Kids Health With Wholistic Kids & Families

Winter is upon us and while this season brings many warm reasons to rejoice and celebrate with beloved friends and families, winter also brings the inevitable colds and flus that seem unavoidable. What *is* avoidable is a prolonged and complicated course that sometimes unfolds after the illness. 

I have been practicing integrative pediatrics for over a decade. Through the valuable feedback of our families, we have tested just about every product imaginable. Of everything we have tested and tried, there is one thing that has risen to the top and become my favorite – essential oils.

When I would get sick as a child, my mom and grandmother would take Eucalyptus leaves, boil them and have me stand above the pot of hot water and inhale the steam and Eucalyptus smell that came with it. I thought it was just a silly thing they did to torment me, but Grandma truly knew best. Thirty years later, I came to find that my mother and grandmother were giving me the best cold treatment ever known! Did you know that several published research studies have demonstrated Eucalyptus essential oil to have anti-viral properties against many of the cold viruses that cause us misery? It also has anti-bacterial properties against the bacteria that cause pneumonias, sinus and ear infections.

For most people, the worst part of having a cold is often the multiple days of continuous coughing and congestion that persists after the fever is gone. Viruses can wreak havoc and set off a massive inflammatory process in the sinuses and airways, and this out of control inflammation is what causes the prolonged bouts of coughing, airway spasm, congestion and mucous. Fortunately, Eucalyptus oil has potent anti-inflammatory and mucous-breaking effects, which can reduce the prolonged coughing and congestion. Eucalyptus can open up and relax the airways, making breathing easier during coughing fits.

You may be wondering why you have not heard of this research before. Why is it that your pediatrician has not shared this with you? I too had no idea of this treasure trove of data until I did my fellowship training in Medical Herbalism. Physicians, including many holistic pediatricians, are simply not trained in the use of essential oils. The final factor is money. Eucalyptus oil cannot be patented; it can’t be owned. So, wealthy companies are not going to spend the millions developing and marketing something they cannot control or sell at a premium. But you can change that! Share this information with your friends and even your pediatrician.

Now, many people who buy essential oils but don’t always know how to use them most effectively. We think the best use of essential oils is in a diffuser. Diffusers are great for dispersing oils in a room for general prevention or for extreme safety around young infants under a year of age. Unfortunately, because oils are so diluted, it also means the concentrations of the oils never get high enough to reach *real* therapeutic value. If you want the oils to do their magic, you need to get high enough concentrations of the oils directly into the places where the viruses and bacteria are replicating and causing trouble, and the best way to do this is through direct inhalation right into the sinuses and airways. While this is not advisable for young children under four years of age or for severe asthmatics or children with compromised airways, older children and adults can directly inhale right essential oils to get magical results. What do I mean by the “right oils”? Well, most essential oils are optimal or safe for inhalation. For instance, there are several subtypes of Eucalyptus oil. The most common, and least expensive is Eucalyptus globulus. This oil is powerful and fantastic, but NOT safe for inhalation as it can irritate the airways and cause breathing difficulties. Eucalyptus radiata is a bit more expensive, but safer for inhalation especially in children when diluted and used appropriately. The Eucalyptus radiata is what we use in our clinic and in our Cough and Congestion Oil mix.  

As much as Eucalyptus is a superstar, it should not get all the spot light. The second runner up in the cold hall of fame of essential oils is... drum roll please... Thyme. Thyme is an unsung hero with more magical properties than most realize. Like Eucalyptus, Thyme also has anti-viral and anti-oxidant properties. It also helps kill many of the bacteria that cause pneumonias and ear infections, and is even able to kill off the flu virus. Like Eucalyptus, it is important to know the subtype of Thyme you are buying and using, as not all forms of Thyme are safe to be inhaled. Thyme serpolet or vulgaris are the most common and least expensive forms that are sold. Unfortunately, these subtypes are NOT safe for inhalation. Thyme linalool is safe for inhalation, but cannot be harvested in large amounts without causing environmental damage. Thyme borneol is widely available from Morocco and has all the wonderful, safe properties of Thyme linaloolwithout the environmental impact. Both the linalool and borneol subtypes are a bit more expensive but worth the money, if you are choosing to inhale it.

Now many of you have heard of the magical properties of Tea Tree. Tea Tree is a strong player in the cold game and deserves worthy mention. This magical plant is amazing for killing off bacteria and viruses, especially influenza. There is just one problem with Tea Tree – for children especially, it is not advisable for inhalation due to Tea Tree’s potential for causing airway irritation. Fortunately, it turns out that Tea Tree’s cousin, Niaouli has many of the beneficial properties as Tea Tree, and is much safer for direct inhalation.

Last but not least, what cold discussion would be complete without Lavender? We all know that lavender has a wonderful smell and is calming to the nervous system, but did you know that Lavender is one of the best anti-inflammatory essential oils available? If you want to see how well Lavender can work as an anti-inflammatory and anti-histamine, take 5-6 drops of lavender, dilute it, and apply it to an angry insect bite. Watch the pain, itching, redness and inflammation disappear before your eyes. If that is still not impressive enough, it turns out that Lavender also has some anti-bacterial properties and can even increase the white blood cell’s ability to attack bacteria!

