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January 21, 2018  |  Login
Helping Your Child with Herbs
By James F. Balch, M.D. and Mark Stengler, N.D.
 

The following information offers creative ways to administer herbs to children. Medicine doesn't have to taste bad to be good. In fact, many herbal medicines not only work better than conventional medicines but also taste better!

For example, if a tincture that has an alcohol base is used, put the desired amount of herb in a quarter cup of hot water for five minutes to let the alcohol evaporate, let it cool, and then add the tincture to water or juice. One of our favorites is to mix herbal teas with juice! Other strategies include

  1. Mixing herbal capsules in foods, such as oatmeal, apple sauce, and jam.
  1. Using a dropper to put the desired amount of tincture in the child's juice (dilute juice with 50 percent water). Concord grape juice hides bad-tasting herbs well.
  1. For children who are stubborn, who refuse to eat or drink anything with herbs, or who will not take any medicine, there is one aggressive solution left. Use a dropper and squirt the desired amount in the side of the child's mouth. This way, the child can't spit it out. Be careful that the child does not bite the glass dropper while you use this technique.

Precautions

As with any substance, whether it is a food, a drug, or a pollen, allergic reactions can occur with herbs. Although it is rare, you could be allergic to a single herb or an herbal formula. When using an herb or an herbal formula for the first time, take a small amount-such as 3 drops or a dab of the powder form, and see whether an adverse reaction happens in the next two hours. Chances are, there won't be a problem. If a severe allergic reaction does occur, such as wheezing, difficult breathing, or hives, seek medical attention immediately and discontinue any further use of the herb. If more mild reactions occur, such as itching or a mild rash, choose another herb that has a similar action.

 
 
 
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