Do you cringe when your child asks for soda or juice? All to often children are drawn to sodas and other sweetened drinks. Their friends drink it, so they wonder why they can’t have it. Although you want your child to be happy, you also want them to be healthy!
Believe it or not, they can be both with herbal tea as an alternative to sugary drinks. If you’re struggling to please your child’s taste-buds while also keeping them healthy, many herbals offer child-friendly flavors in a low-calorie, hydrating beverage. In fact, there is no reason why herbals can’t be a part of your child’s school day, packed as either a cool iced tea or kept warm in their thermos. And don’t tell them, but the benefits are much broader and offer additional medicinal value.
Naturopathic Doctor Lisa Watson turned to sharing tea with her son in order to provide him with an alternative to juice. “I’ve always been a tea drinker and so I started to think whether or not there would be teas that were appropriate to share with my son,” said Watson. “And of course there are tons.” Watson started sharing fruit-based herbal beverages with her son, and then slowly broadened their scope.
Herbs and teas have been consumed for medicinal purposes for centuries. In fact, many herbs can also prevent illness from occurring. To ensure her clients benefit from these preventative properties, Watson formulated an immune-boosting tea. The two primary ingredients in the blend are elderberry and elderflower, which boost the immune system naturally. If your child isn’t a fan of elderberry, seek out tisanes like rooibos that are high in antioxidants and vitamin C.
To help with homework or relieve the stress of a busy day, Watson recommends offering your child a cup of oat tea. “An oat tea calms over-activity so that they can be more focused,” said Watson. “I really like oat because it’s a calming tea, it’s great for kids when they are anxious after coming home after school or feel overwhelmed. It’s just so gentle and the flavor is so mild.” Blueberry is another beverage that will give a concentration boost and enhance overall memory.
Even young infants can benefit from the health properties of herbals teas. In fact, Watson prescribes from half a millilitre to one millilitre of fennel tea for babies experiencing colic. Fennel is also beneficial for older children, and even adults, to relieve pain from digestion concerns.
For herbs that have a stronger taste like fennel or chamomile, Watson recommends blending it with one the child likes. “I will mix it with a flavored fruit tisane,” said Watson. “Then they are getting the blueberry or the peach, something that they really enjoy and I can get that medicinal tea in there while not compromising the taste.”
For children over the age of one year, add honey to sweeten the taste. Honey not only offers antimicrobial benefits but also has been shown to be as effective as a cough suppressant. Children under one-year-old should not be given honey at all.
Try some for yourself:
Traditional Medicinals’ “Just for Kids®” Cold Care
Yogi Tea’s Fennel with Rose
Bigelow’s Wild Blueberry with Acai Herbal Tea
Ducky Tea Life’s Rosie’s Rose Melange
Recipe for Oat Tea
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