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Issue No 103
Summer 2005 
page 43

Herbs for Children
The majority of childhood ailments tend to be mild, and the best treatment you can provide is one that bolsters your child's immune system while relieving the uncomfortable symptoms.

Because almost all children turn up their noses at anything that tastes bitter or medicinal, it's important to use herbs in many ways they'll find acceptable. This may mean mixing an herbal remedy with fruit juice, or adding sweetener to an herbal tea.

Stove syrup in a covered glass jar in the refrigerator. It will keep for about two months.

Herbal Remedies for Children: How Much is Enough?

Most herbal dosages on product labels reflect calculations for a 150-pound adult. To find the appropriate dosage of an herbal remedy for your child, divide his or her body weight in pounds by 150. For instance, a 50-pound child would take one-third the standard adult dose. If you buy an herbal product specifically made for children, however, just follow the manufacturer’s recommended dosages listed on the product label.



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With their still-developing immune systems, children are especially susceptible to colds and flu. If your child does come down with something, try the following remedies to relieve symptoms and speed recovery.

At the first sign of a sore throat, sniffles, or chills, try a mixture of echinacea (Echinacea spp), elderberry (Sambucus nigra), and licorice root (Glycyrrhiza glabra). Echinacea boosts immune activity, and elderberry and licorice have antiviral properties. Combine 1/2 ounce of echinacea extract, 1 ounce of elderberry extract, and 1/4 ounce of licorice root glycerite. Give your child 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoonful 4 times a day for up to 10 days.

Ginger (Zingiber officinale), anise (Pimpinella anisum), and licorice root help thin mucus in the respiratory tract. Simmer 2 cups of water with 2 teaspoons of fresh chopped gingerroot, 2 teaspoons of anise seed, and 1 teaspoon of licorice root in a covered pot for 10 minutes. Strain, then sweeten if desired. Give 1/2 cup every couple hours, up to 3 cups a day.

Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus globulus) and peppermint (Mentha piperita) essential oils help open respiratory passages and fight infection-causing microorganisms. Make an aromatic chest rub by combining 10 drops each of eucalyptus and peppermint essential oils with 2 ounces of olive or almond oil. Massage a teaspoonful or more onto your child’s chest and upper back twice daily.

The pungent essential oils in thyme (Thymus vulgaris) and peppermint alleviate congestion and have antimicrobial and antispasmodic properties. Mullein (Verbascum thapsus) and licorice root soothe irritated respiratory passages, while wild cherry bark calms spasmodic coughing. Combine 11/4 cups of water with 2 teaspoons each of these herbs in a covered pot. Slowly bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat, and simmer gently for 5 minutes. Remove from heat, and steep for 30 minutes. Strain and add 1/2 cup of honey, warming the tea if necessary to completely dissolve. Give one teaspoon as often as needed.

Children develop diarrhea for a variety of reasons, including overeating (especially oily foods, fruits, or cold foods like ice cream), infections, and food allergies. Most cases of diarrhea resolve by themselves within a day or two. (If it doesn’t, or if it accom-

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