I wish I could share all my favorite oils like Cypress or write pages on Peppermint, and tell you about how Peppermint can calm cough spasms while fighting viruses including RSV (croup). As you can see, essential oils are truly remarkable and nature’s perfect weapon against colds and viral infections, along with all the unpleasant side-effects they bring.


Nature has so many gifts for us, and you can spend a lifetime learning about them. If you are new to essential oils, you can start by just testing the waters with Eucalyptus radiata. If you are a seasoned pro, you are welcome to combine the oils we discussed and test out what works best for you and your family. When inhaling powerful, single essential oils, like Eucalyptus and especially Peppermint, please be careful and make certain that the oil type you have purchased is safe for inhalation and used in the right concentration before having your child inhale it.  

If you want to skip buying all of these products individually or want to make sure you have oils that are safe for direct inhalation, we would like to present a perfected blend we call our Wholistic Kids Cough and Congestion Essential oil, which contains the oils mentioned above and more. We spent years testing and researching different blends of essential oils, until we found the perfect blend of oils that are safe for children to inhale and that our families consistently found helpful! We have only chosen medical-grade essential oils that are organically grown and responsibly-sourced. This is *the* oil blend we use for our private practice families who are sick, and we hope it can be of help to you and your family. Try this oil blend and see how much it can help you and your family. If you are not 100% satisfied, we are more than happy to refund you. 

Our cough oil can be found on Amazon

and through our online store:

Now, having the right oils is one thing but, as mentioned before, knowing how to use them is even more important. Please find detailed dosing instructions below. It is generally best to only diffuse the oils indirectly into the room for infants 6-12 months (avoid in younger infants). For children 1-2 years, you can directly apply the oil onto their body. One little trick to get a boost for children over two years is to apply the essential oils onto their chest, back AND neck/lymph nodes. By allowing the oils to penetrate into the lymphatic tissue (swollen lymph nodes), you can help the body in its fight against the invading viruses and bacteria. Last but not least, and now hopefully your new secret weapon is direct inhalation. If you have a young child, a child who has asthma or other medical reasons for a fragile airway, please always use a degree of caution and slowly build up the dosing just to be safe. 

I hope you all can come to love the amazing properties of the essential oils. Please share this information with your friends, family and physician. There are so many children (and adults) who receive unnecessary courses of antibiotics and medications because they feel they have no other option. Help them see there is another option, an option that does not come with the same long-term organ and gut-harming consequences. Each day we can take a step together to create a healthier society, and let’s work together to make that happen starting today!

Here is to a beautiful winter season filled with health, laughter, joy and warm embraces from loved ones!


Pejman Katiraei, DO (Dr. K)



Dosing details:

  • Indirect application
    • Humidifier (can be continuous) – keep humidifier away from your child.
      • 6-12 months: 8 drops per gallon of water
      • 12-24 months:    12 drops per gallon of water
      • 24+ months:    16-32 drops per gallon of water
    • Diffuser (can be continuous) – keep the diffuser at least 3 feet away from your child.
  • 6-12 months: 1-2 drop,                
  • 12-24 months: 2-2 drops
  • 24+ months: 3-6 drops
  • Direct application
    • Massage: Mix the essential oils with 1-2 teaspoons of your oil of choice (olive, almond, jojoba, etc.) and massage into the chest and neck areas every 6-8 hours. Do not apply directly to the face.
      • 2-6 years: 3-5 drops            
      • 6-12 years: 5-7 drops
      • 12+ years: 8-10 drops
      • **1-2 years – you must be careful to not have the little ones inhale the oil. As such, you put 2 drops in 1 teaspoon of carrier oil and ONLY apply it to the child’s back and base of feet to avoid inhalation.
    • Inhalation (please make sure the essential oil(s) are safe for inhalation)
      • Hand mask method (4+ years) – put the drops of essential oil in the palm of your hand, rub your hands together quickly, put your hands together to make a cup/mask and bring that mask to your face or that of your child and take deep breaths ideally alternating between mouth and nose for one minute. Repeat every 4-6 hours. For younger children (2-3 years), please always do a trial/test with 2 drops of oil to make sure they tolerate the oils well.
    • 2-4 years: 2-3 drops
    • 4-8 years: 3-4 drops
    • 8+ years: 4-6 drops
      • Essential oil inhalers – for very little money, you can purchase essential oil inhalers which contain a cotton wick that can be charged with essential oils. Once charged, the oils can easily be inhaled through the nose or mouth.
    • 2-4 years: 2-3 drops
    • 4-8 years: 3-4 drops
    • 8+ years: 4-6 drops
      • Cloth method (2-6 years) – put 1-4 drops onto a cloth/towel moistened by warm water and allow child to inhale oils while keeping cloth about 3-4 inches away from their mouth for 1-2 minutes at a time. Repeat every 4-6 hours as needed.
      • Nebulizer (6+ years) – put 2-5 drops of the essential oil into nebulizer chamber with a vial of saline or albuterol and allow child to inhale nebulized mixture. Repeat every 4-6 hours as needed. Please make sure you thoroughly wash out the nebulizer chamber as the oils will otherwise clog the nebulizer chamber.
      • Steam inhalation (6+ years) - put 2-6 drops of the essential oils in a bowl of hot/steaming water and drape a towel over the head. Directly inhale the steam/oil mixture for 2-5 minutes based on tolerance. Leave at least 12” between your face and the water to prevent any irritation. Watch for any irritation of the eyes.


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