Natural Flu Remedies for Children

| Modified on Jul 22, 2018

Three of my favorite natural flu remedies for children are really flu-preventing herbs: Elderberry, Garlic and Astragalus Root.

The Flu Virus and Children

"The Flu" or, more formally, "influenza" is caused by a virus. Symptoms can be similar to that of a cold, although with the flu there are often fever and body aches.  Children can often keep playing and attend school when they have a cold. The flu usually requires some down days and bed rest.

Preventing the Flu

Preventing the flu with frequent hand washing, adequate rest, exercise, sunshine and immune boosting remedies can save children and parents missed days of school and work. But, if the flu does strike, there are plenty of natural and healthful things that can be done to facilitate healing.

Three of my favorite flu preventing herbs are Elderberry, Garlic and Astragalus Root.

Elderberry Syrup

Elderberry Syrup can be bought or made.  It tends to be pricey, though. For those with the time and access to the ingredients, making your own is not difficult.

  • Bring to a boil 1/2 cup elderberries;
  • 2  1/2  cups water;
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon powder;
  • 1 teaspoon ginger root powder;
  • 1/2 teaspoon cloves or clove powder. 
  • Reduce heat to simmer. Cover. Simmer for about an hour. 
  • Pour through a strainer into another pot.  
  • Add 2/3 cup of honey, preferably local and raw.
  • Mix well. 
  • Store in the refrigerator. 

For general immunity, we take a dose a day.  During sickness, we take a dose 3-5 times a day.  Do not give this recipe to children under a year old because of the honey.  This is a pleasant tasting syrup and easy to get children to take.

  • I give adults a Tablespoon for a dose. 
  • For children under 12, I give a teaspoon. 
  • For small children, I give 1/2 teaspoon per dose. 

Garlic Soup

For over two decades, I have been making Garlic Soup when we have a respiratory illness at my house. The heat, the liquid, the garlic, and the herbs are all wonderfully healing. 

  • 1 small onion, chopped;
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil;
  • 8 cloves of garlic, peeled;
  • 1 bay leaf;
  • 1/2 teaspoon sage;
  • 1/2 teaspoon thyme;
  • 1 quart broth or water;
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt (or less if your broth has salt in it);
  • 2 potatoes, cubed into bite size pieces;
  • 1 heaping Tablespoon of Astragalus root.

Saute onion in olive oil for a few minutes.  Add remaining ingredients.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to a simmer.  Simmer about an hour.

Astragalus Root

Astragalus Root can be taken in a tincture, in capsules, or in a tea.  My favorite way to use it is in cooking. I add about a teaspoon per cup of liquid when I am making soup or rice.  Because it is a food, I feel comfortable using it freely.

When the flu comes around, we have a number of routines at our house to make the patient more comfortable and bring quick healing.

  • My little children like to sit or lay in our main living area, nearby to the action.  This makes it easier for me to keep track of them and their needs, and make sure they are taking in plenty of fluids. 
  • Broths, water/broth based soup (see my favorite Garlic Soup recipe above), herbal teas, and herbal jello are all great ways to keep a child hydrated. 
  • Vinegar tea is a staple in our house for most sicknesses.  For children, I put 1 teaspoon of raw apple cider vinegar into a mug.  I add 1-2 teaspoons of honey (but not for children under a year old.)  I add 3-4 ounces of almost boiling water. 

Healing Bath

Another staple for sickness in my house is a bath.  One cup of baking soda or epsom salt in a warm bath nearly always help a child to feel better for a while. I often add a drop of two of lavender or eucalyptus essential oil (especially if there if a cough is present) to the bath.

Cold Foods and Drinks

Some children will crave cold foods and drinks when they are sick.  Cold or frozen fresh fruit is healing and comforting.  Herbal teas and jellos can be another cool source of fluids and nutrients.  Homemade Herbal Popsicles are wonderful for a child who likes cold foods when he is sick.

Sunshine and Vitamin C

If weather permits, some sunshine each day is helpful. I also try to get extra vitamin C into anyone in my family with flu symptoms.

For a Child's Fever

Peppermint Oil: For a child with a fever, I find a drop of peppermint essential oil massaged into the bottom of each foot to be helpful.  For a sensitive child, I would dilute the oil a bit with some coconut oil.

Oregano Oil: I have also used diluted oregano oil on the bottom of the feet to fight viruses.  This I do as often as every two hours.  I use a blend of olive and oregano oil - 3 parts olive oil and 1 part oregano oil.

