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7 Herbs That Are Good for Your Child’s Respiratory System Health

Herbal ingredients can be effective in the treatment of children’s respiratory system illnesses. They can also be used to achieve other health benefits.

Sick girl sneezing into a tissue

The use of natural, herbal ingredients has a high value in alleviating respiratory illnesses in children. A focal point of clinical and traditional healthcare, the well-being of your child’s respiratory system can be maintained through the use of topical ointments prepared with air-dried herbs, or boiled herbal soups.

Here are 7 herbs that you can use to promote a healthy respiratory system in your children.


A cup of tea brewed with echinacea displayed with the herb on a wooden surface
Echinacea can be consumed to detoxify the body and promote healthy blood circulation.

Apart from reducing swelling, this herb also detoxifies the body and enhances blood circulation. In addition, it eases the symptoms of a cold. It also does away with heatiness, bad breath, and recurring respiratory infections in children.


“Traditionally, Cordyceps is used to help asthmatic children regulate their constitution and maintain a healthy respiratory system”, explains Eu Yan Sang physician Ho Li Ying.

Separately, the fungus can also nourish yin (passive energy), and invigorate qi (vital energy) and the spleen. Thus making it an ideal health supplement for enhancing memory, stimulating growth, and restoring energy levels in children.

Chinese Yam

The typical uses of Chinese yam in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) are to boost body constitution and nourish qi and yin. It’s also good for promoting food movement and absorption whilst invigorating the Spleen and Stomach.

Mild-natured, the yam is safe for consumption by children. As such, you may add it to a child’s porridge or soup to aid digestion and absorption. This strengthens their constitution and helps prevent a cold or the flu. Also, the effect of replenishing yin can help moisten the lungs and mitigate coughing.

Bird’s Nest

Made with the secretion of solidified saliva by swiftlets, bird’s nest is a prized delicacy amongst Chinese people across the world. Its popularity attributes to its effects in ameliorating the signs of fatigue, mental exhaustion and physical weakness, and assisting the recovery from frequent coughs or colds.

Meanwhile, physicians may recommend the use of bird’s nest to nourish yin, replenish qi, invigorate the spleen and moisturise the lungs.

Loquat Leaves

Cough syrups concocted with Traditional Chinese Medicine formulas typically contain loquat leaves. They have proven to be effective in easing coughs and eliminating sticky, yellow-coloured phlegm. You can also use loquat leaves to regulate gastric function and improve a loss of appetite.


Girl holding a bunch of elderberries in her hands.
The use of elderberries can help reduce influenza symptom severity.

A fruit that has uses in Western medicine and TCM, elderberries have demonstrated the ability to ease the detrimental effects of influenza. A double-blind trial involving 40 influenza B-positive adults and children in Israel showed that the consumption of black elderberry syrup helped to achieve lesser symptom severity and duration without causing any adverse side effects.

In like manner, TCM uses elderberry juice to suppress cold symptoms and speed up recovery. “It has the effect of dispelling Wind and Dampness, clearing Heat, detoxifying, promoting blood circulation, strengthening qi, and relieving flu symptoms such as fever and cold. It’s also suitable for children with a sensitive respiratory system and recurring respiratory infections”, says physician Ho.

Liquorice Root

Liquorice root can treat a number of respiratory illnesses, such as a cough and the common cold. It also has the ability to relieve inflammation and expel phlegm. Because of this, the herb is often included in formulations that support asthma management or treat a sore throat.

In TCM, the herb, along with atractylodes, ginseng and Poria mushrooms, make up an ancient formula called a Four Gentlemen Decoction. This formula is especially beneficial for physically weak children with cold intolerance, poor digestion or a lack of energy. Specifically, it replenishes their energy and helps to strengthen their immune system.

You can incorporate multiple natural remedies in the treatment of respiratory system infections in children. Though, you must seek consultation with both a clinical and TCM physician before using specific herbs. This is to ensure that the consumption of natural formulas will not trigger adverse side effects in your children.


  1. Mary Ann Liebert Inc. Publishers. 2018. Herbs for Viral Respiratory Infections. [Accessed 21 December 2021]
  2. St. Luke’s Hospital. Licorice. [Accessed 21 December 2021]

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