Natural Healing for Back to School- with excerpts from Herbal Healing for Children by Demetria Clark
With the new school year approaching many children are heading back to school, now is the time to get a leg up on the two common issues of the school year, constipation and colds. Natural healing for children has always been a priority for me. Wanting my children to be healthy using herbs first.
The first issue I want to address is constipation.
Constipation? That isn’t contagious, you may say. It is common, especially in younger children, just starting school. Constipation causes can be an embarrassment, not wanting to poop in a crowded bathroom. It can also be caused by dehydration and the change in diet and schedule. Constipation in children has reported prevalence rates between 1% and 30%. It is the principal complaint in 3-5% of all visits to pediatric outpatient clinics. As many as 35% of all visits to pediatric gastroenterologists. Overall, about 16-37% of school-aged kids have to deal with constipation.
One of the best treatments is prevention. Once a child becomes constipated and has painful bowel movements, the child will hold the bowel movement to prevent the pain previously experienced. School-aged children should have two bowel movements a day on average. Here are some suggestions for natural healing for constipation.
Some things you can do to prevent this are as follows:
Increase liquids- water and juices
Increase fiber, adding psyllium to a smoothie can often be a great help.
Use smoothies and fresh fruit as snacks. Use these in the afternoon to promote evacuation in the evening.
Dried fruit, fruit leather (made from real fruit), and fresh juices can assist with preventing constipation and promoting healthy evacuation and overall health.
Some beneficial herbs are:
Aloe Vera juice
Dandelion leaf- eaten, made in a tea, or added to salads raw.
Ground Flaxseed sprinkled in smoothies, and on food.
Psyllium- Added to smoothies
Figs- eaten raw
Fennel seeds- added to food, or as a tea.
Gentle abdominal massage is also beneficial. Parents can use a room temperature oil and massage the abdomen in a circular pattern. Warm baths are often helpful for younger children. The warm water relaxes the bowel promoting evacuation. Constipation can be an issue for children, but it can be managed with diet often, meaning it can be handled at home and hopefully prevented.
Colds are tricky little viruses that thrive on cold weather and dry air. Although not a severe illness, a cold can develop into a secondary infection of the lungs or sinuses if your child can’t rest or if his immune system is depressed in some way. Although there is no cure for the common cold, there are natural ways to make your child more comfortable, ease his sore throat, quell his cough, and help them rest. Natural healing for colds is simple and can often become part of a healthy daily routine.
Some simple helpful remedies are:
Liquids like teas, broths, warm homemade lemonade.
Cold fighting foods like colds blueberries, carob, carrots, and raspberries are great to have on hand.
These foods contain complex sugars called oligosaccharides that help prevent harmful bacteria from settling in the intestinal lining and may help prevent diarrhea that sometimes comes with a cold.
Garlic is an excellent herbal antibiotic. Add to food, sprinkle on popcorn, yogurt dips, and pasta, have fun with your garlic.
Oregano, long overlooked for its medicinal properties. It contains more than thirty biologically active components, including antiviral properties. Use fresh or dried oregano on pasta, salads, and vegetables, and even in teas and baths.
Cold Care Bath
When children have a cold, a herbal bath can be soothing and therapeutic. To one or two quarts of boiling water, add one cup of a mixture. Use the following herbs: calendula, chamomile, lavender, and rosemary. Steep the mixture until it has cooled. Strain the mixture and discard the herbs, and add the liquid to the bathwater. Leave out the Rosemary, and you then have a great before bed relaxing blend.
Cold Care Vapors
For vaporization, add a few drops of the eucalyptus, lavender, rosemary, or tea tree essential oil to a pot of boiling water. The steam will release the essential oil into the room. You can also use a diffuser.
Throughout the cold season, practice good hygiene around the home. If your kid touches it, clean it: clean doorknobs, faucets, toilet handles, toilet seats, and other frequently touched surfaces. You can use essential oils of lavender, rosemary, peppermint, or tea tree. Frequent hand washing is necessary; soap and water work fine.
There’s no need for hand sanitizers or the like unless you’re on the go.
Cold Care Tea
1 teaspoon of each of these herbs: dried Rose Hips, Mullein leaf, and Spearmint leaf.
1/2 teaspoon Chamomile Flower
2 cups boiling water
First, place the herbs in teapot or bowl and cover with the boiling water. Secondly, steep at room temperature until the tea cools. After that, strain and discard the herbs. Store in a sealed glass jar in the refrigerator, the tea will keep for 48 hours.
1.Borowitz SM, Cox DJ, Kovatchev B, et al. Treatment of childhood constipation by primary care physicians: efficacy and predictors of outcome. Pediatrics. Apr 2005;115(4):873-7. [Medline].
This article was published in Dynamic Living Magazine in September 2011.
Edits added 2019.
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