Posts Tagged ‘healing’

Keep Kids Healthy, Naturally

No need to run to the pharmacy once sniffle season strikes. These doctor-approved home remedies work
By Jessica Downey

For kids, back to school means excitement and anticipation. For parents, it means colds, flus, rashes—and back to the doctor. Come September, along with their art projects and homework assignments, kids start coming home with an array of germs that leave them—and the rest of the family—sick, sapped, and cranky. However, there’s no need to resign yourself to a season spent at the pediatrician’s office and a medicine chest filled with prescription meds. Experts agree that using holistic, homeopathic, and alternative remedies can resolve common kid ailments. And when it comes to your kids’ health, not reaching for the big pharmaceutical guns right away makes good sense.

“People naturally want to give kids medicine if they aren’t feeling well because they want to help them get better,” says Roy Steinbock, MD, an integrative pediatrician in Boulder, Colorado. “But illness is part of life. Suppressing symptoms at all costs is not a good approach.” And while conventional medicine has plenty of merit, some treatments come with potential risks of their own and don’t even get to the root of the problem, says Lawrence Rosen, MD, a pediatrician at the Whole Child Center in Oradell, New Jersey. “Medicine used to be very ‘one-size-fits-all,’ which doesn’t treat kids most effectively,” says Rosen. “It shouldn’t be a decision between conventional or alternative treatments. The approach to helping kids feel better should really be integrative.”

Of course, many parents feel nervous going outside the generally accepted guidelines, especially when their child gets sick. So we asked pediatricians what they deem to be the safest and most effective natural solutions for the five most common ailments. Here’s what they had to say.

Ear Infections
Often signaled by fevers, tugging at the ears, and congestion, ear infections—one of the most common of all childhood complaints—can cause excruciating pain for your kids, making it difficult not to fill that prescription for antibiotics immediately.

“Most pediatricians are taught that ear infections are best treated with antibiotics,” Rosen says. But holistic practitioners and conventional pediatricians don’t agree. “We want fewer antibiotics prescribed to kids,” he says. What’s more, studies show that antibiotics don’t always work. First, many ear infections are not bacterial—and antibiotics only clear up bacterial infections. Secondly, antibiotics target bacteria indiscriminately, so they wipe out good bacteria along with the bad. And finally, growing immune systems can become dependent on the drugs, says Dana Ullman, MPH, DHM, and author of The Homeopathic Revolution (North Atlantic Books, 2007). “If you treat with antibiotics too soon in the inflammation process, your child’s body doesn’t learn to identify what has infected it. Her body then depends on the antibiotic to fight the infection for her.”

Furthermore, an ear infection—viral or bacterial—will often clear up without the aid of drugs. “More than 80 percent of the time children recover from earaches just on the strength of their own immune system,” says Kathi J. Kemper, MD, professor of pediatrics at Wake Forest University School of Medicine in North Carolina. However, if you and your doctor decide antibiotics are the best course, Kemper recommends simultaneously giving your children probiotics, which contain beneficial bacteria, to replace some of the good bacteria that are lost.

If you decide to steer clear of medication, try one or more of the following options to fight off ear infections.

Willow, garlic, and mullein oil drops
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These olive oil-based solutions contain a combination of herbs with pain-relieving, antibacterial, and antifungal properties. “The research behind these oils says they are more effective than antibiotics at treating ear infection symptoms like pain,” says Rosen. Dosages vary based on the age of your child and his symptoms, so read the label carefully or check with a holistic practitioner about how much to use.

Homeopathy.
“One of the principles of homeopathy is that your ear infection and my ear infection are not the same,” says Ullman. “Once a child has the conventional diagnosis, we then figure out the unique symptoms.” This means you can choose the homeopathic remedy that matches the symptoms your child has. Ullman recommends belladonna for children whose earaches begin with sudden, intense pain and are accompanied by a high fever, and pulsatilla for children who are being especially cuddly, complaining that their ear pain is worse at night, and have a yellow-to-green discharge from their nose. Chamomilla can help children who suffer from extreme ear pain, are irritable, and don’t want to be comforted.

