via Dabur Honey: Honey is nature’s sweetest gift to mankind. There is something magnificently magnetic about this sweet liquid form of gold that has attracted the attention of many since time immemorial. As a super food, it not only taste wonderful but also packs a punch when it comes to providing multitude health benefits to people across ages especially children.

Its seductive colour and flavour aside, Honey forms the base of most of the Ayurvedic medicines and is widely used in home remedies to treat diseases and illnesses like cough & cold, flu, eczema, and wounds etc.

Rich in antioxidants, flavonoids, minerals, vitamins and other essential nutrients and antiseptics and antibacterial properties; Honey is one power food you can safely rely on when everything else fails.

While the benefits of honey are many, did you know administering honey to kids in times of emergencies or illnesses like cold and cough can provide them with quick relief? It is any day better than rushing to a paediatrician every time and exposing your child to medicines, which can prove dangerous for their developing digestive system and other vital organs in future.

What are the health benefits of honey for kids?

  1. To get relief from cough & cold
  2. For promotion of healthy digestive system
  3. Helps heal wounds faster
  4. Boosts energy
  5. Natural supplier of multivitamins
  6. Strengthens immune system

Have a look at the benefits of honey for kids in detail and the ways in which you can use honey to make natural home remedies:

1. To get relief from cough & cold :

Children are most vulnerable to illnesses and problems that come with season change. Cough & cold being most common among them. Benefits of honey for children include providing them relief from symptoms of cold and cough like runny nose, mild fever, irritated or sore throat and sneezing etc. Honey has antiviral, antibacterial and antioxidant properties that helps fight the viral, bacterial or fungal infection that cause these problems and treat the underlying symptoms from the root.

Prepare this effective honey based home remedy to treat the symptoms of cold & cough in your child:


  • Mix 1 tbsp of lukewarm Honey with ¼ spoon of cinnamon powder
  • Give it to your child twice a day daily or till the time the symptoms have vanished

Preferably, give it during bedtime as it will aid in giving your child a good night’s sleep

Using the combination of Ginger and Honey is also one of the well-known home remedies for treating cough and cold. If you want to get this remedy without any hassles, just use Dabur’s Ginger and Honey for cough.

2. For promotion of healthy digestive system :

Among the many known benefits of Honey for kids, using it for improved digestive system is the most commonly practised one. Consumption of honey benefits the digestive tract by keeping it clear of any blockages and regularise the bowel movement. It also aids in providing relief during stomach infections like indigestion, constipation, bloating and flatulence etc. If your child often complains of stomach disorders, prepare this below given recipe and feed it to him/her on a regular basis to soothe the stomach and keep the digestive system healthy & happy.

  • Prepare a cup of black tea
  • Add few drops of freshly squeezed ginger juice
  • Stir in a teaspoon of Honey
  • Give it to your child to drink at least twice a day for effective results

3. Helps heal wounds faster :

Benefit of Honey for children also include helping in healing wounds caused due to an abrasion, burn or cut etc. The therapeutic qualities of Honey and its rich antibacterial and antifungal properties help an infected wound to heal properly and in an orderly fashion. In case your child comes home with a cut or a wound, just wash it properly with water and squirt a small drop of Honey on the affected area. Rub it gently and if the cut is deep, apply bandage to it.

4. Boosts energy :

When it comes to pepping up the energy levels in your child, there can be nothing better than giving him/her a spoonful of Honey. It not only tastes fantastic but is also a rich source of carbohydrates, which provides the fuel the body utilizes to stay energetic all day long. A tablespoon of Honey provides roughly 17gms of carbohydrates. Honey also has good amounts of vitamins, minerals, calcium, magnesium and amino acids that complete the everyday need of nutrition in a child.

5. Natural supplier of multivitamins :

Honey for children is not only good because of its medicinal and other benefits but also because it happens to be a natural source of multivitamins that are essential for a child of growing age. As a rich reservoir of essential nutrients and vitamins, a daily dose of Honey can easily cover up the requirements of multivitamins, the developing bones, muscles and body of your child would have.

6. Strengthens immune system :

Honey is known to stimulate the production of immune cells in the body thereby keeping the immune system healthy & strong. It’s antibacterial and antioxidant properties help fight against germ and bacteria attack and provide the strength to withstand any attack on your immunity.

