It’s “back to school” soon, how can I support my children through herbs or supplements?
This is a common question since back to school obviously results in an increase in both stress and exposure to pathogens or “bugs”. Be sure to keep up on the basics, including regular hand washing, going to bed early, eating well (lots of fruits and veggies!) and staying hydrated. Try making regular bone broths and using broth in recipes instead of water wherever appropriate -- soups, cooking grains, etc. You can add medicinal herbs to your broth such as astragalus, shiitake mushrooms and seaweed. A nutrient dense broth naturally supports the immune system. Also, consider adding probiotics to your child’s diet. One great way is to rotate various fermented foods, a little sip or bite provides a ton of good “bugs”. For herbs, elderberry is a wonderful choice to help children fend off viruses. Gaia and Honey Garden both make delicious, high quality elderberry syrups that children love. Or, you can purchase bulk elderberries and make a strong decoction (gently boiled tea) and add raw honey which is naturally antimicrobial and improves flavor. If it’s hot where you live, try making the tea into beautiful purple ice cubes or popsicles! You can add some cherry juice concentrate for flavor and to support sleep. Additional tea herbs that are safe for kids and helpful for fending off colds and flus are: astragalus, lemon balm, elder flower, chamomile, catnip and rose hips. If your child won’t drink tea then get creative! Try an herbal bath or get your child involved in the medicine making process -- add honey and have a tea party together. Echinacea is also very helpful but not so tasty as a tea, it is best delivered as a tincture or glycerite. Finally, if your child is running cold try warming them up with some ginger or cinnamon. If they’re running hot, try cooling them down with some peppermint or spearmint.