Nasal Congestion
Many parents complain that their child’s nose is runny or congested more often than it’s clear. Congestion occurs when the membranes that line the nose swell from inflamed blood vessels, which result from colds, allergies, dry air, or dust.

Although some doctors endorse decongestants to remedy congestion, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends letting your kids heal on their own, unless they are younger than 3 months old. Steinbock agrees.

“If a kid has a runny nose, you really don’t have to treat it unless he can’t breathe.” Of course, if you get nervous, by all means call your doctor. But once you’re satisfied your little one has nothing more serious than a cold, these gentle, noninvasive choices may keep his sniffles at bay and his breathing freer.

Humidifiers.
Most doctors agree the first thing you can do is put a humidifier in your child’s room to increase the moisture in the air while she’s sleeping. The added moisture will loosen sinus congestion and soothe airways. German chamomile, eucalyptus, rosemary, and lavender essential oils will help kids breathe easier. Add one to two drops to the water in the humidifier before you turn it on.

Saline nasal rinses.
These solutions, such as Kids’ Xlear Saline Nasal Spray With Xylitol, gently clear your child’s nasal cavities of irritants, which is important because the mucus membranes are sensitive. For infants and toddlers, Steinbock recommends applying a simple saline solution followed by a gentle bulb suction.

Hydrotherapy.
If your congested child is older—or very cooperative—try a hydrotherapy treatment using a neti pot. This ceramic vessel designed especially for water to flow in and out of the nose allows you to pour a saltwater solution into your child’s nose and irrigate the sinuses. The water washes away allergens from nasal passages, and the salt draws fluid out of swollen mucus membranes, which helps drain the sinuses.

Skin Rashes
Rashes can signal any number of things—from something as serious as a spider bite to a mild allergic reaction to a new food—and because of this, they can be tough to treat. “The most common skin rash is called, ‘We don’t know what it is but it will probably disappear on its own,’” says Kemper. “The vast majority of rashes go away on their own because our immune systems are marvelous.” And the keys to a strong immune system are simple, she says: “a healthy diet, plenty of sleep, and a loving family.” Of course everyone should wash their hands frequently to keep germs at a minimum.

For more serious rashes and eczema—a common condition in infants and children that causes itching, dryness, and red or scaly rashes—doctors may suggest hydrocortisone, a topical corticosteroid that works by decreasing (or preventing) the tissues’ response to inflammation. Since cortisone doesn’t cure the eczema and can nibble at the body’s ability to fight infection, try these other options first.

Eco-friendly products.
Environmental irritants include everyday products like laundry detergents, household cleaners, perfumes, face and body washes, and soaps. Switch to eco-friendly, scent-free brands of laundry detergent and bodycare products, and opt for chemical-free household cleansers.

Soothing baths.
If flare-ups occur often, give your child a bath. Soaking in a lukewarm bath of evening primrose oil for 15 to 20 minutes can help relieve itching and dryness. Try Kneipp Evening Primrose Moisture Bath and pat or air dry so the oil stays on the skin to protect and soothe.

Probiotics.
Research has shown that probiotics prevent eczema in adults and has explored their use as a treatment for the condition in infants and children.

Aloe and calendula ointment.
For other mild rashes, comfort the area without exposing your child’s skin to chemicals and toxins. Aloe and calendula ointments (try Hyland’s Skin Therapy) will soothe the itching and burning that often come with a rash, says Rosen, and that should keep little fingers from scratching and infecting the area.

Cough & Sore Throat
A sore throat usually indicates that a cold is coming on. During childhood your kids will likely have more colds or upper-respiratory infections than any other illness, according to the AAP. In fact, most kids have eight to 10 colds in the first two years of life. Until earlier this year, when the makers of several leading over-the-counter cold medications voluntarily withdrew products sold for infants, cough medicines were the generally accepted remedy to handle sore throats and coughs. “A lot of Western medicine isn’t always tested thoroughly, which you can see from the fact that they removed all cough medicines from the shelves,” Steinbock says. Steer clear of those OTCs and try these drug-free alternatives instead.

