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Herbs and Kids

Learn a handful of tips for administering herbs to children.

When used appropriately, many herbs are effective and gentle enough for kids. Most kids like the idea of taking herbs (they're pretty friendly with plant life). But if your child is reluctant, try some of these tips to entice her:

• Make the herbal tea or infusion into ice cubes and let her suck on them. (Tell her not to chew them, though; chewing ice cubes isn't great for her teeth.) You can also mix them with fruit juice and make them into popsicles.

• To administer eye drops, have your child lie down and close her eyes. Place a drop of the medicine in the corner of each eye, and then have him open her eyes. The drops will gently fall in.

• Remember that for a nursing baby, Mom's medicine is baby's medicine. Make sure you doctor knows you are nursing when prescribing for you, and read all directions for over-the-counter remedies. Drink healing/calming herbal teas and let the constituents affect the baby through your breast milk.

• Make it fun. Give your child "facials" (facial steams using healing herbs) and herbal baths and footbaths. Massage her sore muscles with soothing essential oils, pat her head and neck with a cool compress, and wrap her throat with a warm fomentation (use cloths with fun patterns for the compress and for wrapping).

• Concoct herbal candies by combining powdered herbs with ground nut butters, dried fruit and honey or maple syrup. Thicken with powdered milk, if needed. Remember to store them well out of your child's reach, so she can't help herself.

• Of course, you'll want to check with a reliable herbal practitioner before giving your child any herbal remedy.

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