Stomachaches. We’d rather see our kids go without them, but they’re actually quite important. For one thing, our kiddo has a digestive system that’s just years into development. For another, their body has sensitivities and preferences that have yet to be figured out. So, as much as we’d like to pass on the tummy troubles, both us and our little ones have much we can learn from them. And we can be all the healthier!
Of course, we can do all this learning minus the belly aches, bloating, and upchucking. I’ve spent hours and hours reading herbal books and articles on natural health. After testing out countless remedies on myself and my children, I’ve become acquainted with some rather fabulous natural-aids. Read on to see what you think!
Gas is very, very common among kids thanks to their developing organs, wonky eating habits, and their…. particular palettes. A little exercise or a toot-inducing belly rub will often get things back in order, but we may need extra help for bellies that are on the sensitive side. Which is always the case with me and my kids after we munch gorge ourselves on refried bean burritos.
If you want to address gas and indigestion a la herbs, check out herbal carminatives. Carminatives are a class of herbs that ease little bellies by reducing gas, easing cramping, and aiding digestion. Chamomile and catnip — herbs long-cherished for their benefits with children — are two such carminatives. Others herbal carminatives include cardamom, coriander, anise, fennel, ginger, and black pepper. These herbs can be used in food or sprinkled in a glass of warm milk. If your little one needs fast relief, you can use Dr. Ayla Wilson’s essential oil remedy: 1 drop each of peppermint, fennel, and chamomile in 2 tablespoons of carrier oil (and use a small amount of this mixture rather than the whole thing).
Thanks to trouble with food allergies, food malabsorption, antibiotic use, or bacterial and viral infections, our kiddos may find themselves camped out on the potty. If your little one has sudden diarrhea from some nasty microbe, you can find an ally in adsorbers like activated charcoal and bentonite. Adsorbers are porous and negatively-charged, which makes them very effective at binding with positively-charged toxins and microscopics. If you have a bug to get out of your kiddos system, you can give your child 10g of activated charcoal per Dr. Axe. If you have bentonite clay on hand, you can put 2 teaspoons of bentonite clay in a smoothie like Megan from Growing Up Herbal.
But there’s more! The yogurt you have sitting in your fridge is proving to be a tasty all-natural diarrhea remedy. A study on infants hospitalized with diarrhea showed that infants given yogurt had a significant increase in weight gain, reduction of diarrhea, and reduced time in the hospital. The scientists used 15ml of yogurt per kilogram (which is about 1 tablespoon for every 2.2 pounds). The best diarrhea yogurt defense is unpasteurized, unprocessed, and barely-sweetened-if-at-all yogurt.
Back in the day, heartburn was something adults got from eating spicy foods. Today, heartburn is attributed to Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease. A health problem which afflicts children and even babies. If your little one has chest pain, finds it hard to swallow, struggles to keep down food, and doesn’t want to eat because of the previous symptoms – obviously see a doctor. But once you’ve done that, you can put a few remedies to work.
There’s a natural GERD remedy that people swear by all across the web: apple cider vinegar. Acidic liquid seems like the last thing you’d want to drink when you’re struggling with stomach acid, but GERD has a strong connection with digestive issues. It seems that apple cider vinegar helps with GERD by improving digestion. Another natural GERD-worthy remedy is sauerkraut. Cabbage juice alone has a reputation with helping digestion – making it a great choice. But turn ferment cabbage into sauerkraut and you know have billions of microbes that offer serious digestive help.
Intestinal disorders like Celiacs, Ulcerative Colitis, and Crohn’s are surprisingly common among kids. Interestingly, so too are dinners consisting of happy meals, milkshakes, soda, wheat product upon wheat product oozing with cheese, and veggie-free fast food. Chances are good that the troubled bellies of our little ones are caused by the foods they’re eating (or not eating). Noting that kiddo’s meals and bellyaches in a food diary is one smart step to figuring out the problem, but there are herbal aids for on-demand relief and assistance.
To give irritated bowels herbal alleviation, try out demulcent herbs. Demulcents like licorice root, slippery elm, and marshmallow root are rich in a compound called mucilage, which coats irritated tissues, cools and soothes them to reduce pain, and reduces inflammation to promote healing (note: these herbs also work wonders with reducing GERD complaints). Other noteworthy herbals are turmeric (which studies have seen significantly reduce symptoms of inflammatory bowel disease) and frankincense (which delivered powerful results against bowel diseases in clinical trials).
That sums up my verbal diarrhea on bellyaches. If any of the remedies above resonate with you, be sure to read more. Also, don’t forget to run them by your child’s doctor, and to consult with expert herbalists. The home kitchen may be an amazing “medicine cabinet,” but no parent can be too careful or too informed. Am I right? 😉
Want to read more about using herbs and essential oils with children? Hop on over to Amazon and to check out Rosemary Gladstar’s Family Herbal, James Green’s The Herbal Medicine-Maker’s Handbook, and Essential Oil Safety by Robert Tisserand and Rodney Young. These books are packed with expert recommendations and all sorts of valuable info.