Fevers are nature’s way to rid the body of infection and are actually a sign of a healthy immune system. On the other hand, they can be dangerous if they get too high or last too long. Children tend to run hotter than adults do, as well.
The good news is that there is a lot we can do to treat childhood fevers with herbs, and today we'll walk through some of the options.
If your child’s fever reaches 103º F or more, or lasts for several days, or if your child is less than 6 weeks old and has a fever of 100.4º F or higher, contact your medical provider.
How Herbs Treat Childhood Fevers
Herbs can help you break your child’s fever in two different ways. Depending on how you use them, herbs can cool your child down or slightly warm him up, triggering perspiration and a subsequent lowering of body temperature.
Other herbs are diaphoretic, meaning they promote perspiration. They work with the body to raise body temperature while simultaneously allowing modulation through the natural cooling mechanism of sweating. Hot tea or infusion preparations enhance the diaphoretic effect. These herbs, including ginger, yarrow, echinacea, elderberry, and lemon balm, are also relaxing to the musculoskeletal system, so people with a cold, flu, or respiratory infection often sleep better after taking them.
Remember, maintaining hydration is critical. In most cases, dehydration–not the heat itself– is the greatest danger with childhood fever.
Lemon Balm - Melissa officinalis
- Lemon balm is one of the most fragrant herbs. A member of the mint family, its leaves release a pleasant, lemony fragrance when crushed. Sniffing the bruised leaves is invigorating and therapeutic in itself.
- It is traditionally used to treat the nervous system. As a nervine, this leafy herb blends well with chamomile.
- Lemon balm not only helps to relieve stress, but it also soothes an upset stomach and relieves gas.
- Leaves of Lemon Balm also make a cooling tea for the feverish. For a great blend helpful in bringing down fevers, save my Simmer Down Tea recipe below.
Catnip - Nepeta cataria
- Catnip is famous for the way it affects cats by driving them into a wild frenzy. They love it! But for humans, it is a quiet and calming herb used to relieve all types of stress.
- Catnip is a febrifuge, meaning it is beneficial in lowering fevers. It may be given as a tincture or a tea for this purpose.
- It is also helpful as a digestive aid for colic, indigestion, and diarrhea.
- Catnip may also help with teething pain and restlessness. It combines well with other herbs like lemon balm and oat straw to help calm a fussy child before bed. Find it in my Children’s Tranquility Tincture.
Simmer Down Tea
- 2 parts lemon balm
- 2 parts catnip
- 1 part elderberry
- 1 part chamomile
- 1 part echinacea
Mix the herbs together and store, sealed, in a cool, dry place until ready to use.
To make the tea, add 1 Tablespoon herb mix to a mug and pour 8 ounces boiling water over it. Cover and let steep for 5 minutes or up to an hour. Give the age-appropriate dose every 30 minutes. This tea can be given hot, warm, cold, or in fever-reducing popsicle form! (See Herbs for Kids for more information.)
How much tea should your child drink?
Up to 5 lbs.
1 tablespoon, 3 times daily
2 tablespoons, 3 times daily
1/4 cup, 3 times daily
1/2 cup, 3 times daily
3/4 cup, 3 times daily
1 cup, 3 times daily
1 cup, 3 times daily
*Please note this blog is for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace medical treatment. If you are concerned about your child's health please seek medical care from a trusted practitioner.
If you want to learn how to make your own herbal remedies, what herbs are safe for children and what illnesses are good to start with herbs when working with children...
Then you will love my Herbs for Kids Online Course!