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Issue No 103
Summer 2005 
page 45

Herbs for Children

Call your doctor if
an ear infection
doesn’t begin to
subside within 24
hours or is
accompanied by
fever or hearing loss,
or if you suspect a
punctured eardrum.
(Don’t use garlic oil
in this case.)

Ye are better than
all the ballads
That ever were
sung or said;
For ye are living
And all the rest
are dead.
“Children” from
Birds of Passage

Laurel Vukovic
wrote about
herbs for our
Winter 2004 issue.
The author of 1001
Natural Remedies
(DK Publishing,
2003), she lives and
teaches about
natural healing in
southern Oregon.



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Not for Kids
Don't give children stimulants such as guarana (Paullinia cupana), strong laxatives such as senna (Senna alexandrina), herbs with hormonal effects such as black cohosh (Cimicifuga racemosa), or herbs with potentially toxic properties, such as poke root (Phytolacca americana). When in doubt, consult a qualified herbalist or health practitioner familiar with herbs.
ids stagnate, creating a fertile breeding ground for microorganisms. Symptoms include irritability and high fever. Middle ear infections often follow upper respiratory infections, with allergies, particularly to dairy and wheat, a common> underlying factor. Use these suggestions to mitigate pain and speed healing.

Garlic (Allium sativum) is a powerful anti-microbial that helps combat infection when applied directly to the ear. To make garlic oil, mince a large bulb of fresh garlic and place in a heavy pot with enough olive oil to cover. Cover the pot and warm gently over low heat for an hour. Cool, strain the oil through several layers of cheesecloth, and refrigerate in a covered glass jar for up to a month. To use the oil, warm a small amount in a metal spoon over a candle flame. Test the temperature, then place a couple of drops of oil into the ear canal with a dropper and plug the ear with a cotton ball. Repeat every hour as needed.

A hot water bottle applied to a child’s ear helps relieve the intense pain of a middle ear infection. A compress of lavender (Lavendula angustifolia), with its soothing, anti-inflammatory properties, makes the treatment more effective. Soak a cotton washcloth in a basin of warm water with 3 drops of lavender essential oil. Wring out the cloth slightly, apply it to your child’s ear, and cover with a hot water bottle.

A sore throat often precedes a cold or flu. If your child has a sore throat accompanied by a fever greater than 101 degrees, consult your physician to rule out strep throat. If not, try these herbal remedies to ease the discomfort.

Sage (Salvia officinalis) harbors antimicrobial properties and astringent tannins that help to relieve inflammation. Pour 2 cups of boiling water over 4 teaspoons of dried sage. Cover, steep for 15 minutes, strain, and add 1 teaspoon of sea salt, which has mild antimicrobial and antiseptic properties. Encourage your child to gargle with the warm tea (but not swallow it) every hour or two if possible.

Marshmallow (Althea officinalis) contains water-soluble fiber that soothes irritation, while ginger and peppermint calm inflammation. Simmer 1 tablespoon each of marshmallow root and fresh chopped gingerroot in 3 cups of water in a covered pot for 5 minutes. Remove from heat, add 2 teaspoons of peppermint, cover, and steep for an additional 10 minutes. Strain, sweeten, and give your child up to 3 cups daily.

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