Being both the parent and the home herbalist for your family adds a new layer of complexity to "triaging" your kids. Knowledge on how to handle medical situations that would send other parents running for their phone or the nearest clinic is very empowering, but it can also have you biting off more than you can chew. Knowing when to act and when to call for help is key to being a confident herbalist for your family. Here are a few best practices for the home herbalist.
Take Really Good Notes
Create a file folder for each member in your home. When sickness or injury comes around, take detailed notes on symptoms and observations. You'll be better able to tell if your chosen remedies are actually working. If a doctor call proves necessary, they'll appreciate your comprehensive information.
Know When to Call for Help
Sometimes an ailment or wound doesn't respond well to your natural interventions. That's okay. It happens. Have a plan in place for when you'll call the doctor. Typical markers that parents are told to watch for like fevers over 105 or diarrhea for more than 48 hours are good. Also, know where your line is. If you don't have experience with a particular injury, don't try to tackle it on your own. Call for help.
Track What Works
Your family member's responsiveness to certain herbal remedies can't always be predicted. Leaving aside weak remedies, some people simply don't respond well to specific plant medicines. First, ensure that you're using effective remedies that match what you're trying to treat. Then, keep careful track of how well it's doing. If it doesn't seem to be working, switch to something else. Don't be shy to contact your neighborhood herbalist for help.
Keep Your Friendly Neighborhood Herbalist on Speed Dial
The internet is a priceless tool for finding things out; however, when it comes to herbal medicine, the conflicting information is criminal sometimes. Thorough research from reputable sources is key, but nothing trumps an experienced herbalist. Know who your neighborhood herbalist is, how to reach her, if she has an open clinic day, accepts appointments, etc.
Take Care with Kid Dosages
Children have a higher risk of unusual and/or extreme response to medications, so even with natural remedies, you want to be cautious with your dosages. Always follow dosage directions, and don't use any remedy that isn't deemed safe for kids. If you have to determine dosage on a homemade remedy, consider a method like Clark's rule.
Editor's Note: The information in this article is not intended to diagnose or treat illness. Always do your research before using an herbal remedy to ensure that there are no allergy risks or cross indications with any prescription medications that you are taking. See your doctor before starting any new treatments or programs. Anything that you learn from Prairie Hawk Botanica, its blog, or Jennifer Capestany must be considered informational only. You own yourself.
Author: Jennifer Capestany
Jennifer is a clinical herbalist and health coach, specializing in autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis. Her interest in plant medicine led Jennifer to spend years studying herbology, physiology, and nutrition. She works one-on-one with her clients via her herbalist and health coaching business, Prairie Hawk Botanica. Jennifer lives on a homestead in rural Texas with her husband, 2 children, and various animals. In her spare time she loves to be in her large herb and vegetable garden. Sharing herb knowledge and her love of natural healing with others is her calling.
I'm Jennifer Capestany, a clinical herbalist and freelance writer with a practice in North Texas. Helping people deal as naturally as possible with rheumatoid arthritis, chronic illness and other chronic conditions is my calling.