Protecting your children's health and well-being is one of the most basic parental drives, and it can be tempting to jump at whatever is available to you to help your children when they are not feeling well. Yet relying too heavily on over-the-counter drugs can end up causing more problems in the long run. Natural, at-home remedies are a great alternative to traditional medication and can be used to treat a variety of ailments.
The Common Cold
Caused by hundreds of different viruses, it's no wonder that the cold is so common. While there is no cure for the common cold, it usually goes away on its own after four to ten days. You should accept that your children are going to come down with this nuisance from time to time and prepare to treat the symptoms in advance. These symptoms can include a runny or stuffy nose, coughing, sneezing, fever, sore throat, itching eyes, and body aches.
The cough suppressants that are usually used to treat a cold can actually be harmful. Coughing clears mucus from the airways, so suppressing the cough just makes it harder for your child to breathe. On the other hand, a bad cough will irritate your child's throat.
Luckily, honey has been shown to be more effective than dextromethorphan and other cough medicine and has the added benefit of helping children sleep. This is mostly due to the antimicrobial properties of raw honey. Dark honey, such as buckwheat honey, is especially effective because it is high in antioxidants.
Mix 2 teaspoons of raw honey with 1 teaspoon of lemon juice, and give this mixture to your child three to four times a day. Note that you should never give honey to a child under one year.
Stomach aches are also very common in young children. They can be caused by gas, acid reflux, constipation, indigestion, flu, food poisoning, or just simple overeating. When stomach pain is the result of something more serious like the flu, more serious measures are called for. In more common cases, however, the typical medicine used to treat stomach pain may carry side effects.
A simple, natural remedy for stomach pain from almost any source is the fennel seed. A traditional part of medicine and cuisine in China, India, Egypt, and Greece, fennel seed has long been recognized as an effective carminative, an herb which helps expel gas from the intestinal tract. Fennel seeds work on several levels to relieve pain. They cause smooth muscles like those around the intestines to relax, allowing food and gas to move more freely. The volatile oil found in fennel seeds also stimulate the flow of bile, which speeds digestion and prevents the problem in the first place.
In addition to relieving stomach pain when it crops up, fennel seeds can contribute to healthier digestion in general. If your child suffers from chronic constipation, you might consider making a small number of fennel seeds a standard part of their diet.
As a remedy for stomach pain, mix 1 teaspoon of crushed fennel seeds with 1 cup of hot water and let the mixture steep for ten minutes as if you were making a tea. Strain out the fennel seeds, add a little bit of honey, and give to your child twice a day. You can also give your child roasted fennel seeds to chew on right after a meal, which may prevent them from experiencing any pain to begin with.
Asthma is becoming more and more common in children and therefore is a concern for many parents. Though asthma can have many causes, both genetic and environmental, attacks are most often triggered by allergies, pollution, infection, or humidity. Keeping an eye out for what kinds of conditions cause an attack in your child can help you respond more quickly.
Whatever the cause, an asthma attack occurs when a person's airway tubes become constricted and inflamed due to a buildup of excess mucus. Symptoms usually include wheezing, coughing, tightness in the chest, and shortness of breath-- all of which can be quite painful.
Ginger, which is used as a powerful natural cure for all kinds of ailments, is especially effective when it comes to asthma. Traditionally used in Ayurvedic medicine, ginger is an anti-inflammatory, which reduces the inflammation and contraction of the airways that prevent a child from breathing during an attack. In addition to relaxing airway tissues, ginger also has mild analgesic properties, which lessen any discomfort or pain. The antioxidants in ginger can lead a child to suffer fewer asthma attacks in the future, while ginger's ability to clear away mucus can prevent infections which might result from frequent attacks. Finally, by eliminating phlegm, ginger eases irritation in the throat and chest.
Mix ginger with pomegranate juice and honey, and give the mixture to your child three times a day. Alternatively, you can sprinkle ginger into any kind of food and drink.