What’s on your kitchen shelf?

December 1993
Nutan Pandit

‘Naturally’ good solutions to
awfully bad colds, constipation and colic

Here are a few time tested home remedies for babies and children. Easy to follow and simple to make, they usually prove effective. In case, you suspect an infection because of an accompanying fever or because your baby or young child does not respond to these remedies, do consult a pediatrician as soon as you can.

Diarrhoea (With or without vomiting)

Newborn babies pass a loose stool with every feed, it is not diarrhoea. The main fear in diarrhoea /vomiting is that of dehydration. When excessive fluids get expelled from the body, along with the fluids, a serious loss of minerals takes place, leading to dehydration. If dehydration sets in, the only treatment is admitting the baby to hospital, where he will be put on an intravenous glucose drip.

To prevent dehydration setting in, keep giving the child whatever she wants by way of fluid like a cola, nimbupani, sherbat, lassi (made in boiled water) or khichdi, even if she passes a stool immediately, continue with the liquids or khichdi. The minute you reduce the baby’s intake, you increase the chances of dehydration setting in.

In case of diarrhoea, you must try and ensure that there is no source of infection that is giving the baby lose motions. Do not let the baby chew on unhygienic objects like car keys or dirty toys. Give extra importance to sterilization of milk bottles.

Signs of Dehydration Setting in:
• The tongue and the inside of the cheeks appear dry. This is the first sign.
• The lips appear dry.
• No urine is passed for 3 to 4 hours.
• The eyes look sunken.
• The child is not so active as she normally is.

Oral Rehydration: To combat the onset of dehydration. It is important to immediately give the child a ‘rehydration’ fluid to replenish the body’s lost minerals. There is an oral rehydration packet called ‘Electrol’ available at chemist shops, which can be given as per instructions on the packet.

You can make an oral rehydration fluid at home, by taking 250 ml of boiled water and adding to it a teaspoon sugar, a pinch of salt and 12 drops of lemon juice.

Whey Water: Heat a steel glass full of milk. When it comes to a boil, add to it lemon juice or curds. The milk will curdle, and separate into lumpy masses and water. Strain. Use the water thus obtained instead of milk, at feed time. Thus if the baby normally has four ounces of milk, you will give her four ounces of this water instead.

Apple: Take a whole apple, cover with water in a vessel and place on fire. Let it boil until the apple gets dissolved and faded. Remove from fire.

With a large spoon, scoop the apple out of hot water and place on a clean plate. Peel with a fork and knife, the skin will come away easily. With the knife separate the pulp from the core. Discard the core, mash the pulp with the fork. Feed to baby with a spoon.

This can be given to a baby four months and above, in age. The baby gets to consume the pectin stored at the core of the apple which is excellent for the stomach, especially if the baby has diarrhoea.


The baby strains and is uncomfortable when passing a stool and, the stool is hard. Give the baby plenty of water. It will add moisture to the stool and make it softer and easier to pass.

Fig Syrup: Wash 4 to 5 pieces of dried figs. (Available at dry fruit shops).

Boil these in a steel glassful of water until half the water evaporates. Remove from fire, strain, cool. Feed one teaspoonful hourly, throughout the day.

Along with figs, you can add raisens /kishmish or munacca, dried apricots /khurmani if you have them in the house.

Fruits: According to season, fresh mashed, mango, papaya or chickoo can be given to the baby. You could add to it fresh cream from the top of the milk.

Dal/Pulses: For older babies, approximately six months plus, any chilka dal is good.

A Traditional Recipe for Constipation & Colds


1. Bunaksha – One handful
It looks somewhat like dried grass
2. Saunf/Aniseed – 1 teaspoon
3. Dry Rose Petals – 1 heaped tablespoon for constipation
– 1 teaspoon if there is cold.
4. Mulathi Stick – A 4 inch piece roughly as thick as your little finger
that is yellow if the baby has a cold.
from within – A 1 inch piece if there is constipation.

All these ingredients will be available at any traditional grocers.


Add the ingredients a steel glass full of water and put on fire to boil. Let half the water evaporate. Remove from heat. Cool. Strain.

Take half a cup of this liquid, warm it, add 1 teaspoon of honey and ½ tea spoon of sugar and feed to baby. This would be one dose.

Below one year, a dose will be one tablespoon. Repeat at least more times during the day. This is three to four times during the day by warming little quantities of it each times.

It should always be given warm. After it has been given, the baby should not be exposed to draughts. It is best to give it before the baby sleeps or, after the baby’s bath, when the baby is fully dressed. The baby should be kept indoors for at least 15 minutes afterwards.

In case of baby who is prone to colds, it can be given when there is a change of season, or at any other time the baby is likely to catch cold.


Instead of cough syrup give the baby honey to soothe its throat.

In case of cough, in half a cup of milk add a quarter teaspoon of turmeric (haldi) and half to one teaspoon of sugar, give at night before sleeping.

Generally occurs in the first three months of life. The baby cries at a particular time of the day daily, apparently for no particular reason.
Colic is basically an intestinal cramp that can relax if warmth is applied to the baby’s abdomen. This can be done in various ways.

(1) Make the baby lie on you, tummy to tummy. That is, put the baby face down on your tummy. The warmth of your body and the pressure of being on its tummy will relieve the baby.
(2) You can also apply warmth by placing a warm diaper on the baby’s stomach. . The diaper can be made warm with a mild iron or by wrapping it on a bottle of hot water. Earlier people used to warm a chappati, a leaf or some cotton on a tawa and apply.


The baby’s stomach feels bloated. Place hing (asafetida) on the baby’s navel.

Take a wet piece of cotton. Put little powdered hing on it. The wetness will make it cling. Place it on baby’s navel making sure making sure the side with the hing is in direct contact with the baby’s navel.

Avoid the strong whole hing. It can give a rash to the baby. But powdered hing, has a little starch added to it and is therefore not so strong..


(When fever goes above 38.3 0 C or 1010 F)
Never let the fever go too high. Keep the temperature down till you get to a doctor. If fever gets very high, it can effect the baby’s brain.

One way of reducing the fever is by giving, paediatric Crocin Syrup, available at chemist shops. It can be given as per instructions on the bottle. Baby aspirin is not advised as it is known to give rise to certain complications.

Alternatively, you can give the baby a tap water sponge. It need not be ice cold water. Sponge the forehead/arms/legs/back/stomach.

If nothing works, a tap water bath will definitely bring the temperature down.

Nutan Pandit
Natural Childbirth Center

Phone:  +91-11-24601689, +91-11-24690552, +91-11-41551662, +91-9910210409

Email:  info@ncbchildbirth.com; nutan@ncbchildbirth.com

Address: D-178, Defence Colony GF, New Delhi-110024, India

Your body is designed to give birth . . . 
Have Faith In It

Nutan Pandit
Natural Childbirth Center

Phone:  +91-11-24601689, +91-11-24690552, +91-11-41551662, +91-9910210409

Email:  info@ncbchildbirth.com; nutan@ncbchildbirth.com

Address: D-178, Defence Colony GF, New Delhi-110024, India

Your body is designed to give birth . . . 
Have Faith In It

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