Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Guest Post: Herbs for Children's Sleep

Today's post is from Nina at ShalomMama.  Nina Nelson is a follower of Jesus. Wife to Ian. Mama to Isaac, Eva, Ella and Isaiah. Hippy. Conservative. Lover of simplicity. And babies. She enjoys writing about health, building relationships and simplifying.  (and is also a good friend of mine!)

Sweet dreams for your sweet baby

When I asked my friend Christy to do a guest post the other day she laughed and told me that she was about to ask me to do one on her blog. Great minds think alike ;) .
She specifically asked that I discuss herbal sleep remedies for kids. I’d actually never tried any and was really glad to have something new to research. I’m especially grateful that she asked me as I’m having some trouble with Isaiah sleeping well at night while he’s teething and I’d love to try a gentle remedy. I’m getting tired of being used as a pacifier all night long.
I first visited Sister Wisdom, a wonderful site that I found months ago that has great information on herbs for babies. She had exactly what I was looking for and I used her information as a jumping off point to begin researching more on my own.
The following herbs are wonderful to have on hand to gently calm your kids and use in a handful of other remedies as well:
Oh how I love the scent of lavender. Lavender essential oil is frequently used in aromatherapy for its soothing effects as it helps to alleviate restlessness and irritability. I’ve also successfully used it to ease headaches by applying it to my temples. It is one of few essential oils that is safe to apply directly to the skin without diluting it in a carrier oil. However, I suggest diluting when using it on kids, as they are more sensitive. According to The Handbook of Vintage Remedies, it also offers antibacterial properties.
This is the standard sleepy-time herb that comes to mind for many people. When using chamomile, it’s important to use only the flowering tops – sometimes ragweed can be confused as chamomile and cause an allergic reaction in some. Using only the flowers will prevent that mistake.
Like many of the other sedative herbs, chamomile is also commonly used for digestive disorders. One of my favorite uses of chamomile is topical as it soothes inflamed skin and is gentle enough to use on small children. A diluted bottle of weak chamomile tea helps to calm a teething baby and prevent colic spasms. (I’m all over this one!)
When I think of catnip, I picture my mom’s cats sniffing it and rolling around on the ground for a while afterward. What I didn’t think of was the effect that it has on people. Catnip is a soothing herb that is so mild it can be given as a tea to children. According to altnature.com, catnip also has a long history of being used to treat digestive system disorders and helps to reduce fevers because it induces sweating. The leaves or flowering tops of catnip also provide relief from stomach spasms and coughing, and because it is so gentle, it’s a beneficial herb to have on hand for little ones fighting an illness.
Lemon balm
Lemon balm has some lovely qualities. It’s antiviral and is also aids in healing minor skin irritations. Like catnip, lemon balm is antispasmodic. It can also increase sweating to reduce fevers. It is commonly used to reduce anxiety and restlessness and relax the body. Lemon balm is gentle enough to give to children.
Tomorrow (hopefully) I’ll be making a balm that you can rub on your little one before bedtime to help them get a good night’s sleep. I’ll be sure to take lots of pictures.
I love reading about herbs and learning about all of the plants God has provided us to take care of ourselves and each other. Yet another thing He does for us that makes me smile. :)
Herbal Medicine by Dian Dincin Buchman
The ABC Herbal by Steven H. Horne
*Disclaimer: I’m not a doctor or certified herbalist. This information is intended for informational purposes only. If you choose to use these herbs, please do so in conjunction with a trusted herbal reference and herbal professional.
Also, buy purchasing products using my affiliate links, I will earn a small commission. Thanks.
    Thanks for sharing, Nina! - Christy

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