Wellness parents understand that over the counter “medications” are nothing more than chemicals and they choose not to use them unless absolutely necessary. As such, they recognize the value of natural, home remedies. Health and wellness go hand-in-hand and it all starts at home; before reaching for a pharmaceutical or over-the- counter chemical look for healthier choices.
As a tea or remedy, Chamomile is considered the great soother. Useful for upset stomachs, tummy aches or colic, muscle or menstrual cramps, eye inflammation, chest congestions, and ear, nose and throat issues.
Depending upon the need, chamomile can be used in many ways. To make a tea, poultice or compress, place 2 to 3 tablespoons or 2 or 3 tea bags of organic chamomile flowers in hot water and let it steep for 3 minutes. To make a poultice, use the soaked chamomile flowers. If making tea or a compress, strain prior to use.
Chamomile essential oil is also helpful if diluted in a carrier oil and massaged into the skin or being applied as an oil compress. Unfortunately, due to its relation- ship to ragweed, some children may have a reaction to chamomile; if that is the case, discontinue its use immediately.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Considered one of the most useful items in your kitchen, Apple Cider Vinegar has many benefits. If your child is fighting off a cold and struggling with head and chest congestion, boil one part vinegar to two parts water in a saucepan on the stove and help your child stand near the stove to inhale the steam. This will break up the congestion, and with a more productive cough your child will soon feel better.
Perhaps a sore or raspy throat came with that cold. Put a tablespoon of vinegar in an 8 oz glass of water, gargle and swallow. Or, for something a little more palatable, try 1 cup hot water, 2 tablespoons of honey and 1 teaspoon of vinegar instead.
If your child is also suffering with a mild-fever, don’t reach for an over-the-counter remedy, which is known to cause the following side effects: headache, nausea, chest congestion and diarrhea. Instead reach for a bottle of Apple Cider Vinegar. Soak a pair of your child’s cotton or wool socks in the vinegar, wring them out, and have them wear them until the socks are partially dry. This can be repeated throughout the day and will help to lessen your child’s fever.
Vinegar has several more home remedy applications that have nothing to do with a cold. If applied directly to a sunburn, vinegar will sooth and remove the sting, while 1⁄4 cup added to your bath water will relieve dry and itchy skin.
Echinacea, commonly known as the purple coneflower, is one of the top-selling herbs in North America and best known for its ability to boost the immune system. Unlike antibiotics, which kill bacteria, Echinacea stim- ulates the production of white blood cells and helps your body attack viruses and fight colds, coughs, flu and other respiratory conditions. Available in liquid and tablet form, this herb is a must-have for a healthier family. If you know that your little one has been exposed to the cold or flu, talk to your Family Wellness Chiropractor about Echinacea and boosting your child’s immunity.
Lauren Feder, M.D., pointed out in her book, Natural Baby and Childcare, “Like its neat, segmental structure, the lemon’s role is to organize and rearrange the conditions necessary to speed healing.” Lemon’s cooling and calming properties make it an excellent remedy for fevers and stress. Specifically, lemon is useful for fevers, bronchitis, a tickle in the throat, watery or runny nose or eyes, sore throat, allergies and/or hay fever, and stress or fatigue; used in wraps, a compress or poultice as well as vapor inhalation or aromatherapy treatment.
When preparing the lemon for use, it’s important to cut the lemon (preferably organic) in a bowl of warm water. This is important to capture the aromatic oils from the skin. Lemons can be sliced or starred. To make a lemon star, cut a lemon in half and place the halves in a bowl of warm water. Slice each half underwater five times from the center outwards. Press the lemon on the bottom of the bowl. This releases the juice and the lemon halves come out looking like stars.
Earaches are the number one cause of pediatrician’s visits. A child with an earache is practically inconsolable and fluid can easily build up in a child’s middle ear, creating pressure on the eardrum and causing intense pain. On a positive note, most earaches and ear infections, while painful, are not serious.
Any parent holding a child that is screaming in pain and tugging at their ear has only one thing on their mind: relieve the pain. And this can be done without a visit to the pediatrician or an over-the-counter chemical. Herbal ear drops can be purchased at most any health food store or you can make your own by blending equal parts of garlic and olive oil.
To administer the ear drops, warm a spoon by running it under hot water, pour a few drops of oil onto the spoon to warm the oil, then put two to three drops in each ear while your child is lying on their side. Plug the ear loosely with a cotton ball and repeat two to three times a day for no more than four days.
Everyone knows that when you cut up an onion your eyes and nose begin to water, it is precisely this reaction that makes onions so useful. Onion improves circulation and breaks up thick mucus and congestions, making it an ideal remedy for colds.
Onions are also useful for earaches, teething, bladder infections, swollen glands, as well as boils and abscesses. Methods of use include an onion pouch or onion envelope. To prepare the onion, chop it finely. To really get the juice out of the onion you can place a cloth over the onion and smash it under a cup or put it in a blender for 5 to 10 seconds. While it can be used immediately, consider using it warmed: lightly sauté the onion with a little water or olive oil until warm. Next put the onion mixture in a pouch or cloth envelope. For colds just place the onion pouch next to the bed. For boils or abscesses, place the cloth envelope directly on the affected area. For an earache, place the envelope over the affected ear. For swollen glands, place the envelope over the affected gland and wrap with a scarf.
Onion is also useful for an upset stomach or vomiting. Skin an onion and chop it in quarters. Boil half the onion in water. Take out the huge chunks and have your child drink the broth. If needed, add a bouillon cube to make it more palatable.
Arnica has many therapeutic properties and is a well-known relief for bruising, strains, sprains and other muscle aches. If undiluted or improperly dosed, arnica may cause liver problems, but when used properly it is highly effective.
Arnica tablets are available for purchase and have shown helpful in pain relief from injuries and trauma, including joint muscle soreness, bruising and swelling, stiffness, back ache, fatigue and inflammation. Arnica gel can be safely applied topically to help relieve muscle pain and stiffness and to reduce pain, swelling and discoloration from bruises. Depending upon the potency of the cream, avoid applying to broken or burned skin. As we consider the opioid epidemic facing our nation, arnica is a safer alternative.
Chiropractic care is the first step toward a healthier foundation; regular adjustments mean an improved nervous system and healthier immune system. However, improved function doesn’t mean that children don’t ever get sick and progressive parents are choosing natural remedies when intervention is needed. So, talk to your Family Wellness Chiropractor about healthier choices for your family.
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RESOURCES: DR. CLAUDIA ANRIG-THE WELLNESS FAMILY