Back to School: Naturopathic Medicine for Kids

By Dr. Holly German, N.D.

With cold and flu season approaching, it’s important to have kid friendly tools around to stave off or reduce the severity of an illness. Beyond the basics of prevention, there are an abundance of Naturopathic treatments that can be used safely and effectively to keep your child healthy and vibrant.    

Prevention Basics:

Hygiene: As simple as it is, basic hygiene is the best way to prevent the spread contagious disease. There is a lot beneficial flora on the skin so it’s not necessary to go overboard with hand sanitizers, hand washing with warm water and gentle soap is sufficient

Sleep: Our immune systems are most active while we are deeply asleep. Make sure the house is quiet an hour before bedtimeturn bright lights down, turn electronics off, and get the nightly chores done well before bedtime. Sipping on ChamomileCatnip, or Avena teas before bed is a good way to wind down for a deep, restorative sleep.

Nutrition: Key immune nutrients are Vitamins A, C, and D; and minerals like Selenium and ZincBright colored fruits and veggies have a wide spectrum of vitamins and Brazil nuts and pumpkin seeds are rich in minerals. Sun exposure is the best way to get Vitamin D but in winter months supplementation is helpful.

GI SupportProbiotics are a simple way to boost immunity in the GI tract and throughout the body. This is especially important of your child has taken antibiotics and/or if they eat non-organic animal products. Saccharomycess boulardii is a strain that has been shown to increase the immune response in mucous membranes and therefore is well suited to prevent respiratory illnesses.

During  Illness:

Diet: Kids aren’t hungry when they’re sick for a reason. Less food intake will allow more energy to be used for supporting a strong immune response and less energy to be used for digestion. Plenty of water, teas, and fresh juices are essential. Light soups with garlic, onions and ginger are also beneficial; you can throw in some brown rice and organic chicken, beans, or tofu for heartier appetites.

Herbal Medicines:
Herbs work well in combination and are great in glycerite for kids. Echinacea, Goldenseal, Elderberry, Osha, Licorice, and Myrrh are all generally safe immune boosting herbs. Ask your Naturopathic Doctor which herbal combination is best suited for your child.

Homeopathic Remedies:
Homeopathy has the potential to profoundly reduce the intensity and duration of an illness. While homeopathy is most effective when highly individualized (with the help of a Naturopathic Doctor or other knowledgeable practitioner), there are a few remedies that are commonly effective in colds/flus. Allium c., Arsenicum, Belladonna, Kali b., Pulsatilla, and Nux v. are a few common cold/flu remedies.