The Everything Guide to Herbal Remedies: An easy-to-use reference for natural health care

CHAPTER 6

Caring for Kids

Having children today almost always means having a medicine cabinet that’s jammed with bottles of brightly colored syrups and tablets, all promising to obliterate a child’s sniffles or tummy ache before bedtime. But most common childhood illnesses are mild—you’ve got to control the symptoms and help your child feel better, not eradicate a million life-threatening microbes—so many drug treatments are overkill. Herbs work to gently ease your child’s discomfort and help his body heal itself.

Children and Herbal Remedies

Most childhood illnesses—diaper rash, ear and upper respiratory infections—are fairly mild, requiring more symptom management than serious medical intervention. Most often, you’ll want to keep your child comfortable and, when necessary, bolster his natural immunity to get him back on the playground as soon as possible.

Because it’s focused so heavily on prevention and the fostering of overall good health, herbal medicine is uniquely suited to treat most of the common ills of childhood. Compare that to conventional medicine, which focuses on the elimination of specific symptoms or pathogens, and you’ll see that, in many cases, conventional medicine overmedicates children and may actually encourage future health problems.

Consider atopic dermatitis, which is an allergic skin condition common in babies and children. Conventional medicine uses steroidal or immune-modulating medications, which work well in the short term but might turn a childhood case of itchy skin into a lifelong problem.

Of course, there are times when the powerful drugs of Western medicine are required. But there are also plenty of times that call for the gentler healing of herbs.

Modern pharmaceuticals are extremely effective at relieving many childhood illnesses, but most prescription and over-the-counter drugs produce unwanted side effects and may even make your child sicker. For example, decongestants can actually create recurring (or “rebound”) congestion, while antibiotics have been linked to the development of drug-resistant superbugs.

Common Kids’ Concerns

Children are not small adults, and their needs can be quite different from grownups'. Children have more skin (surface area) per pound than adults do, meaning remedies applied topically can have a stronger effect. Kids’ bodies also have a different internal composition (the ratio of fat to water), and the organs that metabolize drugs, including the liver, don’t function the same way. Young children also have a less well-developed blood-brain barrier, meaning more drugs or other agents can reach the central nervous system with potentially toxic results. Here are a few steps to take before using any herbal remedies on your child:

• Talk to your pediatrician. Be sure to discuss any therapies—including herbs—you’re considering. If your child has specific concerns, be sure you’ve got a confirmed diagnosis before proceeding with herbal remedies.

• Get professional help. If you’re treating a serious condition, consider working with a trained herbalist or natural medicine practitioner (see Chapter 18).

• Don’t guess on the dosage. As with adults, you should keep in mind this rule: More isn’t always better. For advice on dosages, see Chapter 18.

Herbal remedies can be very effective in children, but some have a strong or unpleasant flavor that kids won’t like (especially kids who are used to taking artificially flavored cough syrups and other “children’s” medicines). Try mixing an unpalatable remedy with some honey or applesauce to mask the taste.

Although the majority of herbal preparations are well tolerated by children, you should understand the actions and potential side effects of any herb you’re giving to your child. Here are some rules to remember when treating children with herbs:

• Don’t give medicine of any kind—including herbal—to a baby younger than six months (speak with your pediatrician before treating an infant’s health issues at home).

• When using herbal treatments on your child, be sure to allow a few weeks before you decide that a remedy is or isn’t working. If your child has a bad reaction to anything, discontinue using it. Speak with your pediatrician if the reaction is serious.

• Watch your child for any indication—good or bad—that the herb is having an effect. If your child shows signs of sensitivity, such as headache, rash, or upset stomach, stop using it.

• Treat herbs as you would any medications: Keep them out of reach of your children (and pets), and store in a cool, dry place unless otherwise instructed.

• Don’t treat a high fever (over 101° Fahrenheit in infants, 102°F in toddlers, or 103°F in older children) at home. Likewise, if your child has a stiff neck or headache along with a fever, or if she develops an ear infection that doesn’t clear up within twenty-four hours, get immediate medical attention.

Avoid giving your child any herb that’s a stimulant, such as guarana (Paullinia cupana). You should also avoid herbs with laxative properties, like cascara sagrada (Frangula purshiana) and senna (Cassia officinalis, Senna alexandrina), and herbs with hormonal effects, such as black cohosh (Actaea racemosa, Cimicifuga racemosa) or red clover (Trifolium pratense).

