All moms know the anguish of having a sick child and feeling helpless in treating whatever is wrong. But if moms keep the following natural or homeopathic remedies on hand, they will be able to combat common childhood complaints with these nine ingredients from the pantry. Dr. Mandy Corwin, ND, of Richmond Natural Medicine in Virginia, said these items commonly found in most kitchens can work wonders.

Chamomile tea for anxiety:  Chamomile tea calms. Not just kids, either. Available in tea bags, chamomile can be steeped and even given to babies (take a sip, too, mom), helping the child to relax. Chamomile also can be used for upset tummies. Limit a baby’s intake to 4 ounces a day. “I think chamomile is a wonderful, very safe remedy for mild anxiety and sleep disruption. I think the other nice thing about chamomile for some people is it's soothing to digestive tract, so it can help on both those levels,” Dr. Corwin said.
Turmeric and milk for fighting inflammation: Try mixing a pinch of turmeric with milk (and add some honey) to fight a cold or inflammation.
Dr. Corwin said, “Turmeric works great for a lot of things; it's anti-inflammatory and its properties are enhanced when heated with a source so fat like milk fat.”
Ginger for nausea:  Ginger tea is known throughout Asia for its healing properties, especially for digestive issues. But when your child is suffering nausea, whether it is sickness or motion sickness in the car, try putting a teaspoon of shredded fresh ginger into 4 ounces of boiling water – flavored with some honey, too, and give it to the child either warm or cold. If you are being pre-emptive before a car trip, have the child drink this at least 15 minutes before getting into the car. “Ginger is one of my very favorite remedies for nausea. Tea is a great way to use it, but for some people soda is helpful as well -- but you have to get the kind with the real ginger that is naturally sweetened.
“I think it’s one of the best and most classic remedies for children, moms and pregnant women,” Dr. Corwin said.
Celery or carrot for teething pain: Chill a thick slice of celery or thick carrot and let baby chew on it. Keep an eye out, though, in case a chunk breaks free and chokes the child. Dr. Corwin offers another alternative that also is easy, “If you use a cold frozen wash cloth you don’t have to worry about chunks being bitten off, which appeals more to me.”


Baking soda for bug stings: Use baking soda mixed into a paste with water to relieve itching resulting from bug stings. “Most people have baking soda around, but another option is bentonite clay, but the clay might be harder to find, but it has drawing properties,” Dr. Corwin said.


Raw Honey and lemon for cough and sore throat: What can taste better than a spoon full of honey with a dash of lemon juice? The lemon acts to dry congestion while the thick sweetness of the honey coats a sore throat – and adds calories for energy as well. If mom will mix equal amounts of each ingredient and heat it to warm, just a teaspoon at a time will help.

CAUTION: Do not give honey to children under 1 year old.
“I think honey is a fantastic remedy for coughs and sore throat, it usually works real well and is easy to come by,” Dr. Corwin said.

Mullein drops or garlic for ear infections: Have a sore ear? Try boosting the immune system with vitamin C, use Mullein drops (you can buy the oil), or use hot compresses. The use of fresh garlic cloves boiled in ½ cup of water, cooled and then placed on the outside of the ear canal, covered in gauze and taped into place, also is a natural remedy to this common childhood problem.

While Dr. Corwin said she usually doesn’t use garlic, it would be an option.

“Garlic has anti-microbial properties, which will make it really great for an ear infection. You can also use a potato poultice. Shred raw potato and wrap a handful in gauze and apply to the ear with a hot wash cloth over the opening.

“Mullen drops are great for pain; they are very soothing,” she said.

Cayenne pepper for nose bleeds: Cayenne pepper helps blood to clot. Sprinkle a bit on a moist tissue and dab it inside the nose. No, it won’t hurt.
Dr. Corwin said cayenne is “… a great styptic to stop bleeding. You also could use cinnamon as an alternative, in the same way.”
Cucumber for swellings, homeopathic arnica for bumps and bruises: Save those cucumbers! A slice on mild swellings will help reduce the heat in the swelling and even shrink the swelling. Apply a slice from the fridge as long as it’s needed, but replace it when it warms. Arnica, Dr. Corwin said, helps bumps and bruises heal.
“I don’t use cucumber for that personally, but when you think about cucumbers in puffy eyes and how it can help with swelling, this might make sense,” Dr. Corwin said.
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