Though Honey is considered to be a wholesome diet for kids, one must not give it to a child of less than one year of age. Before introducing your child to Honey, always make sure to keep these pointers in mind:

  • Check your child for Honey allergy. Most kids are unable to digest Honey or it causes botulism, a form of food poisoning in them. Once you have given your child Honey, look out for any sign of discomfort or stomach disorder in them. If the child complains of stomach ache, do get in touch with your paediatrician.
  • In some cases, a child might also get pollen allergy. As there are some traces of pollen left behind in Honey, there are chances your child’s delicate digestive system might not take too easily to it.
  • When choosing a Honey suitable to your child, opt for a certified pure variety of Honey. Buying local or non-certified honey, just because it costs less, can prove fatal for the health of your child. A trusted brand of Honey like Dabur Honey is always a better bet than the locally sourced ones. Ranked the number 1 Honey by Consumer Voice, its benefits definitely goes beyond its delicious flavour.

You might have came accross some far-fetched home remedies such as tieing a dirtty sock around your neck to heal a sore throat) but how well do you know about the most trusted traditional old-fashion home remedies that works?

Instead of off-shelves modern medication, try these natural home remedies that have been passed down by our ancestors!

Via The Old Farmer’s Almanac: Big Help For Little Hurts: Old-Fashioned Home Remedies For Kids

Quick, easy and time-tested!

Next time you need some health help, check your pantry for some old-fashioned home remedies! Here are some of our favorites from The Old Farmer’s Almanac for Kids!

5 Old-Fashioned Home Remedies

1. Problem: Stuffy nose due to allergies.

Solution: Drink peppermint tea. The menthol in peppermint helps to thin mucus.

2. Problem: Too much pool time causing swimmer’s ear.

Solution: Carefully place a few drops of white vinegar inside the aching ear. Vinegar has antibacterial and antifungal properties. See more uses for vinegar!

3. Problem: Pain from a bee sting.

Solution: Remove the stinger, then cover the area with lots of toothpaste. Its alkalinity helps to neutralize the acidic venom.

4. Problem: Indigestion from eating too much.

Solution: Have a slice of kiwi or papaya. Both of these fruits can help to ease stomach discomfort.

5. Problem: Poison ivy causing itchy rash.

Solution: Relieve the itch with a pantry paste: Mix together 3 teaspoons of baking soda with 1 teaspoon water. Apply to the rash and allow the paste to dry completely. Repeat as necessary. The baking soda will dry out the area and ease the itch.

Via Mommy Republic: Home Remedies for Indigestion in Children

Avoiding medicine and instead using home remedies for indigestion in children is always a better option. Maintaining the healthy gut bacteria is key to good health. My grandmother said “the root of all illnesses comes from an upset stomach”. Each time I complained of a headache or any discomfort she made me drink pudin hara or heeng pani and it usually worked.

It’s actually true that a healthy gut makes a happy person! And “Dadi ki gharelu nuskhe” are always effective. It’s upsetting to see your baby cranky and it becomes all the more hard because you have to guess what the problem is.

Why do kids and babies suffer from indigestion?

While constipation is a common problem is young children, indigestion can occur primarily because of the following reasons.

  • Lack of quality sleep
  • Being overweight
  • Drinking too much carbonated drinks
  • Eating while running around
  • Heavy or spicy meal

Is my child suffering from Indigestion?

If your child is feeling pain and discomfort in the tummy and is not acting normal, it could be indigestion or heartburn. Other symptoms to look out for:

  • Flatulence or passing of wind and belching more than usual
  • Feeling of fullness and not wanting to eat or drink
  • Acid reflux (food or water coming into the mouth from the stomach)
  • Frequent vomiting

Although it’s natural for children to show symptoms of indigestion as their digestive system is not as strong as ours. If your kid is fond of junk or fatty food, he may suffer indigestion more often.

When to consult a doctor?

You can try some of the home remedies for indigestion, but if you see your child in pain and vomiting after every meal, you should consult the doctor immediately.

  • If the child is suffering from anemia or iron deficiency.
  • If the child is losing weight or not eating at all.
  • If you see your child sweating more than usual.
  • If the child is vomiting after every meal.
  • If you find blood in the vomit or stool of the child.

Home Remedies for Indigestion in Children

If the above mentioned symptoms are absent in your child, and he is experiencing general discomfort you can try the following home remedies for indigestion. Avoid indigestion tablets or indigestion medicines and opt for any of these home remedies. They will surely provide comfort to your child.

