Home Remedies for Kids – Part 1

Kids fall sick frequently and as parents, we feel guilty in giving modern day medicines every time they are sick. Here are some home remedies that would help to get rid of some minor ailments. These work well with kids and adults. Before going deeper into the topic let me tell you one thing


For example, if your kid has a severe throat infection (so severe that he/she can’t swallow even water) or difficulty in breathing or high fever for more than two days, then he/she needs to be taken to a pediatrician. Same applies to adults as well. If you have a throat infection, you can try these remedies for a day or two but if it persists you need to consult a doctor.

Antibiotics and other allopathic medicines would do harm only when they are consumed regularly.

A 3 days dose prescribed by doctors are harmless unless you are allergic to the medicine or if you take it more than the prescribed amount.

Now let’s see in detail about the home remedies. (All these are the remedies that I do for my daughter). This is not recommended for babies BELOW 1 year of age.

Cold and cough

  • Country borage (Plectranthus amboinicus). This plant is called Karpooravalli in Tamil, panikoorka in Malayalam, Patta ajwain in Hindi (sorry I don’t know in other languages)

Country borage-Plectranthus amboinicus-karpooravalli

You can either let your kid chew this plant’s leaf directly (after washing well, of course). Or you can put two or three leaves in water and boil it till the water reduces to half of the original amount you had taken. The water will get a light green color at this point.

Country borage-Plectranthus amboinicus-karpooravalli juice

Now close the vessel and let it cool a bit. Once it is warm enough to drink you can give it to your child. If he/she refuses to drink it then you can a little honey to it (just a little and not too much). You can keep this water (with the leaves) for 8 to 10 hrs. Warm it before giving to the child.

  • Steam inhalation

This is another excellent way to soothe cold and cough. If your child is 1to 2 years old, then

Heat the water till it boils. Pour it into a bucket with some ordinary water and make the kid inhale the gentle vapors (there is no need to cover). If he/she is more than two years then you can heat the water as usual and make them inhale the steam. Here too there is no need to cover, but if you are confident about the safety of your child then you can stand or sit behind the kid and let him/her inhale while you cover you and your kid.

If you are following the traditional method of steaming then use a pot like this to boil the water

boiling water in pot

Covering the mouth of the pot would trap most of the steam inside. And since the pot mouth is small it’s safe for kids. It’s ok if your son/daughter refuses to inhale the steam. You just make them stand near to the steam. That’s enough to soothe the cold.

Steam inhalation is very effective for nasal congestion (nose block), running nose and cough (and sinusitis in the case of adults).

  • Let the child eat citrus fruits like orange, sweet lime, gooseberry etc. if there is no cough. Citrus fruits are loaded with vitamin C which is an antioxidant (antioxidants boosts up your immunity). If your child has a cough, then do not give them the citrus fruits. The citric acid in such fruits would irritate his/her throat, worsening the cough.
  • Ginger juice and honey (for a cough)

Crush a little piece of ginger and extract the juice. Mix honey to this in 1:1 ratio. (I.e. to1 tsp. of ginger juice you have to mix 1 tsp. of honey)

  • Avoid sweets and rough food like biscuits, fried snacks etc. It will irritate the throat and worsen a cough.
  • Camphor and coconut oil

Heat a small cube of camphor in coconut oil (flavorless). Stop once the camphor melts completely. Cool it. When the mixture is warm enough to be applied, rub it on the chest, back and soles of your child. Take care not to apply too much. Excess of camphor can irritate your kid’s skin.

For kids above 2 years, you can apply Vicks instead of camphor (if you are comfortable with it)

  • Head elevation

We cough more when we lie down; the reason is this – when our body is flat, mucus (phlegm/sputum) pools on our throat, which in turn activates the cough reflex to expel the sputum out. Keeping the child’s head elevated with one or two pillows would avoid this pooling of sputum. Make sure that your child is comfortable.

Throat pain

Throat pain can be very annoying if it gets worse. If you take a little care you can get rid of it before it worsens. You have to take care of the pain right from the moment you suspect it or when your kid complains of it, in the case of babies who had not started to talk, you can suspect it when the baby refuses to eat or drink or if he/she consumes less food as compared to other days.

  • Give the child warm water to drink at frequent intervals. (the aim is to keep the throat moist, dryness can trigger a cough which may further irritate the throat leading to a sore throat).
  • Avoid snacks, sweets cold, oily, and spicy food. All these irritate the throat.

In case if the pain is so severe that the child refuses to swallow his/her saliva or take even a sip of water, you should definitely take them to a pediatrician. You can follow the below-given ideas for soothing the pain while the kid takes his/her dose of medicine.

  • Give them sips of warm water in frequent intervals (the warmth of the water would soothe down the pain and relax the muscles of the throat)

  • Give them warm milk or semi-solid food like porridge, rice water, kanjee/congee/kanji (Indian dish) etc.

 Mix 1 or 2 tsp. of rock salt or crystal salt to a glass of warm water (tolerable heat) and ask the kid to gargle 2 or 3 times a day.


You don’t have to give paracetamol syrup (crocin, calpol, P125, P250 etc.) every time your kid has a fever. Fever is not a disease, it’s just a symptom. Giving paracetamol does not cure the fever, it just lowers the temperature. There should be a minimum gap of 4 hours between the doses. Also, you cannot give it in the amounts you wish. Doctors prescribe paracetamol based on your child’s weight. Incorrect way of administering the medicine can result in your child’s liver getting damaged. There are other ways to bring down the fever.

  • Tepid sponging – take a bowl/ mug of ordinary water (NOT COLD), dip a small cloth or towel and squeeze the extra water out. Wipe your kid’s body with it, let the cloth remain for 1 or 2 seconds (not more than that) on his/her forehead, axillae/underarms and groins. Repeat it a couple of time and gently pat him/her dry.

Do not use cold or ice cold water for sponging. It would only retain the heat within the body instead of releasing it out. (The coldness cause the blood vessels to contract thereby retaining the heat within)

  • Make them wear loose clothes and sit in an open place

kids - natural remedies for fever

Make them wear loose clothes and take them to an open place in your house like roof terrace or veranda. You can also switch on the fan, open your doors and windows and make your child sit in a place where there is free air circulation. The air around you would take away your kid’s body temperature (it is called convection).

Do not follow the above 2 steps if your child has shivering

  • Let the child consume more liquid or semi-solid diet. Encourage them to plenty of water. If he/she refuses to drink plain water, you can add cumin seeds, holy basil leaves, carom seeds etc. to water while boiling. Kids are more attracted to flavored water than the plain one. The more water they drink, the more they pass urine. This way the body heat gets flushed out.

Take the child to a pediatrician of the fever persists for more than two days.

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