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Pediatric Herb Compendium

A Pediatric Herb Compendium by Shonda Parker
Copyright 2004 Reforming Hearts Press. All rights reserved. 
This Compendium is excerpted from Week 12 of the Naturally Healthy Family Home Study Course. 

The information presented in this compendium is for educational purposes only. It should not be construed as diagnosis and prescription for medical conditions. The author is merely passing on education received from other sources and accepts no responsibility for individuals who choose to use these herbs.

When administering herbs to children, these important factors should be kept in mind:
  • Caution should be exercised when giving herbs to children under the age of 3 years, as their bodies are still maturing and will be much more effected by strong herbal preparation than you or I would. Stick with herbs that have long been safely used for children and those that are commonly used in pediatric phytotherapy (children's herbal medicine) like the ones that will be given in this compendium. Seek a trained practitioner if you need to progress to stronger, more "adult" herbs for an illness before trying them out on your child.
  • Dosages given in most herb books and on most herb preparations are intended for a 150 pound adult. You must dose down for your child's unique weight and needs. For instance, if your child weighs 25 pounds, then your child would only be given 1/6 the amount recommended on the herbal preparation. If your child weighs 75 pounds, they could take 1/2 the recommended dosage. 
  • Begin with the lowest dosage possible in the range of efficacy and work up to the recommended dosage for your child's weight. Smaller doses given more frequently (3-4 doses daily) are better than 1 or 2 large doses daily.
  • Try to establish the cause of the illness before self-medicating.
  • Do not take medicine randomly; look for something specific to your needs.
  • Do not take several medicines at the same time without understanding how they will work together.
  • As much as possible, relate the treatment to the progression of the disease.
  • Only self-medicate for short-terms; without outside counsel over the long-haul, you may miss real problems.
  • If there is no improvement seen after taking your medicine for several days, or a worsening of symptoms, see your physician.
  • Clouding of consciousness, disorientation or other disorders of consciousness, paraesthesia, paralysis, cardiac arrhythmias occurring for the first time, indefinite pain in the chest or abdomen and indefinite symptoms which go beyond the limit of "everyday" problems require prompt medical attention.

Aloe, Aloe ferox, A. perryi, A. vera

Medicinal Uses: Topical treatment of minor burns, sunburn, cuts, abrasions, insect bites, acne, poison ivy, frostbite and itching from viral exanthems such as with chicken pox.

Research Notes: One clinical observation in 31 pediatric patients with aphthous stomatitis ages 6-14 years showed the use of a bioadhesive patch of aloe vera hydrogel to improve the condition in 80% of the patients (The Effectiveness, 2000). 

Safety Issues: For external use only in children under 12 years of age.

Dosage: Break off a leaf (the more mature, the better) split it lengthwise and apply the inner gel to affected skin.

Anise, Pimpinella anisum

Medicinal Uses: Internally: Indigestion; Internally and Externally: Mucous conditions of the respiratory tract.

Safety Issues: Contraindicated in persons with allergy to anise and anethole. Side effects may include occasional allergic skin, respiratory and gastrointestinal tract (GI) reactions.

Dosage: 3 grams of the herb daily is the adult dosage. A child can take 1/2 - 3 cups of the tea daily. Tincture or TincTract: Children under 3: 1/8-1/4 teaspoon three times daily; Children over 3: 1/2-1 teaspoon three times daily.

Astragalus, Astragalus membranaceus

Medicinal Uses: Supportive therapy for the immune system.

Usage Notes: While many modern herbals recommend astragalus not be used during fevers, this caution comes from Chinese medicinal Yin/Yang, Hot/Cold therapy. I do not agree with that thinking and feel quite comfortable using astragalus even during illnesses with fever. No such caution appears in any of the professional herb texts.

Safety Issues: Class 1 herb - May be safely consumed when used appropriately.

Dosage: Decoction: Use 1 teaspoon of herb to 8 ounces cold water, simmer for 10-15 minutes and strain. Use 1/2 to 1 cup three times daily for children over age 3. For younger children, use only a maximum of 1 cup daily.

Barberry, Berberis vulgaris

Medicinal Uses: Nausea, diarrhea, excess mucous conditions such as wet coughs and sinusitis with profuse drainage.

Safety Issues: Barberry contains the alkaloid, berberine, which is really best not administered to children under the age of 3. If such administration becomes necessary due to the nature of the infection, please consult with a trained practitioner as to dosage. Barberry, like other berberine-containing plants, goldenseal, goldthread, and Oregon grape, should never be given at the beginning of a respiratory infection as this may cause excessive drying of the mucous membrane resulting in irritation and possible nosebleeds; wait until the mucous becomes profuse before administering these herbs. Do not administer for more than 10 days as reduction in "good" bacteria of the intestines responsible for body production and absorption of B vitamins may occur. Do not give barberry in children with high blood pressure.

