Kids often have colds. Children from ages one to three will experience anywhere from six to nine minor illnesses every year. These figures increase to four to six times a year for those between four and six years old.
A survey by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) reveals that close to 12 percent of children 17 years and under, employed some variety of complementary and alternative medicine in 2008. Non-pharmaceutical approaches to illnesses are increasingly appealing to modern-day parents.
The expectation is that toddlers whose parents use natural or alternative medicine are more likely to indulge in the practice. Children with more than one health condition can become comfortable with natural medicine. These kids may likely come from families that are not keen on conventional healthcare due to financial reasons.
Another survey by the Opinion Research Corporation in 2009 sampled 6,000 parents. It revealed 40 percent indicated definite interest in natural remedies for their children. This has a significant contrast with 23 percent in a similar survey from 2008.
As more people turn to complementary and alternative medicine (all things from herbs to acupuncture), twenty to 40 percent of healthy children have had treatment with CAM therapies.
The American Academy of Pediatrics reported this in 2008. Close to 50 percent of kids with chronic illnesses are also part of this group.
According to pediatrician Hilary McClaffery, M.D., parents want effective medications, that are gentle and natural. McClafferty serves as an adjunct clinical assistant professor of medicine at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill.h
In the NCAMM study mentioned, the most common natural medicines the participants used include chiropractic and osteopathic modalities, and natural products like herbs and dietary supplements.
Deep-breathing techniques, homeopathy, yoga, massage, meditation, and dietary therapy were other means the kids reported.
The most common reasons for natural medicine for toddlers were neck pain, back pain, and colds. But, there is an increasing number of explorations into herbal pharmacological treatments with the possibility of improving the quality of life of children suffering from autism, with fewer side effects. These plant-based drug alternatives are generally safer. The reason is that many neurodegenerative pathologies and psychiatric disorders do not respond as well to commonly prescribed medications. The natural solutions also do not present notable side effects.
More comprehensive clinical trials are ongoing to ascertain the safety and efficacy of natural medicines in conditions like autism.
Common Options for Natural Medicine for Toddlers
It is of great essence to contact your pediatrician if your child’s health condition demands traditional medical care. That said, there are natural medicines which experts recommend, and science supports. These include:
- Chamomile – If your toddler is unable to sleep, give him or her a small cup of warm chamomile tea. The tea is a great calming agent, and some experts believe it relieves stomach upsets and eases the pain of teething.
- Aloe vera – The clear gel from thick aloe leaves is one of nature’s wonders. Dabbing the gel on the toddler’s skin can ease sunburns, cuts, and skin infections. Many stores stock aloe gels and creams.
- Ginger – A toddler that quickly gets carsick can have a cup of ginger tea to contain her nausea. Mix a quarter teaspoon of grated ginger root, lemon, and honey in hot water. If they don’t like tea, a cookie made with real ginger will suffice. It’s not as potent as ginger tea, but it can offer some relief.
- Oatmeal – Oatmeal is a viable treatment for various skin conditions, including hives, rashes, and eczema. It keeps moisture in and prevents irritation. A paste of uncooked oats under a toddler’s itchy skin has anti-inflammatory properties that help reduce swelling.
- Peppermint – Much like chamomile tea in soothing bellyaches. Peppermint can also ease itching in the skin. Pour a cup of peppermint in his bathwater, and the soothing sensation of the mint can help.
- Honey – A spoonful of honey at bedtime is probably all your child needs to reduce nighttime coughing. The sweet taste improves salivation, helping to thin mucus and lower the urge to cough. Beware of giving honey to babies younger than 12 months old to avoid infant botulism.
Honey also prevents irritation after a bee sting. Dab some honey on the bee sting area, to cover the sting and keep it away from air.
We must note that for children with an autism spectrum disorder and other learning disabilities such as dyslexia, natural medicine is a common to placate the symptoms. It is to alleviate specific symptoms such as an attention deficit due to a lack of sleep and general restlessness. There have been several positive reports on how these natural remedies can help a special needs child get enough sleep for focus.
Natural medicines are not always necessarily the most comprehensive option. Herbal remedies can be toxic like drugs, too, and can interact with other medications. It is essential to consult a pediatrician before offering any natural medicines to your child. Make sure to remember that happy people shine brighter!