Slippery elm bark.
A number of doctors opt for an expectorant over a cough suppressant to get the mucus out of a child’s system. Steinbock touts the benefits of slippery elm bark, an herb that acts as an expectorant and a demulcent, which soothes the throat. The remedy comes from the bark of an American elm, but is not considered an official drug in the US. The bark is available in powder form and can simply be mixed with hot water. If your kids turn their noses up at boiling bark, try adding a little honey. “It’s a great home remedy,” says Kemper.

Menthol and eucalyptus.
For kids older than 6, Kemper recommends rubbing menthol and eucalyptus on their chests.

Fevers
Fevers—even when they aren’t high—can push any parent’s panic button. In fact, a study released by Johns Hopkins University in May found that parents tend to overtreat even the mildest fevers. To qualify as a fever, body temperature needs to spike above 100 degrees (normal is 98.6). But a mild fever—considered somewhere between 100 degrees and 102 degrees—should not be cause for alarm. “We must remind parents that fever is a sign of the body’s revved-up defenses fighting infection and that fever-reducing medications carry their own risks,” says Johns Hopkins pediatrician Michael Crocetti, MD. While it can be tempting to give an uncomfortable, cranky child acetaminophen or ibuprofen every six to eight hours (kids tend to feel better when their fever is lower), Ullman cautions against the urge. “Fever up to a certain degree is beneficial,” he says. “Parents shouldn’t give kids acetaminophen for fevers below 103 degrees.” Use the following modalities to treat a fever holistically.

Homeopathy.
There are three main homeopathic fever reducers, says Ullman: belladonna, which is used when kids display a flushed face and give off heat in response to a high, rapid-onset fever; ferrum phos, which helps treat mild fevers; and aconite, which is a homeopathic form of vitamin C. Talk to a homeopath about how to use these remedies.

Hydrotherapy.
Cold-water baths can be effective in bringing down high fevers, but check with your doctor first. Make sure your child drinks plenty of fluids, and call the pediatrician if her fever spikes. You can also give your little one a warm to hot footbath while placing a cold cloth on her head and wrapping her body in a blanket. This is especially good for fevers that are accompanied with headache.

Aromatherapy.
To help reduce fevers, dilute essential oils of bergamot, chamomile, or eucalyptus with a carrier oil before applying them as a warm compress on her forehead or chest, or having your child inhale their vapors.

Jessica Downey is a freelance writer in Pennsylvania.

via Keep Kids Healthy, Naturally – Natural Solutions Vibrant Health Balanced Living.

14 Healing Remedies with Honey

selected from Yoga + Joyful Living

14 Healing Remedies with Honey
By Vasant Lad, Yoga +

The fossil record tells us honeybees have been around for 150 million years or more. No one knows when we discovered the treasure hidden in their hives, but paintings of beekeepers lining the walls of a cave in Spain prove that we have been practicing the art of beekeeping for at least 7,000 years. Honey is versatile. It has been prized as a sweetener, as medicine, as an offering for the gods, as currency, and as a symbol of love. In Greek mythology, for example, Cupid dips his arrows in honey before aiming them at our hearts.

Honey also shows up in scripture. The Qur’an describes rivers of honey in paradise, and the Old Testament speaks of the Promised Land flowing with milk and honey. This golden elixir also appears in the Veda. (The Sanskrit word for honey is madhu.)

According to ayurveda, honey is the nectar of life. Because it is created from the essence of a flower’s sex organs, it has a natural affinity with reproductive tissue. It can also heal sore throats, colds, coughs, ulcers, burns, and wounds. And when ingested with a healing herb (like ashwagandha), honey travels to the deepest tissues, transporting the chemical properties and the subtle energies of medicine to the cellular level.