Dosage: Extract (1:1 strength): Use 1/8 teaspoon in 4 ounces of water, sipped slowly over an hour; Tincture or TincTract (strength of 1:5): use 2-3 drops in 4 ounces of water, sipped slowly over an hour.

Benzoin, Styrax benzoin, S. paralleloneurum, S. tonkinensis

Medicinal Uses: Topical use as antiseptic; as an inhalant and expectorant for bronchial disorders.

Safety Issues: Allergy to benzoin can develop and cross-react with Mastisol; discontinue use if any hypersensitivity reactions occur.

Dosage: Inhalant: 5 ml benzoin gum per 1 pint water; breathe vapors; Topical: apply to affected area every 2-4 hours, test a small area before applying to a larger one.

Bilberry, Vaccinium myrtillus

Medicinal Uses: Mild, non-specific diarrhea; mild inflammation of mucous membranes of the mouth and throat; and as a mouthwash for oral candidiasis (thrush).

Safety Issues: None known.

Dosage: As a mouthwash, a solution containing 10% decoction of bilberries; for diarrhea or oral inflammation in children, 8-30 grams of the dried herb daily made into tea.

Black Haw, Viburnum prunifolium

Medicinal Uses: Relieve muscle cramps or spasms; menstrual pain.

Safety Issues: Do not use if child has history of kidney stones.

Dosage: Capsule or decoction: for a 50 pound child (approximate age of 7 years), use 1/2 capsule or 1/2 cup decoction; Cream: apply topically to relieve muscle cramps.

Boneset, Eupatorium purpureum

Medicinal Uses: Flu to promote sweating, expectorant and antispasmodic.

Safety Issues: High doses can cause vomiting; not for children under 1 year of age; do not administer for more than 7 days; can cause contact dermatitis in those hypersensitive to Asteraceae.

Dosage: Tea: 3/4 cup for 40 pound child, three times daily for 3 days; adjust accordingly to your child's weight. Err on the side of too little rather than too much. 

Burdock, Arctium lappa

Medicinal Uses: Skin irritations, eczema, psoriasis.

Safety Issues: Insulin dosages may need to be adjusted because of the hypoglycemic effect of burdock; purchase from source that tests their products to avoid commercial adulteration with belladonna (a very bad thing!); do not give for longer than 2 weeks without taking a 1 week break.

Dosage: Capsule/tea: 1 capsule per day or 1 cup of tea per day for a 50 pound child; Powdered root: 1/8 teaspoon made as a decoction for children less than 18 months; 1/4 teaspoon made as a decoction for children ages 18 months to 5 years; 1/2 teaspoon made as a decoction for children over 5 years of age.

Calendula flowers, Calendula officinalis

Medicinal Uses: Inflammation of the mouth and throat or externally for poorly healing wounds.

Safety Issues: None known.

Dosage: 2.5 grams (1 teaspoonful) of herb per 150 ml water taken in divided doses daily for a 50 pound child; Ointment equivalent to 2-5 grams of crude herb in 100 grams of ointment.

Catnip, Nepeta cataria

Medicinal Uses: Colic, relaxes spasms and cramps, clears intestinal "flutters" (flatulence), sleeplessness, minor fevers.

Safety Issues: None known. Has been traditionally used for even newborns with colic with no ill effects noted, other than comfy sleep, which as any new mother will tell you is not an ill effect.

Dosage: Tea: Breastfeeding mothers may take an adult dose to try to treat baby's colic. If that doesn't work, then a few ounces every day for infants can be given in a dropper alongside mom's nipple; 1 cup every day for toddlers and up to 3 cups daily for older children. A glycerine-based catnip preparation may be given to baby by having mom place a drop or so on her finger and allowing baby to suck the catnip from her finger. For topical use, tea may be rubbed on abdomen or body sponged with the tea.

Chamomile, German, Matricaria recutita, Chamomilla recutita

Medicinal Uses: Anxiety, teething, stomach upsets, muscle and digestive spasms, nausea.

Safety Issues: Avoid if hypersensitive to the Daisy family (Asteraceae); to avoid contamination with other species, use only commercial preparations or be quite certain as to the origin of your plant.

