By Karen Ranzi.
Natural home remedies can be used for a variety of childhood ailments, avoiding the need for toxic over-the-counter drugs.
Children’s colds are usually accompanied by a fever of 100 to 101 degrees, little or no appetite, fussiness, sore throat and/or cough, and runny nose. Other possible complications such as middle ear infections may also be present.
The most common cause of colds in children is a mucus-forming diet and unhealthful lifestyle choices. Always look at the diet first when a child is experiencing frequent colds.
Any milk products, raw or pasteurised, are mucus-forming and cold-producing.
Unprocessed fruits and vegetables should make up a large part of the diet. Young children especially cannot digest processed foods, resulting in undigested food particles, compromising their immunity.
When parents serve as models for healthful eating patterns, children are more likely to follow.
Infants and young children easily show cold symptoms when becoming chilled during sleep. In cold weather, cotton flannel pajamas will keep the child warm.
Parents who sleep with their children will know when their children require more insulation from the cold. Family togetherness will also provide extra warmth, love, comfort and protection, so important on cold nights.
Head congestion is an uncomfortable sign of a cold. Many parents buy prepared nose drops and decongestants to help their child feel better.
Yet decongestants should not be administered for a runny nose and stuffed head simply because the congestion is the body’s only way to drain mucus from the sinuses.
One way to begin to relieve the irritated and swollen mucous membranes and to begin draining the sinuses is to use some soothing herbal aromas mixed with steam.
Inhaling steam mixed with dried herbs or oils of wintergreen, pennyroyal, rosemary and/or eucalyptus and water can bring relief of head congestion and reduction in inflammation of the mucous membrane of the nose as well as rehydrating during a fever and relieving muscle aches.
When my son had chronic ear infections as a baby, before our transition to raw vegan foods, I made a rub of 1/4 teaspoon rosemary oil, 1/4 teaspoon wintergreen oil and 2 teaspoons olive oil to rub around the ear and the outer part of the ear canal. This solution provided some temporary relief from the excruciating pain of the ear infections.
When my son began eating significant amounts of fruits and vegetables, and drinking green juices, we no longer had to be concerned about ear infections or any other kinds of infections, as the whole picture of illness vanished dramatically in approximately eleven months from the time we began a lifestyle of fresh plant nutrition.
Katrina Blair, founder of Turtle Lake Refuge of Durango, Colorado and teacher of sustainable living practices and wild edible plant classes, shares some suggestions for sore throat and colds, cold sores and systemic issues such as measles:
“For sore throat, warm lemon water works well as it immediately starts to pull out the congestion and mucus that is creating it. For cold sores, an amino acid called lysine is effective and can be taken orally. Drinking comfrey juice is a powerful way to move systemic issues like measles. Any green juice will be very helpful for shifting the acidity of the body back to an alkaline state of healing.”
Plantain is a wonderful wild edible that soothes and heals membranes. Plantain is commonly found in backyards and along roadsides, but be sure to pick it in unsprayed areas.
Eating real, organically grown and wild foods is most often the best healer.
Dandelion, another wonderful wild edible, is a very nutritious leafy green, loaded with vitamins A, C and K, iron and calcium. It is known to eliminate infections, create bone strength and assist in nerve function.
Dandelion helps with digestion and decreases swelling. Many children are not used to eating bitter greens such as dandelion, but we can serve them in ways that allow them to be more easily enjoyed.
I make a delicious Dandelion Apple Sauce by blending dandelion leaves with three to four apples and a little water to get it moving in the blender.
All fruits and vegetables are immune system enhancers, but wild edible plants, such as dandelion, purslane, lambsquarters, sorrel, and wild berries, are among the stronger immune system boosters.
Miner’s lettuce, another example of a powerful wild edible, is rich in vitamins A and C, and is good for eliminating stomach upsets.
Our absolute family favourite natural remedy has always been the warm water bottle. Whether to soothe a stomach ache, headache or joint pain, the warm water bottle was our first choice remedy, and we have two or three of them so they’re available whenever needed.
Karen Ranzi is the author of Creating Healthy Children: Through Attachment Parenting and Raw Foods, available at her excellent Super Healthy Children website or on Amazon.