Lots of Fluids: Dehydration will make a fever worse - endeavor to keep a sick child drinking throughout the day, even if it is only sips at a time very frequently.

I like to view any sickness of a child as a special opportunity to love and nurture them.  I have happy memories of being sick, funny as that may sound.  My mother was an attentive "nurse."

Please scroll down to read more from Earth Clinic readers. Contact us to let us know your own favorite flu treatments!

For more ideas on treating fevers, coughs, and sore throats that may accompany the flu, please see the following pages:

Apple Cider Vinegar

2 User Reviews
5 star (2) 

Posted by Janet (West Covina, CA) on 02/13/2007

It works! My 10 yr. old daughter came down with the flu and a really bad sore throat. She said it even hurts when she swallows. I followed the Apple Cider Vinegar recipe - I used 3 Tablespoons of Apple Cider Vinegar, 3 Tablespoons of fresh squeezed lemon juice, and 2 Tablespoons of Avocado flavored honey, mixed with 16 oz. of warm water. When my daughter drank it at first, she wasn't too thrilled about the taste. She drank about 6 oz. of it and said her stomach hurt. I told her she could stop drinking it. But to my surprise, about 10 minutes later, she started drinking it again. She said her stomach was o.k. now, and that her throat feels better. I figured it must have been a big relief for a 10 yr. old to voluntarily drink something that's not tasty. It's been about 40 minutes now and she said the mixture really helped. I still hear her cough though; about the same as before the mixture, but she didn't really have a bad cough to begin with.

Apple Cider Vinegar
Posted by Alisha (Mineral Wells, WV) on 01/17/2007

I read the apple cider vinegar cure from your website. My 7 year old daughter was sick with a viral infection, I soaked her feet in a cake pan with 1 Tablespoon of acv and she was cured within 10 mins she was fine and playing ,thank you i am going to tell everyone about this site.

Hydrogen Peroxide in Ears

1 User Review
5 star (1) 

Posted by Brad (Austin, Texas) on 05/17/2009

My 3 year old was getting sick, the flu! She was crying that mournful cry that you knew she was starting to feel really badly- having just read about Hydrogen Peroxide , I was determined to keep her from getting sicker, her pain had just started in the past 15 minutes or so, we took a dropper, added the 3 per cent solution food grade hydrogen peroxide and put a few drops in her ear, which did get her crying over that for a minute or two, but then within 30 minutes she was better, no crying, no flu- thanks for the miracle cure!

Raw Honey

2 User Reviews
5 star (2) 

Posted by Michelle (West Palm Beach, Florida) on 03/05/2008

Raw honey preferably organic - Raw Honey (unprocessed) helps get your energy back, kills germs of all types, halts diarrhea and intestinal cramps, (including firming stools) helps coughs and lung congestion and aids in the growth of healthy intestinal bacteria. It is a good source of B vitamins and minerals containing potassium, calcium and magnesium. It is quite literally the "perfect food" and can sustain life all on its own! It does not take any energy to digest it because it is predigested form from the bees. They do all the work, we reap all the benefits!

My eight-year-old got the flu, I gave him Raw Honey, 1 heaping teaspoon as soon as he finished vomiting, then nothing for three hours, unless they want more honey. He vomited twice total, and was completely well in a matter of hours! My husband got it, would not eat the honey, has been vomiting for two days STRAIGHT, can't keep food down! Then my four-year-old started vomiting. I gave him 1 tsp. honey, he stopped vomiting and ate honey about 1 tsp every two hours. He felt so much better in four hours, he (against my warning) ate Goldfish crackers and drank a Capri Sun! He vomited one more time and then by dinner, was completely well and ate a light dinner!! Amazing! So, now it's Tuesday, my ten-year-old gets it. Fever, body aches, headache, nausea! Wow, of course, I get the RAW HONEY, I give her a nice big tsp., she mixes it with water (she hates honey but has learned her lesson) I keep her home from school and send her to bed with a fever and no medicine. My husband calls, he is leaving work sick because he can't stop vomiting! Third day, he is in bed all day, eats nothing, and feels terrible. He comes home and sees our daughter, all better in a matter of two hours! (I think we caught it early enough, she is at school celebrating her Birthday!) He eats the honey! Today he is back to work, amazed at the benefits of the honey. You will be too. Special note: My six-year-old (who has autism) and I take the most supplements, eat mostly organic, don't drink soda, etc. we are the only ones in the family who didn't get this FLU!

