Herbal Therapy & the Respiratory System

The Materia Medica abounds with remedies that are appropriate for use in treating respiratory problems in children. Please review these remedies and ensure their various actions are familiar to you:

Allium sativum (Garlic )

Chondrus crispus (Irish Moss)

Hyssopus officinalis (Hyssop)

Inula helenium (Elecampane)

Leonurus cardiaca (Motherwort)

Marrubium vulgare (Horehound)

Prunus serotina (Wild Cherry Bark)

Pulmonaria officinalis (Lungwort)

Thymus vulgaris (Thyme)

Tussilago farfara (Coltsfoot)

Verbascum thapsus (Mullein)


Treatments outlined in the chapter on respiratory problems are relevant here. Please refer to the following sections:



In add to the suggestions found in those sections note the ideas quoted here from Ms. Riggs, especially the Liquorice Lollipops. These will make a particularly tasty and effective treatment of hoarseness and sore throats of any cause.


Head Congestion Facial

2 qts. water

2 drops oil of Wintergreen

2 drops oil of Pennyroyal

2 drops oil of Rosemary

Large bath towel


  1. Put the water in a large pot and bring it to a boil.
  2. Take the pot off the heat, let the water cool for 10 minutes and add the essential oils. The oils will naturally remain on the top of the water.
  3. Stir with a stainless-steel ladle to combine them as fully as possible.
  4. Place the pot on a table or workbench that is comfortable for a child to sit or stand at and bend his or her head over the pot.

Application: Perform this treatment once each day, with adult supervision, until head congestion is gone (up to 1 week). Explain to the child that the steam will make the face feel a little hot and it’s all right to come up for a cooling breath of air. Drape the towel over the head and shoulders to form a tent over the pot as the child bends over to inhale the steam. Have the child inhale the steam for 2 or 3 minutes, then take a break. During the break, cover the pot so that the water stays hot and no steam escapes. Jumping around temporarily unblocks the sinus cavities and passages and renders the facial far more effective. If the child feels up to it, have him or her do 20 jumping jacks during breaks. Repeat the process of facial and jumping jacks at least 3 times within 30 minutes, then discard the water and oil. This treatment clears a child’s head for several hours. If the child’s head congestion shows no sign of improvement after 1 week, if the child is feverish or fatigued, or if a sinus infection is suspected, consult a physician.


Licorice Lollipops

1 five-inch-long piece Licorice Root

2 Tbls. honey

1 cup water


  1. Place the Licorice Root, honey and water in a covered pot, bring to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes. (Omit the honey if you use Chinese Licorice.)
  2. Strain out the herb and set it aside to cool. Keep the Licorice tea to drink, or discard if you wish.
  3. When the softened Licorice Root is cool enough to hold comfortable in the hand, give it to the child to suck on. Keep the dried Licorice Root in a labeled jar with a tight-fitting lid, away from children. Discard any unused root after 6 months.

Application: Give a child with a hoarse throat softened Licorice Root once each day in the morning or afternoon to suck on for as long as he or she wishes. Remember that Licorice Root is slightly stimulating and a mild laxative, so it should be eaten only in the morning or early afternoon. The hoarse throat usually disappears after 2 days.

David L. Hoffmann BSc Hons MNIMH Written by David L. Hoffmann BSc Hons MNIMH

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