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I absolutely love it when my child has a need I can address by walking into my kitchen or back yard. It’s so easy, and makes me feel so empowered. And these remedies work – quickly I might add!

Plantain For Stings

No, I’m not talking about that starchy treat that fries up so nicely in Caribbean food, but rather the weed that infiltrates my grass so prolifically (Plantago lanceolata). Grab a leaf, chew it up a bit (this is technically referred to as a “spit poultice”) and throw it on the sting (after removing the stinger of course). This has been the summer of bees for my family, and every time we slap that spit poultice on, the pain goes away before you can say “plantain spit poultice.”

Note: with bee stings, you should watch for excessive swelling or other signs of allergic reaction, including hives or difficulty breathing or swallowing. If these occur, call 911, go to the nearest ER, or call your child’s provider.

Cinnamon Applesauce For Diarrhea

We naturopathic doctors have lots of tricks up our sleeves for diarrhea, but cinnamon applesauce is one of my favorite.

Of course, if your child has diarrhea that: is unexplainable; is accompanied by a fever or lethargy; does not resolve after a few days; or is accompanied by other symptoms, you should seek a diagnosis and treatment plan from your child’s provider.

For run of the mill, fleeting, viral or “I gorged myself on cherries” kind of diarrhea, consuming a little cinnamon laced applesauce a few times a day should clear it up within one to three days.

Ginger or Mint For Belly Aches

Kids get stomach aches all the time! It’s so nice to have a quick, cheap, easy remedy at the ready. Ginger and mint both work like a charm, so find out which taste your child prefers. Ginger can be given as either candied ginger, typically found in the bulk aisle of the supermarket; or as ginger tea, either hot or iced. Mint is best given as a tea, again either hot or iced.

Note: prolonged stomach aches, or stomach aches that occur more often than not, can indicate a systemic problem and warrant a visit to your child’s provider.

Carrot or Potato Poultice For Spider Bites

Cut a slice of raw carrot or potato, or, better still, grate up a bit of either, and affix it to the bite. If you are using a slice, paper medical tape works well to hold it on; if you are using it grated, you can throw it into some cheesecloth and affix that to the bite. Either way, the vegetable poultice will draw out the toxins from the bite and help it heal faster.

Just be careful allowing a toddler to be alone with the poultice, or, you might find that the poultice disappears by way of a hungry and curious mouth (I know this one from personal experience!)

Note that this trick works for other bites and stings too.

When your child has a bite or sting, watch for signs of infection, including fever, increasing redness or warmth at the site of the injury, or red streaking from the site of the injury.

Onion Ear Muff For Ear Pain and Ear Infections

Ear pain and ear infections are not to be taken lightly, and always warrant a visit to your child’s provider. However, if it’s the middle of the night and your child starts complaining of ear pain; or, if your child’s provider has already diagnosed an ear infection with an intact ear drum, an onion ear muff can be just the ticket.

Cut an onion in half. Steam it (on the stove or in the microwave) until it softens a bit and you see the juices coming out onto the surface.   Wrap a cheesecloth over it to cut down on the mess, and place it on your child’s ear (it’s best if your child lies down on his side). Make sure the onion is still warm, but not hot. The warmth is soothing, and the antimicrobial properties of the onion juices help fight the infection.

Some of these remedies may seem too simple, or even too weird, to work, but trust me; try them and you’ll be glad you did!




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Teresa Neff
Teresa Neff
Dr. Teresa specializes in pediatric and adolescent medicine and women’s health. After earning her doctorate from Bastyr University, she spent over two years at The Kids Clinic, in north Seattle, first as a medical resident, and then as a staff physician. At The Kids Clinic, she became comfortable managing urgent acute matters as well as chronic health concerns. Dr. Teresa loves combining her life long love of teaching children with her passion for natural medicine. As a primary care provider, she offers well child exams, well woman exams, sports physicals, lab studies, vaccines and vaccine education. In addition, she uses the various tools of naturopathic medicine, including Craniosacral Therapy, Visceral Manipulation, and Classical Homeopathy, among others, to build healthy foundations and to promote health and empower her patients. Dr. Teresa also studied breastfeeding and lactation with the Simkin Center and holds a certificate as a Certified Lactation Educator (CLE). Having experienced the struggles and the joys of breastfeeding herself, she is happy to help moms establish or continue breastfeeding. Dr. Teresa sees patients at Seattle Nature Cure Clinic in Seattle, Washington. Schedule an appointment with Dr. Neff in Seattle, Washington

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