I have to admit, we are blessed with good health in our household.
Little Miss Green has been to the Doctors three times in her life. Twice to have a hearing test and once when she had some mysterious spots appear and I had a pregnant friend visiting me – I wanted to ensure LMG wasn’t going to pass on anything detrimental to my friend (she wasn’t; it was hand, foot and mouth apparently).
She’s had her fair share of high fevers and the odd nasty cough and cold, but in all honesty, it’s nothing compared to many of my friends who’s children often seem to be ill. And I’m very grateful it’s that way.
I read in the paper only today that there is a high incidence of chest infections in our area. Doctors have been baffled by the recent surge in patient’s visiting them with coughs, infections and persistent illness. When I read things like this I take preventative measures and as one of our readers has recently asked me about a natural ‘first aid’ kit for her family I thought I’d let you know how we treat minor illnesses at Chez Green.
Mrs Green’s top eleven natural remedies
Arnica gel is brilliant for bruises and for treating shock when babies and toddlers fall. Keep away from eyes and mouths and don’t use on broken skin. You can buy arnica tablets if you prefer, but I believe in the power of touch so use the gel to gently rub onto affected areas. Arnica gel is safe enough for babies which makes it a great remedy to have on hand when they are learning to walk!
Bach Rescue Remedy
Bach Rescue Remedy is wonderful for all types of shock and fear. Put a couple of drops under your child’s tongue (older children can sip two drops diluted in a glass of water) when they are upset after a fall or any other shock such as the loss of a pet, loosing a favourite toy or getting lost in a store etc. Rescue cream is an alternative for babies or you can put a couple of drops of rescue remedy in a bath if you don’t want to give it to them direct.
Calendula is the number one remedy for skin. If your child has nappy rash, eczema or any rashes or dry skin, apply calendula cream. Calendula is powerful yet safe enough to be used on a baby’s skin.
Colloidal silver is nature’s antibiotic and can be applied topically or used internally; it’s our number one ‘go to’ for burns along with lavender essential oil. Find a brand that offers between 5 and 10ppm and use sparingly like you would antibiotics; for example take a couple of tablespoons every day for 10 days.
The wonderful thing about using colloidal silver is unlike conventional antibiotics it does not disrupt the beneficial bacteria in the gut. If you want to administer it to a baby it might be best to take it yourself and feed indirectly via breast milk, although it is safe to apply neat to the skin in the case of burns or rashes.
Echinacea is wonderful for all infections. We use it as a preventative during autumn. Echinacea helps ward off folds, flu and sore throats and will fight infections. You can buy echinacea tinctures specially made for children; usually over the age of six. Echinacea shouldn’t be taken long term; it is best to rotate with other strengthening medicines plus you need to use it as a preventative rather than after your child has become ill as it takes a while to build up in the body.
There are many wonderful essential oils, but tea tree or lavender are my favourites because they are multi purpose and safe enough to be used undiluted on the skin in an emergency. I carry a bottle of tea tree and lavender in my handbag – they are great for cuts, spots and bites and lavender is particularly good for burns. They are anti fungal, anti viral and anti biotic so can be used at home in the bath or in an oil burner when there are infections around. Lavender can be used diluted on baby’s in an emergency (say if they have burned themselves), but it’s better to use diluted in a massage or bath.
We grow a selection of herbs in our garden such as mint (fantastic for upset tummies, blocked sinuses, headaches and indigestion), garlic (my ‘can’t live without’ herb for all infections an d keeping the immune system happy) thyme (boosts the immune system), yarrow (breaks a fever) and sage (brilliant for sore throats). We use them in cooking or make teas from them (except garlic, could you imagine?!). If you want your baby to benefit from herbs, it’s best to drink herbal teas yourself then feed indirectly via breast milk or give say a tablespoon of infusion in a cup of warm water. For babies I would stick to safe herbs such as chamomile, fennel, dill and lavender.
Hydrogen peroxide is an excellent wound cleaner. It flushes out germs and is invaluable for puncture wounds where there could be infection present. It can also be used as a mouth rinse and on spots. Hydrogen peroxide must be diluted to safe levels before applying to babies and children. Find out how to safely dilute and use hydrogen peroxide.
Manuka honey is nature’s finest food. We give Little Miss Green a teaspoon of manuka honey from September when the new school term starts right up until we feel spring has arrived. Manuka honey is antibacterial, soothes sore throats, fights coughs and can be applied to wounds on the skin. UMF manuka honey is even reported to tackle antibiotic resistant strains of bacteria. Hot honey and lemon is a famous remedy for colds and fevers. Simply put a teaspoon of honey in a cup, squeeze in the juice of half a lemon and top up with boiling water. Leave to cool and sip. Honey is supposed to be given to children over 1 years old rather than babies. Choose one with a UMF of at least 10 – the higher the better.
Neem oil is another of nature’s best kept secrets. Use it to get rid of head lice, scabies, infectious illness or apply to wounds. Neem oil is safe to use on baby’s skin but it doesn’t taste good! Find out how to use neem oil to get rid of headlice.
Gently rub sesame oil inside the nostrils before swimming in a chlorinated pool or if a child suffers from hayfever. Use sesame oil on dry skin (it’s a wonderful oil for body massage) and apply to the nappy area if your baby gets sore skin. We used sesame oil along with witch hazel on washable cloths instead of buying nappy wipes; it kept Little Miss Green’s skin wonderfully soft and in good condition and is safe enough for babies.
What about you? I’d love to hear what’s inside your natural first aid kit…