Friday, February 7, 2014

Natural cold/flu remedies for toddlers (and adults!)

It started with a sore throat.  And then moved into sinus congestion and a cough.  The dreaded cold!  Both Sadie and I have been experiencing the beginnings of a cold but we drastically improved the intensity and duration by doing these five things.  

***I am not a doctor and do not intend for this to be used as medical advice.  These are simply remedies that I know have helped us.

1.) Honey - Number one on the list would most definitely be honey. It coats and soothes the throat but also has strong anti-bacterial properties (without having the risks associated with antibiotics.) The American Academy of Pediatrics has found honey to be a superior treatment for treating night time cough. I could go on and on about other various health benefits of honey but let's just say it is good stuff. And luckily it tastes great! I've read that equal parts honey and fresh lemon juice in warm water is good for a toddler – but I just give it to Sadie by the (baby) spoonful a few times a day when sick. For the full benefits be sure to get REAL honey – preferably local.

Note: Honey is not recommended for babies under the age of one.

2.) Ravintsara (Cinnamomum camphora) Essential Oil - In our house this stuff gets used all winter long (all year actually) but especially when sick. It comes from an evergreen tree and that has been used as traditional folk medicine in Madagascar for years. Ravintsara oil is antibacterial, anticatarrhal, antifungal, anti-infectious, anti rheumatic, antiviral, decongestant, cicatrisant, expectorant, immune tonic and neurotonic. It is ideal for preventing and helping soothe the symptoms of cold, cough, flu and other respiratory ailments. Ravintsara is often mixed up with Ravensara oil (also from Madagascar and highly anti-viral.) Ravintsara is the gentler option and better for use with children and mothers who are nursing or pregnant.

How to use: I diffuse Ravintsara by either using a candle light or electric fan diffuser. Obviously keep open flame out of reach of toddler and never leave a flame burning while sleeping. Burning an essential oil is said to slightly change the chemical components of the oil but, oh well, I prefer it to using electricity all day long. But the electric fan diffuser is a great option to run in the bedroom at night. I also add a drop into a tablespoon of safflower oil and use as a chest & back rub (you can use any oil or lotion/cream as a base as long as it has plant-based ingredients so that it will be able to be absorbed by the skin.) The moment I start feeling sick, I mix a single drop of Ravintsara into a spoonful of honey for myself. For Sadie (age 2), I dip just the very end of a toothpick into the oil and swirl it into her spoonful of honey.

Note:  Essential oils are highly potent and should not be used internally unless under the supervision of an aromatherapist.  It is also important that you buy your essential oils from a trusted, reputable source because it is not a regulated industry.

3.) Hydration -  Water, water, water.  This is an obvious one.  Keep hydrated!  I am lucky that Sadie LOVES water.  She has to have her sippy full with water at all times.  (Now if she would only start to love her veggies...)   If your toddler doesn't like water try coconut water.  It is packed with nutrients and is naturally sweet.  It's high in electrolytes so it is perfect for preventing dehydration.  Also be sure to run a humidifier to keep moisture in the air.

4.) Elderberries - This powerful berry helps boost the immune system and it's anti-viral properties make it perfect for use while experiencing cold & flu symptoms.  I use this Black Elderberry Extract - it's alcohol-free and safe for all ages.  

Note: Dosage for children is usually a fraction of the recommended adult dosage. Be sure to check with your supplier if it's not indicated on the label.

5.) Soup -  This is a great way to keep hydrated (see #3) but it's also a great way to get the healing benefits of garlic (antibacterial, antiviral) and ginger (anti-inflammatory, immune boosting.)  I made Heidi Swanson's Immunity Soup (for myself) and was surprised that Sadie loved the broth.  I incorporate a lot of garlic and ginger in my diet, so my guess is that she is familiar with the flavor through drinking breast milk.  Maybe try a toned down version for your toddler if he/she isn't used to these flavors.  Do not serve to child steaming hot as the recipe suggests.

I hope you feel better soon! We do!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...