Remedies for Children's Health Problems
This article covers home remedies for diarrhea, constipation and intestinal worms in children.
Diarrhea is the body’s way of getting rid of germs. It normally occurs when the intestine is unable to absorb water from the food taken. It could be caused by viral / bacterial infection, indigestion, overeating, food poisoning, intake of certain medications, or food intolerance.
Constipation is when a child has a bowel movement less often than normal and the stools are hard and difficult to pass. This could be caused due to certain medications, starting school, illness, or drinking insufficient water.
Intestinal worms - The types of intestinal worms found in India are roundworms, hookworms, threadworms and tapeworms. These parasites enter the bodies of children through the mouth (badly or under cooked flesh foods, dirty fingers or contaminated toys) or skin of the feet (infected water, unhygienic surroundings).
In any case, if home remedies do not help, it is advisable to seek medical help.
Diarrhea – Along with loose stool, symptoms of diarrhea sometimes include fever, nausea, vomiting, dehydration, stomach cramps and headache.
Constipation – Symptoms include stomach pain, nausea, bloating, loss of appetite, crying during bowel movements, avoiding going to the toilet.
Intestinal Worms – Major symptoms include restlessness, itching or pain around the anus, sleeplessness, loss of appetite, greasy stools, weight loss, nausea, vomiting, and abdominal bloating.
Ginger: To stop diarrhea in children, add a teaspoon of ginger to boiling water, drink it hot every hour.
Lime juice: Fresh lime juice with little hot water helps stop diarrhea in infants and children. Alternatively, lime juice with fresh juice of amla (Indian gooseberry) sugar is also effective.
Curd: Mix curd with mashed banana or one tsp of ginger juice to help cure diarrhea. Another option is to add black salt and roasted cumin seeds to buttermilk. This also helps make up for fluid loss.
Carrot juice: To stop diarrhea attacks quickly and regain proper digestion, take carrot juice several times a day. The essential oils in it have a beneficial effect on the stomach’s mucous membranes.
Nutmeg: Take a small amount of nutmeg and get your child to swallow it. For smaller kids, add pinch of nutmeg powder to honey.
Rice water: For infants, rice water with sugar and milk is effective in stopping diarrhea. Older children can eat boiled rice directly.
In addition to the home remedies, the child must be given fluids like ORS, coconut water, fresh fruit juices and cooked vegetables at regular intervals to recover fluid losses. Avoid fluids containing too much sugar since they lack the calories and minerals the child needs and might also worsen the diarrhea.
Flaxseed: Mix a teaspoon of flaxseed in a glass of water and ask your child to drink it. You can also sprinkle a teaspoon over a meal. This can be used as a preventive measure as well.
Castor oil: This is used as a laxative for relief from constipation in children. For babies a drop mixed in mother’s milk works well. For older kids a teaspoon of castor oil mixed with a glass of milk can be given.
Blackberries: Mix a cup of blackberries to a cup of water and drink on empty stomach to aid bowel movements.
Honey and sugar: Two tablespoons of honey or sugar added to a glass of warm milk and consumed on an empty stomach serves as a wonderful remedy.
Diet: Whole grain foods like lentils, honey, bran cereals, whole grain cereals, vegetables like spinach, cabbage, carrots, beetroot, pumpkin, French beans and turnip, fruits like oranges, mangoes, guava, papaya and plums, and dry fruits such as prunes, apricot, soaked raisins, dates and figs help soften stools and obtain relief from constipation.
Garlic: Mix the juice of one or two cloves of garlic with half a cup of fruit / vegetable juice to kill the parasites.
Coconut: Take a teaspoon of freshly ground coconut at breakfast. After 2 hours, follow this up with a tablespoon of castor oil mixed in a glass of warm milk. Repeat daily till completely cured off intestinal worms.
Carrot: A cup of grated carrot every morning helps clear the worms quickly. Do not combine the carrot with any other food item.
Papaya: Add a teaspoon of fresh papaya juice to a teaspoon of honey and mix with two tablespoons of hot water. Follow it up after 2 hours with a tablespoon of castor oil in warm milk.
Diarrhea – Avoid overeating and eating uncooked food from outside, especially from roadside vendors. Disinfect drinking water properly to avoid water infection. Keep tab on foods that the child is allergic to and avoid them.
Constipation – Ensure that the child drinks plenty of water. Avoid fried foods, junk foods and foods high in sugar. Decrease consumption of foods that contribute to constipation like white flour, pastries, cookies, cheese, hard boiled eggs and jackfruit. Ensure high fiber diet (fruits, green leafy vegetables). Outdoor activities are as important as diet to ensure good digestion and absorption of food. In younger children, schedule a time for use of bathroom to improve bowel habits.
Intestinal Worms – Ensure that your child wears clean clothes, uses clean toys and towels. Change your baby’s nappies regularly. Use a good disinfectant to clean your home. Keep child away from wet sand pits, moist soil. Ensure that your child uses a clean toilet. Keep your child’s nails short and clean. Use boiled or filtered drinking water. Buy only fresh fruits and vegetables and wash them thoroughly before cooking. Use fresh poultry, meat and seafood items. Cook them thoroughly before consumption.