How to get herbs into children!

Herbal medicine is ideal for treating children’s health problems.  I will be writing a few articles on herbs for children but I thought I better start with how to get herbs into children.

When to get professional help…

There are some situations when it is essential to get professional treatment for your child.  These include:

  • If your child/baby becomes listless and very disinterested in life.
  • If your child/baby becomes dehydrated – monitor fluid intake/fluid loss in diarrhoea, vomiting and urine.
  • If your baby or child runs a temperature over 39 degrees centigrade.

Getting herbs into children….

Getting your child to take any form of medicine can be a struggle and herbal medicine is not an exception.  The earlier you start giving herbs to children the better – before they are conditioned to say ‘yuk – it tastes horrible’.

  • Teas and tinctures may be mixed with honey or diluted apple juice, although it is better to give them unsweetened especially to young children. Often doses are small enough they can be added unnoticed to food.
  • Tablets can be crushed and added to food or mixed with honey.
  • A bath with a pot of herbal tea added can be an easy way to give herbs to babies or young children – especially for itchiness or over-tiredness and sleep problems.
  • If you are breast feeding you can simply take the adult dose of the appropriate herb for your child and baby will get the right proportion within your breast milk.

Dosages

  • Children under 1yr should have 1/10th of the adult dosage, or if the mother is breast feeding she can take the standard adult dose.
  • Between 1-6yrs give 1/3rd of the adult dose.
  • Between 6-12yrs give half the adult dose.
  • Use essential oils on children under 4yrs only when necessary and in a very dilute form. 1-2 drops of essential oil at the most to each teaspoon of sweet almond oil.  From 6-12 yrs use half the adult dose.  Essential oils are for external use only.