Herbs for Children 5+

Image: Yoli & Otis

Image: Yoli & Otis

Many parents seek natural remedies to cure ailments for their children but question whether herbs are safe. Children’s bodies are particularly sensitive, however, they often respond best to the healing properties of plants. Incorporating herbs can provide children with a safer alternative to pharmaceutical drugs which can often produce harmful side effects.

There are many herbs safe for children to consume that they can enjoy often.  Below are some of the more common ones along with their usages.


Nourishing Herbs

Nettle Leaf

A good source of the trace minerals calcium and iron, and also a good source of chlorophyll, which contains magnesium, and vitamin C, all of which are beneficial for growing children. The nettle leaf is often used for allergy relief due to its antihistamine properties.

How to use: This herb is best taken as a tea for a nourishing beverage or in a tincture to support allergy relief. It can also be used in powdered form and added to smoothies or other beverages.



Red Raspberry Leaf

Contains high amounts of vitamins A, B, C and E, and is a good source of calcium, iron, and potassium. Great for supporting gastrointestinal upset such as nausea, diarrhea, gas and bloating and also helps to relieve leg cramps and improve sleep.  For children, this is an excellent herb for supporting the immune system when sick.

How to use: This herb is best used as a tea. It can be mixed in soda water for a yummy fizzy drink for children.



Rose Hips

High in both vitamin c and bioflavonoids. The vitamin C content in rose hips is 20 - 40 times greater than found in oranges. As such, rose hips provide a strong immune support and can be used to ward off, or as a remedy to treat colds. When a child isn’t feeling well, this herb nourishes their mucous membranes.

How to use: This herb can be taken as a tea or in tincture form.


Calming Herbs





Violet

Violet is a very gentle, yet powerful herb. It is packed with vitamins and minerals essential for healthy immune support. This herb is great for supporting children when they are ill with a fever, headache, or other illness. It helps dry coughs by providing calming inflamed mucous membranes.

How to use: Enjoy violet as a tea or tincture.




Cinnamon

Cinnamon is an excellent herb to support the regulation of blood sugar levels and enhance the sweetness of food. Children can enjoy it over fruit and in baked goods. It is also antibacterial and anti-fungal and great for preventing common colds and other illnesses. As a nice bonus cinnamon is also warming providing comfort on chilly days.

How to use: Cinnamon can be taken as a tea or sprinkled on top of dishes.




Thyme

Thyme is an excellent herb to support the immune system as it can be used to enhance children’s immune defenses during the cold and flu season due to its strong antibacterial properties. Its volatile oils are very effective at calming coughs and loosening phlegm.

How to use: Add to a bath or make into tea. You can also add 1 ounce of dried thyme to a crock pot filled with water and leave uncovered in a safe place in your child’s room, preferably with the door closed.




Lemon Balm

Vibrant and fresh, this herb with a lemony scent is very appealing to children. It is often diffused to aid in sleeplessness, improve restlessness, and enhance mood. Also, use to soothe an upset tummy.

How to use: Lemon balm makes a great tea to consume before bed. It can also be added to a child’s bath (to promote relaxation).  




Chamomile

A relaxing herb that helps promote sleep and relaxation by calming nerves. It has been known to heal tummy-aches too especially if the source is emotional.

How to use: It is best to drink 1 cup before bed to help with sleep. 5 drops of the essential oil can also be diffused to calm and relax a child. Chamomile also has anti-inflammatory properties and so can be used as a salve to or compress on the irritated or injured skin.





Oat straw

Source of silica, magnesium, chromium, calcium, iron, phosphorus and vitamins A, B and C. Provides excellent support for the nervous system by helping to allay anxiety and stress.

How to use: This herb can be taken as a tea or tincture

*Children who have celiac disease should not take Oat straw


Herbs for Immunity




Elderberry

A long-standing tonic that is known to enhance immune support. This herb is best suited for children when they are sick, as it contains anti-viral properties to ward off the flu and beat infections. Especially good for upper respiratory tract infections with inflammation.

How to use:  Often seen as a syrup, this can be taken directly from a spoon, mixed in water or juice, or make into a fun-shaped gummy. Use once a day to enhance immune support or 3 times a day for the flu.




Echinacea

Known as an immune supporting herb. This is best taken to support the immune system during times of colds, flu, ear infections, and other respiratory illnesses.

How to use: Take once daily for general immune support or several times a day at the first sign of a cold, flu, or ear infection.




Ginger

Ginger is best known for alleviating upset tummy issues, specifically nausea and vomiting. It is warm and pungent, appealing to children when they are sick. Ginger is also well known for its anti-inflammatory properties.

How to use: It is best consumed slowly when feeling under the weather. It can be added to baked goods and drinks too. Syrups and alcohol-free tinctures can be added to water or juice as well.


Dosing


Clarks rule: Dosing is based on the weight of the child and assumes that the adult dosage is for a 150-pound adult.

To use Clark’s Rule, take the weight of your child, in pounds, and divide it by 150.

For example, if your child weighs 38 pounds you would divide 38 by 150 (38/150 = .253 or ¼) so your child would take ¼ of the adult dosage

* Before giving any of these to your child, consult with a holistic or herbal practitioner. Every child is unique and no herb is safe for absolutely every child, just as strawberries or peanuts are nourishing foods for some but not for others. It also important to inform your holistic or herbal practitioner of any conventional medicine your child is taking as herbs contain active ingredients that may interact negatively with pharmaceutical drugs. In any case, it is advisable to note each herb and dosage given to your child and watch them for signs of a negative reaction. It is also advisable to give only one herb at a time so you will know which herb caused a negative reaction. All of the herbs mentioned above are gentle and should have no adverse effect.









nutritionkristin dahl