Herb of the Day
There are many herbal treatments that are safe and effective for use with children of all ages. Here I will deal with the childhood illnesses and problems I am most often asked about. The most important factor in dealing with any illness, whether acute or chronic, is diet. A proper diet goes a long way to alleviating problems and illnesses that stem from inadequate nutrition. Were you aware that medical studies are proving that diet can profoundly affect illness in children? It has also been proven that a lot of dietary factors are responsible for worsening such problems as Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), hyperactivity, asthma, and others. A child who is getting what his or her body needs through good nutrition is going to develop more normally, be less prone to illness, and the duration of common illnesses is shortened.
Remember too that our children today are under a lot of stress, just as us adults are. Peer pressures, pressures in the classroom, dealing with separation anxieties and broken marriages are just some of the things creating stressful situations for our youngsters. This stress can manifest itself in many mysterious physical and mental ailments. Teaching your children when young how to meditate and relax is an important building block for their young lives, and is a useful tool that they will carry with them through adulthood.
ANXIETY, STRESS, EXCITABILITY
Externally, these problems can be alleviated with a warm herbal bath at bedtime. Combine a handful of lavendar and a handful of chamomile in one quart of water. Bring to a boil, cover, and let steep for 15 to 20 minutes. Strain, then add the liquid to a warm bath for the child. This is good for colicky infants as well. Allow the child to bathe and relax in the warm water. Internally, a cup of the infusion of chamomile and/or scullcap can be very beneficial and calming.
Chickenpox usually strikes in young children, but older ones do get it as well. To relieve the itching that usually makes the pox so unbearable, you can make a decoction of chickweed, comfrey, and rosemary. Apply the warm mixture with a clean cloth. Don’t rub, as this will irritate the sores and can cause them to leave scars, but gently pat the solution on. Allow to air dry. This can be applied several times per day to relieve the itching. Internally, the child may benefit from a mild infusion of echinacea, catnip, chickweed, and yarrow. After the illness, and after any illness, the child’s digestive system will benefit from acidophilus, or a cup of yogurt, to aid getting the beneficial bacteria in the digestive system back in balance.
Most of the same herbs used to treat colds in adults can also treat colds in children. You will want to reduce the dosages, however, or make milder infusions than normal. Steam or inhalant therapy can also help, using essential oils of lavendar, tea tree, eucalyptus, and/or peppermint. Make sure the child is getting plenty of vitamin C in their daily diet for the duration of the cold.
Colic is torture for the baby and the parent. There are easy ways to alleviate the problem, however. Give the baby a small amount of peppermint, chamomile, or catnip infusion in a bottle at the first sign of distress. It also helps to give the baby a warm bath that has lavendar essential oil added. The vapors have a calming, soothing affect on baby and parent. Breastfeeding mothers will want to add some fennel to their diet for a couple of days to help alleviate the colic.
Coughs in children are common, and usually accompany many of the normal childhood illnesses. A cough that continues for several days, or increases in severity, should be immediately checked by a physician to rule out other diseases. A mild infusion of mullein and coltsfoot usually helps the mild cough. Horehound and/or ginger can be added if a stronger combination is needed for older children. The child can also benefit from chest rubs of tea tree oil or peppermint oil. Both should be diluted in olive or sesame oil, and remember to do a patch test first to determine sensitivity. Inhaling the vapors of the essential oil of lavendar, and/or a warm bath that includes lavendar oil, can also help clear a cough. Cut back or eliminate dairy products in children that have a lot of mucous with their coughs, as dairy often adds to the production of mucous.
Cradle cap usually appears in the first month of an infant’s life. Make a decoction of calendula and comfrey root. Rinse the baby’s head with the warm solution each night, allowing it to air dry on the scalp. It may take a few days for this to clear up the problem. You can also massage olive oil into the scalp each night, washing it away thoroughly with a mild soap and water each morning. Leaving the oil on the scalp continually can actually increase the problem.