Bringing Up Baby

Babies arrive with a unique set of health issues, many of which they’ll grow out of by their first birthday. But in that first year, you’ll probably have to deal with several issues, from teething to tummy troubles.

Teething

Teething is the process by which a baby gets her first set of teeth—they grow out of the gums on her upper and lower jaws, breaking through the skin on the way (and causing the gums to redden and swell and the baby to drool and chew on anything she can get into her mouth). Teething should never be accompanied by a fever; see your doctor if your baby is running a fever.

Some pediatricians recommend topical analgesics like benzocaine or oral pain relievers like acetaminophen; aspirin should never be given to children younger than eighteen because it increases the risk of getting Reye’s syndrome, a potentially life-threatening condition. Herbal options for teething include:

• Chamomile (Matricaria recutita)

An infusion of chamomile works as a safe, gentle pain reliever and a very mild sedative—perfect for soothing fussy babies. It can also help heal inflamed tissues.

• Slippery elm (Ulmus rubra)

Slippery elm has demulcent properties, meaning it can be soothing to sore gums when applied topically.

Colic

All babies cry, but colicky babies cry more—and with more gusto. Colic is unexplained, persistent crying in healthy babies and affects as many as 25 percent of children. It’s defined as crying that goes on for more than three hours a day, at least three days a week, and persists for more than three weeks. A baby with colic typically clenches his fists, curls his legs, or otherwise acts as if he’s in pain, screaming and often turning bright red in the process. Colicky babies can also have a distended belly that feels hard to the touch.

In most cases, colic clears up by the time the baby is six months old. If your baby is still colicky after that—or if he shows symptoms of illness, such as vomiting, fever, or diarrhea—see your pediatrician.

Some conventional medical practitioners recommend simethicone (Mylicon), an over-the-counter (OTC) pain reliever and antigas medicine, which can cause diarrhea. Here are some herbal alternatives for colic:

• Chamomile (Matricaria recutita)

Chamomile can relieve intestinal spasms and reduce inflammation in gastrointestinal tissues. In one study, infants given a multiherb tea containing chamomile showed significantly improved colic symptoms.

• Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare)

Fennel seed oil is a traditional colic remedy. Modern research has shown that it can eliminate colic symptoms without side effects.

• Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia)

Lavender essential oil is known to relax both body and mind—and a bath or massage that incorporates it can help a colicky baby get some sleep.

Children’s Skin Conditions

Babies and toddlers can develop a few unique skin problems that require special, extra-gentle care.

Diaper Rash

The bane of many a baby’s bottom, diaper rash is most often caused by contact with soiled diapers (or a reaction to baby wipes or laundry detergent). It’s a very common condition that can leave a baby’s skin red, scaly, and very tender.

Talc, the key ingredient in baby powder, has been a classic in American nurseries for generations. But talcum powder has been linked to respiratory problems and even cancer. Safer stand-ins: dried and powdered formulations of the herbs arrowroot (Maranta arundinacea) or rice (Oryza sativa), or the dried, starchy component of corn (Zea mays).

A case of diaper rash that lasts for more than three days and includes areas of raised red bumps and a series of small red patches extending out beyond the main rash could be the sign of an infection with Candida albicans, a yeast-like fungus.

Dermatitis

Babies are prone to a few types of dermatitis (skin inflammation). Infantile seborrheic dermatitis, or cradle cap, is a nonallergic condition that produces thick, scaly patches on a baby’s scalp. (In adults, it’s called dandruff.) It’s triggered by hormones passed from the mother, which cause the baby’s scalp to produce too much sebum (oil), and usually clears on its own.

Atopic dermatitis, or infant eczema, appears at six to twelve weeks as a rash or patch of small pimples on the cheeks or chest and sometimes the elbows and knees.

Treatment Options

Conventional remedies for diaper rash include topical zinc oxide or petroleum jelly, which can cause allergic reactions. Candida infections might be treated with antifungals like clotrimazole (Mycelex) or nystatin (Mycostatin), which can cause skin reactions in some people.

Doctors generally advise parents to leave a case of cradle cap alone. Infant eczema is typically treated with hydrocortisone creams and ointments, which control itching but can cause skin reactions as more serious side effects if used long term or applied excessively.

