herbal products are dosed, packaged and marketed for kids, perhaps
leading some parents to believe they are safe. Are they? People
have varying degrees of confidence in them.
As a number
of new herbal products specifically made for kids hit the market,
some are debating whether use by children is wise.
use of dietary and herbal supplements has exploded in the last
decade, critics note there are no quality standards for their
production. Plus, controlled scientific studies have only just
begun in the United States. And there are virtually no results
so far on use by children.
But that doesn't
mean parents, their kids and some herbal specialists aren't snapping
up the new products dosed, packaged, and marketed for
percent of [my] practice is children," says Dr. Mary Bove, a naturopathic
physician practicing in Vermont. "A lot of parents were bringing
their children in for natural alternative care and I knew this
fascination with herbs led her to a career as a medical herbalist
and recently to her own line of herbal treatments for children.
is one of those parents who looks first to herbs in treating her
two children, ages 6 months and 4 years old, although they also
see a pediatrician.
"My kids have
never been on antibiotics," she says. "I believe in vitamin C,
echinacea, zinc, lots of sleep."
in the herbal field, as well as the medical establishment, remind
consumers that herbs can have powerful effects. Especially where
children are concerned, they say, herbs should only be used with
the advice of a sympathetic physician or another trained professional.
has an arsenal of herbs and extracts, and she mixes her own medicinal
teas and tinctures. To know how to do that, she's taken some courses.
But without training or professional advice, a parent is basically
experimenting on a child, some say.
Tyler, a pharmacologist at Purdue University who studies herbs,
thinks that's a bad idea.
"As long as
there is no official certification of their quality, I think it
is wrong to impose them on children," he says.
Yet as alternative
treatments become mainstream for adults, those adults will likely
take a similar approach for their children. In fact, so many families
are now using alternative medicines that the American Association
of Pediatrics recently published guidelines for doctors on how
to work with families who use them (see web link at right).
to make it easier and safer for parents who do
"What I would
hope it most does is that it helps to empower them to take a little
bit more responsibility for their families' health," she says.
"And that it gives them another step to use before they need to
seek professional help."
Reference Source 104