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St. John's Wort

St. John’s wort

It started with his walking. I noticed our 14-month-old son Oscar was a little unsteady on his feet—well, more so than usual—sometimes veering off to one side or the other like he was dizzy.

Occasionally, he would stop whatever he was doing—laughing, talking, playing—and look up at nothing in particular, forehead wrinkled, and touch his cheek, distracted by some sensation.

Then he started to fuss. He clung. He became anxious, melting down if I went out of his sight for even a second. He was hungry but refused to eat his dinner. He ran a little warm now and then, but nothing high enough to classify as a “fever.” He seemed generally uncomfortable in his own skin and altogether not himself. He’s got some pretty daunting chompers coming in, so I kept hoping it was just teething.

Then, Oscar’s child care called me to pick him up because he’d thrown up his whole bottle, projectile style. When I pulled up out front, I could hear him crying. The second he saw me, he reached for me with unhappy desperation, tugging on his ear repeatedly. Hard to miss it at that point.

Ear infection.

Mullein

Mullein

I scheduled a doctor’s appointment to make sure there wasn’t more going on, but in the meantime, I hustled Oscar home. I warmed some ear oil in a cup of hot water, then leaned him over in my lap to put the drops in his ear. He squirmed and fussed at first, but as soon as the drops slid in, he relaxed. The relief just seemed to come that fast. He calmed and breathed easy, letting me massage the area around his ear gently.

There’s nothing worse than seeing your little one in pain. But there’s nothing better than being able to bring him some relief and comfort. The oil I currently use is Gaia Herbs Ear Oil, an herbal oil of garlic, mullein, St.John’s wort, etc. Once this runs out, I will keep on hand a homemade garlic mullein oil from the recipe in Aviva Romm’s book Naturally Healthy Babies and Children.

Pediatricians and parents alike are widely divided on ear infection treatment and prevention. Many doctors claim that there is no way to prevent ear infections, but others say it is entirely preventable with proper diet and care. Many resort immediately to antibiotics, while others prefer to treat herbally and/or with diet.

As with all things, I think it’s a matter of what’s right for your family. I personally found this blog on the subject very helpful.

What are your preferred ear infection remedies/preventions?

You know how much I like to eat. But right now, where I am in our pregnancy, my relationship with food is ambivalent at best.

But breakfast, at least, I’ve got tucked away. Each evening, I put in a small bowl some rolled (GF) oats, a pinch of sea salt, a drizzle of agave nectar, and a spoonful of astragalus powder. Over this, I spoon a moderate amount of plain whole milk yogurt. After sitting in the fridge overnight, the oats are softened and toothsome, and the astragalus and agave impart a sweet, slightly nutty and buttery flavor to the mix. The yogurt provides good fats and probiotics to help with that touch-and-go pregnancy digestion. The whole mix is highly nutritive and supportive.

oats with yogurt and astragalus

Oats with yogurt and astragalus – an easy breakfast before getting to work.

It occurred to me this morning that this is an herbal remedy for me right now.

For any of you dealing with morning (or all-day) sickness, you might give this a whirl. On really rough mornings, I pair it with some spicy chai to get the digestive tract warmed up. Often this is followed with a hot cup of nutritive herbal tea  mid-morning.

The rest of the day is still touch-and-go, but mornings I’ve got pinned down at least.

As a side note, all astragalus powders are not created equal, so you might try a small amount before committing to a one-pound bag of an unfamiliar brand. I’ve had the best luck with Mountain Rose’s astragalus. I’ve had other astragalus powders that tasted slightly (weirdly) bitter—no idea why, but I know I didn’t like it.

What’s your herbal morning regimen? Favorite morning sickness remedies?

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