Eczema is caused by an immune system reaction that isn’t fully understood. It can appear in infancy and then disappear. Or, it can recur throughout childhood and into adulthood (in some people, it doesn’t appear until age four or five; in others, it starts in the adult years). In most babies, eczema resolves itself by age two.

Herbal alternatives include these:

• Calendula (Calendula officinalis)

Calendula is an anti-inflammatory that can soothe and heal many rashes.

• Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia)

This is a classic remedy for all kinds of skin inflammation, including diaper rash. New research shows that it’s also effective against Candida albicans.

• Rice bran (Oryza sativa)

Rice—or more specifically, its outer husk, or bran—has been used topically to treat a variety of inflammatory skin problems. Research has shown that adding a decoction of rice bran to a child’s bath can relieve atopic dermatitis. Oats (Avena sativa) are also effective in anti-itch baths.

Tips for Toddlers

Toddlers—children who may still be “toddling” instead of walking perfectly—fall into the second stage of childhood development: not babies anymore, not yet schoolkids. Between the ages of one and three, toddlers are exploring their world and encountering new health challenges along the way.

Ear Infections

Infections of the middle chamber of the ear are called otitis media (OM). In otitis media, the natural fluids within the ear don’t drain properly, creating inflammation and pain.

Conventional medicine treats OM with pain-relieving drugs and, in many cases, antibiotics such as amoxicillin. But giving kids too many antibiotics can lead to recurrent infections and antibiotic resistance. Research suggests that as many as half of the children who are given antibiotics for recurrent otitis media will still have drug-resistant pneumococcus and other common OM bugs in their bodies.

If you think your child has an ear infection coming on, you might be able to stop it before it requires antibiotics. If an infection is already established, you can use these remedies in conjunction with antibiotics to reduce pain and speed healing.

• Garlic (Allium sativum)

Garlic is a proven antimicrobial that can be used topically (as oil-based drops) to treat otitis media in young children.

• Goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis)

This is a classic herbal remedy that can be used internally and externally to fight ear infections. Its most beneficial constituent (at least as far as humans are concerned) is berberine, a potent antibacterial that seems to prevent germs from attaching themselves to cell membranes.

• Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia)

A natural anesthetic and anti-inflammatory, lavender oil, applied in a compress, can relieve the pain of an ear infection.

• Saint John’s wort (Hypericum perforatum)

This herb is an antibacterial and anti-inflammatory. A recent study found that ear drops containing Saint John’s wort and calendula (Calendula officinalis) were better than a pharmaceutical anesthetic at relieving OM pain.

Tummy Troubles

Stomachaches can be caused by many things, including infection (like gastroenteritis, or “stomach flu”), constipation, or a reaction to certain foods. Stress can also contribute.

Although most gastrointestinal (GI) problems in children resolve themselves, conventional doctors may recommend pharmaceuticals like bismuth subsalicylate (Pepto-Bismol), which can cause allergic reactions in some children and can also interact with other medications. Herbal alternatives include these:

• Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare)

Fennel is a natural anti-inflammatory, anesthetic, and analgesic, so it helps relieve stomach pain. It’s also a natural antacid, meaning it can neutralize excess stomach acids.

• Ginger (Zingiber officinale)

This ancient remedy is gentle and safe for use in children. Research has demonstrated its effects as an antiemetic (it combats nausea and vomiting) and gastric stimulant (it speeds the movement of food through the GI tract).

• Peppermint (Mentha x piperita)

Peppermint is a traditional remedy for all sorts of GI problems, including diarrhea, indigestion, nausea, and vomiting. The oil contains menthol, which relaxes smooth muscles in the stomach and small intestine (and gives peppermint its kid-pleasing flavor).

• Psyllium (Plantago ovata, P. psyllium)

This high-fiber plant works as a gentle bulk-forming laxative.

If your child is vomiting a lot or is in significant pain, or if you suspect that she has food poisoning or a food sensitivity, contact your pediatrician. Most cases of gastrointestinal distress in kids go away on their own, but vomiting, diarrhea, or other problems could be signs of a more serious problem.

Emotional and Behavioral Problems

Growing up means facing new social and developmental challenges, which can create anxiety and bring issues like attention difficulties to center stage.

Anxiety and Excitability

Most young children are lively, but excessive energy can be hard on both parent and child. Children who aren’t emotionally mature enough to calm themselves get overly agitated, which can interfere with sleep as well as daytime functioning. Some young children also become anxious.

