HerbNet....for everything herbal

 

Ask the Herbalist--Herbs for Children

Your banner could be here.....email for details

BACK TO ASK THE HERBALIST INDEX

ANSWERS FROM CARLOS:
QUESTION
: I have a 4 yr old son who since the age of 18 months started having croup. We lived in a cold place where it was necessary to have radiators on which dried out the room so we always kept a humidifier in the room. Now we live in the opposite extreme in Singapore and with the air conditioning have had to put a humidifier as it too dries out the room. Unfortunately sleeping without is too hot so this is not an option. At least every 3-4 months and at times more often our son gets that terrible barking cough. I usually give him as a quick fix with Pulmicort through the inhaler and this helps but it is a steroid and I really hate to do this. Is there any herb I can give him to  be preventative and help him if and when he does have a bout. I really want to avoid as much as possible the multitude of drugs from the doctor that are prescribed. Many thanks for any help you can provide.

ANSWER:  Pleasure to hear from you. First what you may need is an Air Purifier and not a de-humidifier. The company Oreck makes some really good ones. I suggest you visit their site.

Secondly, it appears that dryness has set in the lungs, what in TCM we refer to as a Lung Qi &Yin Deficiency. The best and most proper way to begin treating this condition is by following a healthy diet and supplementing with the proper remedies. Avoid foods that stagnate the system, such as heavy red meats, pork, white sugar, all dairy and all fried foods. Include in his daily diet fresh garlic and onions, fresh fish (in particular salmon), honey, brown rice and plenty of fresh locally grown fruits and raw or steamed vegetables. Add to all his broths, soups and stews a large piece of Astragalus root. Remove and discard after the dish is done. Doing these things will help to improve his auto immune system and bring him back into balance. Drinking infusions of Luo Han Guo will help greatly during any attack.. Any Chinese market should have it, as it is very popular and effective. You may also find it under the name Momordica Fruit Tree beverage. Due to his age use only one half of the cube or package. As for a great syrup to help stop the coughing I would encourage you to find Han's Honey Loquat syrup. Any large Chinese market should also have it.

QUESTION: I have a 9 month old daughter who is in daycare. She is constantly getting head colds and at risk for developing ear infections and bronchitis.  Is there anything that we can give to her like echinacea or anything just to boost her immune system up? Especially since at this time, no cough medicines are available for her age?

If echinacea is recommended, would it be possible for you to give us a recommended brand and product? As we have given to her the wrong product it's labeled echinacea however, it's not allowed for babies less than 1 year old. She took it for two weeks and now, she's experiencing diarrhea and some vomiting. I feel bad about this as this is my fault however, I feel like I've been given no choice as there are no edications out there that would help dry out my daughter's cough, leaving me in a black hole to figure this out for myself.  Please help. 

ANSWER: Unfortunately with a child that young you are not going to find a lot of remedies that are both safe and effective.  At first glance it seems that she is suffering from a poor auto immune system, the principal and most important herb you can give her is Astragalus. Astragalus shows antiviral activity, stimulates phagocytic activity of macrophages, and stimulates other antiviral immune functions. 

Astragalus herb is also used as a preventative for persisting or recurring ear infections.  Recent research done on the Traditional Chinese Medicine usage of Astragalus membranaceus shows that it is effective when used preventively against the common cold. Children can enjoy the sweet taste of Astragalus root in a liquid glycerin extract. Dry astragalus root can also be boiled in soups and grain dishes for an additional immune enhancing effect.  Limit its use if the child is experiencing a fever because the herb can prolong the high temps.  This is the sole herb I feel confident will work safely and well

Modes of preparation:

1. To a home made chicken soup as it is boiling add 2 Astargalus roots, 1 glove fresh garlic finely chopped, chopped carrots, continue to cook until done, extract the roots. and serve. For other meals boil a root and add the liquid to her meal

2. Make a decoction from the Astragalus roots or use a pre-packaged tea. Sweeten only with honey and have her drink 2-3xs day.

3. For her cough I would suggest a blend of Marshmallow root and Lemon balm in equal parts. Sweeten only with a bit of honey.

