At any drugstore or supermarket, you can often find a section devoted to herbs and herbal remedies, these days. Stores that cater toward people aiming toward a more natural lifestyle are filled to the brim with herbs and ways to seek a more natural version of health while avoiding the chemicals in pharmaceutical drugs. Many blends will be marked for children and all of the things common to children: colds, fever, sore throat, allergies, and so on. Likely you will also find salves or creams for the bumps, bruises, and scrapes of childhood. The array can be bewildering, particularly when you do not know what is safe.
Herbs are the most traditional of all medicines and what many synthetic drugs began their lives as. Aspirin, which is not suitable for children, but is found in every adult’s medicine cabinet was written of in the fifth century BCE by Hippocrates (from whom the Hippocratic Oath is derived) was willow, once upon a time, before the nineteenth century when pharmacists began experimenting with salicylic acid which ultimately produced the aspirin you take for a headache or aches and pains.
There are a few herbs that are widely considered safe for children that are easily available. Chamomile, unless your child has an allergy to ragweed, may already be in your pantry cabinet. Chamomile tea can calm an overactive child, or help a restless one sleep. Having a cup of chamomile during story-time will help send your little one off into peaceful dreams. If your child had a rough and tumble day, or has a cold, chamomile can help with some of the muscle aches and pains, as well.
Peppermint tea is another that many people already have on hand. Mint tea is wonderful for an upset tummy, for children and adults both. Drink it after a large meal or when your stomach is disagreeing with you. Mint tea with honey, or lemon and honey tea, are both very soothing for a sore throat. If your child sings, either tea should be a staple!
Ginger root can be peeled, diced, and boiled into a tea, sweetened with honey, and administered during mild or severe nausea. Ginger has even been deemed safe in cases of morning sickness (though check with your obstetrician first) and is easily available in pills, if fresh is too much trouble.
You have probably heard of echinacea, both to prevent colds, or to lessen the duration or severity of them. Children pick up colds and transmit them easily and when you have one sick child, you will also end up with a sick household. Taking echinacea as a family can help with this, though make sure the dosage is appropriate for each person.
More and more doctors are becoming open to the idea of herbs used to treat a condition or to be used in conjunction with a pharmaceutical treatment. Be sure to talk to your pediatrician and let them examine anything you are considering giving to your children. If any adverse reactions are noticed, contact a doctor immediately.
As with the directions on conventional over the counter medications, an herbal remedy for a child is usually recommended at a much lower dose than it is for an adult. Generally, the best thing to do is to start with the smallest dose possible and carefully watch for signs of a negative reaction so that you can catch it immediately and follow up with your doctor, if necessary. Negative reactions can include things like rashes, sneezing or coughing, fever, and anything that seems to be making the child worse instead of better.