Natural Flu Remedies for Children

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:

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List of Remedies for Flu Remedies for Children