(Buy an ounce of each mix them yourself and use a tea strainer.)

A reputable company for these is http://pennherb.com


QUESTION
: I have a question I wonder how an herbalist knows how much to give or recommend someone to take of an herb? I have an asthmatic son whom has allergies, I would like to try a natural treatment for both but basically scared out of my mind to give him a certain dose. I hear an adult should take this amount but how can you know for sure what will work for a child? I could not live with myself if something went wrong! We know childrenís brains work much different than an adultís.

ANSWER: A great and very valid question. Many thanks for asking! Unless you personally know the herbalist and their reputation, there is really not much to go on. As a rule without an individual evaluation herbalists online should always suggest to the person natural alternatives in general terms and using herbs that have been proven both by experience and modern science to be beneficial to the presenting problem.  As to the dosage for children 7 and over it should be approximately one third of the adult dosage.  Your son's problem is not a very difficult one to treat. Mullein is an herb you may wish to consider. Itís the form of the medication and the dosage which have you concerned and understandably so.  What I can offer you as I do to others, is to allow me to do an evaluation. With an evaluation I can prepare an individualized treatment plan for him. The evaluations explore different modalities of treatment and are usually 3 to 5 pages long. Please do not hesitate to contact me if I can be of any further help.

QUESTION: If you don't mind, I have a question.  I have an 8 1/2 month old foster son who was exposed to crack in utero.  He is developmentally on target, but I want to use herbs to ensure that his brain is getting nourished and that I am strengthening his immune system.

What herbs can you suggest for this? I  used cod liver oil in his bottle nightly for a month or so, but was unsure if this ok or not. I was thinking of looking for some children's flax seed oil. I just want to make sure I am doing what is best for him!

ANSWER: The very best herb to supplement the immune is Astragalus root. You may make an infusion (tea), 1 root per cup and introduce it into his diet. Astragalus is tasteless and odorless. One cup daily should be all you need. You may add it to his drinks or foods, one third of a cup at a time.

Make sure you give him whole grain products, eggs and iron-enriched cereal. Iodine is necessary for growth and brain development and the best for this are sea vegetables. Introduce into his diet bananas, oatmeal, yogurt, kiwi (one kiwi contains more vitamin C than 3 oranges) consult with your pharmacist about some form of fish oil for babies, or add one capsule of Omega-3 daily.

QUESTION: I have a 9 month old daughter who is in daycare. She is constantly getting head colds and at risk for developing ear infections and bronchitis.  Is there anything that we can give to her like echinacea or anything just to boost her immune system up? Especially since at this time, no cough medicines are available for her age?

If echinacea is recommended, would it be possible for you to give us a recommended brand and product? As we have given to her the wrong product it's labeled echinacea however, it's not allowed for babies less than 1 year old. She took it for two weeks and now, she's experiencing diarrhea and some vomiting. I feel bad about this as this is my fault however, I feel like I've been given no choice as there are no edications out there that would help dry out my daughter's cough, leaving me in a black hole to figure this out for myself.  Please help.

ANSWER: Unfortunately with a child that young you are not going to find a lot of remedies that are both safe and effective.

At first glance it seems that she is suffering from a poor auto immune system, the principal and most important herb you can give her is Astragalus. Astragalus shows antiviral activity, stimulates phagocytic activity of macrophages, and stimulates other antiviral immune functions. 

Astragalus herb is also used as a preventative for persisting or reocurring ear infections.  Recent research done on the Traditional Chinese Medicine usage of Astragalus membranaceus shows that it is effective when used preventively against the common cold. Children can enjoy the sweet taste of Astragalus root in a liquid glycerine extract. Dry astragalus root can also be boiled in soups and grain dishes for an additional immune enhancing effect.  Limit its use if the child is experiencing a fever because the herb can prolong the high temps.  This is the sole herb I feel confident will work safely and well 

Modes of preparation:

1. To a home made chicken soup as it is boiling add 2 Astargalus roots, 1 glove fresh garlic finely chopped, chopped carrots, continue to cook until done, extract the roots. and serve. For other meals boil a root and add the liquid to her meal

2. Make a decoction from the Astragalus roots or use a pre-packaged tea. Sweeten only with honey and have her drink 2-3xs day.