Dosage: Capsules: 1/2 capsule three times daily for 50 pound child; Glycerine-based preparations/tinctures: Follow directions on package; Tea: infant - 1 teaspoon daily; toddler - 1/2 cup daily; 50 pound child - 1 cup or 1 dropperful extract daily; Tea for colic symptoms: start slowly at 1 ounce per day, watch for allergic reactions before increasing 3-4 ounces daily. For baths to treat skin conditions, you can add 10-20 ml chamomile tincture or TincTract to 5 liters of water (the addition of yarrow, 10 ml tincture, makes an even better bath for antibacterial and anti-inflammatory effects); For Diaper rash, add 1 Tablespoon of a chamomile preparation to warm water and apply or apply a commercial chamomile ointment or make up your own chamomile pediatric oil by combining chamomile oil to sweet almond oil (1:10) and applying as needed for skin irritations and cradle cap.

Cinnamon, Cinnamomum spp.

Medicinal Uses: Decreases intestinal "flutters," indigestion, colic and nausea or other stomach upset such as diarrhea or cramping.

Safety Issues: Large doses and long-term use not recommended. Contraindicated in pregnancy in large doses.

Dosage: 1/2 teaspoon each of cinnamon and unsweetened carob powder added to 2 tablespoons applesauce may be given several times daily for diarrhea. A bit of cinnamon added to a tea of linden flowers, yarrow flowers and peppermint may be given as a tea or tincture at 1/2 teaspoon three times daily for flu and childhood fevers. 

Cleavers, Galium aparine


Medicinal Uses: Increases lymphatic circulation, increases lymph node drainage and reduces lymphatic swelling. May be used to treat ear infections, tonsillitis, upper respiratory infections and urinary infections.

Safety Issues: None known.

Dosage: Infusions: 1 -2 teaspoonfuls of herb to 8 ounces of water, steep 5 minutes and strain. Children under 3: 1 cup daily; Children over 3: up to 3 cups daily; Tincture: Children under 3: 1/8-1/4 teaspoon three times daily (made from fresh herb only); Children over 3: 1/2 teaspoon three times daily; TincTract: Children under 3: 1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon three times daily; Children over 3: 1 teaspoon three times daily (great herb for glycerin-based preparations).

Clove oil, Syzygium aromaticum

Medicinal Uses: Acute toothache.

Safety Issues: In concentrated form, oil of cloves may be irritating to mucosal tissues.

Dosage: For tooth decay causing pain, soak cotton wool or cotton thread in oil of Cloves and plug it into area of decay. This should be a short-term solution until you can get to the dentist.

Comfrey, Symphytum officinale

Medicinal Uses: Blunt trauma such as contusions, crush injuries, sprains, dislocation, and strain injuries.

Safety Issues: For external use only limited to 4-6 weeks. The author of Phytotherapy in Paediatrics, Schilcher, states that comfrey's "allantoin accelerates cell regeneration and has antiinflammatory properties. The mucilage has local emollient action and binds water, which makes it suitable for use in heat-holding compresses." He also states as to the concern with pyrrolizidine alkaloid concerns, "...let it be emphasized once more that there is no phytotherapeutic drug that can replace Symphytum preparations for topical sue, especially as a paste for rapid-action compresses."

Dosage: Ointments and other preparations for external application with 5-20% dried herb.

Echinacea, Echinacea angustifolia, E. pallida, E. purpurea

Medicinal Uses: Supportive therapy for immune system in colds, flu, childhood fevers, sore throat and coughs; externally for poorly healing wounds, eczema, chicken pox/herpes.

Safety Issues: Not for use in chronic immune disorders, such as tuberculosis or HIV infection, or auto-immune disease such as lupus, multiple sclerosis etc.; rarely, persons with asthma, eczema or hay fever have shown allergic reactions. Limit use to 10 days, then take a 2-5 day break. For external use, take only a 2 day break.

Dosage: Capsule/glycerin-based preparation/tincture: 1.5-2.5 ml (1/4-1/2 teaspoon) glycerin-based product or tincture or 1 capsule for a 50 pound child. For topical use, just mix the powdered herb with water to form a paste and apply to affected wound area.

Elder flower, Sambucus nigra

Medicinal Uses: Supportive therapy and prevention of colds, flu; increases bronchial secretions.

Safety Issues: None known.

Dosage: Syrup: 1-2 teaspoons up to three times daily; Tea up to 3 tablespoons of elder flower infusion daily; Tincture or TincTract: 1/2-1 teaspoon up to four times daily.

Elecampane, Inula helenium

Medicinal Uses: Dry, irritated, unproductive coughs. Increases the watery secretion of the respiratory system, making the cough productive and less irritating. Decreases spasms of the chest, making it useful for bronchitis, asthma, and bronchial pneumonia. Supports digestion. Useful also for pinworms and parasites due to antimicrobial properties.

Safety Issues: Contraindicated during pregnancy. Large dosage causes vomiting, diarrhea, spasms, and symptoms of paralysis.