Replied by Eileen

Michelle, thank you for posting RAW HONEY for vomiting!!

My 9 year old son came down with the worst case of vomiting (and fever) he's ever had. Apparently, there is something going around where some kids are vomiting every 10 minutes! The nurse said we were lucky it was every hour. But, still it was scary and he was in so much pain. He hadn't eaten in two days and was starting to throw up bile. His stomach hurt so bad--I didn't know what to do for him as we were doing everything the doctor had told us to do:(. So, I went on Earth Clinic and found your post. I use raw honey every day so luckily I had some on hand. Gave him a teaspoon, mixed with about a teaspoon of water so it wasn't too thick. (he tends to gag easily). After a few minutes he said his stomach felt better. When I went back to check on him a second time he had fallen asleep (which indicated he was no longer in distress--thank God! )

Upon awakening, and after two hours he hadn't thrown up and I gave him a second teaspoon of honey. He felt so much better. And for the first time felt well enough to come downstairs and get comfy on the couch to watch tv. He had been in his room for several days. it was so amazing.

I repeated the teaspoon of honey one more time after two hours and he went 8 hours without throwing up and asked to eat something. He ate a little banana, and then later two small bowls of cheerios with milk--his instruction! :) I thought he might be overdoing it, but did it anyway. He slept through the night and in the morning threw up very little. No food came out so that had digested. Just some residual mucous from his cough. Gave him the honey, and he felt better right away.

It is almost evening and he hasn't thrown up all day. He ate a small light meal earlier. and is actually laughing in the other room with his sister as they watch a movie. His eyes look bright and he has no fever. This momma is so relieved.:)

Thank you so much Earth Clinic and Michelle from Florida! Once again you have proven how effective natural cures can be. I have always loved the healing properties of raw honey, but now I have an even greater appreciation for this "perfect food"!

Vitamin C and Baking Soda

1 User Review
5 star (1) 

Posted by Teena (Melbourne, Australia) on 07/20/2018 233 posts

Vitamin c and baking soda for flu-like illness, fever, weakness

My 12 year old snuggled into bed with us, a rare morning treat as I'd been working early mornings, and I immediately felt his fever. He had tummy and head pains and nausea, and was due for 3 day camp the next day. I immediately started him on wholefood vitamin c, 1000 mg, every hour and sometimes at 40 mins, as busy weekend schedule allowed.

Magnesium, in the form of food grade epsom salts, one '0' capsule, was given approx every 4 hours, and gave also that morning the bottle stated dose of natural liquid D3.

Also over the morning two separate teaspoon doses of organic coconut oil.

I told him if he had no improvement by midday I would have to bring out the Apple Cider Vinegar bs tonic, to which he reluctantly agreed. (half teaspoon baking soda, two teaspoons Apple cider vinegar, topped up with water, given every four hours, under great duress on account of the taste).

Just after midday it occurred to me that with the copious amounts of water being consumed with the frequent vitamin c capsules, and frequent Magnesium, he should have had a bowel movement, but hadn't, and not the previous day either, meaning toxins are not excreting and in fact recirculating and accumulating.

Gave two DGL licorice chewable tablets, half teaspoon organic castor oil then about half hour later made one baking soda capsule to which I added four drops liquid chlorophyll, to ensure there was no fizzing reaction, there was not, given with lots of water. (The idea came from reading a post of Ted's where he was able to purchase sodium bicarbonate and mint tablets. Well peppermint is an ingredient in my liquid chlorophyll). And during all this time giving 1000mg wholefood vitamin c at least every hour.

Finally, he is able to go toilet. Very hard stools followed immediately by the runs. My son is pleased he knows this is the toxins leaving. I make 3 more baking soda/chlorophyll capsules over the afternoon/evening and pull back the vitamin c to one tablet (500mg) each hour, *more runs, reduce further to two hours. Please note baking soda must not be given on a full stomach, the only food my son ate was at breakfast, I made him three eggs cooked in tsp coconut oil, nothing else. By bedtime there was a significant improvement in his condition, we were unsure if he would be able to go to camp, decided to see in the morning, after solid sleep. It was a different child who came into see us, in the morning, bouncy and excited for camp. I sent him with wholefood vitamin c, two each morning and two each night, the school does not allow medicines on camp, fortunately they do not view vitamins as medicine. I, obviously, do. Best to you.