As a new mom, feeling confident about healing a sick child can be a fine line to walk. I have been studying herbal medicine now for 9 years now but having a young child under your wing relying on you to make the best decision, changes the game completely! So as my little one heals from yet another bout of fever, I wanted to share with our supportive audience some information on the earths best healer for viral and bacterial-based infections. They have helped and supported us immensely. But like any good herbalist would say – this information is not meant to replace the care of your medical provider. Please consult your physician before making a decision on using herbal medicines. Make the decisions that are best for you and your family and there are many good, quality options for care during illness.
Before we discuss herbal remedies, here are two great internet resources for parents with small children.
This first one discusses the treatment of fevers and is a great resource to keep parents calm during a bout of fever.
Next is a great article found at Native Remedies website on defining viral infections vs. bacterial infections. Help brush up your knowledge on how the body gets ill and what the root causes of illness are.
No on to our own native remedies at Healcrest Urban Farm….
We are harvesting now one of the most potent immune system support herbs – or rather berries – found in these parts.
Elderberry (Sambucas nigra) This beautiful umbrella type foliage turns into small dark purple berries starting in september and these little beauties can be harvested, cooked and squeezed into a thick syrup. Elderberry syrup works this way…. Elderberry is used for its antioxidant activity, to lower cholesterol, to improve vision, to boost the immune system, to improve heart health and for coughs, colds, flu, bacterial and viral infections and tonsilitis. Bioflavonoids and other proteins in the juice destroy the ability of cold and flu viruses to infect a cell. People with the flu who took elderberry juice reported less severe symptoms and felt better much faster than those who did not. www.herbwisdom.com
Next up is the well-known Echinacea…..
Several laboratory and animal studies suggest that echinacea contains active substances that enhance the activity of the immune system, relieve pain, reduce inflammation, and have hormonal, antiviral, and antioxidant effects. For this reason, professional herbalists may recommend echinacea to treat urinary tract infections, vaginal yeast (candida) infections, ear infections (also known as otitis media), athlete’s foot, sinusitis, hay fever (also called allergic rhinitis), as well as slow-healing wounds. One study even suggests that echinacea extract exerted an antiviral action on the development of recurrent HSVI when supplied prior to infection.
Echinacea Purpurea is the plant you want…the root, harvested, pulverized, and macerated in a base to form a liquid extract. Choose reputable companies only and do not use with children under 1 year of age.
Peppermint is cooling to the body. For children 1 year and older, it can be a part of a gentle tea mix that aids in reducing the symptoms of bacterial or viral infections. In combination with chamomile, oatstraw and rose hips, you can create a high vitamin nourishing tea for your youth when they are not feeling well.
We recently harvested peppermint along with another gentle herb, lemon balm (Melissa Officinalis). Lemon balm can be used in the gentle vitamin tea mix and is said to improve the mood or lift the spirits.
We also had a lovely time harvesting fennel seed of the bronze fennel plant – Fennel and anise are of the same species, Apiaceae – they are similar in taste and appearance – aromatic and sweet, but the fennel plant has a swollen bulb that is a delicious vegetable.
Fennel water has properties similar to those of anise and dill water: mixed with sodium bicarbonate and syrup, these waters constitute the domestic ‘gripe water’, used to ease flatulence in infants; it also can be made into a syrup to treat babies with colic or painful teething. Fennel should only be used during acute gastro-intestinal episodes and not taken daily by children under 3.
Fennel is also found in breast-feeding/nursing teas for mothers. It may be supportive of the breastfeeding mother for two reasons – it has diruetic properties that could assist with let-down of milk and the intestinal-relaxant properties help ease tension in the mother, allowing milk to flow easier – by the mother drinking the nursing tea, she is easing any flatulence or tension in the nursing babies bowels and creating an overall soothing effect to both mother and child.
So on to more harvesting and herbal preparations for our fall season, and on to nurturing a sick child, who sleeps now peacefully as his fever finds its way down.
Feel free to comment on this post with links to other information sites on the research, use and discussion of natural remedies.