Before we get started, let me put your mind at ease. If it seems like your child is ALWAYS sick, please don’t despair. This is totally normal. In fact, kids are DESIGNED to get sick! It’s how the immune system grows and develops. Never fear, there are natural remedies.
It is also necessary to mention that the goal of natural remedies is not to stop the symptoms. But rather to reduce their severity (so the child can cope), whilst supporting and facilitating the immune system to do its job properly i.e. fight the illness and restore health!
Just have a little patience, allow the healing process to run its course and enjoy the special bond that develops between parent and child when they’re feeling weak and vulnerable.
Now on to the natural remedies…
Childhood ear infections are intimately connected to diet. Start by eliminating dairy (often the main culprit), gluten, sugar and processed foods from your child’s diet (and your diet too if you are still breastfeeding) and focus on REAL whole foods such as plenty of vegetables, a little bit of fruit (not fruit juice), broths, fermented foods, raw nuts and seeds, organic meats, eggs and wild caught fish.
Supplement with age appropriate doses of Vitamin C, Vitamin D, probiotics and A.Vogel Echinaforce as well as Homeopathic remedies for infection, pain and immunity. Ear candling can provide enormous relief (if your child will agree to it!) as the warm smoke dries out any trapped moisture. Drops of warm oil (coconut oil or olive oil) in the ear also helps as well as gargling with raw apple cider vinegar (again, only if your child will agree to this!). Another useful remedy is to apply an onion compress to the infected ear for a few hours or overnight if possible. Simply cut a round slice of fresh onion, wrap in gauze or cheesecloth and secure to the child’s head with a headband or bandage.
If your child has a fever, please do not panic. A fever is the body’s way of destroying the virus or bacteria causing your child’s distress. If you try to bring it down unnecessarily you will only prolong the illness, depress the immune system and open your child up to a secondary infection… A domino effect that often ends with antibiotic use.
Bottom line: If you want to avoid antibiotics, don’t bring down the fever! Only if your child’s fever goes over 40 degrees should you intervene. Note that food will naturally drop a fever within 20 minutes or so for an hour or two at a time however, only feed a child if they are willing to eat (and even then just a few bites of scrambled egg or sips of broth is all that’s needed). Fevers naturally deplete Vitamin A so dose with a couple of drops of good quality Cod Liver Oil. Sometimes a fever can last 3 days and will go up and down. It usually peaks between 4-6pm in the afternoon so until you’ve passed a late afternoon with no fever, rather keep your child at home. Finally all your child will want is you when they’re feverish, so simply holding them as long as possible offers huge comfort!
Coughs & Colds
The first step is to support their immune system with the supplements mentioned for ear infections in age appropriate doses (Vit C, Vit D, Echinaforce, probiotics and specific homeopathic remedies). Don’t worry about food if they’ve lost their appetite but make sure to keep up their fluid intake with breast milk (if they’re still nursing), mineral water, broth, homemade soups, coconut water, kombucha and black herbal teas with lemon and raw honey (do not give raw honey to children under 12 months). Next, position your child’s face over a herbal steam bath allowing them to inhale the steam. Add anti-bacterial, decongestant and expectorant essential oils such as lavender, peppermint, rosemary, tea tree or eucalyptus. You can do this several times a day.
For a stuffy nose the best natural treatment is Kids X-Clear – a xylitol based nasal spray for children. A natural chest rub also works wonders for congestion particularly if it contains peppermint or eucalyptus. Nursing moms can even rub a small amount onto the breast (well away from where it could get into baby’s eyes or mouth, or onto their hands) to ease breathing during feeding time. Maintain the moisture in the house with a humidifier and again don’t underestimate the healing power of touch! If your child is home sick, drop what you’re doing and simply hold them, rub their back, rock them, read to them, sing to them, and lie down and take a nap with them.
Slippery elm tincture is one of the best natural remedies for tummy trouble. Simply give a few drops in a little water to ease a stomach ache, bloating or gas. A change in diet is also highly recommended. In particular, avoid all forms of sugar, sugar alternatives (besides erythritol or stevia) and especially fructose! Fructose intolerance is common in children of all ages with recurrent (and often unexplained) abdominal pain. Herbal teas such as ginger, peppermint, fennel or chamomile can ease tummy trouble as well as apple cider vinegar (a few drops taken in water) or aloe vera juice.
Home-made bone broth does wonders for diarrhoea as the gelatin binds up the liquid in the colon and provides bulk. Only give a few tablespoons at a time but do so frequently throughout the day. Make sure to keep your child well hydrated with sips of liquid such as water (add a pinch of Himalayan salt for the electrolytes), coconut water, herbal teas sweetened with honey or breastmilk if the child is still nursing. Consult your doctor if there is blood in the stool or if your child becomes dehydrated. Homeopathic remedies for diarrhoea may also be beneficial.
Once again diet plays a big role if your child suffers with headaches. Avoid sugar and MSG – both will cause headaches. Low blood sugar could also be the cause so make sure they’re getting 3 balanced meals a day with adequate protein and plenty of healthy fats. Dehydration could be another cause. Coconut water or kombucha is the best way to rehydrate, even more so than plain water. However, if your child will only drink water, let them have ½ a glass every half hour to avoid putting strain on the kidneys. Again, homeopathic remedies for headaches offer huge relief, as well as aromatherapy oils. Mix two drops of rosemary oil with two drops of peppermint oil and one teaspoon of coconut oil, and rub it into the temples, forehead and back of neck to relieve headache pain.
Is an over-growth of a yeast-like fungus called Candida albicans. It presents as white “cottage cheese-like” lumps on the inside of the lips, cheeks and/or on the tongue. Although less common, vaginal thrush in little girls can also be present if proper hygiene care is not practised. Probiotics are essential to regulate and control Candida in the body. If breastfeeding, mothers should eliminate all sugar, carbs, grains and gluten from the diet, supplement with a high dose, high quality probiotics and eat plenty of probiotic rich foods such as sauerkraut, kefir and yoghurt. Toddlers and older children should do the same.
Coconut oil, rich in caprylic acid, is a potent anti-fungal food that is also highly recommended for the breastfeeding mother or affected child to consume. It is even safe for babies (make sure it is pure, organic, extra virgin coconut oil). Apply to nipples, in the baby or child’s mouth or to the vagina (once it has been cleaned and dried thoroughly).
When your child gets sick, don’t panic. If their diet is typically healthy and their immunity is strong you have nothing to worry about. Allow your kids to fight the illness and recover naturally without unnecessary medical intervention. Natural remedies together with plenty of love will help them weather the challenge and set them up for success, due to the fact that their immune systems will end up infinitely stronger as adults!