When you’re a parent and you’re trying to feed your kid healthy or take care of the ailments without giving them harsh drugs and junk, you might wonder just what the intended dosages for kids are and if what you’re hoping will work is actually safe. Herbs can seem so harmless in some ways but the cautionary “consult a doctor first” and “there’s no set dosage for children” can make you turn away from a natural approach and embrace synthetic drugs because they’re government approved and doctor recommended.
Without going into a discussion on the reasons why government approval of drugs and doctor recommendations aren’t all they’re cracked up to be, just know that with few exceptions herbs are safe for your kids! In fact, there are many less harmful side effects from using herbs to support your child’s health than there are with mainstream pills and pharmaceuticals. Additionally, herbs that are good for your child are good for you (and herbs that are good for you are good for your child)! Herbs have similar effects of your body and your child’s body so when you learn what a herb is good for, you know the same action will apply regardless of age or weight. 🙂
Here are some of the top herbs for children:
1. Peppermint– good for an upset tummy and helps to clear the sinuses
2. Ginger– good for upset tummy, warming up (in case of cold and fever) and relieving congestion from stuffy noses and mucous build-up
3. Sage– helps dry up snotty noses and soothes a sore throat
4. Lavender– helps calm nerves and soothe inflammations (like bumps)
5. Garlic– garlic oil in the ear is the best to fight ear aches!
6. Echinacea– immunity booster to help keep your kid’s germ count down.
7. Chamomile– soothing, sleepy time tea that helps calm wired kids and knock ’em out when it’s time to rest
8. Cherry Bark– soothes a cough or suppresses a cough so your kiddie can sleep at night instead of hacking the house awake all throughout the dark hours.
9. Licorice– super sweet to help take the spice off some herbs and eases congestion and nervousness (think ADHD, upset, etc)
10. Eucalyptus– great for inhaling to clear the sinuses and expel mucous from the lungs.
11. Elderberry– great anti-viral to help when there’s a cold (or a cold to be prevented).
12. Lemongrass– this is a great nervine (calms the nerves), and helps to break fevers
13. Calendula– perfect for bug bites and other abrasions
14. Plantain– this herb is excellent for “erasing” bug stings!
15. Rose Hips– super high in vitamin C for cold and flu prevention
There are many more herbs that are great for kids and the herbs listed above have so many more uses and benefits than the cursory introduction would have you believe! You pretty much can’t go wrong when choosing an herb to give to your youngster when you use logic and good judgment. Some herbs are so bitter or strong– like cayenne– that your child won’t want to take them and the herb will do more harm than good. Some herbs like senna (an herbal laxative essentially) can cause powerful reactions in adults with a small dosage so giving this to a child could be too much and cause unnecessary pain. Some herbs are just very strong and aren’t necessary to use when there are herbs that do the same thing in a manner that is gentler and more appropriate for kids.
As with everything, judgment is crucial. While you may not be inclined to use conventional medicine to remedy what herbs can easily do, it is helpful if you know what the problem is instead of treating the symptoms. In this regard, seeing a doctor can be helpful (they are well trained in sick care if nothing else!) to really target your approach in a way that will be of most benefit.
Hopefully you won’t have to use these herbs for your sick child and instead can introduce them as a garden plot or something more fun! If, however, you do need an herbal ally, those listed above will treat your entire family quite well in a pinch. Especially if you’ve been growing them in pots or in your garden. 🙂