Dosage: Decoction: Soak 1 ounce of root in 1 pint of water for 1 hour; bring to a boil and simmer 10 to 15 minutes. Children over age 3 can take up to 1 cup twice daily. Children under age three should not exceed 3/4 cup daily; Tincture or TincTract: Children over age 3 may use 1/2 teaspoon three times daily. Children under age 3 may take 1/8-1/4 teaspoon three times daily. I prefer to use elecampane in a formula with other respiratory and immune-supportive herbs to avoid taking too much.

Eucalyptus Oil, Eucalypti aetheroleum

Medicinal Uses: For external use only in children over 2 years of age as a decongestant chest rub for coughs and chest congestion.

Safety Issues: Not for use in children less than 2 years of age; do not apply to the face of small children; not for patients with liver, gallbladder or digestive diseases.

Dosage: As a chest rub: dilute 0.5-2.0 ml eucalyptus oil in 25 ml sweet almond oil; apply to chest.

Evening Primrose Oil, Oenothera biennis

Medicinal Uses: Eczema and atopic dermatitis, PMS, breast pain.

Safety Issues: May trigger temporal lobe epilepsy in schizophrenics receiving phenothiazines.

Dosage: Eczema: 1-2 grams daily from capsules; Breast pain: 3-4 grams daily, divided into 1 gram three to four times daily, from capsules; PMS: 1 gram three times daily from capsules.

Eyebright, Euphrasia officinalis

Medicinal Uses: External eyewash for inflammation of eyelids or conjunctiva associated with "pink-eye" or colds; internal supportive use to decrease overproduction of mucous secretions by constricting nasal membranes.

Safety Issues: None known.

Dosage: External: 2 grams of dried herb in 150 ml (1 cup) water infused for 10 minutes; filter while hot with a sterile membrane filter. Allow to cool, then "wash" eyes several times daily with tea (may also be combined with chamomile for greater antiinflammatory action). Internal: Infusion: Use 1 teaspoon herb to 8 ounces of boiling water; steep 3-5 minutes and strain. Use 1/2 to 1 cup three times daily; Tincture or TincTract: Use 1/2 to 1 teaspoon, respectively, three times daily in water.

Fennel, Foeniculum vulgare

Medicinal Uses: Stomach upsets such as intestinal "flutters" (flatulence), colic, cramps from diarrhea, sense of fullness in stomach after eating; mucous conditions (catarrh) of the respiratory tract - particularly treated in children with fennel syrup and fennel honey.

Safety Issues: Contraindicated during pregnancy; may provoke allergic reactions of the skin and respiratory tract.

Dosage: Fennel syrup or honey for children's use: 10-20 grams daily in divided doses; Adult dose of herb - 5-7 grams daily in divided doses; Infant colic: 3-4 ounces of tea daily (remember, herb tea will take up vital space in baby's tummy where mommy milk needs to be - dose baby at lowest possible dose of the tea to attain efficacy); 2-5 drops of glycerin-based fennel preparation (may be a combined preparation with catnip for maximum effectiveness for colic).

Flaxseed, Linum usitatissimum

Medicinal Uses: Chronic constipation, for colons damaged by abuse of laxatives, irritable bowel syndrome, diverticulitis, as mucilage for gastritis and enteritis.

Safety Issues: Contraindicated in bowel obstruction of any origin. Must be taken with at least 150 ml (6 fluid ounces) of water.

Dosage: 1 Tablespoonful of flaxseeds, whole or very lightly cracked are best taken between meals.

Garlic, Allium sativum

Medicinal Uses: Respiratory infections and intestinal parasitic infections, such as giardia.

Research: Concentrations of garlic extract supplements were able to inhibit formation of dense red cells of sickle cell anemia that trigger vaso-occlusion (Sickle Cell, 2000).

Safety Issues: Large quantities of garlic may upset a tender stomach or irritate mouth tissue, or change the flora balance of the intestines; use sparingly in children under 2 years of age. Topical application of garlic cloves can result in garlic skin burns.

Dosage: Cooked: children can eat rice or other foods liberally flavored with garlic; Garlic oil: 1/2 capsule of garlic oil for a 50 pound child several times daily with food; an adult dosage of fresh garlic is 4 grams daily.

Ginger, Zingiber officinale

Medicinal Uses: Nausea, motion sickness, vomiting, digestive cramping, stomach upsets, muscle aches, menstrual cramps, headaches.

Safety Issues: Use only in consultation with a physician in the presence of gallstones.

