6 Great Herbs For Kids - And How To Actually Get Your Children To Eat Them

Kids - they attract all great things like joy, curiosity, fun and laughter, but sometimes they also attract not-so-great things like bugs (both literal and physical). Any parent who has sent a child to preschool, kindergarten or school knows that they seem to catch everything in their first year, and often, as new parents, you are sleep deprived, and your immunity is also reduced - so you catch everything too

Some things to consider when choosing herbs for kids

Children and botanical plants are actually good friends. Children seem to respond really well to taking herbs - but there are some things to consider;

  • Children are not just small adults. You have to consider safety first. They are growing and developing, which means you need to consider that they have a very small liver (for processing and detoxification) and that doses and choosing the right herbs is very important.
  • Compliance is important - it is not just a one-dose situation. So often, considering taste is essential.
  • Children seem to have quite specific conditions (immune, skin etc.), so considering this is important as well.


Where to start

While it can be quite intimidating choosing herbs for children, just remember that high-dose herbs are not the best place to start. Children are smaller (obviously) and still developing, so you need to work with plants that lean toward a higher safety profile (so liver-supporting herbs need to be quite low dose for children).

Knowing if you have any plant allergies in your family is also important when choosing herbs for kids, as some people do react to herbal products. Always start with a small dose to gauge any reactions and stop immediately if you notice anything, like a skin rash or trouble breathing.

🌿Related: What You Need To Know If You Are New To Herbal Medicine

How to get kids to take herbs

When we formulated our range, we wanted to make sure that our (and your) small people would actually take them because we know how frustrating it is to buy things that just sit on the shelf!

So if you do need some extra help, here are some easy ways to get herbs into your kids (aka trickery):

  • add them to Barkers blackcurrant syrup
  • add them to smoothies
  • add them to juice
  • make them into jellies or gummies
  • make them into chocolates 

Working out doses for children

In herbal medicine, when you are trying to work out the appropriate dose of medicine for children (paediatric dose), you can use Young’s Formula. This is a great way of working out what to give your small people if you have an adult formula that would be appropriate for a child.

For example, working out the dosage for a six-year-old child would look like this:


1. Chamomile 

Chamomile is one of the most well-known herbs for kids. It is often associated with children as it has a high safety profile, and children seem to love the taste.

Chamomile has many uses:
  • Helping with insomnia/struggling with getting to sleep
  • Relaxing and restlessness
  • Mood support
  • Anxiety, worries, irritated, nervous
  • Skin irritation or stress-related eczema 
  • Stressed or inflamed gastrointestinal tract, mucous membranes, gums
  • Diarrhea in children (you can add the chamomile infusion to chia seeds or flax seeds to help with ‘binding’ an upset stomach)
Clinical studies of chamomile have shown that:
  • Using essential oil inhalation helps with imparting a sedative and mood-enhancing effect
  • Infusion or tea helps with supporting deep sleep


Uses for children:
  • Chamomile infusion 1-3 cups daily
  • Glycetract for symptomatic use up to three times a day
  • Essential oil in steamer at night
  • A handful of fresh chamomile can be added to a smoothie for children
  • Chamomile can be infused into oil and made into a balm or cream to help calm irritated skin due to its azulene components that can work mildly better than a 0.5% hydrocortisone cream
Chamomile is generally considered a very safe herb for kids, but people should avoid it if they have hypersensitivity to the Asteraceae family. Chamomile and fennel seeds go nicely together also for colic babies.

Our Kids Rest and Calm is the perfect blend of chamomile glycetract and Californian poppy glycetract to help support small people from birth. This versatile formula helps to support both the nervous and digestive systems and is incredibly helpful when sleep is elusive for small people.


2. Lemon balm

Lemon balm is a well known plant that helps support sleep, mood and is sometimes referred to as the happiness plant as it can bring relaxed calm. Lemon balm is a great herb for kids, and it is well-tolerated with no known contraindications.

Uses for children:
  • Insomnia and trouble falling asleep 
  • Restlessness and hyperactivity 
  • Anxiety, worry, nervousness, agitation
  • Helps to improve focus
  • Antiviral - topical application especially for cold sores
  • Antispasmodic and analgesic (reduces spasms and pain) for stomach discomfort, colic, and constipation
  • Goes nicely combined with fennel seed and chamomile
Lemon balm has been studied and shown to reduce anxiety in seven-year-olds who attended a dental examination, which is a great thing to know as so many of us struggle with the dentist - especially children. So, it's great to have some herbs for kids you can rely on to help day-to-day things run a bit more smoothly.

