Pediatricians are now calling for the removal of
common cold and cough medicines found on the shelves in every drug store in
America, citing that children simply should not take them. After a concerned
group from Baltimore filed a complaint, Food and Drug Administration safety
officials have been reviewing roughly 800 medicines that have been used in
treating children's colds and coughs over the last few decades. The American
Academy of Pediatrics has reported that decongestants and antihistamines
especially those containing pseudoephedrine, phenylephrine, ephedrine,
diphenhydramine, brompheniramine or chlorpheniramine have caused a number of
deaths in small children in recent years, and the medications are often
ineffective anyway. Ephedra has also been shown to be deadly in adults.
However, only the traditional Chinese herbs that contain small amounts of Ephedra have long been removed from
the store shelves, while the pharmaceutical varieties that are loaded with
synthetic Ephedra like pseudoephedrine,
phenylephrine, and ephedrine (which have been linked to far more deaths than the
herbs) remain on the market. (But that's a whole story of itself for another
Happily, there are number of natural options which
have been safely used around the world for hundreds if not thousands of years.
The first and best option is make sure the immune system is nice and strong.
For tips on a healthy immune system see TIPS.
Following are options for when a cough or cold does set it.
Keep in mind that fevers and mucus are the body's
effort to remove a foreign invader. Unless the fever is over 102.2 or the
mucus is not leaving the body properly, these immune responses should be
encouraged, not suppressed.
WHEN to SEEK HELP
~ If your child runs a fever for more than 24
~ If the fever exceeds 102 for more than a few
~ If the child has difficulty breathing, bloody mucus
or a persistent croupy cough for more than a 24 hours.
~ When in doubt, ask for help!
Homeopathic Cough remedies:
Tart - deep, croupy, exhausting cough, Bronchials overloaded with mucus
but very little is expectorated
Tosta - Dry, dry, dry - sinuses, chest... etc. Dry cough or wheezing/
asthmatic cough, worse cold air, may cough up lots of tough glue-like
Dry, night-time cough that improves by sitting
up, worse after eating or drinking,
often coughs until vomits
Tickle cough that comes and goes, with intermitten constrictive, burning
pain in chest
Combinations & Elixir Options: Cough
(from Guna), Cough Free (from Heel), Chestal (from
These work especially well when added to the old
home remedy of whiskey, honey and lemon. Just add 1tsp of the
homeopathic remedy to 1 tsp whiskey or spiced rum, 1 TBS of fresh squeezed
lemon juice and 1 tsp of honey. The alcohol and lemon cuts through the
phlem, the honey coats and sooths the throat and the homeopathic acts on the
cells to repair themselves and get back to a healthy state. (NOTE: Honey
should not be given to children under 2 years of age, use brown rice or
agave syrup instead.) If you don't want alcohol, use Apple Cider
Vinegar with the mother instead. It doesn't always work as effectively
and may require more frequent use to obtain results.
Cold and Flu Options:
Homeopathic Cold and Flu remedies:
Aconite - For colds and flu that set in hard
and fast with a fever, often exposure to cold wet weather.
Gelsemium - Dizzy,
drowsy, dull, and droopy are the guiding need for gelsemium. Slow moving or
lingering cold and flu typically respond to this remedy. So be ready to feel
worse before feeling better as it pushes the illness on it's way out.
Pulsatilla - Discharges are thick, bland, and
yellowish-green. Only one pillow feels uncomfortable and one wants their
head high. Pulsatilla also helps with pressure in ears that feel stuffed and
may have decreased hearing. Dry cough in evening and at night that improves
when sitting up; and loose cough in the morning. Wants fresh air even
Kali Bich - For sniffles especially in
children, stuffy head and sinuses that are worse in the morning with thick,
ropy, yellow or greenish-yellow mucus.
Oscillococinium - Used for decades, this
remedy has been proven in European clinical trials to be as effective as the
flu shot. Take it at the first sign of cold and flu.
Guna Flu - Clinical trials in Italy for Guna Flu
versus the traditional flu shot proved Guna Flu to be more effective.
Additional studies have shown that if taken once weekly for 6 weeks, it up
regulated macrophage production (the white blood cells that attack viruses)
and was 98% effective at preventing cold and flu.
Peppermint (teas, lozenges, and essential
oils) - Menthol vapors open sinuses and bronchial passages. Altoids
are a wonderful and inexpensive option that can be found anywhere.
Spearmint is less harsh and is recommended for smaller children.
Slippery Elm - (Teas or lozenges)
Known as a 'muscilagenous' herb, it coats irritated throats and provides
nutrients needed for the healthy functioning of the throat and bronchial
Fenugreek - (Teas, capsules or
tinctures) Considered a nutritive herb that has been used for
thousands of years for coughs and colds, it is one of the few herbs that is
given even to pregnant women and babies. It's great for when the cough or
cold involves lots of mucus.
Chamomile - (tea or tincture or
bath) Another herb considered mild enough for pregnant women and
babies, it sooths nervous system and helps engage the sweat mechanism. High
fevers often respond well to drinking a cup of chamomile tea while soaking
in a very warm bath made with a 1/2 cup sea salt or Epsom Salts and 1 tea
bag of Chamomile tea. Go directly to bed after the bath. The fever often
breaks within 15 minutes of crawling under the covers.
Garlic - An old favorite, it's
difficult to find something garlic doesn't help. It's antibacterial, boosts
the immune system, and helps the respiratory system. Fresh garlic can
be rather harsh, so adding a fresh crushed clove to 1/2 cup boiling water
and breathing the vapors until it cools enough to drink is helpful. We are
also especially fond of Nan's Garlicles. Just one of these wonderful pickled
garlic cloves a couple of times daily can do wonders.
Elderberry - Elderberry is one of the
most effective herbs for preventing and treating upper respiratory
infections. Loaded with antioxidant flavonoids, laboratory studies have
shown that elderberry reduces excessive sinus mucus secretion and helps
lessen swelling of mucous membranes, improves sinus drainage, and decreases
nasal congestion in those with bacterial sinusitis. Great Hill Herbs makes a
wonderfully potent Elderberry Elixir that contains Elderberry, Ginger,
Cinnamon and Honey. Or they also make Aunt Peggy's Breathe Better which
contains the Elderberry Elixir with additional herbs like fenugreek to
further help with sinus and lung congestion. One of our favorite uses for
them is to mix 1 TBS of
the Elixer or Breathe Better with 1 Cup juice and place 2 tsp in in each well of an ice cube
tray and freeze them... making tasty and soothing ice lozenges. (NOTE: Honey
should not be given to children under 2 years of age.)