Dosage: Ginger root: 25 mg four times daily in children under 3 years of age; 50-75 mg four times daily in children 3-6 years; 125 mg four times daily in children 7-11 years of age; 250 mg four times daily for children over 12 years of age. Tea: 2 slices of ginger root in 1 cup of water to be drank in divided doses several times daily - err on the side of small doses in the young - ginger is a hot herb. Glycerin-based preparation: 10 -15 drops in a little water.

Goldenseal, Hydrastis canadensis

Medicinal Uses: GI infections; excess mucous conditions of the upper respiratory tract.

Safety Issues: Contraindicated during pregnancy. This herb should not be used in the beginning of mucous conditions or in cases of dry, irritated mucous membranes; use should be confined to conditions with profuse drainage to avoid further irritation or possible nosebleeds. Should not be given to children under age 3 without consultation with a trained practitioner.

Dosage: 0.25-1.0 tincture or TincTract three times daily.

Hops, Humulus lupulus

Medicinal Uses: Restlessness, hyperactivity, insomnia, headaches, pain.

Safety Issues: Not appropriate for children with bedwetting, lethargy or depression.

Dosage: Bath: add a few drops of hops oil or dried herbs in a stocking to bath water; Teas: 1 tablespoon of hops to 1/4 liter of boiling water; steep 10 minutes; Up to age 3, 1 cup per day; over age 3, children may have 1 cup three times daily. TincTract: Ages 6-25 months: 5 - 15 drops three times daily; Ages 3 to 12 years, 20-60 drops three times daily.

Horse Chestnut, Aesculus hippocastanum

Medicinal Uses: Blunt trauma with painful bruising or post-surgical soft tissue swelling.

Safety Issues: For external use only in pediatrics.

Dosage: Follow directions on commercial standardized horse chestnut preparation for external application.

Hyssop, Hyssopus officinalis

Medicinal Uses: Coughing, colds and flu, chronic phlegm.

Safety Issues: Contraindicated during pregnancy due to uterine stimulant properties. Do not give to children under the age of 2 years.

Dosage: Infusion: 1 teaspoonful of herb to 1 cup boiling water; steep 1-3 minutes covered. Sweeten with fruit juice or combine with lemongrass and elderberry for a tea to treat childhood fevers. Tincture or TincTract: 1/2 to 1 teaspoon three times daily.

Iceland Moss, Cetraria islandica

Medicinal Uses: Irritation of the mouth and throat mucous membranes and accompanying dry cough; loss of appetite.

Safety Issues: None known.

Dosage: 1-3 grams of the herb for children daily.

Ivy leaf, Hedera helix

Medicinal Uses: Catarrhs of the respiratory passages, symptomatic treatment of chronic inflammatory bronchial conditions.

Safety Issues: None known.

Dosage: Use the standardized extract available commercially and follow directions on package for dosing down for your child. Home teas are too easy to exceed daily dose recommendations (0.3 grams of herb daily)

Juniper berries, Juniperus communis, J. Oxycedrus

Medicinal Uses: Diuretic, stomach upsets, menstrual pain.

Safety Issues: Contraindicated during pregnancy; Not for use exceeding 4-6 weeks in succession; contraindicated in inflammatory kidney stones.

Dosage: Menstrual pain: use a weak tea of 15 grams of berries in 500 ml water; Other conditions, follow general tea guidelines.

Lavender flowers, Lavandula angustifolia

Medicinal Uses: Restlessness, difficulty going to sleep, functional GI symptoms, nervous stomach and intestinal symptoms due to nerves.

Safety Issues: None known.

Dosage: Pour 150 ml boiling water over 1 teaspoonful of lavender flowers, cover and allow to infuse for 10 minutes. TincTract: 5 to 30 drops three times daily. 7-10 drops in a full bath is very calming.

Lemon Balm, Melissa officinalis

Medicinal Uses: Nervous sleeping disorders. Functional GI complaints such as colic or other gastric spasms, sense of fullness and to calm and soothe.

Safety Issues: None known.

Dosage: 1 tablespoonful of minced dried plant to 150 ml of water; infuse for 15 minutes. Infants may be given 1 cup in divided doses over the day, older children may have up to 3 cups daily. TincTract: 1/2 teaspoon three times daily; for infants, mom can place a few drops (2-4) on her finger and allow baby to suck the medicine off her finger.

Lemongrass, Cymbopogon citratus

Medicinal Uses: Childhood fevers.

Safety Issues: Contraindicated during pregnancy due to uterine stimulant properties.

Dosage: Combine with hyssop and elderberry for childhood fevers and follow general tea guidelines.

Licorice root, Glyzyrrhiza glabra

Medicinal Uses: Catarrhal conditions of the upper respiratory tract and gastric/duodenal ulcers. Increases bronchial secretions and serves as an expectorant.

