Cover image for Naturally healthy babies and children : a commonsense guide to herbal remedies, nutrition, and health
Naturally healthy babies and children : a commonsense guide to herbal remedies, nutrition, and health
Romm, Aviva Jill.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Pownal, Vt. : Storey Books, [2000]

Physical Description:
ix, 437 pages : illustrations ; 23 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
RJ61 .R72 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



As parents seek a more natural approach to children's health, Aviva Romm offers the most comprehensive and effective compilation of herbal remedies for children from infancy to pre-adolescence. Romm, a mother, midwife, and practicing herbalist with extensive first-hand clinical experience, teaches the practical, empowering steps that parents can take in conjunction with regular medical care to achieve a truly holistic health care approach. With the friendly, reassuring tone of a confident healthcare practitioner, this book offers parents the guidance they need to understand their children's bodies and provide basic preventive health care and home first-aid for common childhood ailments from abscesses to bed-wetting, coughs to hyperactivity, lice to whooping cough. This book is sure to be cherished by readers as they learn to care for their children -- naturally.

Author Notes

Aviva Romm is a certified professional midwife and herbalist



Part I: Herbalism and Natural Healing Chapter 1: Toward a Deeper Understanding of Health We live in what is considered a "health-conscious" society: People jog and do aerobics, watch their weight and fat consumption, take vitamins and eat high-fiber cereals. Yet health problems are rampant. Now more than ever, we need to reevaluate our approach to children's health. In spite of our health consciousness, unprecedented numbers of young people in North America - with estimates in excess of 10 percent of all children between ages 3 and 18 - are being treated with stimulant and antidepressant medications for conditions such as attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), aggression, and anxiety. Most of these treatments, incidentally, are not proved safe or effective for children, and their use is almost entirely "off-label" (not approved for those purposes). Children are experiencing increasingly high rates of asthma, allergies, eczema, otitis media, respiratory infections, obesity, diabetes, autoimmune diseases such as chronic fatigue syndrome, and various cancers such as leukemia. Childhood violence is also on the rise. Why are these problems occurring in the wealthiest, best-fed, most vaccinated society in the world? Clearly, something is not working. Our health consciousness is too often a quest for the "perfect body" or a daily life free of illness so that we can work more, stay up later, and look young longer. We have mistakenly bought into the idea that health is a certain body type or lifestyle, not an intrinsic sense of strength and vitality. Sadly, our standards of health are based on external ideas - the size of the clothing we wear; how long we can sustain our heart rates on a treadmill; how much we look like a tall, thin, twenty-two-year-old fashion model in a television commercial; and so on. As long as we continue to search outside ourselves for a standard of what health "looks like," we won't succeed. In reality, some of us are short, some are stocky, and some ride around in wheelchairs. We need to redefine our standard of health so that it is based upon an individual sense of well-being. Redefining Wellness Learning basic health skills that enable us to feel well and truly love who we are should be as important as learning to read. We must learn to eat well, exercise, relax, and live in good relationship to one another. Health may take on transpersonal meaning as we commit to ensuring it for all humanity. In this aspect, health may mean giving and sharing so that all can have enough. As a culture this means ensuring decent housing, meaningful work, and high-quality foods for all of our members. The freedom to enjoy life is at the heart of health. Without hope for the future, the human organism has no need to maintain vitality and, therefore, health. From the Inside Out Health is not merely the absence of disease. It is an inner spark that glows from the core of a person outward. As a culture we have adopted materialistic concepts about health and illness. We address the complaints of the body as mere physical symptoms and attempt cures that attend only to these physical manifestations of disease. In reality, health can be linked to our emotional state and our immediate surroundings. For example, when parents consult with me about a child with chronic earaches, I may gently ask whether they have been arguing within the child's earshot. Almost invariably, this query leads to a discussion about the stress they've been having in their home. Children are incredibly sensitive to stress in their environment, and their illnesses are often, though not always, a reflection of their efforts to cope with stress. Our approach to healing should incorporate awareness of the subtle spiritual, mental, and emotional aspects of life and the ways these can become disturbed, resulting in physical illness. All of human life comes down to forces that no science or technology can explain. Modern medicine is just beginning to acknowledge what traditional cultures all over the world have always recognized: that not all of life can be reduced to a measurable, physical explanation. Varied Cultural Perspectives Cultures around the world look to nature and to the psyche of the person in need for a deeper understanding of illness and healing. For example, practitioners of Ayurvedic medicine (a two-thousand-year-old healing system well developed in India) sometimes prescribe fairy tales as part of a medical treatment, the idea being that the messages revealed in the stories will help the person unlock mental patterns that may be the source of the problem. A Native American may go to a shaman who will fast and pray to particular nature spirits or deities with whom the patient is perceived to be in disharmony. Healing the disharmony between the person and the environment is seen as necessary for the improvement of physical illnesses. In our own culture, we have come to see the body as a fragmented series of parts and ourselves as separate and distinct from our surroundings. Illness becomes merely the action of germs in our bodies, and the impact of our personal lives and lifestyles is treated as insignificant. Perhaps this is why the most common complaint about medical care is that it is impersonal, that people are treated as test results or, worse yet, like automobiles on an assembly line. A person's life is not considered a significant factor in wellness or illness. Out of Touch with Nature In our daily lives, most of us are somewhat divorced from the rhythms of the natural world. We go to sleep late, eat highly processed and chemically enhanced foods, spend much of our time indoors, and generally get too little exercise. In many ways we've become "soft." As our lifestyles move farther away from daily interaction and harmony with natural cycles, we not only lose our instinctive