Most of us tend to be uncertain and even concerned when it comes to giving herbs to our children, as we should be. After all, children’s bodies are smaller than ours, so how are we to know the right dosage when it comes to herbs for kids?
And haven’t we all heard all kinds of horror stories about kids having terrible reactions to herbs?
Added to these concerns are doctors and pediatricians who often discourage the use of herbs in children.
First, to answer the title question – are herbs safe for kids? The short answer is yes. The longer answer is that it depends on the herb and the problem the child is having.
Following are some brief guidelines on giving herbs to children.
When in Doubt, Start Small
If you’re unsure of a dosage, start with the smallest possible dose. You can make adjustments to fit your child’s weight. The adult dose is usually for a 150-pound adult, so a 25-pound child would receive 1/6th the dose. However, if you aren’t sure, err on the side of less. Remember, less is often more when it comes to herbal remedies.
Herbal Remedies For Kids May or May Not Be Effective
There are controversial studies regarding the effectiveness of herbs in many children’s remedies. However, remedies and blends sold specifically for children are generally considered to be safe, and still effective.
Here is a list of some of those herbs.
Peppermint and spearmint are safe herbs that are helpful for children. For one thing, peppermint and spearmint taste good and can help flavour other teas that may not taste as good.
Mint teas can help soothe digestion and are quite safe for children. Again, honey and Stevie make good sweeteners.
Peter Rabbit’s mother was right – chamomile tea does help calm the nerves. As long as your child does not have a ragweed allergy (the chamomile flower is related to ragweed), this soothing tea can be taken at regular strength by young children.
You can also brew up some chamomile tea and mix small amounts of it in the child’s regular drinks during the day to help calm nerves and anxiety. Many children enjoy chamomile sweetened with a little honey or Stevie.
This time-honoured remedy for colic in babies is considered a safe herb for children. Brewed into a tea, fennel seeds help with digestion and soothe the stomach. It has been shown in studies to be as effective as commercial gas relief drops. Fennel tastes a bit like licorice and makes a pleasant tea.
This lemony herb makes a delicious beverage, hot or iced. Lemon Balm is often used to soothe and calm, and it is also an anti-viral.
This is a herb that can be brewed into a “lemon-balm-ade” and drunk throughout the day, or it can be brewed hot and enjoyed with honey. Like some other herbs for kids, Lemon Balm also promotes sleep.