#1. Water

Water is the best home remedy for most of the stomach problems. Water helps to flush out the excessive food clinging to the food canal and stomach lining. It also reduces to acid reflux bringing you some instant relief from indigestion.

Try this: Add a teaspoon of baking soda to a glass of water as drink throughout the day to help reduce indigestion.

#2. Ginger

Ginger is a great way to relieve indigestion. It helps the digestive system by stimulating the digestive enzymes. Ginger acts as an anti-inflammatory to our digestive system. It contains antioxidants like gingerols, which help to reduce nausea and indigestion.

Try this: Take one table spoon of ginger juice with a spoon full of honey and lemon for instant relief.

#3. Mint leaves

Mentha Spicata or Mint leaves is an fast and effective home remedy for indigestion. The calming and numbing effect of peppermint reduces calcium ions that cause the cramping. This in turn relaxes the involuntary muscles of your digestive tract, reducing the cramps. The accumulated painful gas can then pass both upward and downward relieving bloating and nausea.

Mint leaves also relieves heart burn and indigestion. Mint is rich in antioxidants, phytonurients and menthol. These help the digestive enzymes in our stomach to digest food. The aroma of mint activates salivary glands in our mouth.

Try this: Give a table spoon of mint leaf juice to the child to comfort the stomach.

#4. Fruits

Fruits are a great source of fiber which is good for the digestive system. Fruits are also very easily digestible so, if your child is experiencing indigestion fruits will be easy on his tummy.

  • Papaya: Papaya is known to contain papain, an enzyme that dissolves protein, aiding in easy digestion.
  • Pineapple: Pineapples have strong acids in them which help to regulate the bowel movements and fights indigestion.
  • Orange: A glass of orange juice in the morning does wonders for the stomach. Though it is a citric fruit (considered acidic) it surprisingly provides instant relief from indigestion and heart burn.
  • Grapefruit: Grapefruits are rich in antacids which help soothe the stomach and relieve indigestion. You can give a glass full of grapefruit juice for quick relief or let them eat the fruit itself.
  • Banana: It may sound strange to give bananas for indigestion but it helps.

#5. Buttermilk:

A glass of buttermilk everyday is a great way to keep the digestive system in order. It helps the immune system as well as prevents indigestion. The lactic acid bacteria present in buttermilk contains probiotics, which are friendly bacteria that promote gut health and play a role in digestion.

Try this: Add half teaspoon of powdered cumin and a pinch of salt for extra flavor and effect. Have your child drink a glass of buttermilk right after breakfast to sooth the stomach for the day.

#6. Garlic:

Garlic is the best way to fight indigestion. Add garlic daily to the food you serve your child be it curries, khichdis or paranthas.

#7. Fennel seeds:

Fennel seeds are packed with volatile oil that reduces flatulence and nausea. The best ways to use fennel seeds is to dry roast them and grind them into powder. Have your child drink it after eating fatty food. Add half teaspoon of this powder in half a cup of water and have your child drink it at least twice a day for best results.

#8. Cumin:

Cumin is every grandmother’s favorite home remedy of stomach problems. It helps regulate the secretion of pancreatic enzymes to help indigestion. Take a spoon full of roasted cumin powder in a glass of water and have the child drink it twice a day for instant relief.

#9. Coriander:

Green is good! Take a few leaves and twigs, squeeze them and add the juice with half cup of warm milk. Have your child drink it empty stomach in the morning. You will see a happy child in minutes.

#10. Cinnamon:

Add two teaspoons of powdered cinnamon in a glass of water drink after an hour of a heavy meal. It prevents and cures indigestion and heartburn.

#11. Ice:

Yes, you heard me right. Ice helps. Put an ice pack on the stomach of the child suffering from indigestion. It stimulates the blood flow and helps the stomach to digest faster.

I hope the above home remedies will help your child and bring back that smile on his/her face. It is important to know that each child is different and different methods may work for them. You can try several ways to comfort the child as none of these have a side effect. If you see that these remedies are not helping get it checked by the doctor as there might be some other problem with the child.

How to prevent Indigestion in children?

It is very important to limit the intake of fatty food in children. You will see some children eating about anything and digesting it but there are kids who have very sensitive stomach and may get sick often. Certain things are important to keep in mind when you want to prevent indigestion.