This is a common problem that is easy to deal with. It is usually caused by irritating diapers, prolonged contact with wet or dirty diapers, or even a reaction to the soap used to wash cotton diapers. Some foods and juices ingested by the infant can raise acid levels in the urine and stool, causing a skin reaction. Wash the baby thoroughly and dry thoroughly at each diaper change. Use plain mild soap and water, as some of those baby wipes can irritate, due to the chemicals in them. Leaving the diaper off for a while each change can also help clear up the rash. You can apply a cream made of calendula and/or aloe vera. You can also add to that mixture comfrey and/or chickweed. Remember that problem will not go away with herbs alone. You also need to determine the cause and eliminate it.
Diarrhea can cause dehydration rapidly in small infants and very young children. It can be treated with a mild infusion of meadowsweet, rosemary, and/or red raspberry. If diarrhea continues for more than three days, or is accompanied by blood in the stool, or severe cramping, seek emergency medical care immediately.
There is strong evidence that chemicals such as heavy metal pollutants, dietary allergies such as to wheat, corn, dairy, etc., and artificial colorings, preservatives, or flavorings, play a role in these problems. As such, you will want to treat by supporting both the nervous system and the liver, aiding in detoxification. A treatment plan should consist of chamomile, gotu kola, scullcap, red clover, milk thistle, and gingko biloba. A daily supplement of flax seed and/or grape seed oil has also shown to be beneficial. The herbal bath above can help, as well as inhaling or massaging with a calming essential oil such as lavendar. And most important, look at changing the diet to one that supports the body. Natural diet is best. Eliminate foods that could cause an allergic reaction, and add them back to the diet one at a time, watching for any changes in the child’s behavior. Be sure the child gets adequate amounts of zinc and B-complex vitamins as well.
Internally give a combination of echinacea, chickweed, and astragalus 3 to 4 times per day. Reduce the child’s intake of dairy, red meats, and peanut butter, as all have been shown to irritate this illness. Wash the sores carefully with an infusion made of calendula several times per day.
Flu can be treated internally with boneset, fenugreek, peppermint, echinacea, and mullein. Eucalyptus or tea tree oil can be inhaled to open blocked sinus passages, or rubbed on the chest to help open the bronchial tubes. Additional vitamin C and zinc are also beneficial.
Lice can be treated by placing drops of tea tree oil on a fine toothed comb, and comb the hair thoroughly every day for two weeks. Wash the hair nightly with a mild shampoo that has oil of thyme and tea tree oil added. Alternatively, you can mix together 4 cups of apple cider vinegar, 4 cups of water, 1/2 ounce oil of thyme; use nightly as a shampoo.
Measles is usually treated herbally in the same manner as chicken pox. Eye strain and discomfort is common with the measles, so keep the child in a darkened room. A mild infusion of eyebright may be used to ease discomfort in the eyes. This can be used as a wash for the older child, or for young children you can soak a clean cloth in the eyebright infusion and apply as an external compress over the eyes.
Mumps can be treated internally with a combination of echinacea, clover, chamomile, and peppermint. Externally, fresh chopped ginger applied as a compress can alleviate the pain of the swelling. Gentle massage of the swollen areas with chamomile oil is also beneficial. Inhaling eucalyptus oil also helps.
Teething pain can be soothed by giving a chamomile and/or lemon balm infusion internally. Mix a teaspoon of powdered slippery elm bark with a little water to make a paste, and rub it gently on the gums.
Tonsillitis can be treated with echinacea, mullein, chamomile, and sage internally. A gargle of salt water, honey and lemon (if the child is over the age of three), or sage infusion can greatly ease the discomfort.
(S Thru Y)
SANDALWOOD – Santalum album (Santalaceae) ,br>Native to eastern India, sandalwood is cultivated in South-East Asia for the extraction of wood and essential oil. Sandalwood’s aroma as been highly esteemed in China and India for thousands of year. The heartwood is most often used in perfumery, but it has also been taken as a remedy in China since around AD 500. Sandalwood and its essential oil are used for their antiseptic properties in treating genito-urinary conditions such as cystitis and gonorrhea. In India, a paste of the wood is used to soothe rashes and itchy skin. In China, sandalwood is held to be useful for chest and abdominal pain.
