- Associated Press - Saturday, August 16, 2014

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - As a neonatal nurse, Brittany Webb often thinks: doctor and pharmacy. Not: plants and all natural.

Or at least she did.

Recently, the Franklin mother of two has given her medicine cabinet a complete overhaul. Once a go-to mommy resource for pharmaceuticals to quell the sniffles or calm an upset tummy, Webb said she no longer even opens the cabinet door.

“Except for Band-Aids,” she jokes.

Instead, she reaches for her kit of essential oils.

The concentrated liquids of plant compounds are touted by some for medicinal and therapeutic benefits - and Webb is a believer.

Peppermint has replaced Tylenol for headaches. Melaleuca has taken the place of Mucinex. And lavender is the go-to fever-reducer instead of Motrin.

On Facebook, in the nail salon, through an email chain - every direction you turn these days there is a mom talking about using essential oils to protect and treat their kids’ ailments rather than using traditional medicines.

They say it has transformed their families’ health.

There has been little published research on essential oils, so many medical experts don’t feel educated to speak to the safety, effectiveness or purity. And essential oils, like some vitamins, supplements and herbal remedies, are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration, so no government agency is checking on the purity of these products.

Still, more parents are considering the back-to-nature benefits.

They tout it as a better alternative to subjecting a child to multiple rounds of antibiotics or steroids. They also feel it gives them a greater ability to manage their child’s health.

Brittany Webb, a neonatal nurse at Vanderbilt, talks with the moms in her home for an Essential Oils 101 class.

“It’s empowering as a mom to feel like you have ability to take care of your kids and don’t have to run to someone else every time they are sick,” said Mindy Spradlin, a 32-year-old Franklin mother of four.

“So often, we have it engrained in our minds that we don’t know anything and we stop listening to our intuition and think only the professionals can tell us what to do.

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