It’s that time of year again when all the fun and excitement of summer begins to come to a close. The back to school frenzy will soon be arriving for people of all ages ranging from kindergarten to college; with that frenzy comes many heightened emotions and struggles for most.
The following list is a wonderful starting place and will cover most of the common struggles among school goers of all ages. Kindergarten – College or even just continuing education. While we will discuss others these are a great starting point!
COMMON CONCERNS AND STRESSORS:
While heading back to school may come with lots of excitement for many, often it also creates various levels of stress and anxiety. School can be sort of an emotional rollercoaster for many.
Starting school for the 1st time, social anxiety, and test anxiety are the most common among most children and adults in a school setting. There are several essential oils that can be used alone or blended together to reduce stress and anxiety for all age groups.
Frankincense: This essential oil is a must-have for your nervous system; due to its wonderful properties it can help with issues ranging from anxiety, stress, depression, and nervous tension. Frankincense does wonders when used during meditation; it has amazing grounding and calming properties.
Grapefruit: This wonderful citrus oil is most commonly known for its mood-lifting abilities. Often anxiety brings about other issues such as depression, fatigue, and mental exhaustion all of which can be dealt with using this essential oil.
Lavender: Most commonly used for its relaxing properties, lavender can often be overlooked when it comes to other issues. Relieving nervous tension, exhaustion, headaches, mood swings, and acting as a sedative for the central nervous system are a great handful of other issues this essential oil can help with on a mental and emotional level.
FOCUSING DURING CLASS OR STUDY TIME:
Focusing and staying on task can be a concern for all ages and tends to be more cause for concern during the school year when we are trying to study for that next big test!
Studying and test taking can be a very stressful and trying time throughout the school year; while you can rely on the oils we discussed above for stress, if the problem during these times lie in staying focused and/or retaining the information there are two very simple oils you can add to your collection. Lemon (Citrus limon), and rosemary (Rosemaranis officinalis) can be used separately but tend to work more effectively when blended together at equal parts.
The effects of Rosemary and Lavender essential oils were tested on 140 subjects that were divided into three groups, one being a control group. Either Lavender or Rosemary was diffused into a test cubicle prior to testing; Lavender produced a significant decrease in performance of working memory and impaired reaction times for both attention and memory based tasks. Rosemary on the other hand significantly enhanced the overall quality of memory and the Rosemary group was much more alert as compared to the Lavender and control groups.
Lemon: This essential oil is great for helping one improve concentration. It tends to help you stay alert and gives you a bit of energy you may be lacking.
Rosemary ct. Camphor: Known as an amazing mental stimulant; rosemary helps the brain to retain the information you are taking in.
These two oils can be used separately for their individual properties, but work best when blended together to maximize all of the benefits they offer.
4 Drops Rosemary ct. Camphor
4 Drops Lemon
1 tsp. Carrier Oil
Place cotton wick into your paper cup, drop your essential oils onto the wick, add your carrier oil over top and shake in a cup until wick is fully coated. Place wick back into the nasal inhaler, snap bottom cap on and use.
Trouble falling asleep or being able to stay asleep can many times present itself during high anxiety and/or stressful situations. If students of any age begin to have issues at night you can first address them with the Lavender discussed above; for sleep issues Lavender essential oil will help quiet the mind, calm your whole body and bring you to a relaxed state where sleep is more likely to take place. During cases where you find Lavender may not be enough, you can try adding Marjoram sweet (Origanum marjorana) to the mix.
Marjoram Sweet: This essential oil is a bit stronger than others when used for sleep, it acts fast letting your brain know there is no time to do anything other than be quiet and sleep. Known as a sedative and its ability to lower nervous tension and anxiety it pairs well with other oils to calm your body for a relaxing, peaceful night’s sleep.
