6 Herbal Remedies I Use on My Kids

Kristen Kemp herbal meds

Photo courtesy of The Associated Press

Last week, The Associated Press interviewed me about giving my kids herbal remedies to save money in this crappy economy.

I'm thrilled that I don't look too much like a granola-loving, hemp-wearing suburban helicopter mom.

Or wait, maybe I do.


Here are some of the holistic remedies I give to my kids, self and DH all the time:

  • Honey for a sore throat. It is cheaper than Tylenol. Honey is also cheaper than the co-pay at my pediatrician's office. Honey is even cheaper than the gas it takes to get to the doctor's office. And it tastes nice, too. Plus, a recent study shows that honey soothes children's sore throats and helps them sleep. As you may know, you shouldn't give honey to a child until she's at least 1 year of age.
  • Hot tea with lemon for sore throat, sniffles and cough. When you're sick, you need to stay hydrated. Hot liquids can soothe the inflamed membranes that line your nose and throat. Lemon is another natural, cheap source of Vitamin C. I use herbal, decaffeinated teas from the grocery store.
  • Saline solution or 1 tsp salt mixed with warm water for pink eye. Dab this on with a clean cotton ball or tissue several times a day to get rid of mild cases of pink eye as soon as you see it starting. My pediatrician gave me this tip that totally works.
  • Gargling with salt. Gargling can moisten a sore throat and bring temporary relief. Try a teaspoon of salt dissolved in warm water, four times daily. This tip works great for my DH and I. But my very young kids can't do it yet--they still think gargling is the same as swallowing things in outrageous amounts.
  • Steamy showers for congestion. Nothing clears out a runny nose and stuffy head like the moisture in the shower.
  • Chinese herbs for cold and stomach ache. I went to a Chinese doctor about a year ago who gave us a mix of herbs for our stomach virus and little vials of sweet, syrupy fritillary flower for stuffy noses. These were cheap--less than $10 each. To even my own surprise, both eased our symptoms.

That last part--about the Chinese remedies--got slammed in the Associated Press story in the second to last paragraph. I told the reporter that I okay'd the fritillary with my pediatrician. But apparently, there's a sketchy Chinese study linking fritillary with cancer. I'm not convinced since fritillary has been used in China for runny noses since ancient times. But I will definitely do more research.

Hmmm. I wonder if this article makes me look like a homicidal maniac who is trying to give my kids cancer because I use several herbal remedies? Oh well, it was fun to be pictured and mentioned in a national article. A bunch of my Facebook friends saw the piece in various papers around the country and didn't turn me into the authorities. My family and I are still unscathed.

For more suggestions on all-natural remedies CafeMoms are using, check out the private group, The Informed Parent. Also, I recently wrote about 2 Holistic Tips for Cold Relief--removing your contacts and drinking hot fruit cordials.

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