HEALING PROPERTIES: Antiseptic, aromatic.
SARSAPARILLA – Smilax spp. (Liliaceae)
Sarsaparilla is found in the tropical forest of the world, especially in Mexico, Peru and Brazil. There are more than 200 known species. Brought from the New World to Spain in 1563, sarsaparilla was heralded as a cure for syphilis. In Mexico, the herb has traditionally been used to treat a variety of skin problems. Sarsaparilla is anti-inflammatory and cleansing, and can bring relief to skin problems such as eczema, psoriasis and general itchiness, and help treat rheumatism, rheumatoid, arthritis and gout. Sarsaparilla also has a progesterogenic action, making it beneficial in pre-menstrual problems, and menopausal conditions such as debility and depression. In Mexico the root is still frequently consumed for its reputed tonic and aphrodisiac properties. Native Amazonian peoples take sarsaparilla to improve virility and to treat menopausal problems.
HEALING PROPERTIES: Diuretic, anti-inflammatory, anti-rheumatic.
SCOTS PINE – Pinus sylvestris (Pinaceae)
Native to the mountainous regions of Europe and north and west Asia. Its oil, extracted from the leaves, is added to disinfectants and other preparations. Scots pine leaves, taken internally, have a mildly antiseptic effect within the chest, and may also be used for arthritic and rheumatic problems. Essential oil from the leaves may be taken for asthma, bronchitis and other respiratory infections, and for digestive disorders such as wind. Scots pine branches and stems yield a thick resin, which is also antiseptic within the respiratory tract. The seeds yield an essential oil with diuretic and respiratory-stimulant properties.
HEALING PROPERTIES: Antiseptic, diuretic and anti-rheumatic.
SESAME – Sesamum indicum (Pedaliaceae)
Native to Africa, sesame is now cultivated in many tropical and sub-tropical areas of the world. In ancient Egypt, the seeds were eaten and also pressed to yield oil, which was burned in lamps and used to make ointments. Sesame is used in China to redress afflictions of the liver and kidneys. The seeds are prescribed for problems such as dizziness, tinnitus (ringing in the ears), and blurred vision. Owing to their lubricating effect within the digestive tract, the seeds are also considered a remedy for constipation. Sesame seed oil benefits the skin and is used as a base for cosmetics. A decoction of the root is used in various traditions to treat coughs and asthma.
HEALING PROPERTIES: Digestive, aromatic, antispasmodic.
ST JOHN’S WORT – Hypericum perforatum (Guttiferae)
The plant is native to Europe but is widely cultivated elsewhere. St. John’s wort flowers at the time of the summer solstice, and in medieval Europe it was considered to have powerful magical properties that enabled it to repel evil. The most well-known action of St. John’s wort is in repairing nerve damage and reducing pain and inflammation. It is taken to relieve the pain of menstrual cramps, sciatica and arthritis. Th oils is applied to inflammations, sprains, bruises and varicose veins. St. John’s wort is also used to treat circulation problems, bronchitis and gout.
HEALING PROPERTIES: Antidepressant, antispasmodic, astringent, sedative, relieves pain, anti-viral.
TARRAGON – Artemisia dracunculus (Compositae)
Tarragon is probably native of southern Europe or the steppes of Asia. Historians believe that tarragon reached Europe brought into Spain by invading Mongols. Tarragon is widely used as a herb in cooking. In French, it is sometimes known as herbe au dragon, because of its reputed ability to cure serpent bites. While tarragon stimulates the digestion, it is reputed to be a mild sedative and has been taken to aid sleep. With its mild menstruation-inducing properties, it is taken if periods are delayed. The root has traditionally been applied to aching teeth.
HEALING PROPERTIES: Anti-inflammatory, digestive.
TEA TREE – Malaleuca alternifolia (Myrtaceae)
Tea tree is native to Australia and is now cultivated extensively. Tea tree, and in particular its essential oil, is one of the most important natural antiseptics. Useful for stings, burns, wounds and skin infections of all kinds, the herb merits a place in every medicine chest. Its therapeutic properties were first researched during the 1920s and it is now widely used in Europe and the US, as well as in Australia.
