What are Essential Oils? Essential oils are extracts from leaves, roots, stems, flowers, and seeds of various plants. The oils are distilled into extremely concentrated forms and contain active ingredients that are thought to have beneficial effects. The use of essential oils as treatment for various ailments is known as aromatherapy.
Holistic therapies and homeopathic remedies have been gaining in popularity and use in recent years as a means to address areas of need such as inattention, impulsivity and hyperactivity. Essential oils are an alternative to prescription medication to alleviate some of the symptoms associated with attention, deficit and hyperactivity disorder, ADHD, attention deficit disorder, ADD, Autism and other pervasive developmental disabilities. The research has proven that these oils help to calm, focus and soothe both children and adults.
In a study by Dr. Terry S. Friedmann, “…The common treatment in our society for ADHD is usually the drugs Ritalin, chemically named methylphenidate, or to a lesser extent the drug Dexedrine, chemically named dextroamphetamine. Ritalin is said to control the symptoms in 70% of the cases; however, neither medication sustains any healing properties.
Unfortunately, both drugs have been shown to have similar side effects on the brain, mind, and behavior, including conditions such as psychosis, mania, drug abuse, and addiction. Ritalin can cause permanent neurological tics and also growth retardation in children by disrupting the cycles of growth hormone secretion by the pituitary gland…”
Dr. Friedmann continues, “… Essential oils contain hundreds of different chemical compounds, each having specific properties and actions. When these essential oils are inhaled, they not only provide exquisite fragrances, but they have also proven to be able to produce physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual well-bing of people since the beginning of time. Records dating back to 4500 BC describe the use of balsamic aromatic substances for religious rituals and medical conditions…”
Essential oils should almost never be taken by mouth as some of them are toxic if swallowed, and they should only be inhaled or rubbed onto specific spots on the body. It’s important to dilute essential oils before using them because a concentrated essential oil is more likely to irritate the skin. Unlike perfumes and synthetic sprays essential oils do not agitate the bronchial system associated with asthma and allergies. When choosing essential oils, make sure the label reads “therapeutic grade”. This means that the oils are pure and have not been diluted with alcohols or synthetics.
Ingredients: 5-10 drops Lavender, 30 drops melaleuca, 1 tablespoon witch hazel extract, 8 ounces aloe vera gel, ¼ teaspoon vitamin E oil
1. Add essential oils and vitamin E oil to small glass bowl and swirl to mix.
2. Add witch hazel to oils and swirl again. 3. Add this mixture to aloe vera gel and mix well. 4. Shake gently before each use.
Here are some essential oil combinations that can be used all day long using a diffuser:
Wake Up a Sleepy Class
1 drop Wild Orange + 1 drop Peppermint
Wild Orange and Peppermint are used to energize. This is a good combination to use in the morning when your “sleepy-head” students are walking through the door! Other oils to consider: Grapefruit, Lemon, Lime, & Citrus Bliss
Increase Focus and Concentration
1 drop Lemon + 2 drops Rosemary
Rosemary enhances memory and concentration. Lemon aids in alertness. This blend will help both you and your students stay on task. Other oils: InTune Focus Blend, Frankincense, Peppermint & Wild Orange
A Little Help to Calm Down
2 drops Lavender + 1 drop Vetiver + 1 drop Cypress
Lavender is known for its calming and relaxing properties. Combined with Vetiver and Cypress will provide an earthy aroma that will help ground and balance students mood. Use this blend after P.E. or a school assembly when energy is heightened. Other oils: Serenity, Bergamot, Balance, Citrus Bliss, & Roman Chamomile.
2 drops Cinnamon + 2 drops Clove + 2 drops Wild Orange + 2 drops Melaleuca (Tea Tree Oil)
During cold and flu season, diffuse this blend to help your class stay healthy. Cinnamon, Clove, and Melaleuca have antibacterial and antiviral properties. Combined with Wild Orange this spicy blend is subdued. A cleaning solution can be easily made using this combination by adding the oils to spray bottles and filling with distilled water, (shake well before use).
2 drops Grapefruit + 1 drop Spruce
This blend motivates and boosts confidence, because anxiety during tests is common. Grapefruit and Spruce help to de-escalate the stress levels associated with quizzes and tests.
Create a classroom environment that promotes positive behavior, improves focus, and deliver academic success, whether at home or in a traditional classroom. It is important to get permission from your school administrator and check with the school nurse for any allergies or sensitivities your students might have, also parental consent is recommended. TeachersPayTeachers has a free download for parental consent to use essential oils. With close observation and monitoring of a child’s behavior and performance, teachers have had success using essential oils in the classroom.