Safety Issues: Contraindicated in cholestatic liver disorders, liver cirrhosis, hypertonia, hypokalemia, severe kidney insufficiency, pregnancy. With prolonged and with higher doses, mineralocorticoid effects may occur in the form of sodium and water retention and potassium loss, accompanied by hypertension, edema, and hypokalemia, and, in rare cases, myoglobinuria.

Dosage: Licorice is usually mixed with mullein, marshmallow or anise for productive coughs with approximately 0.5-1.0 grams in the combination and given in tea form 1/2 to 1 cup up to three times daily; Tincture/TincTract: 1/2 to 1 teaspoon up to three times daily.

Linden flower, Tilia cordata, T. Platyphyllos

Medicinal Uses: Colds and cold-related coughs.

Safety Issues: None known.

Dosage: 1-3 grams of the herb in 8 ounces of boiling water; steep covered for 5 minutes. Give 1/2 to 1 cup three times daily; Tincture or TincTract: 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon up to three times daily.

Lobelia, Lobelia inflata

Medicinal Uses: Expectorant, coughs, asthma.

Safety Issues: Contraindicated during pregnancy; May cause nausea and vomiting in large doses; dose-dependent cardioactivity has been observed. Felter and Lloyd state that the "...emetic action is so prompt and decided, that the contained alkaloid could not, under ordinary circumstances, produce fatal results." Current safety literature would confirm that no severe symptoms or death has been produced from the plant, Lobelia inflata. Brinker states that lobelia should not be administered during shock or nervous prostration, low blood pressure or paralysis, or with dyspnea from heart disease. Best to reserve for children 5 years and over in age. Expect expectoration!

Dosage: Tea: infuse no more than 1/4 teaspoon dried herb to 1 cup hot water; a 50 pound child can drink up to 1 cup three times daily. An adult dosage for use as an expectorant is 100 mg of the leaf or 0.6-2.0 ml of the tincture.

Marshmallow, Althaea officinalis

Medicinal Uses: Irritation of mouth and throat mucosa in conjunction with unproductive, dry coughs. Action is demulcent and emollient, and inhibits mucociliar activity with increased phagocytosis. 

Safety Issues: None known.

Dosage: 2-8 ml (small teaspoonful to 2 tablespoonfuls), according to age of marshmallow syrup or glycerin-based preparation may be taken daily. To make marshmallow tea, you must extract 1 tablespoonful of minced roots for 2 to 3 hours using cold infusion in 200 ml of water; strain the liquid after the maceration time and briefly bring to a boil to kill any bugs that might have begun growing whilst macerating. TincTract: 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon three times daily.

Meadowsweet, Filipendula ulmaria

Medicinal Uses: Supportive therapy for colds, particularly to help reduce fever.

Safety Issues: None known, except this herb should not be used by anyone allergic to salicylates.

Dosage: 2.5 grams (1 teaspoonful) of meadowsweet flowers or 6-8 grams (1 tablespoonful) to 150 ml of boiling water taken up to four times daily. TincTract: 15 drops for infants; 1/2 teaspoon for older children three times daily.

Mint, Pepperint and Spearmint. Mentha piperita and Mentha spicata

Medicinal Uses: Spearmint is better for children because it is not so "hot." Mints relax the muscles of the digestive tract, providing relief from nausea, vomiting, "flutters," and bloating. Mint can actually worsen heartburn because of this relaxing effect. Mint may help treat headaches and migraines, colds and flu as well. The cooling and soothing action of mint makes it an excellent pediatric remedy for skin irritation.

Safety Issues: None known.

Dosage: Infusion: 1 teaspoon of herb to 8 ounces of boiling water, cover and steep 3-5 minutes. Give 1 cup up to three times daily; Tincture or TincTract: Use 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon three times daily; Essential oil for topical application: Use 1 to 3 drops topically in baths, steams, skin washes, creams or salves.

Mullein, Verbascum densiflorum

Medicinal Uses: Catarrhs of the respiratory tract.

Safety Issues: None known.

Dosage: 3-4 grams of the dried flowers per cup. To 1 tablespoon of mullein flowers, add about 200 ml of boiling water; infuse 15 minutes. Sweeten with honey and serve between meals. Tincture or TincTract: 1/2 teaspoon three times daily between meals.

Myrrh, Commiphora madagascariensis, C. molmol, C. myrrha

Medicinal Uses: Oral candidiasis (thrush) or other inflammatory changes in mouth or throat.

Safety Issues: Contraindicated in pregnancy and in excessive uterine bleeding. Adult doses over 2.0-4.0 grams may cause irritation of the kidneys and diarrhea.

Dosage: Apply myrrh tincture diluted 1:1 with boiled water, or, better, chamomile tea, with a cotton swab.