HEALING PROPERTIES: Antiseptic, antibacterial, anti-fungal, anti-viral.
THYME – Thymus vulgaris (Labiatae)
Thyme occurs in the west Mediterranean to the southwest Italy. The herb was known to the Sumerians, used by the Egyptians, Greeks and Romans. Thyme was praised by the herbalist Nicholas Culpeper (1616-1654) as “a notable strengthener of the lungs”. Its main medicinal application is in treating coughs and clearing congestion. Many current formulas for mouth washes and vapor rubs contain thymol, one of the constituents found in thyme. It also improves digestion, destroys intestinal parasites and is an excellent antiseptic and tonic.
HEALING PROPERTIES: Antiseptic, tonic, relieves muscle spasm, expectorant.
TURMERIC – Curcuma longa syn. C. domestica (Zingiberaceae)
Turmeric is native to India and southern Asia where it is extensively cultivated. Best known for its bright yellow color and spicy taste to lovers of Indian food, its medicinal value is not so well known. However, recent research has confirmed the effects traditionally associated in ancient practices in the treatment of digestive and liver problems. The herb has also been shown to inhibit blood-clotting, relieve inflammatory conditions and help lower cholesterol levels.
HEALING PROPERTIES: Stimulates secretion of bile, anti-inflammatory, eases stomach pain, antioxidant, antibacterial.
VALERIAN – Valeriana officinalis (Valerianaceae)
Valerian is native to Europe and western Asia. The medicinal properties of valerian were well known at least since Roman times. Valerian root is a general tranquilizer used for relieving nervous tension, insomnia and headaches. Valerian decreases muscular spasm, being useful in cases of nervous digestion, bowel syndrome, stomach and menstrual cramps. Valerian helps relieve stress and has become an increasingly popular remedy in recent decades. It is a safe, non-addictive relaxant that reduces nervous tension and anxiety and promotes restful sleep.
HEALING PROPERTIES: Sedative, relaxant, relieves muscle spasm, relieves anxiety, lowers blood pressure.
VERBENA – Verbena officinalis (Verbenaceae)
Native of Europe, verbena is extensively cultivated in other countries. Verbena has long been credited with magical properties and was used in ceremonies by the Romans, Druids of ancient Britain and Gaul. It is a traditional herbal medicine in both China and Europe. Verbena is used in mouth washes for infected gums and as a poultice for hemorrhoids. A tea has been used as a nerve tonic, to treat insomnia and to help digestion. D It has tonic, restorative properties, and is used to relieve stress and anxiety, and to improve digestive function.
HEALING PROPERTIES: Nervine, tonic, mild sedative, stimulates bile secretion, mild bitter.
WHITE WILLOW – Salix alba (Salicaceae)
White willow is native to Europe but is also found in North Africa and Asia. White willow is an excellent remedy for arthritic and rheumatic pain, affecting the joints like knees and hips. Famous as the original source of salicylic acid, first isolated in 1838 and synthetically produced in the laboratory in 1899, white willow and closely related species have been used for thousands of years in Europe, Africa, Asia and North America to relieve joint pain and manage fevers. The Greek physician Discorides in the 1st century AD, suggested taking “willow leaves, mashed with a little pepper and drunk with wine” to relieve lower back pain.
HEALING PROPERTIES: Anti-inflammatory, analgesic, reduces fever, anti-rheumatic, astringent.
WORMWOOD – Artemisia absinthium (Compositae)
Native to Europe, wormwood was called absintium by the Romans, what means “bitter”. Wormwood leave’s primary uses is to stimulate the gallbladder, help prevent and release stones, and to adjust digestive malfunctions. It also increases bile secretion and is useful in expelling intestinal worms. It is taken in small doses and sipped, the intensely bitter taste playing an important part in its therapeutic effect. In the past, wormwood was one of the main flavorings of vermouth (whose name derives from the German for wormwood).
HEALING PROPERTIES: Aromatic bitter, stimulates secretion of bile, anti-inflammatory, eliminates worms, eases stomach pains, mild antidepressant.