ability to recognize what we need for health and healing, but also our bodies come to forget what health really is. We merely adapt to a second-rate level of wellness, one in which headaches, constipation, ear infections, hemorrhoids, and backaches are accepted as normal complaints. With just a little effort we can change these patterns. Through small acts performed each day - taking a moment to breathe deeply, looking at the nighttime sky, sitting quietly - we can remember how healthy we really can be. Teaching Our Children about Wellness As parents, we have the opportunity to show children how intimately their personal health is connected to their surroundings. This is a very important teaching on many levels because it enables children to value themselves and to see the importance of creating surroundings that support them. When we teach children that illness is something to avoid at all costs and to overcome as quickly as possible, regardless of the means of doing so, we deny them the right to take time to heal, honor their illnesses, convalesce, and grow. We are denying that illness is a natural part of health, and we make sickness the enemy of their bodies. As herbalist Lorien Cruden says, "The way you care for your children's health teaches them positive or negative body images: wholeness or alienation." We can give the very best health insurance to our children: We can help them learn to care for themselves early in life by teaching them to live closely with nature, eat well, exercise often in the fresh air, and have a positive attitude toward life, health, and their bodies. We can teach them to recognize when a situation is causing stress and how to handle it. We can teach them to identify and respond to early signs of not feeling well, and to practice preventative measures. Offering Nourishment The word nourish appears many times in these pages, so a definition is in order. The words nutrition and nourish have their roots in a verb meaning "to suckle." Another related word, nurture, means "affectionate care and attention." Nurture is also defined as "the sum of the influences modifying the expression of the genetic potentialities of an organism." So we see that nourishment is much more than obtaining a certain amount of vitamins and minerals from food. It is also a way of loving and caring for ourselves and others, which stimulates the unfolding of our greatest skills, health, and humanity - our "genetic potentialities." Physical nourishment in the form of food is required, of course, but so are exercise, rest, and attention to our complex emotional and psychological needs. In providing care, nourishment, and attention to young children, we give them permission to grow into self-loving, self-nourishing adults. If we introduce children at a young age to a way of life that encompasses natural elements, this consciousness will remain a part of their identity and sense of what is important. Helping children accept themselves from a young age will decrease the incidence of a host of problems, including anorexia among teenage girls, the peer pressure that often results in drug use, self-mutilation, depression, and violence. We will have raised a generation of people who resist the building of toxic dumps in their neighborhoods (and, perhaps, in all neighborhoods, not just their own), the use of chemicals in their foods, and even intolerable work conditions. In short, attention to health becomes a whole life issue, not just a prescription for herbs or vitamins. Teaching Our Children about Health Responsibility Balance in all things is a key to health. Being a fanatic about health is just the opposite extreme of not taking any responsibility at all, and it doesn't teach kids to feel relaxed about themselves. If we think we must live "purely" and do everything "perfectly" to conquer or escape illness, we are creating the inner stress of always fighting or avoiding something. This is an illusion that creates an enormous amount of performance pressure, limits us from experiencing and enjoying life, and inevitably leads to disappointment or frustration when illness does arise. The goal is not to arm ourselves against illness, but to avoid unnecessary or repeated illnesses that arise from lack of nourishment, insufficient rest and relaxation, inadequate exercise, or even a lack of warmth and caring from others in our lives. And if illness does occur, it should be our goal to attend to it with grace and compassion, not guilt or blame. Begin with Acceptance Remember, there is no one, pure perfect path. Occasional illness or even serious disease can be experienced within the context of health. Life experienced through the fear of illness and death is not life at all but a grand avoidance. When we begin to accept ourselves, even with our illnesses and weaknesses, we begin to give ourselves unconditional love. We should teach our children that illness is a part of life, not the result of anything they have done wrong. There is no need for guilt or embarrassment. Ultimately, health is loving ourselves "for better or for worse." This is the spiritual state from which true healing emerges and is a way of life worth passing on to our children. Health requires, as herbalist Lorien Cruden puts it, "participation in life." We take responsibility for our well-being and our environment on all levels - physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. We don't wait for someone to come and fix us; we don't give up our power and responsibility because of fear. We put ourselves into nourishing situations because we deserve to feel well. Empowering Our Children We want our children to trust their bodies' ability to maintain and restore balance and health, we want them to understand the simple ways that help maintain health and prevent and treat illnesses, and we also want them to grow up feeling empowered and in charge of their health care rather than vulnerable or victimized should they ever require medical assistance. Setting an Example By making it a priority to care for our own wellness and doing the things that promote our health, we give our children encouragement to do the same. We are providing a model that says, "I value my body and my health." In addition, when ill, if we modify our lifestyles and give attention to restoring our wellness, we are giving our children a valuable demonstration of personal responsibility. How we interact with and allow ourselves to be treated by health care workers is also important. Through this example we teach children either that we are passive recipients and victims of health "care" or that we are active participants in, in fact organizers of, our health care. We need to feel strong and confident in a doctor's office, not threatened and meek. We need to ask our questions until we are satisfied with our understanding of the situation, and, above all, recognize that we are paying the physician to serve us, not to do us a favor by giving a few minutes of his or her time. If we cower, then we teach our children to cower; if we are confident, we pass on a special gift to our kids. Excerpted from Naturally Healthy Babies and Children: A Commonsense Guide to Herbal Remedies, Nutrition and Health by Aviva Jill Romm All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

