Herbal Medicines & Children

Getting your children to take medicine is hard at the best of times.  Herbal medicine should always be taken with care and when given to your child always consult with a “Qualified Professional Herbalist” (such as myself) or one in your local area, who can give you the correct advise as to what is best to use and when to use it.  

There are many ways in which you can administer herbal remedies to infants and children.  As their digestive system is not fully matured, their absorption may differ from an adult.  It’s not until they reach 10 -12 years of age that their digestive tact resembles that of an adult.

Breast Fed Infants
A common suggestion for treating breastfed neonates is to have the mother to consume the herbal extracts in the belief that therapeutic doses will pass into the breast milk.  Although there is some documentation of this practice 1. There is a lack of guidance as in to how much a mother would have to take to be of benefit and 2. the transfer of plant chemicals into breast milk is influenced by many factors and getting a therapeutic concentration of what is needed is near to impossible to get.

What is recommended is to take the appropriate dosage and mix with 5ml of expressed breast milk or infant formula.  Syringe this amount and apply with steady pressure to the back of the infants throat.  Then either breastfeed OR give a bottle of either water or infant formula.

Because neonates and infants have a larger skin surface area relative to their body weight compared to an adult.  By putting an infusion (tea) into their bath water, as they will absorb an amazing amount through their skin & this can be of significant help to their health.

Toddlers & Older Children
For those children agreeable, herbal teas are a great way to heal.  How much to give is the question.  For infants up to 2 years of age I use the following rule:

Age in months, divide by 150, x adult dose = childs dose

e.g. (7 month old)  7 divide by 150 x 750ml (3 cups tea = adults dose) = 35ml

So 35ml is the TOTAL dosage of infused tea you would give over a day for your 7 month old.  Remember to check this calculation each time you need to treat as our children grow so quickly.  After 2 years of age I would use the following calculation:

(1.5 x weight of child in lb) divide by 2.2 + 10 = the percentage of the adults dose that they consume.

e.g. Your child is 44lbs (20kg) then x by 1.5 which = 66, then divide by 2.2 which = 30 then add 10 which is 40.

So the child’s dose is 40% of the adults.  To work out 40% of the adults dose (3 cups tea/750ml) do the following:

750ml divided by 100 then x by child’s percentage

e.g. 750 divided by 100 x 40 = 300

So the total amount for this child is 300ml.

How to administer?
With tea if your child finds disagreeable you can do any of the following to make it more pleasurable:
1. Add honey or molasses to sweeten.
2. Prepare as a jelly.  Buy some organic juice and gelatine.  Once you’ve worked out the amount your child needs to take per day you will have the amount of liquid.  Infuse your tea in hot water (half the amount of water for total daily dosage) mix this with organic juice (the other half of liquid) and add in gelatine as per box instructions.  Set in tray or ice cube tray and they can eat their dosage throughout the day.
3. Prepare as an iceblock.  Do as above but put into iceblock mould

AGAIN with any health concern consult with your “Qualified Herbalist” (such as myself) before administering any herbal remedy.  As it is very common for non-qualified people to work in health shops always ask for the instore qualified practitioner for the best, correct information, or  email me at tanya@naturalus.co.nz

All the best in you and your child’s health – talk soon 🙂