WILD THYME – Thymus serpyllum (Labiatae)
Thyme is native to the west Mediterranean to southwest Italy. Like its close relative thyme (Thymus vulgaris), wild thyme is strongly antiseptic and anti-fungal. It may be taken as an infusion or syrup to treat flu and colds, sore throats, coughs, whooping cough, chest infections, and bronchitis. Wild thyme has anti-catarrhal properties and helps clear a stuffy nose, sinusitis, ear congestion and related complaints. It has been used to expel thread worms and roundworms in children, and is used to settle wind and colic. Wild thyme’s antispasmodic action makes it useful and is used to settle wind and colic. Wild thyme is also used in herbal baths and pillows.
HEALING PROPERTIES: Antiseptic, anti-fungal, antispasmodic.
YARROW – Achillea millefolium (Compositae)
Yarrow is a native European plant, with a long history as a wound healer. In classical times, it was known as herba militaris, being used to staunch war wounds. It has long been taken as a strengthening bitter tonic and all kinds of bitter drinks have been made from it. Yarrow helps recovery from colds and flu and is beneficial for hay fever. It is also helpful for menstrual problems and circulatory disorders.
HEALING PROPERTIES: Antispasmodic, astringent, bitter tonic, increases sweating, lowers blood pressure, reduces fever, mild diuretic and urinary antiseptic.
YLANG -YLANG – Canananga odorata syn. Canangium odoratum (Annonaceae)
Ylang-ylang is native to Indonesia and the Philippines. The flowers are a traditional adornment in the Far East. Their scent is thought to have aphrodisiac qualities. The flowers and essential oil are sedative and antiseptic. The oil has a soothing effect, and its main therapeutic uses are to slow an excessively fast heart rate and to lower blood pressure. With its reputation as an aphrodisiac, ylang-ylang may be helpful in treating impotence.
HEALING PROPERTIES: Antiseptic, aromatic, regulates blood pressure
To make a spiritual barrier between you and evil influences, make spiritual protection magic oil that contains the following:
• Angelica essential oil
• Rosemary essential oil
• Bay leaves
• Piece of mandrake root
Add to a base of almond oil. Anoint entryways, windowsills, and doorknobs to your home and workplace to keep out negative influences.
Use this oil to increase your personal magnetism, and to draw love and prosperity to you.
• 3/4 cup jojoba oil
• 1/2 teaspoon essential oil of rose
• 1/2 teaspoon essential oil of lavender
• 1 teaspoon essential oil of geranium
• 1/4 teaspoon essential oil of ylang-ylang
Mix together and store in a tightly sealed bottle, in a dark place. Wear as a perfume or anoint charms.
Some of the following formulas will provide precise blending requirements, while others do not. This is because the way I make my oils is similar to the way I cook – like a Creole, with a little bit o’ dis and little bit o’ dat. Sometimes I want the strength of a particular herb or scent to be more or less depending on the work or purpose I have in mind and so I will adjust it accordingly. You can do this too, once you get comfortable with both the process of blending oils, as well as their properties. In the meantime, here are some basic guidelines to go by when the precise measurements are not provided for a particular formula.
• Anointing Oil – Anointing Oils can be made using different concentrations of essential oils. Add 60-75 drops of essential oil or essential oil blend to approximately 1 oz. of carrier oil.
• Perfume – Add up to 20 drops of essential oil to 1/3 ounce of carrier oil. There are two types of carrier oils that work well for perfumes, jojoba oil and fractionated coconut oil. These carrier oils have a long shelf life and are nearly odorless.
• Spray – Add 30-50 drops of an essential oil or essential oil blend to an 8 oz. spray bottle. Fill the remainder of the bottle with distilled water. Most spray bottles of this size will be plastic; however, remember the oils will erode the plastic bottle in time.
• Bath Oil– Add 5-7 drops of essential oils or essential oil blend to one ounce of carrier oil. Pour a small amount of the blend into a tub of running water. Stir the water and oil together before getting in the tub. Now, here are some recipes for a variety of oils and potions for use in your magickal works. Anointing oils may be used for general purpose prayer or other applications, except for the Holy Anointing Oil, which is reserved for consecration and blessing purposes only.
