When it comes to fending off sickness, winter can be such a tricky time, especially with little humans around. It’s so hard to watch our kids struggle or feel unwell and all we parents tend to want to do is alleviate the pain. But how do we do this in a low tox and safe way when all there is on the shelves is highly processed medications? There are ways to get around it! I’ve enlisted the help of my in-house Naturopath, Stephanie Hinton and the knowledge of some amazing experts in my Low Tox Kids eCourse to pull together this handy list for the best home remedies for your kids in the winter months (ps, they’ll work for you too!).
An important little note: This post is not to be used in place of professional medical attention. If your child is clearly very ill, please always take the steps to seek appropriate medical care.
Scenario 1: a sore and scratchy throat.
A dry, scratchy and sore throat in throes of winter is definitely not fun! Sadly most products on pharmacy shelves are full of sugar, wheat proteins, gums, binders and other strange chemicals. Check out these ingredients in a popular cough syrup aimed at kids:
Inactive ingredients (Grape flavor): D&C red no. 30, FD&C blue no. 1, flavor, glycerin, high fructose corn syrup, methylparaben, Polysorbate 80, polyvinyl acetate, povidone, propylparaben, purified water, sodium metabisulfite, sodium polystyrene sulfonate, sucrose, tartaric acid, tragacanth gum, triacetin, xanthan gum.
So what’s a parent to do? Save your dollars and prepare your own super soothing, antimicrobial sore throat syrup like this one by our Naturopath Steph from her aptly named website – The Remedy Kitchen.
Honeyed-Onion and Lemon Thyme Syrup
- 3-4 sprigs thyme leaves picked
- 1 onion (red or brown), finely diced
- 1/4 cup raw organic honey
- 100 ml boiling water
- 1 lemon, juiced
Grind fresh thyme leaves into until slightly bruised (this will help release the oils when steeping) with a mortar and pestle. Combine the onion and thyme in a bowl. Pour over the honey and hot water. Cover with a plate and set aside overnight. Stir in the lemon juice and strain through a sieve. Pour into a glass jar. During times of acute coughs take 5 mls 3-5 times a day.
Scenario 2: a bad belly or a tummy bug.
There’s nothing more unsettling than seeing your little one uncomfortable, feeling nauseous, or worse physically sick. With little kids and close family members, it can be hard to avoid gastrointestinal bugs, especially during flu season when immunity is generally at its lowest. A great way to pre-empt this is to introduce a probiotic supplement containing Saccharomyces Boulardii or SB for those who can’t get their head around the pronunciation! SB is a unique type of non-pathogenic yeast first isolated from lychee fruits in Indonesia and initially used first in France to treat diarrhea. Studies have shown that SB works incredibly well to destroy pathogenic bugs in the gastrointestinal tract.
Scenario 3: signs of a cold or minor flu.
Common symptoms to keep an eye out for include aches and pains, a dry or a phlegmy cough, whole body chills, fatigue and malaise, lack of appetite, sinus congestion, nausea, congested breathing and swollen glands. Not a pretty picture! When it comes to kids they can often rapidly take a turn, you can generally notice when they have switched from being bubbly and energetic to more quiet and reclusive. If symptoms appear minor and they have a few sniffles here and there then nothing beats plenty of hydration with filtered water, semi-warm herbal teas (echinacea and olive leaf teas are great) and plenty of homemade chicken soup. I tend to whip up a batch of Thai chicken Soup when my little man has a cold and it’s punchy enough to clear out the sinuses and nutritious enough to support the immune system.
What’s all the hoo-haa about chicken soup anyway? Well, numerous studies have been done on it’s efficacy for reducing inflammation and easing upper respiratory tract symptoms, including this one in the medical Journal, Chest. When it comes to dealing with fever we’ve got some amazing tips by our expert Dr. Elisa Song in our Low Tox Kids eCourse. I also did a great interview with her on the podcast SHOW #85 on android, ITunes or spotify on the bigger picture of health challenges our kids face today.
Scenario 4: A throbbing headache.
There’s no hard and fast cause behind headaches. Recurring headaches can often indicate issues with a toxin build up as a result of poor detoxification pathways, chronic and untreated food allergies, nutritional deficiencies such as a lack of essential fatty acids, magnesium or potassium – but most commonly, especially in acute phases are dehydration.
Dehydration can occur when your little humans simply haven’t drunk enough water, they’ve been running around sweating or they’ve come down with a nasty tummy bug, cold or flu and are unable to get their liquids in.
To quickly alleviate headaches the best thing to do is get your child to have a glass of tepid water with a pinch of himalayan or Celtic sea salt. Adding a mineral-rich sea salt to water helps the body properly balance out the electrolyte minerals. Fun fact: salt actually follows water into the cells and helps the body absorb minerals. Another great option is to add a child-appropriate dose of magnesium glycinate powder to the water to aid in replenishing nutrients required to support hydration and reduce muscle spasms and contractions.
Eating hydrating foods made up of water also helps to replenish water stores. Go for soups, stews, fresh fruit and veggies like cucumbers, celery, watermelon, and strawberries. Some of my favourite hydrating recipes include my Lemon, Lentil and Lamb Soup and my Superhero Smoothie. Both are totally kid-proof and delish.
So there we go, if you loved seeing some natural ways to approach your kids’ health then you should jump over to my Low Tox Kids eCourse. Not only do we discuss home remedies, we also look into low tox toys, mindfulness, as well as how to keep things low tox when at home and out an about.
Are there any home remedies you swear by at your house? Please share with me below!
Low Tox. Happy Bodies. Happy Planet.