Start introducing herbal teas to them at a young age! The other day my partner made me a smoothie and put all kinds of wonderful vitamin/nutrient powders in it. I thought it tasted delicious, and he….well, he’s getting used to it. But when I was around 12 I developed a rare illness. Western medicine didn’t really have much for me so my dad started looking for alternative things. Part of what he did was start juicing and giving me the most noxious powders. And it worked! I had very slim chances of a full recovery, but I recovered! Because I started when I was young my taste buds evolved and most things people think are gross (like bitter tastes) I have no problem with. The moral of this story is: if you can, start them young, do it! Fennel, Chamomile, Linden, Lamb’s Ear are just four of the many children’s herbs that have been used for hundreds of years!
However, if your kid is older, no worries. Taste buds change at any age.
Try not to use the word medicine. That is a four letter word in kid lingo! It makes them think of icky tasting grossness. Have I been known to throw out the words ‘magical potion’ to the kiddos in my practice rooms, why yes, yes I have. I’m not above invoking a little Harry Potter excitement if it might make them a little bit more enthused about herbs.
But what if your kid is young annddd incredibly picky (or not so young and still incredibly picky)? Here are some tricks I’ve learned from working with the more pickier of my youngest clients.
- Add honey to the tea or the herb Stevia (this is not the same as the sugar packets). The plant Stevia will add a sweetness to the tea without any sugar.
- Most kids like the taste of mint (I have a feeling mint chip ice cream plays a big role in this) try adding mint to the tea – it can have a very overpowering taste that might cover up whatever it is they don’t like the taste of.
- None of that works? Make a smoothie. Instead of water use the tea as the liquid base and add whatever you want to cover it up. One of the moms of a child in my practice swears by adding bananas and pineapple to their medicinal smoothies. She says those will cover up the taste of anything. Of course, I also have a few kids who detest bananas in my practice so use whatever they will eat/drink to cover up the taste.
- Try a glycerin extract of the herb. A glycerin extract is sweet (with no actual sugar in it) and your child has to take very little in comparison to a whole cup of tea. You can easily sneak it into a snack or a smoothie. Though I wouldn’t give up and hide the glycerin extract in something if they don’t like it straight the first time. First experiences are scary for little ones! I would have them try it a few times before you start hiding it in things. You might be surprised that they grow to like it and start reminding you it’s time to take their “magic potion”!