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

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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 that 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

It is not all doom and gloom, 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. We have to consider safety first. They are growing and developing which means we 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

wild-harvesting-herbs-for-kids


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 we 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 buying 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 

healthy-gummies-herbs-for-kids
 
Doses For Kids

In herbal medicine when you are trying to work out the appropriate dose for children, you can use the 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 them. For example, working out the dosage for a 6 year old child would look like this:

youngs-formula-dosage-herbs-for-kids

6 Amazing Herbs For Kids

1 Ginger

Seems an odd choice of plant or herb for children as ginger can be quite ‘hot/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’s 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 home made ice blocks
  • Ginger candies that can be purchased from health stores 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
ginger-herbs-for-children
 

2 Fennel Seed

This can be helpful for colic for small breastfeeding babies that struggle with abdominal cramps and excess wind. Fennel seeds contains the following active constituents: volatile oil, flavonoids, calcium and potassium. It is often used to help with excess wind and reflux in children and works 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 as it is being used as a water infusion (tea).


fennel-seed
3 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
  • 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 of deep sleep

chamomile

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
  • Fresh chamomile (a handful) 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 if they have hypersensitivity to Asteraceae family. Chamomile and fennel seed 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 nervous and digestive systems and is incredibly helpful for when sleep is elusive for small people.

chamomile-for-kids


4 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 to sleep 
  • Restlessness, 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 7 year old's that 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.
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). 1/2 tsp up to 3 times a day with water or straight.
  • Can add tincture or lemon balm oil to cream for topical use

lemon-balm-for-children

 5 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 we can use elderflower to help with seasonal allergies, and it can also help with supporting fevers. In the cooler months of autumn you will find elderberries growing wild and you can start utilising them to help support as a first line of defense. 

child-harvesting-elderberry

Elderberry
uses:
  • Helpful at the onset of an acute illness, works really well as a first line of defense.
  • Elderberry actions help to support nonspecific innate immunity  
  • Frequent dosing application 
  • Long-established tonic for immune support
  • Anti-viral, anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, and immuno-tonic 
  • High in flavonoids and anthocyanidins which have significant protective effects against oxidative stress
  • Also high in Quercetin & Rutin which can help with inflammation
Uses with children:
Elderberry can be very helpful for children that ‘catch’ everything - and are particularly unwell in winter. Starting elderberry with the change in season around autumn time can help build resilience. This is why our Immunity Tonic is the perfect herb for kids, especially in the colder months.

elderberry-immunity-tonic-for-kids
6 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 the 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 to support those that seem to get reoccurring ear and throat infections. The best way that children can take propolis is;

thyme-and-propolis-elixir

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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