In children aged between 5 and 15 viruses are responsible for approximately 70% of throat infections with the remaining 30% being caused by bacteria. Having a sick child can be as distressing for us as parents as it is for our patients. We often feel helpless, limited in our abilities to aid our children in their time of need. Stress and anxiety sets in and we often, unintentionally, transfer it to our already vulnerable offspring. The only source of assistance we are often able to come up with comes in the form of prescription or over-the-counter pharmaceuticals. While bacterial infections can be addressed through antibiotics, they will be useless against the viral infections.
Natural remedies for sore throats
As a society we have become increasingly aware of the possible side-effects main-stream medicine can have on our children. So what are we as parents to do? We do exactly what our grandparents and the generations before them did – we turn to herbal remedies for holistic healing. There are a variety of child-friendly herbal remedies available to ease the symptoms associated with sore throats. All you need to do is find the one that best works for your family.
Echinacea is one of the best-researched herbal remedies for colds, viruses and sore throats. It is most effective when taken at the first sign of a cold: the runny-nose and itchy-throat stage. When these symptoms present themselves you can start giving your child an Echinacea remedy three to four times a day (check the product label for specific instructions). Continue with the same dosage until the symptoms subside.
Elecampane is mostly sold in root form which will require you to boil it and disguise its bitter taste with some honey. If your young ones can’t stomach the taste you might want to source the capsules instead. It has an antibacterial effect and will soothe an inflamed throat as well as ease asthma. Although highly effective, elecampane should not be used by those suffering from diabetes.
Oregon grape root
Oregon grape root berberine is a potent bacteria killer, especially when it comes to strep throat. Like elecampane, this remedy is also bitter so capsules or glycerite form is suggested for children.
The volatile oils of lemon balm can destroy the bacteria that cause strep throat as well as a host of others causing cold and flu-like symptoms. Luckily this herb is sweet in taste so it can be added to any cup of healing tea for your ill child to drink.
Most sore throats and their associated symptoms will clear after a few days of using anyone or a combination of the above remedies. If you still have a sick child after 7 days or if severe symptoms like a high fever, vomiting or difficulty in breathing present themselves you need to seek urgent professional assistance. While most minor illnesses can be effectively treated at home we might need extra assistance from time to time when caring for our children.