There are many herbs in the world that can be used safely and effectively to support your child’s health. This column will present a few. For more information, check out the herbal books at your local library or book store.
Colicky Babies: A warm bath with chamomile or lavender will usually soothe your colicky baby. When breastfeeding, pay attention to what you eat and drink as it might be the cause baby’s gas and colic.
Diaper Rash: A soothing ointment with plantain and calendula applied to dry skin will ease the discomfort of diaper rash and promote skin health.
Diarrhea: Blackberry or raspberry leaf and root tea or tincture will gently help to ease diarrhea in your child. Peppermint tea may also help ease the cramping sometimes associated with diarrhea.
Minor Bites, Burns, Scratches: Plantain poultice or ointment works well. You can also safely use comfrey, St.John’s wort and chickweed in ointment or oil and apply externally to minor skin irritations. A poultice of comfrey (leaf and/or root) will speed the healing of most wounds. However, due to the speed of healing, you should use comfrey on deep wounds as it will cause fast surface healing. Simply mascerate the leaf and/or root of comfrey, add a bit of flour to thicken is to a paste, and wrap in a clean linen or thin towel. You can keep this poutice in the freezer and re-use. If heat is desired, you might (slowly) heat the poultice in a microwave.
Ear ache: Mullein is traditionally used for earache. An oil preparation with mullein or a (cont. on pg. 6) mix or mullein, garlic and St. John’s Wort will quickly reduce the pain of an earache.
Colds and Flus: Syrup made from plantain will reduce the pain of sore throat. Catnip tea will help to reduce fever. A peppermint and comfrey bath will help soothe itching and fever from chicken pox or measles. Yarrow and elderflower are fever reducing teas. To help ease cough, elecampane drops or syrup will help. To ease head congestion, try inhaling the warm (not hot!) steam of wintergreen and rosemary essential oils in water. A head clearing tea of peppermint, thyme leaf and sage leaf will help ease congestion symptoms. Try to get as much garlic and onion as possible in your child’s diet, as these are gentle but effective anti-microbials. Ginger root is a warming herb that eases symptoms of colds and flu.
Teething: Catnip tea is a wonderful and effective remedy for the pain of teething. You might try mixing it with chamomile or substituting chamomile of your child does not like catnip. Administer frequently in small doses, about 1/2 to 1 teaspoon.
Allergies: To alleviate symptoms of allergies, follow the head congestion or skin irritation sections. To tone the lungs and respiratory system, use stinging nettle, fresh and dried. Nettle builds and tones to respiratory system and when used over time can ease or completely eliminate allergic reactions. Integrate fresh nettle into your diet as a vegetable and in soups and stews. Make tea and infusion (try adding a pinch of peppermint or stevia for taste. Nettles also provide the benefit of being high in calcium and other vitamins and minerals, and is nourishing to the kidneys, adrenals, and digestive tract.
Pink Eye and Conjunctivitis: A poultice of chickweed is excellent therapy for eye infection. Make the poultice from fresh chickweed and apply to the closed eye.
Sleep and Anxiety: Oats and Oatstraw are a safe and nourishing to the nervous system. Integrate oats into your child’s diet and prepare oatstraw tea and infusion. If your child is a juice drinker cut fruit juices with oatsraw infusion. Warm baths with oatstaw, lavender or chamomile are calming. Try lemon balm, chamomile or catnip teas. To aid sleep, try an herbal pillow filled with lavender, rosemary, rosebuds/petals, and/or thyme will help ease your child to sleep. For occasional sleeplessness, you can try a tincture of lemon balm or chamomile. For more chronic insomnia, attentional problems or hyperactivity, talk to your herbalist or healthcare provider about Scullcap or a preparation containing Scullcap.
Urinary Tract Problems: Dandelion root and leaf is nourishing to the urinary tract system. Integrate dandelion leave and root into your child’s diet via eating fresh, cooked, and in soups and stews. To prevent chronic infection, garlic and onion are strong anti-microbials, and Echinacea is safe for children with onset of infection symptoms. To help tone the bladder and help with bedwetting problems, try a tea of cornsilk. Give a cup in the morning and afternoon, but not before bed!
Headaches: Lavender and peppermint oil massaged into the temples will often ease the pain of a headache. Peppermint oil vapor will also ease nausea and nasal congestion.
Building Healthy Bones: looking for a natural calcium supplement. Get your child out in the sun regularly and try the calcium team of nettles, horsetail, alfalfa, red clover comfrey leaf, plantain, dandelion and chamomile.
Dosing for Children: Rosemary Gladstar provides dosage information in her “Family Herbal” and “Herbal Remedies for Children’s Health.” Doses range from 1/2 t. to 2 T of tea/infusion, and 3—30 drops of tincture.
*This column does not constitute medical advise. Seek medical advise from your healthcare professional.
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