Ten Childhood Challenges

    Alternative medicine has much to offer children. To help you get started, we’ve talked to the experts and consulted leading references for advice.

    COUGHS AND COLDS

    There's still no cure for the common cold. Instead of dosing your child with an antibiotic (which won't work anyway, since colds are viral), or reaching for an over-the-counter drug that may suppress symptoms but cause side effects, try echinacea tincture, vitamin C, zinc, and oscillococcinum at the first signs of a cold or flu. Once a cold sets in, various homeopathic treatments can combat symptoms:

    • Nasal congestion and swollen glands: Try kali muriaticum.
    • Fever with cough and sweating: Belladonna.
    • Loose rattling cough: Pulsatilla.
    • Wet, clogged nose: Add rosemary or orange oil to the humidifier to relieve congestion.

    EAR INFECTIONS

    Recent studies show that in most cases, children recover from ear infections just as well without antibiotics as with them. In fact, treating ear infections with antibiotics can weaken the immune system, leading to more infections. Alternative therapies can ease earache and break the cycle of infection:

    • Fluid trapped in the middle ear: Use “a fizzy,” like Hexal's ACC (N-acetylcysteine) to dilute thick mucus and aid drainage.
    • Osteopathic or chiropractic treatment: Helps move fluid and relieve earache.
    • Mullein oil: Reduces swelling and inflammation; apply warm oil drops into the affected ear.

    TUMMY TROUBLE

    Diarrhoea should not be suppressed too quickly; keep your child hydrated. Natural remedies can ease discomfort:

    • Peppermint tea and ginger: Soothe an aching tummy.
    • For babies: Use 1 teaspoon of ginger tincture with 2 tablespoons of filtered water, given in small doses.
    • Probiotics: Yoghurt with active cultures or supplemental Lactobacillus acidophilus and L. bifidus restore healthy gut flora.
    • For gas or cramps: Try magnesia phosphorica, available as a tissue salt.

    ASTHMA

    Asthma can be life-threatening; children should remain under a doctor's care when exploring alternatives:

    • Gradual reduction of conventional medications: Combine with alternative approaches.
    • Homeopathy and herbs: Some children can be weaned off bronchodilators and steroids.
    • Omega-3 fatty acids (fish oil): Reduce inflammatory chemicals; vitamin C and magnesium may aid breathing.

    COLIC

    Herbal teas like chamomile, fennel, and vervain can help relieve colic. Osteopathic treatment has shown promise.

    ATTENTION DISORDERS

    Before resorting to medication for attention disorders, consider dietary changes and alternative therapies:

    • Elimination diet: Remove chemical additives, preservatives, MSG, chocolate, and caffeine.
    • Supplements: Vitamins E and C, magnesium, flaxseed and primrose oils, and zinc.
    • Homeopathic and acupuncture: Studies show potential benefits for ADHD symptoms.

    AUTISM

    Conventional medicine has limited options for autism. Alternative therapies like high-dose cod liver oil, vitamin B6, magnesium, and dietary changes may help.

    HEADACHES

    For tension headaches, relaxation techniques like hypnosis, guided imagery, and biofeedback can be effective. Consider an elimination diet and supplements like calcium and magnesium.

    PAIN

    For pain relief, consider gentle manipulation techniques (chiropractic, osteopathy, craniosacral therapy), acupuncture, and herbal remedies like white willow bark or arnica.

    CONSTIPATION

    Gradually introduce fibre-rich foods and natural laxatives like psyllium or flax seeds. Stay hydrated and consider relaxation techniques for emotional aspects.

    In conclusion, alternative medicine offers a diverse range of safe and effective options for addressing common health issues in children. By exploring natural remedies and therapies, parents can complement conventional treatments and promote holistic well-being. From managing coughs and colds to addressing asthma, attention disorders, and autism, alternative approaches emphasise gentle interventions that support the body's natural healing processes.

    It's important for parents to work closely with qualified healthcare professionals when considering alternative therapies for their children. Consulting naturopaths, homeopaths, or integrative doctors can provide valuable guidance on individualised treatment plans.

    Ultimately, by embracing alternative medicine alongside conventional care, parents can empower themselves to make informed choices that optimise their children's health and quality of life.

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