Caroline Ingraham discovered that animals will seek out herbal remedies such as St John’s Wort; valerian, neroli or arnica when they were suffering specific physical or behavioural conditions.
Even caterpillars will change their diet to eat more hemlock when infected with wasp larvae. And she soon realised that the effect worked on her own children as well.“I found that young children select for behavioural problems like separation anxiety,” she told The Hay Festival.
“I think the common factor for young children and animals is that they don’t have language so use their sense of smell. So before a child’s language develops it will use its sense of smell to really sniff out what it needs.”
Ms Ingraham said that parents could place essential oils on a handkerchief and place it on a pillow next to their child.
“They will inhale it for as long as they need to and then they will turn their head away,” she said. It’s really important to let them decide when they have had enough. If you had a child that wasn’t sleeping you could put it on a little hankie and place it somewhere where they can turn away.”