Thursday, January 24, 2008

Kids Cold Remedies

When your child gets a cold or the flu, everybody’s miserable! You want to do something to help them, but what?

In an article on November 1, CNN reports ”These medications have been blamed for more than 100 deaths and at least thousands of trips to the emergency room.” You’ve probably read some of the many news stories about the dangers of children’s over the counter cold and flu remedies. An FDA panel recommends using no cold medicines for children under 6, and to use caution with children even up to 12.

Simple ingredients and instructions are available for natural alternatives to these potentially dangerous medicines are available at many local & online stores,. One such is The Apothecary Shoppe, which carries a large selection of Homeobotanicals, herbs, essential oils, books and charts, including many of those listed below. Ordering online is an easy way to get the ingredients you need all in one place, and have them delivered right to your door.

Click here to go to the Cold & Flu – Just 4 Kids section:

Deborah Halvorson, BA, Dip Aroma, RA and Instructor at Australasian College of Health Sciences has some natural remedy advice for concerned parents and caregivers “I've never used over-the-counter cold remedies with my kids, just herbs and essential oils, and when the colds start going around, my kids generally get over it much quicker than their friends and classmates.”

One of her favorite cough remedies is vapor balm, a natural alternative to vaporub (adapted from a recipe in Kathy Keville/Mindy Green's Aromatherapy, A Complete Guide to the Healing Art):
Vapor Balm
1 cup Olive oil
3⁄4 oz. beeswax
1 1⁄2 tsp Eucalyptus (E. smithii) essential oil
1 tsp. Peppermint (Mentha x piperita) essential oil
1⁄4 tsp Thyme (Thymus vulgaris ct. linalool) essential oil

Melt beeswax and olive oil in top of double boiler. Allow to cool a bit and add essential oils. Pour into clean containers, label and date. To use, rub a small amount on the child's chest.

“When my child wakes up coughing in the middle of the night, I rub the vapor balm on his/her chest; the coughing stops almost immediately and the child (and mom) are able to get back to sleep. “ For children two to ten years old, use Eucalyptus smithii and Thyme linalool; for older children and adults, E. globulus or E. radiata and Thyme ct. thymol can be used. For children ages 12 months to 2 years, the above recipe can adapted using only the Eucalyptus smithii and leaving out the Peppermint and Thyme oils.

A combination of Lemon (Citrus limonum) and Marjoram (Origanum marjorana) essential oils is helpful if the child has a cold/flu with a fever. Lemon will help reduce the fever, and Marjoram is great for respiratory infections and will help the child sleep. Blend 10 drops of Lemon with 5 drops Marjoram and use 1 drop of the blend in a warm bath before bedtime or nap time, or use the blend in a nebulizing diffuser.

Steam inhalation is a very effective way to administer essential oils if there is nasal congestion or sinus infection. For children over the age of five, use 3 to 5 drops of essential oil to six cups of water; boil the water and pour into a bowl, then add the essential oils. Have the child inhale the steam, being sure to keep their eyes closed and their face 8 to 12 inches from the bowl. For children under the age of five, rather than having them directly inhale the steam, place the bowl in the same room as the child and they will receive the benefits of the essential oils being dispersed into the air via the steam. Essential oils that are effective and safe for children include:
Cedarwood (Cedrus atlantica) - An expectorant, strengthens the immune system, has a calming/sedative action
Frankincense (Boswellia carteri) - Immune system stimulant, helps with cough and bronchial congestion
Manuka/New Zealand Tea Tree (Leptospermum scoparium) - Is effective for bronchial congestion/bronchitis, sinus congestion/sinusitis, and has been shown to inhibit the growth of streptococcus (bacteria that cause strep throat) as well as bacteria that cause pneumonia.
Marjoram (Origanum majorana) An expectorant; helpful for respiratory infections and sinusitis; has a calming action
Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) - Useful for respiratory infections and sinusitis (can be stimulating, do not use before bedtime)
*Peppermint (Mentha x piperita) - Is useful for sinusitis and bronchitis. *Should not be used with children under the age of two

A room spray can also be used, and will not only benefit the sick child, but help stop the spread of germs and keep other family members from catching the cold/flu. Here's a sample recipe:
4 oz. distilled water
10 drops Manuka/New Zealand Tea Tree (Leptospermum scoparium)
10 drops Lemon (Citrus limonum)
5 drops Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia)
5 drops Marjoram (Origanum majorana)
3 drops Frankincense (Boswelia carterii)
Pour into a 4 oz glass spray bottle. Shake well before spraying. Can be sprayed into the air or onto doorknobs or bathroom surfaces. Do not spray directly onto wood or plastic surfaces.

Warm tea with honey (no honey for children under 12 months old) is soothing and comforting. Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis) is a favorite of mine for reducing fever and calming fussy children. For coughs and achiness from the flu, the Lemon balm can be combined with Peppermint and Chamomile (Matricaria recutita).

If you have questions regarding any products or have interest in any courses regarding holistic health feel free to call us at 800-487-8839 and ask for the apothecary shop or an admissions advisor.

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