How to use lemon balm for kids:
  • Lemon balm can be taken as an infusion up to 3 times a day (1 tsp per 150ml boiling water)
  • As a syrup (simmer fresh or dried lemon balm and leave the water to cool. Strain and then add sugar or sweetener to make a simple syrup). Children can take ½ tsp up to 3 times a day with water or straight.
  • Can add tincture or lemon balm oil to cream for topical use


3. Elderberry

Kids love berries, which is a great thing because berries hold a high amount of antioxidants and vitamins (especially vitamin C), and they also taste pretty good as well. Elderberry has a high safety profile and is often well-accepted by children.

Elderberry is an amazing plant that can be helpful throughout the year. In spring and summer, you can use elderflower to help with seasonal allergies, and it can also help with supporting fevers. In the cooler months of autumnyou will find elderberries growing wild, and you can start utilising them as a first line of defence to help support your family. 


  • Helpful at the onset of an acute illness, works really well as a first line of defence.
  • Elderberry actions help to support nonspecific innate immunity  
  • Frequent dosing application 
  • Long-established tonic for immune support
  • Anti-viral, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and immuno-tonic 
  • High in flavonoids and anthocyanins, which have significant protective effects against oxidative stress
  • Also high in quercetin and rutin, which can help with inflammation
Uses with children:
  • Elderberry tonic with hot or cold water
  • Elderberry tonic frozen into ice cubes/ice blocks
  • Elderberry gummies
  • Elderberry tincture
  • Elderberry infusion 
Elderberry can be very helpful for children who ‘catch’ everything - and are particularly unwell in winter. Starting elderberry with the change in season around autumn can help build resilience. This is why our Immunity Tonic is the perfect herb for kids, especially in the colder months.


4. Propolis

Propolis might not be the first thing you think of when it comes to 'herbs for children', but it is very effective at helping support immunity. Plus, there is a cool story you can tell your children (that the bees have helped make this), which can help with compliance! We use propolis in our Defence Elixir.

Propolis has been used clinically to help support:
  • Acute otitis media
  • Acute bronchitis 
  • Acute asthma reaction 
  • Strep throat, tonsillitis 
  • Acute runny noses 
  • Upper respiratory infection — acute and prevention 
For children, propolis can help support those who seem to get reoccurring ear and throat infections. The best way that children can take propolis is;


5. Ginger

It seems an odd choice of plant or herb for children as ginger can be quite ‘hot or spicy’, but it can really help with upset stomachs and travel sickness. It is the root or the rhizome that is used, and it contains around 1-4% volatile oils, which gives ginger its strong smell and taste as well as holding the active constituents. Ginger is considered a safe herbal treatment for kids with minimal side effects.

Ginger for children can be used in the following ways:

  • Lemon, honey ginger drinks or homemade ice blocks
  • Ginger candies that can be purchased from your local health store and taken on long trips
  • Pickled ginger, gingerbread, ginger ale
  • Ginger syrup
  • Fresh ginger tea (up to 3 times a day)

Ginger can help kids with:

  • Motion sickness 
  • Seasickness
  • Nausea and vomiting 
  • As a warming agent 
  • Pain and discomfort for joints, muscles, digestive pains


6. Fennel seeds

Fennel seeds can be helpful for colic for small breastfeeding babies who struggle with abdominal cramps and excess wind. Fennel seeds contain the following active constituents: volatile oil, flavonoids, calcium and potassium. They are often used to help with excess wind and reflux in children and work as a carminative (calming the stomach and bowel).

Uses for babies:

  • Mums can take a fennel seed infusion (tea) throughout the day to pass on the active constituents through breast milk
  • A cooled infusion can be given to the baby after feeding as well. Start with 5 drops for small babies
  • Fennel seed has a high safety profile, especially when it is used as a water infusion (tea)


Why herbs for kids are great

Using plants with children is a great way to help with their wellbeing and health at home and it helps them connect to what is going on in their bodies as well. Knowing that elderberry can help with ills and chills means that they can ask for it when they feel they need it, or if they struggle with sleep or worrying thoughts asking for chamomile. It gives them some empowerment over their own health concerns and also allows them to be involved in supporting themselves.

We are parents, too, so we know the anxiety children and health issues can bring, but if anything pops up and you need more information, please just contact us.  

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