In this lesson you will learn how to safely make herbal remedies for children.
Making herbal remedies for children
I believe that just about any average health care situation can be taken care of at home with herbs, nourishment, and natural means. There are a few steps you can follow to begin celebrating living the natural way.
When adult dose is 1 cup
Younger than 2 years- ½ to 1 teaspoon
2 to 4 years- 2 teaspoons
4 to 7 years- 1 tablespoon
7 to 11 years- 2 tablespoons
When Adult dose is 1 teaspoon, or 60 drops
Younger than 3 months- 2 drops
3 to 6 months- 3 drops
6 to 9 months- 4 drops
9 to 12 months- 5 drops
12 to 18 months- 7 drops
18 to 24 months- 8 drops
2 to 3 years- 10 drops
3 to 4 years- 12 drops
4 to 6 years- 15 drops
6 to 9 years- 24 drops
9 to 12 years- 30 drops
Always use safe and gentle herbs for children. The herbs covered in this course are excellent examples. Always keep all herbs out of reach of children!
Cowling’s Rule: Divide the age at the next birthday by 24. Example: A five year old child- Six being the age at the next birthday, divide 6 by 24 which gives you 6/24 or 14 the adult dose.
Divide the weight (in lbs) of the child by 150 to give the approximate fraction of the adult dose. Example: a 50 lb. child will require 50/150 or 1/3 the adult dose
Young’s Rule: Computed by dividing the child’s age by 12 plus the age. Example: for a child of 4 it would be divided by 12 plus 4 equals 4/16 equals of the adult dosage.
It is better to use an insufficient dose and move up as needed! Try a small amount, watch your child’s reaction. Everyone’s metabolism is different. The dose also depends on the potency of the herb you are administering, do your homework! Know the herbs you are administering. Communicate with your child. When in doubt seek a ND or other competent practitioner.
These are excellent for teething children or for a tasty pop cycle in the summer. Simply make a strong herbal tea or infusion, chamomile for teething is one example. Pour into popsicle trays. Place in freezer. You may dilute with organic juice to improve taste.
Freezing Fresh Herbs in ice cube trays
This is a convenient way to have herbs available for year round use. You chop, add water, and freeze. Use year round for poultices, and even add culinary herbs to soups for nourishing fresh herbs any time!
To make herbal candy powdered herbs are mixed with honey, ground fruit or nuts, and rolled into edible balls. Herbal candy is a delicious and effective way to administer herbal remedies to children.
Caution: Do not give honey or nuts to a child under 1 year of age- replace with other syrups.
This is a gentle form of preparation designed to preserve the volatile oils. It is used to prepare the more delicate parts of the plant such as leaves and flowers. Steep for at least 1 hour, strain and drink. Susun Weed recommends steeping over night. 2 to 4 glasses can be consumed throughout the day. An infusion is stronger than a tea and will extract glycosides, alkaloid salts and water soluble vitamins. Infusions are intended for immediate use, store for a maximum of 24 hours in a cool place. Start small and work your way up, drinking slowly with smaller sips if you are not used to infusions (it is a lot like if you were to add more fiber to your diet, if you are not used to it, you can have minor discomfort for a short time) note this is adult recommendations, adjust dose, maybe only starting with a teaspoon (depending on age of child/ if the child is used to infusions etc).
Poultices are applied directly to the effected area. A fomentation is and application of the tea or juice of herbs, a poultice is an application of the whole plant. Poultices can also be made of mud or clay.
Poultices are used to soothe, heal and regenerate tissue, stimulate circulation and organ function, warm and relax muscles, and draw out toxins or foreign particles.
Poultice, Basic Clay: (Clay is used to draw out toxins and foreign substances, to heal burns and to repair damaged tissues.) 1 lb green clay and some distilled water. Mix clay with enough water to make a thick paste; spread paste onto the center of a soft cloth which measures about 6 to 8 inches square and has about 4 layers of thickness. Apply directly to the area with the clay side against the skin and press it down a bit so it sticks to the skin. Cover with a dry cloth and leave in place until the clay pulls away on its own.
There are many other poultice recipes that will be covered later in the herb section of this course.
Herbs can be powdered in a coffee mill or mortar and pestle. If using a grinder be sure and not use the same grinder that you use for your coffee. I like to have a separate grinder set aside to use only for herbs. Clean out grinder after each use. This is an easy and effective way to add herbs directly to food and drinks. This is a great way to administer herbs to children because it is simple and effective. The flavor of bitter herbs can be masked. It is also very easy to regulate the dosage given. Powders may also be used for topical skin remedies.