  • Limit the intake of chocolates.
  • Teach your child to eat slowly by chewing the food properly instead of gulping it.
  • Avoid watching TV or mobiles during eating.
  • Avoid any physical exercise right after meals.
  • Give small meals instead of large meals to your child.
  • Have your child eat early at night
  • Have your child eat in a relaxing environment to avoid stress
  • Make sure your child is getting regular exercise; it is a must to maintain weight and prevent indigestion.
  • Don’t forget to give at least 6 glasses of water to your child during the day but avoid too much water right before bed time to avoid bed wetting.

Certain things you need to do to prevent indigestion

  • Make sure your child is not over eating, don’t forcefully feed the child.
  • Avoid fatty and greasy meals. Limit it to once a week
  • Too much carbonated drinks and chocolate cause’s indigestion.
  • Avoid giving fruits and vegetables together to avoid indigestion.
  • Don’t let your child run and play right after meals.
  • Cold water and cold drinks with food slows down the digestive system therefore do not let your child take it with food.
  • Avoid giving meat to the child if it is suffering from indigestion. It is hard to digest and worsens the system.

At the end I want to tell all the mothers that mother hood is the best and the most difficult phase of our lives. We try our best to do what is best for our child. Always try home remedies for indigestion first before opting for medicines.

Sometimes we succeed and sometimes we fail but what is important is that we are always there for the child to love and comfort him/her. A mother’s touch is the best remedy for a child so be patient and don’t stress yourself over small illnesses, they come and go. Be a happy mother, you will raise a happy baby.

Via Parenting: When It’s OK to Use Home Remedies on Kids—and When It’s Not

Chances are, you’ve probably used at least one home remedy on your child, whether it’s a “magic potion” cold remedy concoction of essential oils or a simple bee sting cure-all made out of baking soda and vinegar.

Whether you’re a believer in home remedies or not, the plethora of websites, books, and online courses available on the subject—from the not-so-natural medicine cabinet miracles to 100 percent organic homeopathic cures—suggests that many parents are not only believers but proactive embracers of treating their children with alternative methods.

But recent horror stories and warnings—such as the Canadian parents who were convicted for their toddler’s death from meningitis because they used home remedies instead of taking him to the hospital; the infant who suffocated from a plastic bag home lice remedy; and the Tennessee poison control center’s warning that more children are being accidentally poisoned by “essential oils”—have sparked a rather heated debate among parents online about the safety of treating kids without a doctor’s supervision.

Amid this sometimes angry dialogue, the crux of the conversation seems to hinge on this question: How do you know when it’s okay to use home remedies on your kids, and more importantly, how do you know when it’s not okay?

In hopes of empowering parents with information on the dos and don’ts of home remedy treatment, we spoke to two pediatric professionals to get their advice. Here are their thoughts:

The Traditional Doctor

Dr. Joseph Gigante is a professor of pediatrics at Vanderbilt University and Monroe Carrell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt.

When it comes to parents treating their children’s common ailments at home using either a “home remedy” or a homeopathic treatment option, what’s your overall philosophy?

“My philosophy regarding home remedies and homeopathic treatments is “first do no harm,” which echoes the Hippocratic Oath. There are many home remedies that might have minimal if any benefit to the child. However, if the parents feel like they want to try something and the treatment will not harm the child, then I don’t have a problem with the treatment. A second situation is one that is more worrisome and dangerous. This is when parents choose not to use a traditional medicine therapy that is known to be effective and instead opt for a homeopathic treatment that is ineffective, resulting in a delay in treatment and harm, and possibly death, of their child, as we have seen in a few cases recently.”

What symptoms or ailments do you think are safe for parents to treat at home—at least in the beginning?

“There are many symptoms and illnesses that are safe for parents to treat at home. The most common of these is the cold. Parents can support their child and make them feel more comfortable if their child has the common cold symptoms: cough, congestion, runny nose, sneezing, sore throat. Fever can also be managed at home. Parents often get very worried about fever, but fever is a response to an infection and helps fight the infection. Giving your child Tylenol or Ibuprofen helps bring the fever down and makes the child feel better. Vomiting and diarrhea are also common symptoms children get, which parents can treat at home by being sure their child stays well hydrated by encouraging fluid intake. Children will often also complain of headaches and stomachaches. In most instances, these symptoms are not serious and can be managed at home.”

Are there ailments and symptoms that you think parents should never treat at home?

