Medicinal Plants and Kids
As a naturopath I am in awe and wonder at the astounding richness of nature. The beauty and miracles that are found in plants is one of the driving forces of my life. I am constantly seeking out new plants and wondering about their medicinal and natural remedy properties, and how they can help me and my fellow human beings.
So many of us simply assume that plants are for pure visual pleasure. We create gardens that look nice and suit our temperaments and our ideas of beauty. For some it may be a cottage garden with rambling roses and perennials and bulbs. For others it may be a native garden of bird attracting grevilleas and indigenous grasses. Tall melaleucas with gorgeous bark and weeping leaves may line the fences. While these options definitely enrich our lives, there is a lot more we can do in our gardens in terms of growing and producing plants that can help our health.
Aloe Vera – A great place to start
Teaching your children about the benefits of herbs and plants is a wonderful experience. It’s always good to start small and simply.
One of the best ways to do so is to get a small aloe vera cutting or plant and explain to your child. Take the time to show your child the plant growing in the nursery or in the garden. Talk about the benefits of plants and how ancient cultures used plants and plant derived medicines to treat all their sickness.
Next time your child has had too much sun, let them know there is a soothing solution growing right here at home. Take a piece of the aloe vera from the plant and break it open. Then explain to your child this gel like liquid is soothing for sunburn and can be rubbed on the skin to cool it down and help it feel better.
Children love the practicality and simplicity of this message. It is a joy to watch their faces as they wander out in the garden on their own, or out to the balcony where their potted aloe vera plant is growing. Next time they are sun-kissed or experiencing some annoying little skin conditions, you can suggest they get some aloe vera to rub on the affected area.
And voila! They have their very own early experience of the practical and healing properties of plants. This is the simple start to educating them about the wonders of natural remedies and natural health.
They don’t need an encyclopaedia and they don’t need a course in Ayurvedic herbs, homeopathy or Bach flower remedies. They just need you to give them a little bit of time and show them the wonders that are growing from their very own garden section.
For them, these simple shared acts can be the start of an alternative way of healthy life.