Please note that it is always possible to have an allergic reaction to any oil or oil blend. A skin patch test should be conducted prior to using any essential oil that will have contact with the skin. This is to determine if you may be allergic or have a sensitization reaction to the oil.
1) Keep all essential oils out of the reach of children and pets.
2) Pregnant women and persons with health problems must consult doctor.
3) Essential oils should never be used undiluted on the skin.
4) Essential oils should not be taken internally.
5) Products made with natural ingredients may still cause allergic reactions with some individuals. When using oils on skin, be aware of any reactions that seem to be happening, and take first aid measures immediately. Flush the area with a lot of clean water and seek medical attention. Take the same steps (flush with clean water, seek medical help) if you spill undiluted essentials on yourself, or get them in your eyes, nose, mouth or an open wound. Working with essential oils requires knowing the properties of the oils and being aware of the safety issues about the oils you use. You are encouraged to purchase the book and study it to gain the in depth knowledge required to master the art of apothecary.
Bitter Almond, Arnica, Boldo, Broom, Buchu, Calamus, Camphor, Cassia, Chervil, Cinnamon (bark), Costus, Elecampane, Fennel (bitter), Horseradish, Mugwort, Mustard, Oregano, Pennyroyal, Pine (dwarf), Rue, Sage (common), Santolina, Sassafras, Savine, Savory, Tansy, Thuja, Thyme (red), Tonka, Wintergreen, Wormseed and Wormwood.
Essential oils which should be used in moderation (only in dilution and for a maximum of two weeks at a time) because of toxicity levels are: Ajowan, Anise Star, Basil (exotic), Bay Laurel, Bay (West Indian), Camphor (white), Cassie, Cedarwood (Virginian), Cinnamon (leaf), Clove (bud), Coriander, Eucalyptus, Fennel (sweet), Hops, Hyssop, Juniper, Nutmeg, Parsley, Pepper (black), Sage (Spanish), Tagests, Tarragon, Thyme (white), Tuberose, Turmeric, Valerian.
Oils which may irritate the skin, especially if used in a high concentration: Ajowan, Allspice, Aniseed, Basil (sweet), Black Pepper, Boreol, Cajeput, Caraway, Cedarwood (Virginian), Cinnamon (leaf), Clove (bud), Cornmint, Eucalyptus, Garlic, Ginger, Lemon, Parsley, Peppermint, Thyme (white) and Turmeric.
Some oils may cause skin irritation only in those people with very sensitive skins or can cause an allergic reaction in some individuals. Always do a patch test before using a new oil to check for individual sensitization. Oils which may cause sensitization include: Basil (French), Bay Laurel, Benzoin, Cade, Canagaa, Cedarwood (Virginian), Chamomile (Roman and German), Citronella, Garlic, Geranium, Ginger, Hops, Jasmine, Lemon, Lemongrass, Lemon Balm (melissa), Litsea Cubeba, Lovage, Mastic, Mint, Orange, Peru Balsam, Pine (Scotch and long-leaf), Styrax, Tea Tree, Thyme (white), Tolu Balsam, Turmeric, Turpentine, Valerian, Vanilla, Verbena, Violet, Yarrow and Ylang Ylang.
Some oils are phototoxic, meaning they can cause skin pigmentation if exposed to direct sunlight. Do not use the following oils either neat or in dilution on the skin, if the area will be exposed to the sun: Angelica Root, Bergamot (except bergapten-free type), Cumin, Ginger, Lemon (expressed), Lime (expressed), Lovage, Mandarin, Orange and Verbena.
High Blood Pressure:
Avoid the following oils in cases of high- hypertension: Hyssop, Rosemary, Sage (Spanish and common) and Thyme.
Hyssop, Rosemary, Angelica, and Sage (all types).
Homeopathic treatment is not compatible with the following: Black Pepper, Camphor, Eucalyptus and Peppermint.