BACK TO SCHOOL HEALTH CHALLENGES:
Immune systems can be become compromised several times throughout the school year; between exposure to new individuals and their germs, cold/flu season and when different viruses are in circulation. There are several essential oils that can be added to your medicine cabinet that will help ward off, or speed up the recovery time, of these illnesses. Cypress (Cupressus sempervirens), Ravensara (R. aromatic) and Fragonia (Agonis fragrans) are just a few that can help support your immune system during the weather changes due to their antiviral and antibacterial qualities.
Allergies: when common everyday allergies are an issue you can try mixing a few drops (1-2 drops each) of Lavender, Lemon and Tea tree in a carrier oil that can be applied directly to the skin under the nose or on any type of rash on the body. This mixture will work great for easing the side effects of respiratory allergies due to the anti-histamine and anti-inflammatory natures of these essential oils.
Stuffiness: mixing a few drops (1-2 drops each) of Cypress, Eucalyptus radiata (E.radiata), Lavender and Lime (Citrus medica) can be very useful as decongestants when it comes to stuffy noses and chest congestion. A blend of these essential oils helps to reduce congestion and dry up excess mucus.
Colds: These viral infections, caused by a number of different viruses, are easily transmitted from one person to another. Symptoms can include cough, sore throat, nasal congestion, runny nose, sneezing, watery eyes, low-grade fever, and body aches. It is important to stay warm and drink lots of water.
Twice Daily Chest Rub
2oz Carrier oil
5 drops Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia)
3 drops Niaouli (Melaleuca viridiflora)
2 drops Rosemary (Rosemarinus officinalis var. verbenone)
Steam inhalation – as needed
Steaming hot water
1 drop Lemon (Citrus limon)
1 drop Marjoram (Origanum marjorana)
Fill a glass or ceramic mug about ½ way with hot water, add one drop each
lemon and marjoram. Hold mug outside of child’s reach and fan steam
towards child’s face.
1 drop Eucalyptus (E. radiata) on a tissue placed inside the pillowcase.
FLU: These viral infections, caused by inhaling respiratory droplets from an infected person, are easily passed on to others up to 6 feet away. This usually cause high fever, chills, body aches, headaches, sore muscles, and exhaustion. Symptoms usually begin 1-4 days after exposure.
4 drops Grapefruit (Citrus paradisi)
1 drop Cypress (Cupressus sempervirens)
2 oz Carrier oil
5 drops Lavandin supra (Lavandula hybrida)
4 drops Ravintsara (Cinnamomum camphora var. linalool)
3 drops Spearmint (Mentha viridas)
These wingless, flat insects infest the hair, lay their eggs (nits), and suck blood from the scalp. This is a common problem among children, their classmates, and family members. This is spread by direct contact with the hair of the infected person. Studies have been conducted with 123 children with active head lice found that a combination of 10% Tea Tree essential oil (Melaleuca alternifolia) and 1% Lavender essential oil (Lavandula angustifolia) and a occlusion formula applied once weekly for a total of three of applications (days 1, 7, and 15) was effective in repelling and killing head lice and “suffocating” the nits (louse eggs).
¼ cup water
¼ cup liquid castile soap
1 tsp Jojoba (Simmondsia californica)
120 drops/6mls Tea Tree (Melaleuca alternifolia)
80 drops/4mls Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia)
Once blended, place in a clean 8oz glass or PET plastic bottle
Wet hair thoroughly, apply 1 tablespoon shampoo and massage into scalp and hair.
Comb hair from all directions with a metal louse comb, rinse the comb completely after each run to extract all nits, rinse all shampoo out to hair and comb again. Towel dry the hair.
2 ounces organic Coconut oil (Cocos nucifera) – do not use fractionated coconut oil
40 drops/2mls Tea tree (Melaleuca alternifolia)
20 drops/1ml Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia)
Once blended put in a 2oz plastic or glass jar
Prior to going to bed, rub Occlusion Blend into hair and scalp, cover the hair with a shower cap. In the morning, repeat the shampoo and combing as listed above to extract any dead lice or nits. This should be repeated 7 days later and again on day 15.
