School year health tips & How to take herbs

School-year health tips

Oh boy! School’s been in session for a while now and the weather is beginning to change. Sitting in classrooms all day and not getting to play outdoors is taking a toll on your child’s body (not to mention his psyche!). The excitement he may have had about his new backpack, lunch bag and cool clothing has all but vanished only to be replaced with piles of homework. Let’s face it — your child is stressed out. This means that his immune system is vulnerable to viruses and bacteria.

Parents, too (especially moms) can begin to feel a little anxious as the spelling tests, math quizzes and book reports need to be completed. And concerns ranging from “Is my child making new friends?” to “How do I teach my child to handle that bully?” begin to surface and can really heighten that sense of worry.

At this point you may be asking, “What can I do to keep me and my child from catching colds and flu?” “What can I give my children to relieve their nervousness about their social situations or passing tests?” Or “What can I take for my nerves?”

Good news! There are MANY herbs that help both kids and parents strengthen their immune systems and quell their nerves.

Prevention is best!

As a trained and certified herbalist (and a practical mother of seven) I am a firm believer that an ounce of prevention is worth more than a pound of cure. I encourage parents to adopt the enlightened practice of using herbs to nip that cold, flu or nervousness in the bud, before it has a chance to blossom into many days of missed school and inflict untold misery.
My suggestion is to keep one or two excellent immune herbal tinctures blends* on hand to administer to your children (and yourself) at the first sign of an illness. A drippy nose, sneezing, achy-ness or an emotional shift means it is time.  Nerves, tension and anxiety suppress the immune system, thereby increasing ones’ child’s  vulnerability to the viruses and bacteria that just love to ‘hang-out’ in classrooms.I make herbal blends to fit the exact symptoms as they arise but for those of you who do not have a ‘personal herbalist’ it’s a comfort to know that there are commerically available herbal blends that work wonderfully.

One of my favorite herbal immune tinctures for kids is David Winston’s Healthy Kids Compound. And for adults, I like David Winston’s Immune Adapt (a Fu Zheng formula).

When and how to take herbs

Herbs can be given morning and evening when the person is well, but should be increased to three or four times a day if the person seems to be coming down with an illness. All members of the family should begin taking herbs if one member of the household begins to show signs of an illness. It is also a good idea to take immunity building herbs when a dramatic change occurs in the schedule or when an emotional challenge comes up in the family. Generally speaking, schedule changes and negative emotions are stressors; stress weakens the immune system. This is preventative medicine at its best.DOSAGE: Depends upon the age and weight of the person. Common dosage of an adult is 25 drops; children range from 5-15 drops.

View Sara Chana’s “Giving Herbs to Children” (click on video, below)

Giving Herbs to Kids

Nervous tension and stress

For kids and parents who are nervous or having trouble sleeping I suggest Skullcap and Lemon Balm. They can be mixed together or taken separately. Skullcap is best used for nervous tension and anxiety feelings; you can feel the calming effect within 20 minutes of taking this herb. It works wonders for children who are anxious and fearful (please note: Skullcap should not be mixed with psychotropic medications such as Prozac, Ativan or Zoloft). Lemon Balm is a calming and relaxing herb. It is also anti-viral. It can be given after school if a child is unable to relax, or at the first sign of a cold. This herb is gentle and very soothing. Finally, most importantly, remember to breathe. When the nervous system becomes agitated and anxiety is nipping at your heels, stop running. Turn around. Sit down. Breathe slowly and deeply.

SkullcapHerbalist & Alchemist Skullcap Glycerite
Lemon BalmHerbalist & Alchemist Lemon Balm Glycerite


1) H2O: The first is a jug of purified water that kids need to bring to school every day and be encouraged to drink! Dehydration makes concentrating difficult, which in turn makes it difficult for a child to transition well. Hydration is an easy and inexpensive way to help a child succeed academically and socially.

2) FOOD: The next thing is to give your child snacks to take to school that contain oats or nuts and you should be able to read and understand what the ingredients are! I really am impressed with Kind bars. They are easy to carry around and quick nutrition for kids who do not have nut allergies. For kids with allergies and especially nut allergies I am super impressed with the products made from EnjoyLife. Their products are wholesome,very tasty and convenient for kids to eat at school.

3) AVOID: Stay away from MSG (Monosodium Glutamate) – also called tortilla yeast, hydrolyzed vegetable protein, textured vegetable protein. MSG is an excitotoxin in the brain, meaning that it over-stimulates the brain, causing the production of excessive amounts of dopamine. This creates a drug-like rush that provides a brief sensation of well-being. In the process, though, brain cells are destroyed. Studies show it can impair memory retention.