Recently, I posted about my son on Facebook and how Chinese medicine helped me defeat his stomach bug.  One of my Facebook moms suggested that I start an “Ask Dr. Mom” series and write articles about how to treat common childhood conditions using Chinese medicine.  I thought that was a great idea.  Traditional knowledge has always empowered Dr. Moms, but somewhere along the line, we gave much of our power to the health system.  You do have the power to be Dr. Mom to your kids.  It’s my privilege to show you how, using ancient Chinese medicine for you, the Modern Mom!

Here’s my first article, edited from my original Facebook post (we all know how grammatically correct we are on social media).

I want to share the power of Oriental Medicine/Natural Medicine once again.  My son must’ve gotten a little bit of the tummy bug that is going around my community, because starting two days ago, he complained of a tummy ache.  I gave him Chinese herbs and I thought all was fine after that, as he didn’t complain again.  

But I kept checking his tongue every day, and there was a thick coating on it, which is unusual for him.  Then last night, he crawled into my bed in the middle of the night complaining of growing pains.  I eased his pain with a heat pack and he was able to go right back to bed.  This morning, he woke up fine but his appetite was low at breakfast, then an hour or so after breakfast, he suddenly tells me that his big toe is swollen with an “ouchy” and he couldn’t walk on it.  I looked at it, and sure enough, there was a red swelling all around his big toe and ball of that toe.  

His foot along the Spleen and Stomach channels were also very hot to the touch (it’s very unlike him to have hot feet like that).  So I busted out my needles and did Japanese-style acupuncture on his toe and arms (following the path of the Spleen and Stomach channels).  As I worked the inflammation, I could visibly see the redness start to go away, the swelling subside, and the heat start to dissipate.  I had him periodically get on his feet to check, and each time he said the pain was decreasing.  I worked his big toe for about 10 minutes.  By then, all redness, swelling, pain and most of the heat were gone!  To completely kill the inflammation, I topped off the treatment by using Po Sum On treatment oil (funny name, I know– but it’s a 109-year-old product).  That cinched it.  All heat completely gone.

In about 15 minutes, I was able to stop whatever leftover Yangming/TaiYin heat from the tummy bug that had festered enough to show up as an inflammation on his big toe.  Pretty amazing stuff.  He was totally fine the rest of today and no thick tongue coating anymore either.

I feel so fortunate to know this medicine and to be able to treat my child both in urgent and not-so-urgent situations.  Granted, I know I’m a healthcare provider whose medicine is all about prevention and preparedness, but I wish more moms could know the power of Oriental medicine/natural medicine.  Just learning the basics of this natural medicine can help a mom understand when to go to the ER, when to ice something versus when to heat something, when to keep an eye on something versus when to call the pediatrician, what to feed a child when sick so that the child doesn’t get sicker, and what kinds of natural medicines to use at home that can actually heal a child as opposed to just band-aiding the symptom.

Imagine the empowerment moms can have in assessing their child’s health and treating him/her with some common household goods and just a few Chinese herbs.  That is so powerful.  All that fear would be gone because moms wouldn’t feel so helpless.  That was the case just two or three generations ago when moms were given knowledge passed down from their mothers and grandmothers on assessing a child’s health and treating them with natural remedies at home.  They were most likely not Chinese herbs in this country, but still, you get the picture.  Moms used to be the triage person, if not mommy doctor herself because natural medicine and home healthcare were common knowledge.

I completely averted a call and/or an expensive visit to urgent care/the pediatrician. Imagine if more moms could have that kind of knowledge and confidence in treating symptoms easily at home.  What would it take for more moms to look to natural medicine as a viable option–and the first line of defense–in treating their children?