First For Women
Stomach soothers doctors swear by
When tummy troubles get the best of your child, fight back with these remedies that doctors turn to when their own kids are suffering
To calm a nervous belly
GINGER THIS WAY
“My daughter was about to go to her school-play rehearsal when she had a stomachache with gas bubbles that caused bloat, pain and nausea,” says mother-of-two Kyrin Dunston, M.D., a functional medicine expert in Atlanta. So Dr. Dunston made homemade ginger tea by cutting up 1 Tbs. of ginger, boiling it in water for 15 minutes and adding a bit of honey. “She liked it,” says Dr. Dunston. “And when she got to school a half hour later, she felt much better.” How it works: Ginger is a muscle relaxant, which helps relieve trapped gas. No fresh ginger on hand? Store-bought tea (with no added sugar) works too. One to try: Alvita Organic Ginger Root Tea ($6 for 24 tea bags, Vitacost.com). Note: Dr. Dunston advises sipping no more than three cups a day—more than that can actually exacerbate GI distress.
To outsmart cramps
“My son recently came down with a stomach bug and he had a lot of cramps,” says mother-of-one Kathi J. Kemper, M.D., author of The Holistic Pediatrician. Mom’s Rx? Peppermint. Its menthol reduces spasms in the colon and intestinal tract, easing cramping. “Normally I’d give him tea with fresh peppermint, but I only had peppermint candy, which honestly works just the same.” An hour later, his cramps were gone, says Dr. Kemper, who suggests avoiding peppermint if your child has heartburn as it can worsen symptoms.
To tame an upset stomach
A TUMMY RUB
“When my 10-year-old has a tummy ache from eating too much, I give her a belly rub,” says Kay Corpus, M.D., an integrative and functional medicine physician in Owensboro, Kentucky. She combines 2 to 3 drops of chamomile oil in 1 tsp. of olive oil, then rubs her daughter’s belly clockwise, following the movement of digestion, using mild pressure for 1 to 3 minutes. Massage relaxes stomach muscles, promoting movement throughout the GI tract, and chamomile soothes the intestinal lining, easing pain and eliminating gas. But Dr. Corpus adds, “I think the loving intention and compassion heal just as much as the oil and rub.”