Parents looking for a way to safely calm a child—without pharmaceutical sedatives—should investigate the following herbs:

• Chamomile (Matricaria recutita)

This soothing herb can brew a mild, pleasant-tasting tea that can calm an agitated toddler. It also works in a bath.

• Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis)

Lemon balm is another gentle, kid-friendly remedy for anxiety. Recent research found that a combination of lemon balm and valerian (Valeriana officinalis) reduced restlessness and improved sleep in young children.

• Passionflower (Passiflora incarnata)

This is a classic remedy for anxiety, nervousness and excitability, and insomnia.

Attention Difficulties

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD, is a behavioral disorder involving inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity that most often shows up in preschool or early elementary school; as many as 9 percent of American children aged eight to fifteen have symptoms.

A recent study found that “green” outdoor activities—things that exposed kids to trees and grass—reduced ADHD symptoms significantly more than activities that were conducted in other (i.e., indoor) settings.

Conventional medicine most often treats ADHD with stimulants like amphetamines (Adderall) and methylphenidate hydrochloride (Ritalin) or atomoxetine hydrochloride (Strattera). Side effects can include decreased appetite, insomnia, anxiety, stomachache, or headache.

Herbalism offers a few alternatives (these herbs can also be used in conjunction with conventional ADHD treatments):

• American ginseng (Panax quinquefolius)

Preliminary evidence has shown that a combination of ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba) and American ginseng extracts can reduce anxiety, hyperactivity, and impulsivity in children.

• Flax (Linum usitatissimum)

Research shows that kids with ADHD have lower levels of omega-3 fatty acids, which are essential for psychological functioning. There’s evidence that supplementing kids with omega-3s, like those in flax oil, can alleviate symptoms of ADHD.

• Ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba)

It’s best known for improving cognitive functioning in older people, but research shows that ginkgo can reduce anxiety, hyperactivity, and impulsivity in kids, too.

• Maritime pine (Pinus pinaster)

An extract from this tree’s bark has been shown to reduce hyperactivity and increase attentiveness and concentration in kids with ADHD.

Kids, Colds, and Flu

Most preschoolers and school-age kids get between six and ten colds every year (they don’t call it the common cold for nothing). Influenza, a.k.a. “the flu,” is much less common (and much more serious). It puts more than 20,000 children under the age of five into the hospital every year.

The flu can be especially tough on young children. Thus, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend that all children between six months and five years old get a flu shot. For more on colds and flu, see Chapter 13. Several herbs can help keep a child’s immunity high—and her risk of colds and flu low.

• American ginseng (Panax quinquefolius)

American ginseng is an adaptogen—it increases the body’s resistance to stress—and research shows it might decrease your child’s risk of getting sick (and if he does, it can reduce the severity and duration of his symptoms).

• Andrographis (Andrographis

This herb seems to boost immune function. A combination of andrographis and eleuthero (Eleutherococcus senticosus) has been shown to paniculata) significantly improve symptoms of the common cold in kids.

• Echinacea (Echinacea purpurea)

Echinacea stimulates immunity and has been proven to reduce the severity and duration of colds.

• Licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra)

This is an ancient remedy for bronchial congestion, sore throat, and coughs—and most kids love the taste. It’s a natural expectorant, cough-suppressant, and pain reliever.

• Slippery elm (Ulmus rubra)

The “slippery” mucilage in this tree’s inner bark makes a soothing remedy for cough-ravaged throats.

Cough and cold medicines can cause serious problems—and send about 7,000 kids to the hospital every year, most often because of accidental overdosing. Research shows that cold medicines seldom produce significant improvements in children, even when used properly, and they’re not recommended at all for children under four.

Other Childhood Infections

By the time they reach kindergarten, most children are socially active (and thus exposed to plenty of disease-causing microbes), meaning very few kids can make it through a school year without at least one bout with a cold or other contagious disease.

Chickenpox, an infection with a virus called varicella zoster, is one of the most common childhood diseases in the United States. However, it seems to be on its way out, thanks to a vaccine that was introduced in the mid-1990s. Chickenpox produces a series of small, itchy blisters that look like chickpeas (and give the disease its name), as well as fever and fatigue.