Tea blends (if you like certain blends have them within reach) getting creative with ‘teas’ – also make a vegetable ‘tea’ for broths, or you can take the skins / tops of veges – make a stock for potassium broth (lots of things we throw away that are really healthy) – nut skins are also great -hazelnut skins have cancer protection… Have a pot boiling on the stove, just throw things in … Great for if you don’t feel like eating .. add some spices (if you wish) Also great are bones – for a bone broth (add a little vinegar to bring out the minerals).
A sun extract is prepared using double the amount of herbs used in an infusion. It works best with leaves and flowers. This method best preserves the volatile oils and vitamins.
Fill a clear gallon jar with distilled water, add 1 cup herb mixture of your choice, let sit in the direct sun for 4 to 6 hours, strain.
Equipment you will need for making a salve:
Cheese grater -if you wish to grate beeswax, can also be melted (no grating needed) if you have a pre-measured portion.
Vapors and Steams
These preparations are useful for decongesting the lungs and detoxifying the skin. A vapor is prepared by dropping essential oils into freshly boiled water, a steam is basically an infusion with the herbs left in it. You can drape a blanket over the bowl and your head to inhale, take care it is not too hot, steam can burn.
Tonic recipe for Children
1 tablespoon each
Red Raspberry leaves
Alfalfa leaves and flowers
Honey or glycerin
Equipment- Coffee Grinder
Procedure- Sift together (being careful to remove the rose seeds) and stir into honey or glycerin until pasty. It will harden with age, so make it just thick enough that it will not drop from a spoon easily. Store in a covered container, and dose by the teaspoon. This formula can also be used to create small pills by making the mixture thick and rolling it into small balls.
Tinctures are concentrated herbal extracts usually using alcohol as the solvent. The folklore method is easy & convenient, generally fresh plants are used. This makes it possible to bring your spirits to your wildcrafting site and create your medicine immediately. These tinctures are made without measuring and are a great way for the budding herbalist to get started. It is easy, and many effective medicines can be made with this method. This is a great way to connect with the plants and receive their healing virtues all in the same making. 100 proof vodka effectively extracts the majority of many plants constituents. The clearness of vodka also make it possible to observe the many color changes of tinctures. Such small doses are used when taking tinctures that the alcohol content is equivalent to consuming 1 ripe banana. You can replace alcohol with glycerin or apple cider vinegar for children’s preparations if you wish. You may also remove some of the alcohol from the tincture by placing it in water for 10 to 20 minutes. Since tinctures are very concentrated preparations it is important to start your child off with a very small dose (see dosing instructions) and be very familiar with the herbs you are using. Children’s tinctures are also usually sold at your local health food store. *note- I use Everclear brand 95 proof alcohol for fresh plants- directions HERE)
1. Harvest the herb in its prime, after asking permission. Use the proper plant parts as identified in your plant key
2. Chop the herbs finely and fill the glass jar. Label the jar with the date and name of the herb
3. Fill the jar with vodka, stopping an inch from the top of the jar. This will allow space for you to shake the extraction more easily. If the plant absorbs any of the solvent, add more vodka. The vodka must cover the herbs throughout the process.
4. Put the jar in a dark place and shake it at least once a day. Put all your good intentions into the medicine, sing healing songs or offer prayers. Keep the jar in sight, not forgotten in the cabinet.
5. After 4 to 6 weeks (or longer) follow the moon cycle if you wish, pour the whole contents of the jar through the muslin or some other clean dry cloth. Squeeze all you can out of the mark. You can do this by hand, or use a tincture press or potato ricer.
6. Store in a correctly labeled bottle out of the light. Most tinctures will keep indefinitely if stored properly. Keep out of reach of children.
Syrups and Decoctions
Reference: Herbal remedies for children’s health Rosemary Gladstar 1999
Making herbal remedies for children Class NetLinks
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1. Create a journal page in word format. List any thoughts or experiences you have related to raising your children holistically. If you administer or create any herbal remedies for your child list them in your journal. If you introduce wellness activities to your children such as nature walks please record these as well. Record your experience throughout this course.
2. Prepare a herbal steam like the one described in the Colds and Flu lesson. Discuss your experience, the common kitchen herb thyme may be used. Even if you do not have a cold, a steam is wonderful for the sinuses.
3. Create one of the natural remedies discussed in this course. Even if it is something as simple as herbal tea that is OK! Record your experience.
4. Discuss ways you can include holistic wellness in your life as a family. This may mean creating more quality time with the kids and less time in front of the TV. Is your life balanced? Does your family get out in nature, eat nourishing foods, limit sugar and processed foods, drink herbal teas, have a healthy emotional environment, have plenty of love and laughter in the home? Can you think of some ways you may be able to improve your lifestyle and live more holistically?
5. After reading Holistic Wellness And Our Kids on the herbalist path blog, discuss your thoughts & views toward holistic health, sickness and healing. Please discuss your thoughts in detail be as honest as possible. Is there anything your would like to change about your families health and wellness lifestyle?
