I started my healthy living journey in my young 20's. I ate healthily, tried to stay active. I was even vegan for a year. (And loved it, I hope to make my way back one day, but that's a WHOLE other story.) When I became a new mom, things changed. All of a sudden I was entrusted with the care of this tiny little person, who had ailments and (very minor at least) issues.
I worked in a hospital for 10 years. I knew the in's and out's of drug side effects. Most aren't necessary, at least not on a routine basis. I knew the side effects of Tylenol, and the effects it can have on a small developing body. It can cause serious liver damage, mess with their blood clotting, (I've even read about links to childhood asthma, although I don't recall any actual proof.) But still. all of these "possibilities" are enough to make any new mom crazy.
This began a dive into the infinite rabbit hole of what else is there? I wanted to find ways to help my baby. He was also colicky, and a terrible sleeper. I was so desperate to find relief for both of us. So I started educating myself and found several amazing resources.
As I started my dabbling into herbalism, a spark was ignited inside me. Learning about herbs completely changed how I parent, my career choice, and my general day to day life.
So how is that herbalism makes parenting easier?
Let me just start by saying...
Okay, I feel it's very important to let me preface this whole thing by giving my two cents on conventional medicine.
Conventional medicine is amazing. I've seen conventional medicine (and the people behind it) do amazing, wonderful, life-saving things. But our system isn't perfect.
Our society doesn't truly understand that the world of medicine is so, so, sooo complicated. It's incredibly difficult to do well. It's easy for things to get missed, or something to slip through the cracks. I have seen it, and so has every medical professional.
My general view is, if it's minor and you don't NEED medications, find another way. It can be done, and it's nearly always worth it. I'm going to throw the Tylenol example out there again.
There are very few issues that actually NEED a dose of Tylenol. I have heard countless doctors make comments about how they give patients Tylenol just to make them feel better.
It's not actually treating anything. (There are a few exceptions, but they are very rare.) To me, the risks associated with it just aren't justified for fevers or teething.
Use your mommy instincts and of course, always consult with a trusted provider. (And find one you can ask questions to, and really do trust!) You can also find naturopathic doctors, herbalist, and other naturally minded professionals to work with. There are so many amazing, knowledgeable people out there. Whew....ok. Not that that's done. How does learning about herbs make parenting easier?
- Build your own natural medicine cabinet
- Fewer doctor visits
- Saves you money
- No desperate drug store trips
- More confidence in your ability to handle common childhood ailments
- Less worry
A natural medicine cabinet
Herbalism gives you tools! I feel fully equipped to handle most childhood issues myself. No need to panic. No need to run to the doctor over colds, fevers, minor injuries.
I have a whole cabinet of goodies to make my children (and the adults too) feel better. Best part, they are natural ingredients. They are not synthetic drugs, with well known, well documented side effects.
No need to worry about organ damage or long-term neurological issues. I have a cabinet of plants, that work well to soothe, nourish and support a healthy body. Bodies that know how to heal themselves when needed.
Fewer Doctors visits & More money in your pocket
When you immerse yourself into learning about natural medicine, you don't need to go to the doctor over every little thing. You will have enough knowledge to handle many of the little problems yourself. This alone, will save you lots of money in medical bills.
Gives you confidence as a parent
Learning about herbs can give you the confidence to handle those ailments too. I know you've heard the phrase "knowledge is power." This definitely applies here.
When you learn about herbalism and how herbs work in the body, you are kinda forced to learn about the human body as well. You have to learn about the organs and body systems. How everything works together.
The more you learn, and the more knowledgeable you become, the more confidence you have in your ability to care for your little ones. That is a BIG deal.
Imagine the feeling when your child starts coughing. Do you get anxious? What are your first thoughts? Do you starting thinking oh no, will I have to take him in? Do I have cough syrup in the cabinet, is it the right kind? Is it really necessary? Will this harm him somehow? (At least this is how I thought about everything.)
It doesn't have to be this way though. When you learn about herbalism you start thinking differently. Your mindset changes completely. Instead, you start thinking.... Hmmm, I should give him some elderberry syrup to boost his immune system.
And what herbs can I use to help with that cough and calm his nerves? I wonder if I have a tincture that will help, and if not maybe a tea. Which herbal book should I break out to find what I'm looking for specifically?
The second is sooo much better by the way. Instead of questioning everything without actually helping anything, you take a more proactive approach. Your job is to keep your child nourished, soothe their symptoms and boost their immune system. You are supporting them, as their body does what it does best on its own. Heal.
No more desperate drug store trips
Instead of running to the drug store hoping to find a bottle with your kid's exact symptoms, you open your kitchen cabinets. You grab the herbs that you know will help your child at that moment and deliver it the best way for your circumstance.
This gives you so much flexibility. And what mama doesn't need more flexibility in their life? (And you can totally become this confident with the right know-how.)
I find I worry much less now. I have a variety of herbs in my toolbox to help me keep my child healthy and well. I also have educated myself enough that I don't worry over small ailments.
Having more confidence in being able to care for my children naturally, and having more knowledge in herbalism helps me feel loads better about anything that pops up.
Herbs can be used outside of ailments
I personally use herbs every-single-day with my kids. Often it's in the form of our nightly bedtime tea, which helps calm the nerves and preps everyone for a good nights rest.
We make vitamin C popsicles as nutritious treats and elderberry syrup to support everyone's immune system. Herbs have just become a part of our day to day. They are delicious and healthy additions to our everyday lives.
So how do you start learning about herbalism?
You research! You read herbal books, you talk to others who have been learning as well. Check out how to teach yourself about herbs. This will help get you a good start on learning herbalism!
If you are looking to become your own family herbalist, I highly suggest The Herbal Academy It is designed to give you tons of knowledge on herbs and using them for a healthier life with a big focus on how you can use them even for children.
I have taken quite a few courses from them, and all of them have been awesome! My favorite herbal remedies have come from the experiments I learned in their course. You can read my full review here.