Infectious Diseases

Kids catch lots of infections that produce unpleasant symptoms, such as sore throat and cough (see above), as well as itching (as in chickenpox).

When your child gets an infection, unless she is running a high fever for more than a few days, you’ll probably be advised to treat her at home, with OTC pain relievers (like acetaminophen) and calamine lotion for the itching. Herbal options include these:

• Calendula (Calendula officinalis)

The flowers of the calendula, or garden marigold, plant contain anti- inflammatory and antibacterial agents, meaning calendula can relieve itching and help prevent the infection of any blisters that your child scratches.

• Oats (Avena sativa)

Baths and topical preparations containing oats can relieve itching and irritation. Oats also help restore the skin’s natural moisture barrier.

Head Lice

Kids aged three and up are likely to come home from day care, school, or summer camp with head lice (about one in every ten school-age kids gets them). An adult louse is about the size of a sesame seed, and its eggs, called nits,are even tinier (hence the term nitpicking).

Head lice are extremely contagious, and being in close, head-to-head contact with an infected person is the easiest way to get them. Head lice cause itching, and many children develop sores on their scalps from scratching. Conventional treatment for head lice involves louse-killing chemicals like prescription malathion (Ovide), which kills adult lice and some nits. It can cause scalp and eye irritation and is not intended for use on children younger than six. Another prescription option is benzene hexachloride/gamma-hexachlorocyclohexane (Lindane), a lotion or shampoo that kills lice and nits but can cause hair loss, headaches, and skin irritation.

The Pediculus capitis louse is becoming increasingly resistant to the chemical insecticides permethrin and pyrethroid, which are the active ingredients in most OTC head lice treatments. Lice in other parts of the world are showing resistance to malathion, which is sold as a prescription in the United States.

OTC remedies use pyrethrins or permethrins, both of which can cause skin reactions and respiratory problems. These drugs are not approved for use on children under two, and because they kill only adult or newly hatched lice, both require reapplication. Many herbs are toxic to lice—but not people—and include these:

• Coconut (Cocos nucifera)

Coconut contains several insecticidal and larvicidal compounds. In one study, a combination of the essential oils of coconut and two other natural bug-killers, anise (Pimpinella anisum) and ylang-ylang (Cananga odorata), was as effective as the insecticides permethrin and malathion.

• Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus globulus)

Eucalyptus oil contains several compounds that have been shown to be as effective as pharmaceuticals in killing lice and their eggs.

• Neem (Azadirachta indica)

Research shows that neem-based shampoos and other treatments kill lice and nits with no irritation or other side effects.

• Tea tree (Melaleuca alternifolia)

Tea tree oil contains a chemical called terpinol, which is lethal to lice. Combined with peppermint (Mentha x. piperita) and lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) oils, tea tree oil can also repel lice and discourage them from feeding.

The Grade School Years

Kids in grade school have their own set of health issues. Their bodies are changing and their social lives and activities are changing, too. Many kids in this age group are getting more active in sports, which brings a whole new set of health concerns.

Locker Room Woes

Children who participate in sports or gym class can develop a few types of fungal (or tinea) infections, including tinea corporis (also known as jock itch) and tinea pedis (better known as athlete’s foot). These two very uncomfortable infections are caused by mold-like fungi knows as dermatophytes. These fungi are spread by direct contact (touching a hard surface or an infected person) and thrive in warm, wet environments like swimming pools and locker rooms.

Tinea infections are treated with OTC topical antifungals like terbinafine (Lamisil), which can cause reactions in some individuals. Herbal remedies can be used in place of these medicines, and include:

• Clove (Syzygium aromaticum)

Clove oil contains high levels of eugenol, a potent antifungal; it also has several antiseptic and anti-inflammatory constituents. Research shows that clove and other plant oils can stop the proliferation of dermatophytes.

• Echinacea (Echinacea purpurea)

This North American perennial herb can help your child fight almost any infection, including tinea. Echinacea can be used both internally and externally.

• Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia)

A natural anesthetic and anti-inflammatory. It is also effective against many kinds of fungi.

• Tea tree (Melaleuca alternifolia)

A traditional Aboriginal treatment for all types of skin inflammation and infections (including fungal), it can also speed healing of inflamed (or scratched-up) tissues.

