Flu season is right around the corner, and we’re all bracing ourselves. There’s nothing worse than your child having fever, chills, aches, and pains – and not being able to do anything but give some Tylenol or Motrin and just wait it out.
But – WAIT! If you have a natural medicines toolkit, you CAN do something to not only help your child feel better, but help her to recover faster!
Starting homeopathic and herbal medicines at the very beginning of flu symptoms can significantly shorten the duration and severity of illness and even knock it out of your child’s system within a day or two. So let’s take a look at some of the natural medicines tools we can use. The following are some of what I take and recommend for my family and patients at the start of a cold/flu:
By now you’ve probably seen Oscilloccinum lining the shelves at Whole Foods. This is THE homeopathic flu remedy, and a MUST at the very beginning of a flu or flu-like illness. Studies have shown that taking Oscillococcinum at the onset of flu significantly reduces symptoms and shortens the duration of illness1, 2.
The recommended dosage is 1 vial 3 times over a 24 hour period, preferably at the onset of flu symptoms or any illness. The dosage is the same for children and adults. Just down that whole vial of tasty sprinkles and suck on them until they dissolve, ideally at least 10 minutes away from food or drink.
Individualized Homeopathic Medicines
Specific homeopathic medicines are also very helpful for fevers, colds, coughs, and flu. Homeopathy is one of the safest and gentlest, yet most effective and proven forms of medicine to use when your child is sick. There are virtually no side effects, and no interactions with any other medicines. This is why homeopathic medicines are often my preferred choice of medicine for infants and children, and pregnant and nursing moms. If you haven’t ever used homeopathic medicines, it’s definitely time to try! To learn more about what homeopathic medicines are and how to use them, just take a look at my blogposts What Is Homeopathy – Part 1 and What Is Homeopathy – Part 2.
The particular homeopathic medicine(s) used will depend on the specific symptoms that your child is having. What matters most is how she is experiencing her illness. For example, your daughter may have a high fever with sudden onset, a red, dry face and lots of agitation. Your son, with the same flu, may have a low-grade fever with gradual onset. Even though they caught the same flu virus, they are experiencing their flu differently. Your daughter would benefit from homeopathic Aconitum napellus while your son would benefit from homeopathic Ferrum phosphoricum.
There is a vast array of homeopathic medicines to choose from, and it can seem daunting to know which medicine to use. But when you get it right, the results can be amazing! So be sure to stick with me and follow Healthy Kids Happy Kids as I guide you through how to use homeopathic medicines effectively for your child. In the meantime, Boiron’s Coldcalm is a great combination homeopathic formula that is great for general cold/flu symptoms, especially when you’re not sure which specific medicine to give.
There are a variety of very effective herbal medicines that work amazingly well to help your family recovery faster from the flu. These are a few of what I have found to be incredibly helpful.
Windbreaker is a Chinese herbal formula by Kan Herbs. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, fever and flu are caused by an attack of “wind”. It works GREAT for cold/flu, fever, even allergies! This is my “go-to” for me and my kids. No, I won’t lie – it is a bit bitter, but it’s definitely worth a try. I don’t go anywhere without it, and will definitely be on my packing list for when we travel over winter vacation! My kids have been taking this since they were infants, and love the taste. But if your kids are a bit pickier, you can mix with honey or a bit of tart juice like pomegranate or lemonade to mask the flavor. The typical dosage for toddlers is 1-2 droppersful 3x/day; for older kids 3 droppersful 3x/day, and for teens and adults 4 droppersful 3x/day.
Pelar-what? Also known as Umckaloabo, this traditional African herb can significantly shorten the duration and severity of colds, bronchitis, sinusitis, and throat infections. It has been found to improve macrophage activity, kill bacteria and viruses, and improve the ability to clear mucous from the lungs. We carry an alcohol-free syrup of Pelargonium sidoides called V Clear. It can also be found over-the-counter as Umcka Syrup by Nature’s Way. The recommended dosage is ½ tsp 3x/day for children ages 2-6 years, 1 tsp 3x/day for children ages 6-12 years, and 1.5 tsp 3x/day for children over 12 years and adults.
Elderberry has been found to prevent invasion by viruses and bacteria, and also improve cough. A study found that elderberry has the ability to inhibit H1N1 infection in vitro. The authors of the study note that “the H1N1 inhibition activities of the elderberry flavonoids compare favorably to the known anti-influenza activities of Oseltamivir (Tamiflu).” The typical dosage for kids is 1-2 teaspoons 4x/day depending on their size, and for adults 1 tablespoon 4x/day.
Additional Immune Supports
- Increased Vitamin C – to get those free radicals under control and start feeling better faster. I’ve been using Metagenics Ultra-Potent C because it has added ingredients such as lysine and glutathione which assist in fighting viruses.
- Increased nasal irrigation with Xlear nasal spray to clear out those germs!
- Stay hydrated – this is even more important when your child has a fever as he’ll be losing more body water than usual as he’s sweating and breathing faster. Dehydration will also in turn make his fever worse. Don’t worry about food. Focus on fluids. Fluids with electrolytes to replace what he’s losing are ideal – coconut water and bone broth are my favorites. Be sure to check out our blogpost on Nourish Your Family with Bone Broth! by our amazing nutrition consultant, Kandice Stellmon. Herbal teas like chamomile are soothing and have added antiviral and anti-inflammatory properties.
- Get plenty of rest – let your kid be a couch potato for as long as she wants. She does not, and should not, be acting her usual bouncy self. Allowing her body to rest gives her immune system the chance to do its job and get her back on her way to being her usual Energizer® bunny self.
It’s best to have an individualized treatment plan determined by a thorough exam and consultation with an integrative practitioner near you. But don’t worry if you don’t have a holistic pediatrician near you. Be on the lookout for my eCourse where you’ll learn even more about our natural medicines toolkit (homeopathy, herbs, acupressure, essential oils), how to keep your children healthy, and treat their flu, cold, cough, and earache – naturally!
I wish everyone a healthy rest of this winter season. Please share this with any parent you know who wants to understand how to take charge of their children’s health naturally!
- Ferley JP, Zmirou D, D’Adhemar D, Balducci F . A controlled evaluation of a homoeopathic preparation in the treatment of influenzalike syndromes. Br J Clin Pharmac, 1989 ; 27 (3): 329-35
- Papp R, Schuback G, Beck E, Burkard G, Bengel J, Lehrl S, Belon P. Oscillococcinum® in patients with influenza-like syndromes: a placebo-controlled double-blind evaluation. Br Homeopath J, 1998 ; 87: 69-76