Alternative Medications in Kids: Treat with Care

Alternative medicines are gaining in popularity. One thing people tend to forget though, is that while many alternative treatments and remedies for various annoying health issues are traditionally much milder than their pharmaceutical counterparts and therefore most likely cause much less or no side effects, they are nonetheless still chemically active within the body.

They still cause the body to react a certain way, and they must be treated with care. You also must make sure you are not mixing them with other medications that can have bad interactions with eachother.

For example, the natural antidepressant St. John’s Wort should never be taken with traditional antidepressants, specifically with SSRI reuptake inhibitors because of the negative side effects the two can cause together.  That’s just one example, there are many others.

Now, when it comes to children and using natural remedies, one must exercise the same caution, but use even more due diligence since children have smaller, more susceptible bodies.  Anything used on children can have a much broader effect, and this includes both traditional western medicines and alternative medicines, mind you.

Learn the recognize the usefulness of natural remedies, and when a traditional western medicine or treatment must be used. For example, if a child is experiencing something serious, traditional osteopathy must be consulted.


What about Echinacea?

For parents and for professionals who are around children all the time, this is a go-to for an immune system boost, but what is the echinacea plant?  Echinacea is a beautiful purple coneflower, a perennial, that is lovely to look at.  Not only is echinacea  visually a treat to see, but it also may be useful in boosting our immune system and shortening the duration and severity of the common cold.

The herbal medicines derived from echinacea are prepared from the above ground parts of the plant and sometimes the root.  Echinacea is herbally thought of as nature’s antibiotic and is believed to increase resistance to not only colds but also flu and ather infections.  Scientific studies on echinacea vary widely on results of the infection fighting ability of this herb.

The studies seem to lack consistency.  More clinical studies using the same species and dosage of echinacea at the first onset of symptoms consistently should be done to attain more clear cut conclusions.

Echinacea is commonly available at drugstores and health food stores.  Sales of echinacea remain brisk for treatment of upper respiratory infections.  As with any herbal product, there are warnings not to take this product if you are allergic to plants of the asteraceae or compasitae family such as ragweed, marigolds or daisies.   Use of echinacea is not recommended for people with immune system conditions such as HIV or multiple sclerosis.   Pregnant or breastfeeding women are also advised not to take echinacea.

Echinacea is available for use in the form of capsules, juice, extract, tincture or tea.  As a topical treatment, echinacea is available in a semisolid preparaton for use to treat wounds or skin ulcers.  Besides also taking an excellent Omega 3 Fatty Acid supplement, echinacea is probably a good idea to help boost immunity, especially in the winter months when germs seem to spread and people are more susceptible to actually contracting bugs and flus.