Swimmer’s Ear

Kids who spend a lot of time in the pool can get a type of infection known as swimmer’s ear, or otitis externa. Swimmer’s ear is an infection of the outer ear canal. It strikes when a child gets contaminated water into her ear, most often from a pool with poorly maintained chlorine or pH levels, or a lake that has high levels of bacteria. It’s treated with OTC pain relievers and prescription antibiotics (see above). To kill bacteria preemptively, many conventional practitioners recommend treating the ears with hydrogen peroxide after every swim. Hydrogen peroxide can damage skin tissues and isn’t a particularly effective antiseptic.

If your child complains of sore ears after swimming, you can try to clear it up with herbs before heading to the doctor for antibiotics. If she does need the drugs, you can use these remedies in conjunction with them:

• Goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis)

Can be taken internally or applied externally to help clear up an ear infection. Its astringent and antiseptic properties are especially helpful for waterlogged ears.

• Saint John’s wort (Hypericum perforatum)

Research shows that ear drops containing Saint John’s wort can relieve earache pain more quickly than pharmaceutical anesthetics.

• Witch hazel (Hamamelis virginiana)

Witch hazel contains astringent, antiseptic, and antibacterial com-pounds, which makes it perfect for drying (and sanitizing) infected ears.

Teenagers

Once they’re in high school, most kids are deep into the many social and health-related issues of being a teenager. They want to look good at all times, despite the many changes that are going on in their bodies.

Puberty and Pimples

Acne is the most common skin disorder in the United States and is especially problematic for the under-twenty set, thanks to rapidly shifting hormones. It’s caused by excessive sebum production, which creates clogged pores and pimples that can become infected with Propionibacterium acnes bacteria. For more, see Chapter 15.

Conventional doctors recommend OTC treatments made with benzoyl peroxide, sulfur, and salicylic acid, which reduce pimples but can cause irritation and drying.

Prescription treatments include topical antibiotics and antibacterials and oral antibiotics; oral contraceptives are also prescribed for some female patients. Antibiotics can increase the likelihood of sunburn and affect a child’s overall immunity. Birth control pills can cause digestive problems and headaches. Herbal acne remedies include these:

• Calendula (Calendula officinalis)

Calendula can soothe skin (it contains anti-inflammatory compounds) and also reduce P. acnes bacteria and oil (it has antibacterial and astringent properties, too).

• Guggul (Commiphora wightii, C. mukul)

Used throughout India, guggul has antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, and immune-stimulating compounds. It’s been proven as effective as the prescription drug tetracycline against acne.

• Tea tree (Melaleuca alternifolia)

Tea tree oil has antiseptic, antibacterial, and anti-inflammatory effects and works as well as benzoyl peroxide—usually without side effects.

Body Odor

Puberty often means a big surge in perspiration, as sweat glands in the underarms become more active. Sweat by itself doesn’t smell, but when it combines with bacteria it can produce body odor. Commercial deodorants kill bacteria and mask odor with chemical fragrance; antiperspirants inhibit the sweating process with aluminum salts (aluminum chloride, aluminum chlorohydrate, and aluminum zirconium). Most antiperspirants also contain fragrance.

Chlorophyll, the chemical that makes green plants green, is a natural, works-from-the-inside deodorant. It’s found in the greatest concentrations in dark-green plants like parsley (Petroselinum crispum) and spinach (Spinacia oleracea). Eating them (or other chlorophyll-rich herbs) or taking supplemental chlorophyllin, which is derived from chlorophyll, can reduce body odor and bad breath.

Aluminum compounds have been associated with serious health problems; aluminum itself is a known neurotoxin, and aluminum salts have demonstrated toxicity in laboratory animals. Fragrances used in cosmetics have been linked to a host of problems, including reproductive and developmental health risks. Natural options for perspiration and body odor include:

• Camphor (Cinnamomum camphora)

The leaves of this plant contain a natural deodorant called terpinolene, plus fragrant (and antibacterial) oils, which make it an effective deodorant. Juniper (Juniperus communis) and rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) contain similar odor-fighting compounds.

• Sage (Salvia officinalis, S. lavandulaefolia)

Sage is a classic remedy for excessive perspiration. It’s also an antibacterial, meaning it can combat odor-causing bacteria, too.

• Yarrow (Achillea millefolium)

A natural deodorant, yarrow also has astringent and antibacterial properties, making it perfect for drying up excess moisture and killing bacteria.