3. For her cough I would suggest a blend of Marshmallow root and Lemon balm in equal parts. Sweeten only with a bit of honey.

(Buy an ounce of each mix them yourself and use a tea strainer.)

A reputable company for these is http://pennherb.com

QUESTION: Hello. My 1 year old son just came down with the flu for the 3rd time since birth. He has had several colds as well. I feel it is unnatural for a breast fed baby to get sick so often. A few time he has been exposed to illness by default thru us and got sick that way. This time I donít know what caused it.
Is there anything I can do to strengthen his immune system besides a healthy diet?

ANSWER: With a child that young I suggest you ask their pediatrician before attempting to do anything.
You should ask them if is okay for you to boil Astragalus root and give them 2 oz. of the "tea" daily. Astragalus is the very best herb to supplement the immune system. To make the decoction. add a root or two (available at all Chinese markets) to 3 cups of water, bring to a boil then simmer for 10 minutes. Please remember to first consult with your family doctor. Try to also expose the baby to a bit of sunlight daily and please follow your doctor's instructions.

QUESTION: I am recently interested in herbal alternatives and I was curious to ask about the herb burdock for my child who is 4 years old. He was born with a cyst in/on his branchial cleft sinus tract. The cyst does not have any leakage; it's just under the skin. I would like to avoid surgery and I was wondering if there is any herbal supplement he could have that is safe and might work in getting rid of it?

ANSWER: Burdock is a great herb to help in detoxifying the system, but not the herb to use here. In many cases, antibiotics are required to treat infections or abscesses related to branchial cleft cysts. I would suggest adding fresh garlic to every meal possible.  Foods that contain vitamins A, C and E are particularly good for this condition, such as: Carrots, turnips, spinach, beet greens and fresh fruits. 
Sinus problems are aggravated by mucous forming foods such as dairy products, cereals, bread, cake, bananas, avoid them all. Avoid also heavy red meats, white sugar and all fried foods.  He may find infusions of Thyme and Plantain (in equal parts) to be of help. They are anti-bacterial, anti-allergy, expectorant and anti-viral. In particular Plantain acts as a restorative to the mucus membranes. Sweeten with a bit of honey and drink 3xs day. Inhaling the steam of essential oils such as Lavender and Eucalyptus will also help reduce inflammation.

QUESTION: Hi my 10 month old has developed a rash on her gave that has been getting worse over the past for days. It doesn't seem to itch or hurt her and she's not showing any flu/cold symptoms. It's just a lot of bumps. they're not blisters nor are they filled with pus. I can't figure out what she could be reacting to. I've washed her sheets, her hair and things she plays with. But it's some on her arm also. Could it be  heat rash, or the kiwi I gave her or the perfume ad she ripped out of a magazine, or detergent from my cousin's bed? I don't want any steroid creams and all I have is an herbal diaper rash salve: olive oil, calendula, myrrh, oregon grape root, yarrow and beeswax. I started using it on her forehead last night. What can I do to help her? I think it bothers me more than her.

ANSWER: Our first advise with a child that young is for you to take her to your pediatrician. With cases like this is sometimes better to do some blood work, because otherwise it becomes a process of elimination.

You state you have washed the sheets, etc., but have you changed what type of wash powder or liquid you are using?  Have you recently included something in her diet that is new? New shampoo? Are the bumps red or is there swelling? Is it worse at night or during the day?  

Making a chart of your observations would be in order and when you do take her to her doctor it would be an aide to him.

QUESTION: I have a daughter who is 3.5 years old.  She has a chronic bloated stomach, 3 swollen toes, and toenails that are dry and cracked.  Some guess she has a bacterial/viral/parasitic infection.  Oh, she also has food allergies.  (big sigh) 

I'm not interested in modern medicine but using herbs and natural things.  Do you know what could be safe for a little girl? 

ANSWER: Although, we would love to help you, without more information we are unable to. Please write back with her weight, past illnesses, present medications, type of diet followed, etc...   There are a few herbal remedies that are safe and may be of help, but we cannot in good conscience suggest any without adequate info, and first determining what the problem is.

