We have hit cold and flu season at our house. My kids’ noses are running like a faucet, they are waking up in the middle of the night with coughing fits, and I had to keep my daughter home from school for two days last week because she had a fever. Yuck!
The other thing that is not fun is trying to figure out the best ways to help your child recover from their illness as quickly, and safely, as possible. Many of the cold and flu medicines out there are not approved for children under four, and they may also contain unsafe ingredients. Of course, most colds and flu just need to run their course, but there are some natural and homemade remedies that you can safely use to help ease your toddler’s discomfort, and hopefully help them, and you, get the rest you need.
Here are 10 green and natural cold remedies that we use in our house:
Raw Honey 1 of 10Raw honey, the unprocessed kind that you find at the farmers market or from a local farmer and not at the grocery store, has natural anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties that help to cure colds. A teaspoon of raw honey also helps to stop coughing just as well as most conventional cough medicines. Please remember, honey should not be given to infants under 12 months old.
More Health Benefits of Raw Honey
Homemade Chicken Stock 2 of 10Homemade chicken soup has a reputation as a good cold remedy for a reason, it really does have many health benefits including boosting the immune system and helping to get over colds and flu more quickly. But, you need to make sure that your stock is high quality and homemade, not the stuff you buy in the can from the grocery store.
How to Make Homemade Chicken Stock
Garlic 3 of 10Raw garlic has potent anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties that help to fight off illness. Getting your toddler to eat raw garlic might not be so easy, but you can also use garlic externally with excellent results. Rub garlic infused oil on the bottom of your child's feet and then put socks on them, or make a garlic poultice. Warning: Yes, your child will smell like they have garlic coming out of the pores! But it really will help!
How to Make a Garlic Poultice
Onions 4 of 10The juice and fumes from onions that make you cry while your cutting them are also useful for healing cold symptoms. You can chop up raw onions and place them in a bowl near your child's head to help ease congestion while they are sleeping, and you can also use onion to make homemade cough syrup.
Homemade Cough and Cold Syrup
Wet Socks 5 of 10This is a new one to me, but it is a simple and easy way to help relieve congestion overnight by bringing blood flow to the feet and away from the head. First, wet cotton socks with cool water and squeeze them out. Then, put them on your child's feet with dry wool socks on top, while they sleep. This method can also help to break a fever.
Wet Sock Treatment
Saline Solution 6 of 10A saline solution is also a safe and effective way to help ease congestion and stuffy noses. You can buy saline solution sprays for children, or try a neti pot to run the saline solution through the nasal passages — if you can get your toddler to hold still!
Using a Neti Pot
Eucalyptus Essential Oil 7 of 10When you open a bottle of eucalyptus essential oil you will automatically sense that you can breathe easier. Eucalyptus helps to ease congestion, and you can make your own homemade "vapor" rub by combining a teaspoon or two of a carrier oil, I use almond or jojoba oil, and a drop or two of eucalyptus essential oil. I combine them on my hands, and then rub it onto my child's chest, neck and back. We do this nightly when our kids are fighting colds and congestion.
Steam 8 of 10A steam treatment can also help to relieve congestion and coughing fits. You can either run a very hot shower with the bathroom door closed while you sit with your child in the bathroom (not in the shower of course!), or you can run a sink full of hot steaming water and stand with your child and a towel over your heads and around the sink to help keep the steam in. Adding a few drops of eucalyptus essential oil to the water will also help to clear up congestion.
Peppermint 9 of 10Peppermint can help to ease nausea, indigestion, and sour stomachs. Make herbal peppermint tea or put a few drops of high quality peppermint essential oil in a glass of water for your child to sip, or buy all natural peppermint candies they can suck on.
Coconut Oil 10 of 10Unrefined coconut oil has anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties that can help to boost your immune system and recover from illness more quickly. You can add coconut oil to foods like smoothies or oatmeal for your child to eat, or use it as a base for homemade rubs where it will be absorbed into your child's body through their skin.
Homemade "Vapo-Rub" Recipe
Top photo: Chris/Flickr