This is a question that I get asked quite a lot so I thought I would write about a few herbal remedies for children.
So are herbs suitable for children?
The easy answer is yes, but with all things there should be an element of caution. If you are ever unsure whether herbs are appropriate, please speak to your local herbalist. If a child is undergoing treatment for a medical condition, it is important to get advice from a herbalist before starting home treatment.
The most common condition that I get asked about is eczema, and that really deserves a whole blog of it’s own (which I will be writing shortly). But here are a few tips to try before considering going to see a herbalist for treatment.
1. Eczema in children is often linked to dairy intake, in particular cow’s milk. Try switching to a goat milk for a period of a few weeks and see if there’s an improvement. Don’t be tempted to switch to soy milk, this can have the same effect as cow’s milk.
2. To reduce the itch, try chamomile and oat baths. Fill an old sock with oats and a handful of chamomile flowers (if you don’t have these you can use chamomile tea bags (6 should do it)). Tie the old sock over the hot tap of the bath so that the water runs through it. When the bath is full squeeze the excess water out of the sock (you should get a lovely foamy, creamy liquid come out).
3. Ensure that the eczema gets air to it and is allowed to dry out, try to ensure it’s not scratched (I know this can be difficult). A cold (used) chamomile tea bag can be applied to particular hot areas of eczema to provide relief (remember to dry the area well afterwards).
Another question I get asked is, how can I get my child to take herbs?
And this doesn’t just go for children, there are plenty of my adult patients who don’t like the taste of herbs! Here is my recipe for cold and flu fighting lollies.
Cold and flu fighting ice lollies
Getting children to take any form of medicine can be challenging but immune boosting ice lollies always go down well.
Based on 900ml worth of lolly mix making 6 lollies (adjust accordingly if your lolly mould is smaller).
You can use a ginger syrup or tincture if you have it (2tsp to the mix), or 15g of grated ginger (about a thumb size piece).
1tsp lemon juice
Add in 6ml of Echinacea tincture (for ages 6+ only) – Optional
Add in 200ml of elderflower infusion (2tsp to 1 cup of water) with 2 tsp of honey dissolved in it.
Add 690ml of fruit juice of your choice.
Mix together and pour into the lolly moulds, once frozen two lollies can be given a day to treat a cold in a child of 6+ (up to four daily if over 10yrs or no Echinacea in the mix).
(These can also be used for adults who won’t take medicine in a liquid form, double the amount of Echinacea and elderflower and reduce the amount of fruit juice).
What about helping children to sleep?
Children respond very well to herbal baths, so why not try some lavender flowers, chamomile flowers, and oats. You can use the old sock trick described above. This can help children relax before bed.
Another excellent remedy for children who struggle with getting to sleep, try a small amount of cold chamomile tea. Add to fruit juice or a hot drink to disguise the taste, and have at the last drink time before bed.
For more information about children’s remedies I thoroughly recommend Aviva Romm’s website. She is a herbalist and doctor and has some excellent tips and recipes. http://avivaromm.com/
After setting off for The Whitchurch Clinic I realised that I had packed what seemed like half of my kitchen cupboards worth of bowls and spoons!
Natural cosmetics workshop
The workshop began with a talk about natural cosmetics in general and where different ingredients come from and what they’ve been used for traditionally and today. We looked at all of the ingredients and had a good feel and smell of everything (a very important part of natural cosmetics making, and good fun too).
We started off by making two types of lip balms, peppermint and lemon balm, to protect against cold sores and chocolate orange (with real dark chocolate). While those were melting we went on to make face mask powder from clays and various grains and seeds.
Unfortunately we didn’t have enough time in the workshop to make bath bombs but I did give out my favourite bath bomb recipe.
My favourite product was the bath salts; I always think they are the prettiest natural cosmetic gift to make. Hibiscus flowers rose petals, Dead Sea salts and grains with rose and geranium flower water was the clear favourite.
At the end of a productive morning we had made 8 lip balms each, a face mask power, a body scrub, a foot scrub and bath salts.
If you would like to download my natural cosmetics workbook of recipes to make at home please see my downloads page.
My next workshop will be in January making winter herbal remedies.
This month I have found the following pieces of research interesting.1. The effect of ginger for relieving of primary dysmenorrhoea (a type of period pain). In this study 70 woman with primary dysmenorrhoea were given either a placebo or ginger capsules for the first three days of their menstrual cycles. Their pain levels were then scored, and when compared, the women who took ginger capsules found their pain had reduced. An additional benefit that was identified was the reduction in nausea when taking the ginger capsules.