Looking after kids is hard work! You turn your back for 30 seconds, and they’ve climbed onto a table and they’ve fallen off.. bumps and bruises follow. They have a playdate, go to kindy and 2 days later they’re coughing and spluttering like you wouldn’t believe..
We as their parents, carers and guides have an array of natural remedies at our disposal to make the journey a little more comforting… but no less fun! By utilising the vast array of natural medicines, many of which are freely available over the counter, we also have the opportunity to promote a less toxic way of life, both for their growing bodies and well as planet earth.
The top 6 things that this mum wouldn’t go without are:
1. Arnica. Arnica is the first thing I reach for when there’s been a ‘physical’ incident. Whether it’s a fall off a bike or running headfirst into a table, make arnica your ‘go to’ man! It comes in a cream, as a spray (for internal use) or as little pills that easily dissolve in a little water. It works at minimising bruises and bumps – and any parent knows that kids are prone to collecting a few of those in their travels! Arnica is a natural, plant based medicine.
2. Urtica dioca cream. This one isn’t always in my top 5, but with the mozzies really coming out to play at this time of the year, it makes the list. Urtica is great for itchy bites – mozzies, sand flies, etc. Often these bites swell up to welt like proportions in kids, whose immune systems are still ‘learning’ to cope with such things. Urtica comes in a soothing, easy to apply cream. It calms down the irritation and helps to stop the itching. Urtica is commonly known as the plant ‘nettle’.
3. Comfrey cream. This one hasn’t been used much in our house, thankfully – but its something that takes pride of place in the first aid kit for when it ‘may’ be needed! Comfrey is a plant commonly referred to as ‘knit bone’. This is thought to come from the Latin ‘conferva’, or ‘knitting together’. Traditionally, and still to this day, people use the actual comfrey leaves and roots to make a poultice (basically a gluey mass) that is applied to the affected area to help heal wounds, or broken bones. If like us, you have cats though – forget trying to grow it, unless it’s completely out of their reach. Cats LOVE comfrey (or perhaps its just our cats?). For those with cats, or anyone else looking for the easy option, comfrey comes in a convenient cream available from health food shops and some chemists.
It’s also super fantastic for the compost (the actual plant, not the cream!), providing extra nutrients and accelerating the composting time. Just a word of caution – humans should NOT take it internally, it can be carcinogenic in the long term and in the wrong dose.
4. Rescue Remedy. This is basically ‘aaaaahhhhh’ in a bottle, pillule or pastille! Rescue Remedy is made from a mixture of flower essences to help ‘rescue’ situations! For when kids (or adults or pets) are hyper-emotional, screaming uncontrollably, in a state of shock or grief, scared, etc., this is the one to reach for. It acts quickly to settle acutely frazzled nerves and heightened emotions. Rescue Remedy is made in England from English flowers.
For a more home grown version – try Australian Bush Flowers Emergency Essence. Made from Australian bush flowers, as the name suggests, and just as fantastic. This one comes in drops or as a spray. The pump-spray is fantastic allowing you to simply spray it around the child instead of having to get something into the childs mouth (which in these states, can be impossible).
To learn more about flower essences and their amazingly subtle, yet powerful ways – check out the following link to our website:
5. Manuka honey. Everyone in the world should know about manuka honey! It can be used just like honey, it can be rubbed onto the skin for things like bed sores (obviously taking care with the ‘sticky’ factor!), it can also be mixed into drinks to act as an antibiotic and general immune booster. Manuka comes in different grades – 5, 10, 15, 20 etc. Anything above 10 is considered therapeutically useful. I would use 10 as a general booster in winter, and say 15 or 20 when my children are sick. Manuka is special for it’s naturally powerful antibacterial effect.
If you don’t know about manuka, google it now – and then go and buy some! Just a word though, it is expensive, and you pay for what you get. Ensure it has a score on it (eg: the number) as this shows its antibacterial potency. Most people generally don’t use it day to day like honey, unless there is a need. I like to use it once or twice a week in the ‘cold and flu’ months. You’ll find this in most health food stores.
6. Probiotics. Probiotics are the good bacteria that live throughout our intestinal tracts (the hollow ‘tube’ that starts at your mouth and ends at your bum). The health of these ‘good guys’ suffers when our diets get out of whack, after antibiotics (which kill both the good and the bad guys) or vaccinations, stress and other depleted immune states. There is a huge array of probiotics available at most health food stores. Your best option is to speak to someone trained in their prescription, as different strains will help with different conditions (eg: the LGG strain works great for eczema, babies under 2yrs need a ‘baby’ specific one, etc). Probiotics are usually kept in the fridge, as they are ‘live’ bacteria, though a few non-refrigerated ones are available for people travelling etc. I generally keep a bottle of them in the fridge for when immune challenges such as colds appear and then add them into my childrens daily diet.