
You may purchase essential oils locally, or you can buy them online.
Thanks, Lea, for sharing this post with us!