ANSWERS FROM LORYL:
QUESTION
: Hi i was hoping you could answer my question for me. I have a 5 month old baby has had a stuffy nose and a little cough for about a month now.  He has seen the doctor been on meds but nothing works! I don't want to keep putting this stuff in him so is there a special herb you recommend for him?

ANSWER: I suggest you look closely at his diet. If you are nursing, eat whole foods, and little to no dairy. If you are not nursing, try to find a non daily milk, that is non GMO, and also find a organic source of it.  Purchase organic figs, put one cup of figs, in one quart of water, slow boil until you have a thick syrup, strain, and put in glass jar in fridge, give to baby 5-6 drops, three to four times daily, for a couple of weeks, then once a day thereafter, this clears mucous, and is very good for babies.  Also go to the health store, and buy homeopathics for babies with congestion or sinus, cough, symptoms, ask the health store, they will tell you, Hylands is a good brand to try. Also you could give dill weed tea, a few spoons per day, or camomile tea.  Also rub castor oil, on his chest, and on bottoms of feet, 5 nites per week, this helps a lot to move the stagnant chi, or toxin. Let me know if we can help further.

QUESTION: My 8 month-old has a lingering cough and am wondering how effective OSHA root is with him. He is taking a tincture with OSHA root, cheery bark wood, yerba santa leaf, Mellein leaf, licorrice root, pleurisy root and lobelia herb, and it seems to work rather well. Any negatives to exposing him to herbs at this age?

ANSWER: Everyone is different, and you know your baby, better than anyone. Of course how much you are giving him, and if it helps, and his health is good, this is all to consider. I suggest looking closely at his diet, and vaccines, and exposure to molds or fungus in his environment.  Some of the herbs in this blend are pretty heavy duty for a baby, I suggest looking at homeopathics, and other herbs, if you are going to use this long term.

QUESTION: I have a 5 year old grandson that I am concerned about. He had colic when he was born. I started keeping him when he was 8 months old. I keep him nine and a half months out of the year while his parents work. He has never been one for entertaining himself. He wants constant attention. He gets angry easily and curses, hits, and yells. I believe I know in my heart what some of his problems are, but that's another story. Is there any thing natural that can be given to him to calm him down some? He starts school in a few days and I'm worried about him and I can see his mother sticking him on Ritalin. Thank you for any help again.

ANSWER: You probably know to take a good look at his diet. No sugar or dies, processed foods, soda etc. I suggest the liquid by Flora, called Kindervital, it tastes good, and will nurture him. If you canít get it locally, let me know, we carry it. It is one of the very best on the planet for children.  Also our herb formula, Essence of Peace, it works for the children who have some of these problems. Do read the downloads for some ideas, and do the castor oil packs, and give milk thistle seed pills or tinctures, the liver is the seat of emotion, and old energy, and feeling, especially pain and intensity are stored in the liver, adrenalin, being one of the worst, and causing all kinds of imbalances. Let me know if we can help you further.

FROM KAREN
COLD IN AN INFANT
QUESTION:
Hi there!  Thanks for your time number one!  I have an 8 week old and she has had a cold for 3 weeks, affecting mainly the upper respiratory.  My pediatrician saw her two days ago and said that she just has a bad cold and that we should just continue to watch her.  I am at this point very concerned and frustrated as I feel helpless in her healing process.  I do breastfeed, I do eat dairy, and we do have a cat and a dog.  Hum?? allergies I am wondering?  Her congestion can become so severe at night that she has difficulty eating and has to open her mouth to breathe.  We do run a humidifier and that has seemed to help.  It just seems like this stagnate cold  isn't getting any worse but has remained the same for 3 weeks.   And it just doesn't seem right for a 2 month old.  SO I was seeing what you suggested.  A naturopath friend told to try Oregon Grape tincture for myself every hour to then pass onto her via breast milk.  I also purchased "herbs For Kids" tincture blend of Astragulus/echinacea however, she is probably too young to administer this too correct?  How about homeopathy?  Any thoughts are greatly appreciated.  I at this point feel her immune system not be too strong.  And oh ...yes we have an older sibling of 3 years that could be passing on the germs!   Thanks very much for helping! 

