Herbal Remedies for Young Children

1:17 PM Posted by jo

 You can use natural remedies for young children also as long as you use common sense and learn about what kind of herbs are suitable and how much a little child should take. It is important to use smaller doses and mild herbal remedies for infants under the age of two. Their livers are not fully developed and they most likely have a harder time to digest compounds found in herbs.

 Slippery elm, chamomile, catnip, peppermint and dandelion taste better and they are easier to give to the child. Astringent and strong bitters should be avoided unless they are part of an herbal formula with milder herbs. 


Peppermint, spearmint, lemon balm, catnip, chamomile, garlic and fennel are pungent and aromatic herbs. Pungent herbs have historically been used to improve digestion, improve circulation, promote sweating ( brings down fever), and fight infections.

Garlic (oil or capsules) is considered a natural antibiotic by many, and according to Steven Horne it can be given to infants internally, rubbed on their chest, back, throat, or feet. It can also be heated to body temperature and used as ear drops.

Catnip (or Catnip and Fennel)  is an aromatic nervine that settles the digestive tract and combined with fennel it has historically been used for colic.
Peppermint has a pleasant taste and is often used as a catalyst for children's formula. It has historically been used for colic, nausea, diarrhea, and upset stomach. It is not wise to take peppermint oil internally, but according to Steven Horne it can be diluted 20:1 with a fixed oil like olive oil. It can also be rubbed on the stomach.


Bitter herbs are mostly used to remove phlegm and stagnation. They have traditionally been used to reduce fevers, stimulate digestion, relieve skin irritation and promote elimination of toxins from the body. Chamomile, dandelion, Oregon Grape, burdock and red clover are good choices for small children.

Chamomile is a must have remedy parents should know about. It is a bitter aromatic that helps the digestive and nervous system and it has traditionally been used for colic, hyperactivity, colds and flu, and nervousness. It is a powerful anti-inflammatory agent.
Oregon Grape is a blood purifier and a better choice for children than golden seal. 
Dandelion is another blood purifier and it acts as a mild diuretic to flush toxins out of the kidneys and it supports the liver. It has traditionally been used for skin conditions, food allergies, poor appetite and skin conditions.


Antispasmodic remedies are stronger and should only be used if absolutely needed to reduce illness and only in very small doses. Lobelia is a strong herb and many don't use it since they consider it too strong, Blu vervain is considered to be a "cure all" by many and it is  a milder choice. It relaxes the body and clears waste, easing tension and removing substances. It has historically been used to bring down fevers, treat colds and flu, insomnia, swelling, relieve pain, as well as for constipation and cramps.


These are mild with a bitter-sweet taste and it also includes mucilaginous herbs. Sweet remedies nourishing and soothing and they are used to strengthen weak tissues. Sweet herbs suitable for children are licorice, marshmallow, slippery elm, astragalus and fennel. 

Licorice has antiviral properties and has historically been used for hyperactivity and dry cough. Some herbalists use licorice to overcome sweet cravings and for hypoglycemia. It makes a great flavor enhancer in herbal blends due to its sweet taste.

Fennel has historically been used to help relieve intestinal gas, improves digestive function, normalizes appetite and aid in cleansing the liver. It also has mild expectorant properties which makes it a good choice for coughs and congestion.

Slippery Elm is a great remedy for young children. It is one of the safest remedies and it is mild and very nourishing. It is a useful remedy and according to Steven Horne, can be made into a tea for gastrointestinal irritation and diarrhea, and it can also be sprinkled into the diaper to soothe  irritation from a diaper rash. He suggests to mix it in apple juice or fruit juice if your child suffers from diarrhea.


Remedies that may arrest discharge such as excess mucus drainage, diarrhea, and bleeding. I like to apply it to insect stings and bites.

Red Raspberry leaves are astringent and useful in bites and stings, and Horne says it is also useful in diarrhea or in arresting mucus discharge.

Yarrow is very anti-inflammatory and it has historically been used for wounds to heal faster and as a remedy for colds, toothache, infections, upset stomachs and fevers.


An herbal syrup for children one year and older can easily be made of euqual parts honey and water, or with unrefined sugar and water. Simply bring the mixture to a boil and add 2 oz of dried herbs per pint of syrup, cover and let simmer for 15-20 minutes. Strain the mixture before you give it to children. 

You can also make your own glycerites. Here is instructions on how to do it yourself.
You can also open the capsules make herbal teas for the infants, it might be a problem to feed them the teas but you can try to add stevia and see if they like it better. Remember honey is not suitable for children under the age of one. Herbal teas can also be added to formulas if you are not breastfeeding.

There are two methods when it comes to calculating what dosage to give small children. One is called "Clark's Rule", you take the child's weight and divide it by the weight of an average adult (150 pounds). It is the fraction of the adult dose to use, which means if the adult dose is 60 drops, then a 30 pound child would get 1/5 of the adult dose, or 12 drops.
The other dosage formula is called "Cowling's Rule" and it is based on the child's age instead of the weight. You divide the child's age and divide it by 24, and it means a two year old would take 1/12 of an adult dose.


Johanna is an aromatherapist and she is passionate about educating people about health, essential oils, real food, natural remedies, and nutrition so they make healthier choices in their lives. 
Follow Johanna on twitter and facebook for more health tips and information.

This post is linked to:
Wildcrafting Wednesday
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