Nettle, Urtica dioica

Medicinal Uses: Allergies, hay fever, colds, coughs; boost iron-deficiency anemia; supportive therapy for urinary system and lymphatic system.

Safety Issues: None known.

Dosage: Capsule or tea: a 50 pound child may take 1/2 capsule once daily or 1/2 cup once daily to begin, working up to that dosage three times daily during allergy season; Tincture/TincTract: 1/4 to 1 teaspoon, according to child's age and weight, three times daily.

Oat Straw, Avena sativa

Medicinal Uses: Inflammatory and seborrheic skin disease, especially with itching.

Safety Issues: None known.

Dosage: 50-100 grams of herb boiled for 30 minutes, then strained for one full bath. You may also want to add 5-10 drops of peppermint oil to aid in relieving irritation (swish your hand through the water vigorously after adding the oil to avoid the child coming in contact with a drop of oil and getting in eyes, etc).

Oregon Grape, Mahonia aquifolium, M. nervosa, M. repens

Medicinal Uses: Contraindicated for pregnancy. This herb should not be used in the beginning of mucous conditions or in cases of dry, irritated mucous membranes; use should be confined to conditions with profuse drainage to avoid further irritation or possible nosebleeds. Should not be given to children under age 3 without consultation with a trained practitioner.

Dosage: 0.25-1.0 tincture or TincTract three times daily.

Passion Flower, Passiflora incarnata

Medicinal Uses: Nervous restlessness.

Safety Issues: None known.

Dosage: Pour 150-200 ml of boiling water on to 1 tablespoonful of the cut-up herb and infuse on a low flame for 5 minutes. Give children under three up to 1 cup daily; children 3 years and over, up to 3 cups daily; 1/2 - 1 teaspoon three times daily..

Plantain, Plantago lanceolata, P. major, P. media

Medicinal Uses: Inflammation and catarrh of the respiratory tract, mouth or throat, or externally for inflammatory skin reactions.

Safety Issues: None known.

Dosage: Infusion: 3-5 grams of dried plant daily in 150 ml water taken in 3-4 divided doses daily; Tincture or TincTract: 1/2-1 teaspoon three times daily.

Red Root, Ceanothus spp

Medicinal Uses: To stimulate lymphatic drainage, anti-inflammatory and tonic to mucous membrane. The herb is astringent, antiseptic, expectorant, antispasmodic and a blood coagulant.

Safety Issues: Lack of scientific information does not allow classification, but traditionally used safely. Large doses during pregnancy would be unwise due to astringent properties.

Dosage: Tincture or TincTract: 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoonful three to four times daily.

Sage, Salvia officinalis

Medicinal Uses: Gargle for inflammation of mouth and throat.

Safety Issues: Contraindicated for internal use during pregnancy. Not for long-term use.

Dosage: Pour 150 ml of boiling water over 2.5 grams (1 teaspoonful) of minced sage leaves; infuse for 10 minutes and strain. May gargle 2-3 times daily; 1 -2 drops of volatile sage oil to 100 ml of water may be gargled as well or 5 grams (1 teaspoonful) of tincture or TincTract to 150 ml (1 cup) water. Sucking a sage lozenge may also help several times daily in lieu of other sage treatments.

Slippery Elm, Ulmus fulva

Medicinal Uses: Relieves diarrhea, soothes diaper rash, soothes a sore, inflamed throat or dry, unproductive cough that has irritated the mucous membranes. Externally, it makes a wonderful poultice to form a protective "scab" on a wound to allow healing and soothe the wound.

Safety Issues: None known.

Dosage: Infusion: 1 teaspoon powdered herb to 6 to 8 ounces of boiling water. Stir while adding the water to help make a smooth mixture. The tea will taste a bit "slimy" or slippery. Add more water to your desired consistency. Give 1/2 to 1 cup three times daily; Gruel for diarrhea: Use 1 teaspoon of herb powder to 3 tablespoons of boiling water, mix into paste consistency or add more water to preferred consistency. Use 1 to 2 tablespoons per dose 3 to 4 times daily. Thicker consistency will allow you to use as a poultice on the skin.

St. John's wort, Hypericum perforatum

Medicinal Uses: The oil may be used for bruises, muscle injuries or 1st degree burns; Internal herb for depressive moods, anxiety and/or nervous unrest.

Safety Issues: Photosensitization is possible, especially in fair-skinned individuals.

Dosage: Apply the oil to the burn or injured area with a sterile gauze and change the dressing every 10 hours to heal the wound and prevent scarring; Tea: Children 3 years of age and up may be given 2-3 cups daily of tea made with 1 teaspoonful of the cut-up herb to 200 ml of boiling water, infused for 10 minutes; Fluid extract: Children aged 3-5 may be given 5 drops twice daily; Children 5 and up may be given 10 drops up to three times daily; Tincture or TincTract: Use 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon three times daily.