[Slow Poison]
Ayurveda says that raw honey is medicine, but cooked honey is a slow poison. Why? In its natural form, honey is rich in minerals, vitamins, enzymes, amino acids, and carbohydrates. But heat strips honey of most of its nutritional value and transforms the honey molecules into a non-homogenized glue that adheres to mucous membranes and clogs subtle energy channels. Cooked honey creates cellular toxicity and may lead to immunological dysfunction. It can also clog the arteries and lead to atherosclerosis (thickening of the arteries), hampering blood flow to the vital organs. So as a general rule, honey should never be cooked, and nothing should be cooked with honey. Instead, add raw honey to yogurt, warm tea, or spread it on bread or toast.

These days, most honey sold commercially has been heated and should be avoided. Look for the words “raw” or “unpasteurized” on honey at a health-food store or online at places like the Ayurvedic Institute (www.ayurveda.com) or www.eBeeHoney.com. But the purest form of honey is local and raw because it helps prevent (or calm) seasonal allergies and is full of prana (vital energy). As summer approaches, check your local farmers’ market, and if you live in the country, keep an eye out for roadside honey stands.

Honey, Help Me!
Ayurvedic texts are full of honey-based remedies for a wide range of ailments.

For obesity, high blood pressure, and/or high cholesterol, drink a cup of hot water with a teaspoon of honey and 5 to 10 drops of apple cider vinegar early in the morning daily. (Ayurvedic texts say honey scrapes fat and cholesterol from the body’s tissues.)

To relieve rheumatoid arthritis symptoms, take 1 teaspoon of honey with 200 mg powdered guggulu daily.

To heal oral ulcers, apply 1 teaspoon honey and a pinch of turmeric to canker sores, mouth ulcers, or sores on the tongue. This mixture will generate saliva and draw out toxins; spit it out to speed the healing process. For internal ulcers, mix a cup of warm milk with a teaspoon of honey twice daily.

To heal a wound, dress it daily with sterilized gauze brushed with honey; dispose at night.

For the common cold, mix 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon with 1 teaspoon honey and eat two or three times a day.

To clear your sinuses, take a mixture of 1 teaspoon each of fresh ginger juice and honey two or three times a day.

For asthma, eat a mixture made of 1/2 teaspoon bay leaf powder, 1/4 teaspoon pippali, and 1 teaspoon of honey two or three times daily.

For nausea, vomiting, and/or indigestion, mix one part lemon juice with one part honey. Dip your index finger into this mixture and lick it slowly twice daily.

For anxiety, drink 1 cup of orange juice with 1 teaspoon of honey and a pinch of nutmeg powder twice daily.

To help reduce the craving for cigarettes, chew small pieces of pineapple with 1/2 teaspoon of honey before smoking.

For abdominal pain, take a mixture of 1/4 teaspoon ground bay leaf, 1/4 teaspoon ajwan (celery seeds), and 1 teaspoon of honey before lunch and dinner daily.

For chronic fever, make a tea of 1 teaspoon of holy basil (tulsi) and 1 cup of hot water. Add 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper powder and 1 teaspoon of honey. Take two or three times a day.

To aid poor circulation, mix 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon trikatu, and 1 teaspoon honey in 1 cup of hot water. Steep for 10 minutes. Take twice a day.

To stop hiccups, mix 1 teaspoon honey and 1 teaspoon castor oil in a container. Dip your index finger into the mixture and lick it. Repeat every 10 minutes until your hiccups stop. (Hiccups are due to spasm of the diaphragm, and these ingredients in equal proportion are anti-spasmodic.)

Did you know?
To make one pound of honey, a swarm of honeybees flies about 24,000 miles and visits 3 to 9 million flowers.

Because its qualities are heating and sweet, honey is good for kapha and vata, and in moderation with pitta.

Please Note
Raw honey is not recommended for infants under the age of 18 months, the very elderly, or others with compromised immune systems.

Vasant Lad, BAMS, MASc, is a world-renowned ayurvedic physician and author. He is the founder of the Ayurvedic Institute (www.ayurveda.com) in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Yoga+ is an award-winning, independent magazine that contemplates the deeper dimensions of spiritual life–exploring the power of yoga practice and philosophy to not only transform our bodies and minds, but inspire meaningful engagement in our society, environment, and the global community.

via http://www.care2.com/greenliving/14-healing-remedies-with-honey.html