ANSWER:
It could very well be allergies, but I find that children brought up around animals and normal dust, rather than secluded from it, develop a strong immune system and don't have issues with allergies. If you have a 3 year old and he goes to daycare, that could very well be the source of the germs coming into the house. Hard to avoid. The best thing to do is build up that immune system. I think the Kid's herbs are fine for the 3 year old, but the 2 mo old is definitely too young for such things. The humidifier is a good idea. Put some eucalyptus oil in it to help your little one breath. You could take some echinacea tincture and it would pass on to your little one.
         Remember that eggs, dairy, wheat, sugar, orange juice and all refined, processed foods can contribute to congestion, so you should avoid these as much as possible while your baby is sick. Also, believe it or not, chicken soup with astragalus, dandelion root, burdock root, and echinacea added can do wonders for your baby as well as you!
            If you have access to herbs, you can make a great respiratory tonic tea with fennel, rose hips, lemongrass, calendula, coltsfoot, mullein and red clover. If you don't have access to the herbs, I'd be happy to make it for you. Just send me an e-mail with CUSTOM ORDER in the subject and ask for Respiratory Tonic Tea. Or go to my website and in the apothecary, under medicinal teas, select custom under blends. Then in the comments put Respiratory Tonic Tea. That's really the best way to go, as I don't ship without payment in full, so you can pay online and I can make the tea and ship it right away. You will need to drink 3-4 cups a day of this, so be sure to order enough. If you have a tea ball, the loose in a tin is the more economical choice. That way, if your 3 year old or anyone else in the house gets sick, you have the tea on hand.
 

REBUILDING THE IMMUNE SYSTEM

QUESTION:
Hi,  I know of a little four year old that has suffered from Cancer most of her life.  Recent blood work done shows no signs of this disease since surgery, but it does show that her immune system is in pretty poor shape. In order to fight off the Cancer returning they need to build her immune system up.  She is four going on five years old.  Could you recommend an Herb that would do this? I have heard that echinacea does build the immune, and I know that some herbs should not be given to children at the same amount meant for an adult. Please this is very important to me as a friend.  Your immediate reply would be most appreciated.  Thank you so much.

ANSWER: Of course your first line of defense is her diet. I cannot get over how many people want to continue to put junk in their bodies and expect some "magic herb" to cure their ills. It doesn't work that way unfortunately.  Make sure she is eating a healthy diet. NO sugar, preservatives, White flour, artificial sweeteners - at all! Next, the best supplements for the immune system are vitamins A, C, E and Selenium and Zinc. You can get this at the Health food store. It is called ACES and is made by a company called Carlson. Last, the best herbs for building the immune system are Astragalus, Echinacea, red clover,  and goldenseal, although that should not be taken for more than a week at a time. I have an immune system building tea on my website at www.allgoodegifts.com  in the Apothecary section under medicinal teas. A tea is gentle enough even for a child. That would be my suggestion, rather than pills or caps.

QUESTION:
Can I feed my premature baby peppermint tea?  She is 3 months old.

ANSWER:  Certainly. I would dilute it a little more than you normally would. Are you giving it for a particular reason? Make the tea, brewing at least 10 minutes, then add half again as much water to the tea.

RESPIRATORY INFECTIONS:
QUESTION: I would like to know the best herbs or herbal formulas to give to my grand-daughter for an upper respiratory infection. She is 14 months old.

ANSWER: I wouldn't suggest you give your grand-daughter anything without speaking to her doctor first. Trying to treat young children can be very dangerous if you don't know what you're doing. Has she been diagnosed by a doctor, or are you just trying to treat symptoms you're seeing.

Many times, what we think are upper respiratory infections or conditions, are really allergy related. The first thing I would do is avoid cow's milk products, sugar, peanuts, or any foods with an allergic response or that are mucus forming, like cheese. Make sure she is getting plenty of fluids such as juices with no sugar, soups and herb tea. Avoid cold drinks.Vitamins A, C and Beta Carotene will help stimulate her immune system and aid in the healing process.

