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4 Natural Remedies For Colds in Kids

Although prevention is ideal, it is inevitable that at some point in early parenthood you will be faced in dealing with the common cold.

Over-the-counter medication may bring symptom relief, but by using a natural approach you are able to tackle the root of the illness. Some remedies even boost the immune system.

Here is what I employ when my daughters happen to catch one of the hundreds of viruses that cause the common cold.

Start with a Warm Bath

Don’t underestimate a warm, soothing bath.

For me, I take a steamy shower when I’m sick – but I can’t exactly put my 3 yr old in a hot cascade of water.

Warm bathes have the ability to moisturize the nasal passages and relax a child. This is an easy and valuable way to sooth and reduce the aches of a cold.

Take this time to sing a soft song and give a mini massage too!

Try a Honey Beverage

Warm liquids relieve nasal congestion and helps prevent dehydration, couple that with the benefits of honey and you have a winning combination.

Research published in 2007 in the Archives of Pediatrics states that honey is a ‘preferable treatment for cough and sleep difficulty associated with childhood upper respiratory-tract infections’.

There were also significant differences in symptom improvement in those children that were treated with honey – “with honey consistently scoring the best”.  

Honey is believed to have antioxidant and antibacterial effects. Choose the dark-colored honey (buckwheat honey) which is the highest in antioxidants.

How to: We start with really warm water, placing a few tablespoons of honey in the cup. Stir rapidly to incorporate the honey. The end product is a sweet treat to enjoy after a warm bath.

Cozy up in bed and enjoy while reading their favorite book.

Use a Homemade Vicks Rub

Vicks VapoRub is a popular over-the-counter choice implemented by parents. However, research published in 2009 brings up reservations when using this medicine – specifically, it can dangerously interfere with the ability for young children to breathe.

Although the label directs parents not use on children under the age of 2, the researchers in the study noted that many parents ignore such labeling advice.

A good alternative is to make your own, safe and natural, Vicks Rub!  

Pour some type of carrier oil (olive, almond, etc.) in a small bowl or cup. Then add a few drops of eucalyptus oil (I also add some rosemary and white thyme).  (Mary Bove, N.D. An Encyclopedia of Natural Healing for Children and Infants pg 286)

Use a cotton swab to soak up some of the mixture and apply.

I always put a liberal amount on the soles of my children’s feet and cover with socks during the night. I do not apply to the chest…check out the next remedy…  

(If you are not familiar with using essential oils, please note – do not apply undiluted oils directly to the skin or ingest them. I purchase my oils from Mountain Rose Herbs.)

Humidifier with Eucalyptus Oil

This is my all time favorite natural remedy!

Here is a fun fact – Cineole is the active component in the eucalyptus oil that is responsible for its potent aroma.

When you inhale eucalyptus, cineole acts as an anti-inflammatory agent and an expectorant. This will help remove mucus and loosen anything funky going on inside in a gentle manner.

However, undiluted or pure eucalyptus oil can provoke headaches when directly inhaled – this is why I feel it best to add the oil to my humidifier in small amounts – inhaled over period of time.

It is super easy and convenient. Make sure your humidifier is clean – add water and a few (@10) drops of eucalyptus oil (I also add rosemary and occasionally white thyme or peppermint oil).

Try this remedy and I’m sure you’ll love it!  


  1. Do you recommend cold or warm humidifier???

    1. I fill mine with cool water, add the essential oil and then plug it in - it gets warm and steam comes out ... does that constitute as a warm one? :)


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