(For the turmeric latte recipe, scroll to the very end of the post 🙂 )
My daughter for sick for the 100th time since kindergarten started. *le sigh* kids are so germy when they are all together!
Happily, no one else has gotten sick… Yet. And she has gotten a thousand times better just from herbs and natural remedies. So I thought I would post today about my go to herbal medicine cabinet when illness strikes. I don’t like to use medicines for kids, they are often unnecessary and very harsh to a little body who is not equipped to process such toxins. Remember when they recalled cough and cold medicines for kids because they are dangerous and don’t even work?! I go the herbal route and it has worked for us 90% or more of the time.
First of all, for fevers, I don’t give fever reducing meds like ibuprofen unless the fever is over 104 degrees Fahrenheit. Children can safely have higher fevers than adults. Fever is a natural defense your body utilizes to get rid of the virus/bacteria. If you lower the fever, you are lowering the body’s ability to heal itself! Lukewarm baths and cool washcloths for the head can help to comfort a child with a fever.
Do not give cold liquids! This is jolting for the body and it has to struggle to bring it back up to equilibrium. Warm liquids encourage the removal and dislodging of mucus and congestion and are soothing for a sore throat. Especially beneficial are herbal teas like chamomile, elderberry, slippery elm, and echinacea. Traditional medicinals brand teas have tons of great blends just for kids. Stir in a tablespoon of coconut oil for a sore throat. Also great are warm water with lemon juice added, and diluted warmed citrus or apple juices.
Support the body’s natural ability to heal with herbs! I love the herbs for kids brand of tinctures, they have lots of different blends for different ailments. The two I use the most are the echinacea +astralagus for deep immune support and the cherry bark blend for respiratory support.
If there is mucus, I always give marshmallow root. It has mucilaginous qualities which help to remove mucus and break up congestion. I buy it in capsules and then empty 2 capsules into hot liquid and stir it up.
For coughs and colds, I find umcka syrup to be amazing. It is a homeopathic syrup that is widely used in Europe to shorten the duration and severity of colds and it really works well.
Elderberry syrup is also wonderful for supporting the immune system and reducing the severity of illness.
As far as homeopathic medicines, I always keep belladonna (for high fevers, infections and inflammations) and pulsatilla (runny nose, mucus, clinging child) around.
Ear infections respond really well to warmed oil with garlic and mullein. You can buy it in a little dropper bottle at your health food store, usually it has arnica added too-a homeopathic medicine for pain relief. Just warm up the whole bottle by submerging it in hot water. Test some oil on your wrist to make sure it’s not too hot. Then have your child lay on their side and drop 5 drops of the warmed oil in each ear. Sing or tell a story while you do this so that they will stay at least a minute on their side. Do the other ear the same way too even if it doesn’t hurt. HOWEVER if the ear is leaking pus/blood/liquid do NOT put anything in it, this means the eardrum has perforated.
If your child doesn’t want to eat, it’s OK! Sick animals do not eat. This is because digestion takes LOTS of energy. Energy going towards digestion=energy taken away from healing and fighting sickness. Give foods that are easy to digest with high water content, like juicy fruits (citrus, pineapple, grapes, mango) white rice, warmed broth and steamed broccoli. Absolutely do not give your child dairy or wheat when they are sick. These foods produce mucus in the body, adding to the mucus that is already there when they are sick, and are generally hard to digest and irritating to the digestive tract.
Essential oils are another great tool to have.
eucualyptus: breaks up congestion, good to dilute and rub on chest and to put in a diffuser and or humidifier, or in the bath.
peppermint: relieves headache. Dilute and rub on temples, jaw, forehead to relieve pain.
Clove and cinnamon oils: are potent anti virals, dilute and rub on the bottoms of feet to fight and prevent illness.
lavender: very calming. Great for massage or in the bath to calm an irritated or sad child.
And lastly, to ensure no one else gets sick, up your intake of immunity boosting foods…mushrooms, greens, vitamin c rich foods, lemons, spirulina, turmeric, ginger, garlic, etc. If you feel like you are getting sick my favorite remedy is to blend lemon juice, ginger, cayenne pepper, garlic and honey all together and drink it. It really works! Also, this turmeric-ginger latte is a delicious favorite. Here’s the recipe:
Turmeric ginger immunity latte.
2c plant milk (almond, hemp, coconut, whatever)
A few quarter sized slices of ginger
1t ground turmeric
1/8t fresh ground black pepper (this increases the turmeric’s bioavailability a lot)
honey/sweetener to taste
bring the milk and finger slices to boil in a small saucepan. Let them simmer for 5 minutes, covered. Fish out the ginger and add the turmeric, pepper, and sweetener. Pour into a cup and enjoy!