A fungal infection that can appear on the scalp or other parts of the body. This is another contagious infection that is easily spread by direct contact with the infection on an infected person or animal or by coming in contact with combs, hats, clothing, or toiletry items previously used by an infected person.
A great blend for ringworm is 5 drops Lavender 5 drops Palmarosa, 4 drops Manuka and 4 drops Geranium in a bottle labeled “Ringworm” with the ingredients listed and the date made.
One drop of this blend can be applied directly to the sore twice a day. At night, use 3 drops of the blend in 1 teaspoon Neem oil – or if not available – Jojoba oil and apply to the sore and surrounding area.
GASTROENTERITIS (ALSO KNOWN AS STOMACH BUG):
It causes vomiting and diarrhea and can be caused by eating food contaminated with bacteria, swimming in contaminated water or passed from person to person on hands. When using essential oils you need to treat the symptoms of the stomach bug rather than the stomach bug itself.
Nausea: The simple inhalation of Ginger, Spearmint & Lavender can help ease the feeling of throwing up and feeling nauseous.
Diarrhea: A massage oil using Thyme ct. Linalool, Lavender and Tea Tree works great if the issue is viral. Apply this to the abdomen and lower back.
Schools can be a haven for illness. Flu, strep, the common cold, and other germs can thrive in the crowded environment. One of the best defenses against your children getting sick is to teach good hygiene habits.
Send your children to school with hand sanitizer (if allowed)
Natural Hand Sanitizer
1oz Aloe Vera Gel
3 Drops Thyme ct. Linalool
1 Drop Lemon
1 Drop Tea Tree
Stress the importance of handwashing, particularly before eating. If for some reason they can’t or forget, use that hand sanitizer!
Try to boost your child’s as well as everyone else in the homes immune system as often as possible.
Immune Boosting Inhaler:
2 Drops Tea Tree
2 Drops Ravintsara
2 Drops Lemon
2 Drops Juniperberry
*You can double/triple (and so on) this recipe to create a base blend to them create inhalers, massage oils, bath blends, diffusing blends, etc.
Only use your essential oils as needed and when needed. Our bodies can get sensitized/immune to them and there for when we actually need them to work for us in a more complex situation they will not be effective.
If your child is sick or has a fever, do not send them to school. They will only spread the disease to others. Let them stay at home. Often times the rest is the best medicine we can use.
All of the essential oils we have talked about are among some of the most common and easily found. Using these oils singularly or blending them together is very easy and can be done with little to no effort; older children may be responsible enough to use alone, younger children will love helping you in whichever way you decide to use them.
It is important to keep in mind that essential oils are pure, volatile concentrates of plant essences. These essences are created in special cells of the plants to protect and preserve their health and to serve as an attractant for pollinators for perpetuation of the species.
To give you an idea of how concentrated essential oils are, please consider the following:
Plant matter to make one pound of essential oil
50 pounds of eucalyptus leaves
100 pounds of rosemary plant
150 pounds of lavender flowers
4000 to 6000 pounds of rose petals
Inhalation is going to be the quickest and easiest way to get the effects you desire with these essential oils; there are several ways to go about this.
It is always important to remember as long as you are able to smell the oil it is doing its job; it only takes 1/10th of a second for your olfactory system to pick up and react to what you smell.
Some great ways to use the inhalation process would be rubbing a drop between your hands and then running your hands through your hair, putting a drop on the collar of your shirt, making a room spray with distilled water, diluting your oils in a carrier oil for applying to the skin, or you can just simply smell the oil straight from the bottle.
Applying essential oils to your daily life really is that easy.
Amber M. LaBorde is a Clinical Aromatherapist at Botanically Rooted (Formerly LovingScents Aromatherapy) a supplier of essential oils and other related aromatherapy products and an educator in the field of aromatherapy.