Sundew, Drosera rotundifolia

Medicinal Uses: For coughing fits and dry cough.

Safety Issues: None known.

Dosage: Generally mixed with thyme as follows: Tincture or TincTract: 5 grams (2 teaspoons) of Sundew to 20 grams (2 heaping tablespoonfuls) of Thyme, then give 20-30 drops several times daily or combine: 40 grams (4 heaping tablespoonfuls) of Thyme, 40 grams of Sundew, 15 grams (2 small tablespoonfuls) of Anise and 5 grams (2 teaspoons) Mullein. Infuse 1 Tablespoonful of this mixture of herbs in 150 ml (1 cupful) of boiling water and administer several times daily.

Tea, Camellia sinensis

Medicinal Uses: Diarrhea remedy everyone has on hand.

Safety Issues: Fermented black teas are not intended for daily, prolonged use.

Dosage: 1 heaping teaspoonful of tea leaves to one cup of water infused for 15 minutes. Green tea is best, but children generally frown upon the taste. Semi-fermented oolong tea is a superior choice to black tea, but if black tea is the only one on hand, use that.

Thyme, Thymus spp.

Medicinal Uses: Antiinflammatory, coughs, bronchitis, upper respiratory mucous, sore throats, colic, mixed with sundew for whooping cough.

Research: Genital vulvar lichen sclerosis has been treated successfully in prepubertal girls with a cream containing thyme extract (Genital, 1989).

Safety Issues: None known.

Dosage: Bath: infants, add strained tea to bath water; Chest rub: add 1Hyper0 drops of thyme oil diluted in 20 ml sweet almond oil or sunflower oil and rub on chest for congestion; 1-2 grams of the dried plant added to 150 ml boiling water and infused for 10 minutes may be taken several times daily. For whooping cough, an alcohol extract is necessary and best to be combined with sundew; Tincture or TincTract: 1/2 to 1 teaspoon three times daily. 

Turkey Rhubarb, Rheum officinale, R. palmatum, R. tanguticum

Medicinal Uses: If the use of flaxseed and high-fiber fruit and bran is not sufficient to achieve a bowel movement in constipation, then a mild anthraquinone herb may be used on a very short-term basis.

Safety Issues: Contraindicated during pregnancy; intestinal obstruction, abdominal pain of unknown origin or any inflammatory condition of the intestines (appendicitis, colitis, Crohn's disease, irritable bowel etc). Not for use longer than 8-10 days; individuals with a history of kidney stones should use this herb cautiously.

Dosage: 1/4 teaspoon of herb once or twice daily in TincTract or dried form.

Uva Ursi, Arctostaphylos uva-ursi

Medicinal Uses: Inflammatory disorders of the lower urinary tract.

Safety Issues: Contraindicated in pregnancy, lactation and children under twelve.

Dosage: 3 grams of drug to 150 ml of water as an infusion or cold maceration as a single dose or 3 grams of drug to 150 ml water as an infusion or cold maceration up to 4 times daily in children over the age of 12.

Valerian, Valeriana edulis, V. officinalis, V. sitchensis, V. wallichii

Medicinal Uses: Insomnia, anxiety, hyperactivity, muscle or digestive cramps, intestinal "flutters."

Safety Issues: Some authors have concern about long-term continual use causing minor side effects such as headaches, excitability and insomnia, but the German Commission E Monographs do not indicate this warning or concern.

Dosage: Tea: 1 teaspoonful of valerian root to 200 ml of boiling water infused for 15 minutes may be taken in divided doses as needed daily; children over age 3 may take 1/2 teaspoonful (2.5 ml) of valerian tincture or TincTract before bedtime as needed.

Yarrow, Achillea millefolium

Medicinal Uses: Externally for inflammatory skin conditions such as chicken pox, poison ivy and oak rashes; internally for colds, fever and flu.

Safety Issues: Contraindicated in children with allergies to the Daisy family (Asteraceae).

Dosage: Bath: add tea to bath water or dilute a tincture 1:1 or 1:2 to apply to affected skin. An adult internal dose would be: 4.5 grams of yarrow herb daily or equivalent preparation. TincTract: Children under 1: 1/8 teaspoon three to four times daily; toddlers up to 3 years of age: 1/4 teaspoon three to four times daily; children 3- 7 years of age: 1/2 teaspoon three to four times daily; children 8-12 years of age: 3/4 teaspoon three to four times daily; children over 12 years of age: 1 teaspoon three to four times daily.