6. Take the family out and enjoy a nature walk. Take pictures if you can and try to identify a few plants (you may use my blog as reference) Notice any animals you see there, what was the weather like? You may go to the local park if you do not have a natural area around your house. Post your experience in the comments section.
Self Test Question: As a parent you immediately become a healer (especially since you have taken the step and joined this course). There are many forms of healing medicine. Discuss some of the experiences you have had as a healer. Do you feel you have special gifts as a healer? Your healing medicine may be to make your child laugh, listening to them instead of talking at them, giving encouragement in times of need, spending quality time, as well as tending to them when they are sick. What is your healing medicine about? Feel free to email me your answers:)
Chamomile Flowers (German)
Forms: Aqueous extract of fresh or dried flowers.
Taste: Sweet, aromatic, slightly bitter
Energy: Neutral tending toward cool
Therapeutic action/ properties: nervine, carminative, diaphoretic (mild), mild sedative, antispasmodic, vulnerary, antiseptic, emmenagogue, antiinflammatory, analgesic
Overview: Chamomile is most well known as a calming and relaxing bedtime tea and research has shown that the apigenin it contains is an effective sedative, it is safe enough to use for children and babies. It is a great mild diaphoretic to use during fevers for children. Chamomile tea is a great remedy for all types of nervous disorders (including a tendancy toward meltdowns or tantrums). Great for tummy aches espcially if they are caused by nervous tention. As an antispasmotic herb, chamomile works to relax the peripheral nerves and muscles, thus indirectly relaxing the whole body. Because of the essential oil, chamomile tea is also recommended to alleviate digestive and menstrual cramps and to treat headaches associated with liver congestion. Research on chamomile has demonstrated antibacterial and antifungal properties for bisabolol, the spiro-ethers and other polyacetylenes contained in the herb and the tea was traditionally used externally to stimulate wound healing, external ulcers (bed sores), and prevent infections. Chamomile tea can also be used externally as an antinflammatory wash for treating skin and respiratory irritations and is used as an inhalation for treating catarrh (mucous) of the nose, throat and bronchi. Chamomile is also effective eye wash, effective for eye stys as well.
Active Ingredients: Chamomile flowers contain: From 0.3-1.5% essential oil containing (-)-alpha bisabolol, bisabolol oxides A, B, and C, bisabolone oxide, chamazulene, chamamviolin, spathulenol, cis- and trans-enyne dicyclo ethers (spiro-ether, polyacetylenes) as the principal components. The flowers also contain: Bitter substances of the sesquiterpene lactone type, including: matricin, matricarin, desacetylmatricarin; Coumarins: umbelliferone and herniarin; Mucilage; and Flavonoids including: many identified methoxylated flavones and flavonols, apigenin (arising by hydrolysis of the 7-O-glucoside during drying), luteolin, quercitrin, 7-mono- and 7-diglycosides and 7-mono-glycosides acetylated in the sugar moiety.
Suggested Amount: Tea 3 – 4 times per day between meals.
Drug Interactions: None known.
Contraindications: Persons who are allergic to daisy family plants [Fam. Asteraceae] may experience allergy symptoms to chamomile (although I have never seen this).
Side Effects: Allergic reactions are possible in susceptible persons.
Chamomile tea is excellent for nervous tension, it is also a great tea for babies who are teething and or have colic symptoms. My mother gave me the tea when I was a child for insomnia due to nightmares & stomach upset. I have used this tea with my baby with great results! Observe contraindications such as allergies.
Combine Chamomile with peppermint in equal parts. Take as a tea for stomach upset.
Chamomile tea is safe for most to use during pregnancy – check with your Doctor.
-Acne (externally)- Anti-inflammatory- Antimicrobial- Athlete’s Foot- Bone and Joint Problems (externally)- Breathing Disorders- Bunions- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome- Catarrh (nose, throat and bronchi)- Colic- Colitis- Cramps- Deodorant- Digestive Disorders- Enteritis- Fever- Flatulence- Gastrointestinal Disorders- Gastritis- Headaches- Heartburn- Infections (externally)- Insomnia- Menstrual Difficulties- Mucous (respiratory)- Nervous Disorders- Poultice- Sciatica- Skin Disorders- Ulcers- Wounds
Duke, J. 1997: The Green Pharmacy, The Ultimate Compendium of Natural Remedies from the World’s Foremost Authority on Healing and Herbs. pp. 85-86; 126-127; 291; 362; 531-533. Rodale Press.
Some pictures and resources used for this lesson with permission http://resolutionhost.com/flora/home
Rosemary Gladstar’s Herbal Remedies For children’s Health Storey Books 1999
ACHS class notes December 2002
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