Finally, the herbs most often used for upper respiratory ailments are lobelia for coughs, echinacea to heal and prevent further infection, licorice to soothe the throat and for its antibacterial properties, marshmallow to reduce inflammation and soothe the throat, mullein as a respiratory tract tonic, ginger to stimulate the immune system, horehound to clear the congestion from the lungs, garlic for its antibiotic properties, peppermint for coughs and any herbal cough extracts you can get which contain fenugreek, comfrey, yerba Santa, hyssop and wild cherry.  I have a cough and sore throat tea that has many of these ingredients already in it. You can find it on my website at www.allgoodegifts.com  in the Apothecary in the Herb Shoppe.

COLIC

QUESTION:
I am a nursing mother of a 5 week old who has terrible colic.  I am interested in using chamomile to settle her stomach and soothe her.  I began drinking German chamomile tea a few days ago hoping its benefits will be passed onto my child, because I do not know enough about herbs to give it directly to the child, and am concerned about giving her water and throwing off electrolytes.  What do you recommend for colic?  If chamomile, German or Roman, and if tea, how do I prepare it and how much do I use?  Thank you in advance.

ANSWER: You poor dear. My oldest son had terrible colic, so I sympathize with you. Since you are breast feeding, there are several things you can do. Small frequent feedings during these early days may be better than a few large ones. Make sure the baby's head is higher than the stomach while nursing. Don't eat any of the cabbage family plants. Broccoli, brussels sprouts, turnips, radishes, kale, collards, cauliflower and all types of cabbage, onions or garlic during the first six months of your lactation. These foods are rich in sulfur and although very good for you, they promote intestinal gas in you and your baby. Try massaging the baby's tummy in a clockwise motion while you are nursing. Also, you can put a drop of lavender or chamomile essential oil on your finger and massage that into the abdomen.  Last, there is an age old remedy called gripe water. My mother swore by it and had it imported from England for us as babies. There are lots of places to get it, but be careful, most of them contain sugar. I have my own recipe for gripe water and can make a custom tea for you if you're interested. E-mail me with the word ORDER in the subject line to get more information.

FROM DAVID

HERBS FOR CHILDREN'S COLDS
QUESTION:
  I have a 7 week old little girl and she has a cold right now with a bit of congestion in her nose & chest. Are there any herbal remedies I can try for her? She is breast feeding and I don't want anything to interfere with that, this cold is doing just that. I was just not sure if you could use the same herbs for infants as you do for adults.

ANSWER:    At 7 weeks she is a little young to try remedies unless she can't get over her illness, most due in a week or so, she may not nurse as much, may lose some weight but she will bounce back.  If you are concern you can take her into the pediatrician. What I was wondering was where she picked it up, my suggestion would be a ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.  We do have some great books on herbs for babys if you would like to call and talk to my wife Susanna she can help you out with infromation from our store.  If she was not introduced to a bug from another person, is she allergic to anything, I would elliminate, soy and dairy products.  The best way to get herbs into your infant is through you, you take the herbs and it will pass through breast milk.  When she gets a little older, 6 months, you can try echinacea glycerite to boost her immune response, if she continues to have chronic infections, it is sweet tasting and she will like it.  The best part for her is you are passing part of your immune
system to her through your breast milk, you are protecting her, breast feeding your child is the best thing for her.

Herbs for kids include:
Echinacea Glyceriter is good immune potentiator, sweet tasting.
Peppermint, great for upset stomachs, add in Elder flower for colds and flu.
Elder flower is great for colds and flus, good antiviral.
Chamomile or Camomile is great to relax and calm, for teething and upset stomach from colds and flu.

A vaporizer in her room will help moisten the air, make sure to clean it everyday, also give her several warm baths during the day the steam will loosen the phlegm and mucus.  This is where you could introduce the chamomile and elderflowers as part of her bath, the steam will help get it in her and her skin will absorb some of it.  Make a strong tea of the Elder and Chamomile flowers and introduce the strained liquid into her bath.

We do have some supplements for kids to helps with colds and prevent them.