When belly woes strike your little ones, you want to help them feel better — and fast. To the rescue: natural symptom soothers top doctors rely on when their own children are suffering
For Diarrhea: Salted Soda
“I deal with my kids’ diarrhea — and the dehydration that goes with it — with a salt-rimmed lemon-lime soda,” shares mother-of-two Heather Bartos, MD, medical director at Be. Women’s Health & Wellness in Cross Roads, Texas. “The combination of salt and sugar allows for quicker absorption of fluids than drinking plain water, so my kids get rehydrated faster.” Gatorade is a convenient go-to for this same reason, but Dr. Bartos says her kids prefer her home-made solution because it feels like a special treat. “They call it their margarita — and I actually use margarita salt,” says Dr. Bartos, who wets the lip of the glass and dips it into the salt. And there’s no need to worry about soda bubbles causing more gastrointestinal issues, adds Dr. Bartos, as long as you stick with small servings of 7 to 8 ounces.
For Constipation: Essential Oil Two Ways
“My son gets stomach pains from constipation,” says Dawne Kort, MD, attending physician and partner at CityMD, a walk-in urgent-care chain. “Increasing his fiber would be an easy fix, but he’s a picky eater.” Instead, she gets creative with essential oils: “I add a few drops of lemon oil to a carrier oil, like coconut oil, and massage his tummy in small circles for a minute,” says Dr. Kort. Lemon oil contains healing compounds that promote movement and ease inflammation. “It works quickly as the oil absorbs through the skin.” Dr. Kort also adds two drops of 100% pure peppermint oil to an 8 oz. glass of warm water for a sip that reduces spasms in the gastrointestinal tract. “It’s got a cool minty taste — and my son feels better within a half hour.”
For Nausea: Ginger Tea
“Recently, my son came home from a birthday party complaining about nausea,” says father-of-one David Greuner, MD, cardiovascular surgeon at NYC Surgical Associates. While many parents offer ginger ale to relieve stomach issues, Dr. Greuner prefers to brew up his own “tummy trouble tea” instead. “Fresh ginger contains compounds that quell nausea,” he explains. “And this tea has no added sugar since sugar can cause more nausea.” To do: Peel and thinly slice a 2″ piece of fresh ginger and boil it for 15 minutes, then strain and serve. Dr. Greuner reports that his son feels like his happy self within an hour of sipping this soothing remedy.
This story originally appeared in our print magazine.