Essential Oils: The Top 11 Oils That Can Benefit Children With ADHD and Autism
Essential oils have been used throughout history for medicinal purposes, dating back as far as the Egyptians in 4500 B.C. There are many known uses and benefits of essential oils. Although many of the benefits may be considered anecdotal, they have benefited people in different ways for thousands of years.
Here is my list of the best essential oils that have benefits for children with autism and ADHD.
Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links.
Peppermint helps to soothe digestive issues, relieve headaches, clear the digestive tract and help with aches and pains in sore muscles.
It is common for children with autism to also have gastrointestinal problems, which is why it is important to support healthy body functions in our kids. Using peppermint oil can help relieve gas pain, and enhance gastric emptying.
The aroma of peppermint oil can also help with concentration and memory because it improves alertness.
Mandarin essential oil has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for thousands of years. Mandarin is one of the best oils for helping reduce anxiety.
It’s a great choice for children because it is mild and most kids love the sweet scent. It can also act as a sedative, promoting better sleep.
3. Ylang Ylang
Ylang Ylang is known for its ability to improve your mood. It has been used as an antidepressant throughout history. Its aroma can be used during meltdowns to help sedate feelings of anger, nervous afflictions and stress, helping your child relax. Try adding a couple drops of ylang-ylang essential oil to your child’s bath before bed to improve sleep.
The strong, earthy smell of vetiver oil makes it a great choice for kids with ADHD because it has a grounding effect. It can help improve concentration and reduce hyperactivity. It’s also been known to promote a restful sleep.
Try massaging a drop of this oil onto your kiddo’s feet afterschool or before bed.
Sandalwood is my personal favorite essential oil, I use it in my home all the time. There are actually three types of sandalwood: Indian, Austrailian, and African. You will most commonly see Australian and African oils because they aren’t as expensive. However, Indian sandalwood has the most intense aroma and I absolutely love it.
Sandalwood has so many benefits. It’s an antiseptic. It induces relaxation to the intestinal muscles which can help remove gas. It improves concentration and memory and helps calm anxiety and restlessness. Plus, the smell is amazing.
Bergamot has a very sweet smell and works as an antidepressant and a sedative. It can improve mood and help your child sleep better. You can also use it for pain relief and muscle spasms, or to reduce a fever. It helps synchronize the digestive system and can help with constipation.
Warning: Bergamot must be kept out of sunlight because exposure to sunlight can cause one of the properties to become poisonous. Store in a dark place.
Lavender is most commonly used to improve sleep and reduce stress. Some studies show that regularly using lavender can improve the immune system, too.
Add a couple drops of lavender essential oil to a container of baking soda. Then, sprinkle the mixture over your child’s mattress (a great time to do this is when you’re washing bedding). Leave the mixture on the mattress for 3 or 4 hours, and then vacuum it up before putting the sheets back on the bed. The baking soda neutralizes any odors from the mattress and will leave your kiddo’s bed infused with a calming lavender scent that lasts for a couple weeks.
Chamomile tea is well known for helping people fall asleep. Chamomile oil is also relaxing, making it a sleep aid. You can add a couple drops to a warm drink for your child at bedtime, add chamomile oil to your diffuser, or apply a couple drops to your kiddo’s feet before bed.
Cedarwood promotes the production of serotonin, which our brain uses to create melatonin. This oil can help your child have a peaceful sleep and to feel more rested. It can also help individuals with restless leg syndrome because it reduces muscle spasms.
Last but not least is Frankincense essential oil. It reduces stress reactions and negative emotions, helping to reduce meltdowns. It can also help children with ADHD stay focused.
Frankincense can also improve interoception. Get more information on interoceptive and find out if your child has low interoceptive awareness here.
Many people seem to be asking about copaiba essential oil and how it can benefit children with autism and ADHD.
It’s one of the lesser known essential oils but worth mentioning because there definitely are benefits. Copaiba oil can be used to help prevent bedwetting by massaging a drop on the lower abdomen at bedtime. Using Copaiba in a diffuser can help improve emotional well being and induce calmness.
Blending Essential Oils
There’s a bit of an art behind blending essential oils. Which ones you mix can have added benefits, depending on the effect you want it to have. The idea of blending oils sounds intimidating and it needs to be done a certain way. You can find blending recipes online. If you aren’t comfortable
Ways To Use Essential Oils
There are many ways to use essential oils. You can use a diffuser, or apply them to the skin, some can be ingested. If you enjoy DIY activities you can even learn how to make your own essential oil diffuser bracelet.
Use Caution when you use essential oils for children. There are many benefits to using essential oils for autism and ADHD, however, they are highly concentrated. A little goes a very long way. It’s important to read the labels and use the correct amount. Never use oils in a way that is not on the product label. If applying to the skin, test on a small area first to make sure it doesn’t cause irritation.
Some essential oils are mixed with other chemicals or vegetable oil. They could be a skin irritant, or simply not provide the expected results because they aren’t pure. Always ensure that you are using pure, therapeutic grade oils.
I know this is an uncomfortable topic, but it’s worth mentioning because it’s something that isn’t talked about often. Scatolia, better known as fecal smearing, is common in children with autism. It often happens in their bedrooms, after nap time or when they wake up in the morning. But it can occur at other times too. There are a number of causes for fecal smearing, but the most common reason is that the child is trying to meet a sensory need. Being in a quiet bedroom can be understimulating, leading your child to sensory seeking behavior.
It’s not always a tactile need. Sometimes it’s about the sense of smell, and the strong odor. Trying an essential oil diffuser in their room could help to meet that sensory need and stop the problem by keeping their sensory needs met.
The diffuser below, from Amazon, if a great choice if you’re trying to make your child’s bedroom calming, yet not under stimulating. The starry LED lights change through 7 different colors providing calming, visual stimulation.