Table of Contents

William Sears, M.D.
Forewordp. vi
Introductionp. vii
Part I Herbalism and Natural Healingp. 1
1 Toward a Deeper Understanding of Healthp. 2
2 Herbal Medicinep. 14
3 Home Health Care for Childrenp. 28
4 Herbal Primerp. 51
Part II Newborn and Baby Carep. 85
5 Conception through Birth: Laying the Foundationp. 86
6 Your Healthy Newbornp. 126
7 Natural Remedies for Newborns and Babiesp. 139
Part III Natural Healing for Childrenp. 169
8 The Needs of the Whole Childp. 170
9 Natural Remedies for Children's Common Complaints: An A-Z Guidep. 184
Abscessesp. 188
Achesp. 192
Acnep. 194
Allergiesp. 198
Anemia (Iron Deficiency)p. 205
Appetite Lossp. 208
Asthmap. 211
Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorderp. 225
Bed-Wettingp. 241
Bites and Stingsp. 247
Boilsp. 254
Broken Bonesp. 257
Bruisesp. 261
Burnsp. 262
Car Sicknessp. 265
Chicken Poxp. 268
Chillsp. 271
Chokingp. 272
Colds and Flup. 273
Conjunctivitis (Pinkeye)p. 278
Constipationp. 281
Coughs, Bronchitis, and Congestionp. 287
Cuts, Scrapes, and Woundsp. 296
Depressionp. 298
Diarrheap. 303
Dysenteryp. 306
Earaches and Ear Infectionsp. 307
Feversp. 315
Food Sensitivitiesp. 325
German Measles (Rubella)p. 329
Headachesp. 330
Head Injuriesp. 332
Hearing Problemsp. 333
Immunityp. 336
Impetigop. 342
Intestinal Parasitesp. 344
Irritabilityp. 354
Licep. 355
Measlesp. 357
Meningitisp. 362
Mumpsp. 363
Nightmares and Sleep Disturbancesp. 367
Nosebleedsp. 370
Penis Irritations and Carep. 372
Poison Ivy and Poison Oakp. 374
Ringwormp. 377
Scabiesp. 379
Skin Problems (General)p. 382
Sore Throatp. 385
Stomachachesp. 388
Strep Throatp. 390
Stressp. 392
Stiesp. 394
Sunburnp. 396
Ticksp. 398
Urinary Tract Infectionsp. 399
Vaginal Itchingp. 403
Vomitingp. 405
Whooping Cough (Pertussis)p. 409
I. Common and Latin Names for Herbsp. 416
II. Assembling an Herbal First-Aid Kitp. 418
Converting Recipe Measurements to Metricp. 419
Resourcesp. 420
Further Readingp. 422
Indexp. 427