Tag Archive | "Alternative and Complementary Medicine"

Safe Herbs for Your Children

Herbal medicines are any plant parts or products used for therapeutic purposes and treatment for certain medical conditions as described by Medline Plus, a website supported by the National Institutes of Health. Herbal medicine can be considered as dietary supplement which is used as an alternative for prescription and over the counter drugs. This type of medication has various preparations which include tablets, capsules, powders, liquid extracts, and dried or fresh plants. Most of the herbal medicine manufacturers claim that this drug alternative is inexpensive, safe, effective, and doesn’t have a lot of side effects. These claims are not 100% proven yet, since most herbal drug do not undergo standard and high quality testing procedures. Some herbal medications can even aggravate existing medical conditions or even start a new one. Safety of such alternative is determined by various factors including age, health status, herbal medicine source and preparation. Generally, the use of such must be done with care and caution most especially in children.

These are some of the herbal medicines considered safe for pediatric use. Echinecea, oregon grape and astragalus are all immunity boosters. These herbs can potentially help the immune system fight off certain bacterial infections such as sore throat, urinary tract infection, fever and ear infections. Lemon grass, lemon balm, hyssop and ginger are not only great for cooking but also treating viral infections. These anti-viral herbs can treat flu, cough and colds. Ginger, when used as a tea can help relieve upset stomach, nausea and vomiting. When ginger tea is incorporated with peppermint, fennel or chamomile, it will become a remedy for colicky babies. Flaxseed, an omega-3 rich plant which can be made into infusion drinks, capsules or tablets is observed to be an effective remedy for constipation. This herb has high contents of fiber and when mixed with juice or water will relieve bowel impaction within 48 hours. Children who experience diarrhea can count on a plant called slipper elm. This herb is an excellent alternative to anti-diarrheal drugs. If diarrhea is bacterial in nature, instead of slippery elm, the plant called golden seal will be more suitable. For children who have problems and difficulties falling asleep at night, drinking a warm cup of chamomile tea will do the trick. The best time to do this is within 20 to 30 minutes before bedtime. Not only does this tea help the child rest and fall asleep it will also calm his nerves and promote relaxation.

Before trying this alternative form of medicine, it is always best to be on the safe side. The patient will be able to benefit a lot if he consults the matter to his primary health care provider. If needed, this form of treatment must be taken under the supervision and guidance of a trained medical professional. The correct dosage should be followed at all times, avoiding medication misuse and abuse. In majority of cases it is recommended to use herbal medicine as a compliment to standard medical procedures and practice. Both will go well with each other in achieving the optimum therapeutic effect, meeting the patient’s needs.

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The Pros and Cons of Alternative Medicine for Children

Alternative medicine also known as complementary medicine is the definition used for medications and medical practices that are not included in the standard of care according to Medline Plus, a website supported by the National Institutes of Health. Doctors, nurses, allied health professionals and medical practitioners all practice standard care. Any means of treatment that doesn’t involve standard care is classified under complementary and alternative medicine. There are several alternative therapies practiced all over the globe and these therapies include acupuncture, chiropractic, and herbal medicine. The efficacy, safety and usefulness of these therapies are not a 100% proven yet, further studies and investigation are constantly conducted to reassure patients receiving such therapies.

As mentioned, there are various types of alternative therapies. The first type is called mind and body medicine, as the word implies this therapy covers activities that involve prayers, tai chi, meditation and other healing practices that focus on the mind and its effect to the body. The second form of alternative therapy is termed as biologically based practices, this type of therapy includes herbs, dietary supplements and healthy food items that treat certain deficiencies and promote the body’s general well being. A manipulative and body-based practice is the third type of alternative therapy. This practice involves the manipulation of certain body parts and its movement to realign posture and minimize physical symptoms such as pain and muscle spasms on the bones and spine. Therapeutic touch and massage therapy are among the activities this alternative treatment modality practices. The fourth type of alternative therapy is called energy medicine, which is based on the theory that energy and magnetic fields surround and interact with the body and its structures. Alternative healing practices such as qi gong, bio-electromagnetics and reki are all included in energy medicine.

Alternative medicine also has quite a few drawbacks and some of its practices have risks involved. Herbal remedies might pose a threat to children because unlike prescription medications and over the counter drugs, these medicines are not strictly regulated by the food and drug association or FDA. Also the manufacturing of herbal drugs does not adhere to the quality standards of care. Most of the time, the products and materials used in alternative medicine are natural; these resources can sometimes cause allergies and hypersensitivity reactions to children. Despite being inexpensive, alternative medicine is usually not covered by medical insurance companies, and only a few mainstream hospitals offer this type of therapy.

Alternative medicine is a good option for children, provided that they’re used together with standard care. This medical practice is safe to use, inexpensive and doesn’t cause too many adverse drug interactions. Alternative medicine can promote healing, wellness, rest and relaxation without the use of chemicals and inorganic material. Alternative therapy can be coordinated and complemented with traditional medicine, provided the doctor or primary healthcare provider doesn’t contradict its practice. Parents need not choose either one of the therapies but instead can practice both of them for as long as it doesn’t have any adverse effects.

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