“Yes. A fever that’s equal to or greater than 100.4 Fahrenheit in an infant less than 3 months of age should not be treated at home. The fever may be a sign of a serious bacterial infection. Fever associated with a severe headache and a stiff neck should also not be treated at home as these may be signs of meningitis. A parent should have their child evaluated if a fever lasts more than 5 days. A child who is having difficulty breathing, which may result in a blue color to their lips/mouth should also be seen immediately. Children who have had vomiting and diarrhea and now are not drinking at all, have decreased urination or are not acting like themselves may be severely dehydrated and need IV fluids.”

What are the most common errors that parents make when treating their kids at home?

“The most common error I see that parents make when treating their children at home is not giving their child enough Tylenol or Ibuprofen to treat a fever. The doses of these medicines are based on the child’s weight. As infants gain weight, their dose of Tylenol or Ibuprofen should increase; however, parents often dose based on a previous weight and as a result under dose their child. The other error I often see is parents using the wrong kind of thermometer. The most accurate way to measure an infant’s fever is using a rectal digital thermometer. Another common mistake is using over the counter cold/cough medicines. These medicines don’t work in children and can cause serious side effects.”

A couple of recent headlines have showcased tragic endings for parents who treated their kids at home, what can parents learn from these two tragic stories?

“Thankfully, tragic stories of children dying at home instead of seeking medical care are not common, but they are avoidable. They are probably due to a combination of lack of common sense, false beliefs by parents and false claims made by naturopathic practitioners. Parents should always be leery of practitioners who shun traditional medicine completely, are anti-science and make false claims about childhood immunizations. Medicines work; immunizations prevent disease and have saved millions of children’s lives. These practitioners may recommend treatments that are not effective and may result in a delay in seeking medical attention, as was the case in the Stephan meningitis case. If parents are using home remedies, they should seek medical attention if their child is not improving or getting worse within 1-2 days.”

The Naturopathic Physician

Dr. Jamie Oskin is a naturopathic doctor at Arizona Natural Health Center with expertise in homeopathy and natural pediatrics.

As a naturopathic doctor specializing in pediatrics, what is your overall philosophy as it relates to helping parents make the best choices for treating their kids at home?

“[I believe] lifestyle is very important for children to be healthy. For example, I work with parents to [not only cure ailments but also to] improve their child’s nutritional status—i.e., exercise more and get better quality sleep. These lifestyle components of health are essential for a child to live up to their fullest potential. Lifestyle medicine and homeopathy work hand in hand. The homeopathic remedies stimulate the body’s innate capacity to heal (in Latin: vis medicatrix naturae). In other words, homeopathy stimulates the “nature” side of the equation to help make the child healthier. Lifestyle medicine promotes an environment (i.e. “nurture”) for the child to achieve optimal health. The “nature” + “nurture” is a perfect combination to help most children with most health concerns.”

What symptoms or ailments do you think are safe for parents to treat at home—at least in the beginning?

“Minor bumps and bruises can safely be treated at home without a doctor’s help with over the counter, Arnica. Self-limiting coughs and colds can be treated with over-the-counter products. Self-limiting allergic rhinitis (hay fever) can be treated at home with over-the-counter homeopathic products. Basic earaches can also be treated with over-the-counter products since most ear infections are viral, self-limiting and will resolve on their own within 48-72 hours.”

Are there symptoms or ailments that you encourage parents to not treat without calling you first?

“Any condition that is acute and intense, such as a high fever, delirium, unresponsiveness, neck stiffness, strep throat, excessive vomiting or diarrhea, dehydration, difficulty breathing as in pneumonia or asthma, should be treated with the help of a physician. Any condition which is chronic and ongoing that does not resolve with simple over-the-counter treatments should be treated with the help of a physician, example, recurrent ear infections, chronic eczema or psoriasis, ADHD, autism, PANS, tic disorders, asthma, autoimmune disease, etc.

If a patient has an acute life-threatening condition, such as meningitis, appendicitis, etc., then they must be treated in the emergency department or at a hospital. Safety and “first do no harm” always come first.”

A couple of recent headlines have showcased tragic endings for parents who treated their kids at home, what can parents learn from these two tragic stories?

