9 useful home remedies for your tot's ailments

From pears to onions, we suggest drug-free treatments that should help junior feel better fast.

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It isn’t easy caring for a sick child. Even if he is suffering from something the common flu or a cough, it’s still heart-wrenching to see your little one sniffling and coughing non-stop.

Sometimes, the symptoms don’t seem serious enough to warrant a trip to the doctor, so how can you alleviate junior’s distress?

You may want to try these useful remedies you can easily whip up at home! Tread carefully if your munchkin has allergies or has sensitive skin ― consult your paediatrician first before you use these preparations.

For throat ailments

Honey Lemon

How it helps If your kiddo is feeling under the weather because of a bad throat, make some honey lemon for him! Honey, known for its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, can soothe and calm his throat, while lemon juice helps the swollen throat tissue contract. Be warned that honey mustn’t be given to babies under age 1 as it may contain a bacterium called clostridium botulinum spores. This can cause a rare but potentially fatal illness called infant botulism. Lim Lay Beng, a TCM physician at YS Healthcare, explains that babies under 1 year have a weaker digestive system and liver function, so botulinum spores can easily multiply and produce a toxin that affects their breathing, movements and food consumption.

What to do Mix a tablespoon of honey and several slices of lemon in hot water. Drink when it is still warm.

Orange with salt

How it helps This remedy might help kids who have been coughing for a long time. Orange is said to increase the flow of saliva, which will moisten the mouth and benefit the lungs. It should also reduce the itch in the irritated throat that is causing the cough. Plus, oranges are full of vitamin C, which can boost bubba’s immunity as well!

What to do Cut the top of an orange and put a teaspoonful of salt in the opening. You can use a fork or chopstick to make small holes in the orange, so that the salt sinks in better. Place the top of the orange back over the opening, the steam the fruit in a bowl for about 15 minutes. Eat the pulp and juice when it is warm.

Asian pear and honey

How it helps Low in cholesterol, fat and sodium, but high in vitamins K and C, Asian pears aren’t just yummy to eat, they are also great for our bodies. They will also clear phlegm from the throat while nourishing the lungs. Add other ingredients such as goji berries, red dates or ginger slices to the mix for more nourishment. Remember, don’t give your child under 1 year any honey!

What to do Slice the top off of a Korean pear. Core it to create a hole in the middle. Add ingredients such as goji berries, red dates or ginger slices, then drizzle a generous amount of honey over the fruit. Place the top of the pear back over the opening, then steam in a bowl for about 15 minutes until soft. Drink the infusion and eat the pear while it is warm.

For flu ailments:

Onions

How it helps Placing a raw onion in the room or on the soles of your feet has been a popular treatment for centuries, as onions are believed to cleanse the air by absorbing germs and bacteria. Although it has not been proven scientifically, many swear by this method to shake off a cold. Onions, which contain quercetin (an antioxidant), also offer healthful benefits when consumed. So, if you are not keen to have your kid smelling of raw onions, offer onions to him to eat instead!

What to do Cut two slices of onion and place each slice at the soles of your feet, then put on a pair of socks. You can also halve an onion and leave it by your bedside or in the corner of a room.

Vicks Vaporub

How it helps Vicks contains various ingredients such as eucalyptus oil, camphor, menthol and many more. All these help to eliminate cough and flu. You can also dissolve a dollop of Vicks in some hot water and breathe in the steam. This is not only useful for asthma sufferers, it also helps to clear congested noses.

What to do Rub Vicks on your mini-me’s upper chest to clear his congestion. Do note that Vicks Vaporub is only for kids aged 2 and above. For the younger kids, try Vicks BabyRub, which is made up of gentler ingredients such as rosemary and lavender, and suitable for babies 3 months and older.

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For stomach ailments:

Yu Yee oil

How it helps Most of us would be familiar with the smell, if not the name of this oil as your mum or grandmother might have applied it on you when you were younger. The oil, which contains ingredients like peppermint, clove and nutmeg oils as well as menthol, is said to ease tummy troubles by dispelling wind in the stomach. “My kids love this oil ― they use it very often, even now when they are older. My daughter uses this when she suffers from bloating during her period, too!” says mum of three Lily Tan.

What to do Place a few drops of the oil on your tot’s stomach and massage gently. As a baby’s skin is more sensitive, Lim recommends putting several drops in the palms of your hands and rubbing them together to warm up the oil before massaging it onto the baby.

Isotonic drinks

How it helps Isotonic drinks like 100 Plus and Gatorade don’t just hydrate and replenish your body’s electrolytes after exercising, they are also good for people suffering from stomach flu, diarrhoea or vomiting. You lose a lot of electrolytes and water from repeated bouts of vomiting and diarrhea, so this will help to top up your body. Plus, the drinks are sweet, so children might find it easier to ingest compared to tasteless water.

What to do Take small sips of the isotonic drink throughout the day. Don’t guzzle it all down at once as that might make you feel worse!

For skin problems:

Oolong Tea

How it helps Eczema is no fun because it itches like crazy. Sometimes, it gets so bad that you bleed when the skin breaks, which hurts. It’s worse for kids as they don’t know how to stop themselves from scratching. Instead of getting creams from the doc, why not offer junior some oolong tea? It has polyphenols (with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties) that may help those with mild eczema. In a Japanese study to test the effectiveness of oolong tea on eczema, 74 out of 118 participants showed an improvement in their condition after drinking oolong tea three times a day.

What to do Oolong tea is available at most supermarkets. Place a sachet in the cup and pour hot water over it. As oolong tea contains caffeine, avoid letting the bag steep for too long. For your kiddo, you can add a bit of honey to sweeten it.

Mung Beans

How it helps Mung beans, known for their cooling effect, can help dispel heat and toxins from the body. This should reduce your little one’s itch if they have eczema. Mung beans also contain phytoestrogens, which have anti-ageing properties, which helps to stimulate collagen production and elastin for skin repair.

What to do “Boil the mung beans with water for five minutes. After the water cools down, use it to clean the baby’s skin to dispel the heat and reduce redness and itchiness,” Lim suggests. For older kids, mung bean soup makes a good dessert, too. Rinse half a cup of beans thoroughly and put them in a big pot. Fill the pot with a litre of water, you can then add three blades of pandan leaves for additional flavour. Bring the water to a boil, turn the heat down to low and simmer for about 40 minutes, or until the beans are soft and start to break down. Remove from the heat, then add black/brown sugar to taste.

Photos: iStock

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