Parents often ask me for a concise, simple list of natural remedies they should have on hand for their kids’ minor ailments. Here’s my list of basic recommendations to stock your holistic home remedy kit. If your child is prone to specific conditions such as asthma, digestive weakness, or other intermittent, chronic issues, speak to your healthcare provider for an expanded list:
#1 – Cod Liver Oil – Like any good quality fish oil, cod liver oil is rich in omega 3 fatty acids which help to reduce inflammation in all the cells of your body. Cod liver oil (when it is not heat-treated) will also contain important vitamins A and D in the proper proportions. Read more about the benefits of cod liver oil here.
#2 – Probiotics – It is essential to get a daily infusion of probiotics to keep the good bacteria thriving in our bodies. Ideally this will happen through probiotic rich foods, drinks, and condiments, but sometimes we also need therapeutic probiotics as well. Learn more about probiotics here.
#2 – Vitamin D3 – In a liquid tincture with 2000IU/drop. Read more about why the sunshine vitamin is so essential.
#3 – Vitamin C Vitamin C is a well-known antioxidant. In the day-to-day, aim to get antioxidants through food, but keep the supplement on hand to ward off infections and colds.
#4 – Elderberry Syrup – A great immune supporter, elderberry is rich in anti-oxidant flavinoids and anti-inflammatory anthocyanin, and – when you catch it in time – can be quite effective in warding off the flu. Learn how to make elderberry syrup or buy it here.
#5 – Echinacea - Kid’s orange-flavored drops taste great and help keep the colds and flus at bay if given at the very early stages or when your child has been in contact with other sick kids (or adults) or is feeling run-down.
#6 – Assorted homeopathic remedies for colds, flus, fevers, and bug bites, teething. While traditional homeopaths claim the combo remedies available are not the way to go, for home treatment of acute symptoms that often come in the middle of the night, I suggest having a cold, flu, and (for babies) teething remedy on hand. These remedies work and are readily available and obviously by their function such a “Cold Calm,” “Complete Flu Care,” or “Teething Tablets.” For single remedies, you can buy a kit (I have this one) or individuals. A few good single remedies include:
- Arnica - Homeopathic remedy for trauma, bruises, aches, and strains. Keep both oral and topical applications on hand. After a tumble or boo-boo occurs, administer the oral arnica every few hours until symptoms start to improve. The topical (comes in a combo such as “Traumeel“) can be applied to bruises or bumps, just not over open wounds.
- Belladonna - A good place to start for most fevers.
- Chamomilla - For crying, upset, and inability to sleep.
- Nux vomica – for nausea, vomitting, constipation
- Apis mellifica – insect bites, stings
#7 – Chinese herbs for sore throat, ear aches, diarrhea, constipation, and calming. You typically have to get herbs from a practitioner, so ask yours for a good collection to have on hand.
#8 – Essential oils for stress (experiment with what your child likes. Some suggestions lavender- not for boys as it may be estrogenic, chamomile, ylang-ylang), teething (high quality clove oil can be applied directly to inflamed gums for a natural analgesic)
#9 – Aloe Plant- grows easily (read: hard to kill) in any window. For most sunburns or other non-emergent burns, aloe with help soothe and cool scorched skin. Cut a spear at it’s base, slice it length-wise with a sharp knife and smooth directly onto skin.
#10 – A BIG Medicine dropper to administer herbs or supplements that don’t already come with one.
And lastly – though not natural by any stretch of the imagination…
#11 – Children’s Ibuprofen/Advil (not acetaminophen/Tylenol) as a last resort for extreme pain accompanying fevers or teething that is keeping your child from getting the rest he needs to get better. See my article on Fever Fears for more info as to why these medicines should be avoided or used sparingly only.