“These two tragic stories are heart wrenching. In both cases, there seemed to be some misguided parents and/or even negligence. Home remedy or not, it is never a good idea to put a plastic bag over a child’s head, and it is downright dangerous to do so and then leave the child unattended. The other family’s child showed clear signs of meningitis—high fever, severe neck stiffness—and should have been seen immediately in an emergency department. Both cases highlight the importance for parents to yield to common sense when trying home remedies and also to always put their child’s safety first. Because these stories were tragic, they received a lot of media attention and shine alternative medicine in a poor light. But in both cases, alternative medicine was not the problem, but rather misguided parent decisions.”

Via Rodales Organic Life: Why More Parents Are Seeking Out Natural Cures For Their Kids—And 9 Cures To Try

In a 2002 study of 142 families at Emory University School of Medicine, 80 percent of parents who used alternative therapies for their kids relied on friends or relatives for information. Fewer than half discussed the treatments with their doctor.

In the U.S., complementary and alternative medicine for children is growing (estimates of CAM use are as high as 30 percent), but studies on safety and effectiveness are few; most have been done on adults. And because the FDA doesn’t evaluate herbal remedies before they hit the market, pediatricians are wary of suggesting them for the fragile, developing brains and bodies of kids. “I’m a fan of a natural approach where appropriate, but I’m still very cautious about recommending supplements for children,” says Russell Greenfield, MD, medical director of Carolinas Integrative Health, in Charlotte, North Carolina, and a coauthor of Healthy Child, Whole Child.

Still, there are some things Greenfield and other experts can recommend or advise against, and they’ve filled us in on the most promising treatments. Of course, you should consult your pediatrician before trying any method for the first time. Remember, just because something is “natural” doesn’t mean it’s safe. (When purchasing herbal remedies, it’s a good idea to check the brands and their safety ratings at, which offers limited information for free and full-study results for a small annual fee.)

Boosting Their Immune System

Most parents have the healthy child basics covered: a daily multivitamin; a balanced, nutritious diet (OK, the vegetables are tough); and making sure their kids get adequate sleep and exercise. All the doctors we spoke with about fish oils and probiotics, however, recommended these supplements for overall health.

Fish Oil

Remember the daily spoonful of cod liver oil your mother (or grandmother) was given as a child, based on the notion that it was good for growing kids? Well, now we know there’s real science behind the practice. Fish oils are rich in essential fatty acids, including omega-3s, so they provide a powerful immune boost, explains Sezelle Gereau Haddon, MD, an ear, nose, and throat specialist based at the Center for Health and Healing in New York City. Studies have shown that taking fish oil can stave off colds and ear infections in children. “Doctors are now recommending it for depression, heart disease, ADHD, asthma…” she says. “I honestly think everybody should be taking it.” Make sure to buy a product that indicates it’s mercury-free on the label. (Also look for the words “pharmaceutical grade” and “distilled,” which mean that the product does not contain mercury or other metals, PCBs, dioxins, or other impurities.)


They’re the healthy bacteria, such as acidophilus and lactobacillus, found in yogurt. “A balance of bacteria is normally present in our intestines,” Greenfield says, “but that milieu can change for all sorts of reasons—stress, inadequate diet, and the use of antibiotics. By taking a daily probiotics supplement, we’re reintroducing healthful bacteria.” Studies have shown that probiotics can prevent or lessen the severity of gastrointestinal viruses (particularly those that cause diarrhea), eczema, food allergies, and asthma; there is even evidence that they may help prevent tooth decay. Both fish oil and probiotics are sold in forms for kids ages six months and older and come with instructions on dosages.

Keeping Colds And Flu At Bay

Colds are usually passed from person to person by touching contaminated objects, including doorknobs or toys. So basic measures, such as making sure your kids wash their hands often, can go far toward lessening the number of sick days at your house. Could an herbal supplement help too?


Many people swear by this homeopathic preparation when they feel the flu coming on. Homeopathy is safe, say all the doctors we spoke to. But whether it works—and how—are other questions. “Homeopathy has been found to be effective for some medical conditions in well-designed studies,” says Timothy Culbert, MD, medical director of Integrative Medicine and Cultural Care at Children’s Hospitals and Clinics in Minneapolis and Saint Paul. “But we are not completely certain as to how it works. And that makes doctors nervous.”
Homeopathic medicine is based on the idea that “like cures like.” So if your symptom is vomiting, you take a preparation that causes vomiting—but the medicine is diluted in water to the power of a billion or more. “The very concept that a remedy so dilute could have a therapeutic effect goes against modern science,” Greenfield says. Bottom line: It’s safe to try oscillococcinum, but there are no guarantees it will work.

Quieting a Cough

The traditional remedy is cough syrup, but many kids hate the taste. Doctors also have reservations. “If a cough isn’t causing your child to lose sleep or appetite, current research suggests that leaving it alone is the best medicine,” says Lawrence Rosen, MD, director of Integrative Pediatric Services at Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital in Valhalla, New York. Cough medicines can have quite a few side effects, he adds, including hyperactivity and heart palpitations. So what else is helpful?


As a good alternative for children older than six months, Paula Gardiner, MD, a research fellow in Complementary and Integrative Medical Therapies at Harvard Medical School, recommends essential oils or teas made from dried herbs. Choose expectorant herbs, such as thyme, eucalyptus, mint, pine, licorice, and anise, for a cough that’s productive (bringing up mucus). To soothe a nonproductive cough, also try thyme, as well as slippery elm, peppermint, or lemon balm. To make a tea, put a teaspoon of an herb in a cup of boiling water; for ice pops, let the tea cool, mix 12 cup with a little juice, then freeze in ice pop molds. You can add a drop or two of an essential oil to 12 cup of massage oil, and gently rub the mixture into your child’s chest and back. Cough drops with slippery elm or licorice will also give some relief.

Easing Kids To Sleep

Getting your child to bed can be a daily struggle—kids can have a hard time settling down. And, of course, they know how to prolong the nightly ritual with calls for one last glass of water or another bedtime story. Try:


For kids of any age, place a few drops of agood-quality calming essential oil (such as lavender or sweet orange) on a handkerchief, Gereau Haddon suggests. Tie the hankie near your child’s bed—but not so close that he can reach it and put it in his mouth, since the oils can be toxic in high doses. You can also put a drop or two into a massage oil, on your child’s pillow, or in a diffuser.


This is a hormone our bodies produce to regulate our sleep-wake cycle; it is sold as a supplement (purchase only a synthetic kind). “For children older than two, I often recommend taking one-half to three milligrams an hour before bedtime,” Rosen says.

Mind-Body Techniques

“We teach parents to use mental imagery with their kids,” Culbert says. After a bedtime story, try talking to your child about her favorite place—a beach or any other safe and calm location. Help her focus on her breathing as a way to slow nervous energy.

Eradicating Ear Infections

Pediatricians are treating fewer ear infections with antibiotics. Recent guidelines from the American Academy of Pediatrics say that for kids older than two, doctors should hold off on antibiotics for the first two days while treating the pain. If the child begins to feel better during that time, no antibiotic is needed. This approach, which helps prevent the overuse of antibiotics—and thus the growth of antibiotic-resistant bacteria—is based on the fact that the many ear infections caused by viruses aren’t helped by antibiotics; they get better on their own. Only kids who have bacterial ear infections require a prescription. Nothing can replace antibiotics if they’re necessary, but below are a few smart prevention and treatment strategies.

Better Baby Care

Get rid of your baby’s pacifiers. When he sucks on one, it can create pressure on his eardrums. Also make sure your child is upright when bottle-feeding, so milk doesn’t drip into the ear canals, setting up a bacteria-friendly environment.

Fish Oil

A daily dose of fish oil can make a difference, because “it influences the immune system to produce cells that help kill off an infection,” Gereau Haddon says. “It’s also a great anti-inflammatory.” In a study of 94 children, ages six months to five years, the half given cod liver oil and a multivitamin daily for six months had fewer doctor visits for upper respiratory infections (including ear infections) during that time than the half who didn’t take supplements.

Craniosacral Therapy

This technique has shown promise with children ages six months and older who get chronic ear infections. It involves a licensed practitioner, often an osteopath, very gently manipulating your child’s head, neck, and back to enhance the functioning of the membranes and fluid around the brain and spinal cord. “Ear infections could be a sign of the eustachian tube in the ear needing realignment,” Gereau Haddon explains. A recent study at Oklahoma State University found that children with recurrent ear infections who received osteopathic manipulation as well as routine pediatric care had fewer infections and were less likely to need ear tubes than those who received just routine care. Go to the Web site of the International Association of Healthcare Practitioners, for referrals to craniosacral therapists.

Handling Asthma

To keep his asthma under control, your child takes his medication every day and stays away from triggers such as dust, pollen, and cat and dog dander. But studies have shown that using mind-body techniques to get your child to relax also can reduce the frequency and severity of asthma attacks. “The anxiety caused by not being able to get a deep breath can make it even more difficult to breathe,” Culbert says.


“We’ve found yoga to be very beneficial, especially in teaching the sort of deep abdominal breathing we want children with asthma to use,” Culbert says. He recommends the YogaKids video series.


In a 2004 study at the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in Piscataway, New Jersey, adult patients using biofeedback needed less medication and had fewer symptoms and better lung function. Culbert says that biofeedback is good for kids ages six and older too. Here’s how it works: In weekly sessions, biofeedback machines pick up on activity in the body and display it visually on a screen. Patients can then use that information to try to control their physical reactions. For example, an asthmatic child may see a black-and-white picture of a forest on the screen, and as she relaxes, bringing her heart rate and breathing under control, it fills in with color. A biofeedback practitioner teaches her the relaxation exercises, and the child can use these techniques during real-life situations. Sessions may cost from $50 to $200 and are often covered by insurance.

Relieving Headaches

Migraine headaches often run in families. Food or stressful situations may be triggers, but the cause can be difficult to pinpoint. And for kids with chronic or severe migraines, pain medications may not give complete relief, so mind-body relaxation techniques can help here as well.


This Chinese remedy involves a practitioner inserting ultrafine needles into specified points on the skin, releasing endorphins and reducing the perception of pain. In a 2000 study on teenagers with chronic pain problems (some suffered from migraines), 70 percent said that acupuncture definitely helped their pain, and 67 percent found it a pleasant experience. Acupuncture is appropriate for ages five and up, but if a child is too squeamish, Culbert says, she can first try acupressure, which involves using finger pressure on various points.


More than 20 studies using biofeedback to combat headaches in kids have been published in the past 30 years. And most have shown significant improvement—at least a 50 percent reduction in pain—for the majority of study participants, according to a published review by Kathi Kemper, MD, author of The Holistic Pediatrician.

Keeping Skin Healthy

Pimples and acne are tough to deal with, but mild cases can benefit from a holistic approach, Greenfield says. “In addition to hormonal changes, acne can be a manifestation of stress—which teenagers don’t always know how to manage,” he explains. It might take some prodding from you or another influential grown-up, but encourage your teen to try exercise, yoga, or meditation. Other strategies:

Fish Oil

To decrease inflammation in kids older than age 12, Greenfield recommends a two-month trial of 1,500 to 2,000 milligrams daily of a fish oil supplement containng both EPA and DHA omega-3 fatty acids.

Tea Tree Oil

Try cleansers or creams with tea tree oil, Culbert says. Its antibacterial and skin-healing properties work just as well as benzoyl peroxide but cause less dryness and redness. (The herbal preparation does work more slowly, however.) Calendula, an anti-inflammatory herb, is another ingredient to look for.

Dietary Changes

“Some individuals are more sensitive to dairy and sugar, making them prone to breakouts,” Greenfield says. Try eliminating these. The information in this article is not meant to be comprehensive or to substitute for your own doctor’s advice.

How To Find A Savvy Doctor

The number of pediatricians in the United States who have training in alternative treatments is growing. The American Academy of Pediatrics has a new Complementary, Holistic, and Integrative Pediatrics section, which will present educational programs and highlight research in alternative medicine for all its pediatricians. Every year, the Program in Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona, run by Andrew Weil, MD, certifies 50 health care professionals (including pediatricians). But the key is still communication. “It would be great if your child’s doctor were someone who considered non-Western and other nature-based methods of healing,” says Russell Greenfield, MD. “But having a competent doctor who is respectful of your values and is open to new ideas is the most important thing.”

home remedies tea

The Herbal Tea Rx

A soothing cup of tea is a safe way to treat many of your child’s minor ailments. Use prepared tea bags or a teaspoon of the dried herb in a cup of boiling water.

Symptom: Upset stomach; colic and crankiness in babies
Herb: Chamomile
For Ages: Six months and older
Try: Celestial Seasonings Chamomile

Symptom: Constipation
Herb: Senna
For Ages: 1 year and older
Try: Traditional Medicinals Smooth Move

Symptom: Sore throat
Herb: Licorice, slippery elm
For Ages: Three years and older
Try: Traditional Medicinals Throat Coat

Symptom: Generally unwell
Herb: Green tea (decaf)
For Ages: Five years and older
Try: Choice Organic Teas