• Bartram's Encyclopedia of Herbal Medicine

Health Problems in Children

Children’s health problems cause more heartache than many other things in life, more so than your own personal health concerns.   You have the responsibility to help them as much as you possibly can, and when nothing seems to work, it leaves you feeling hurt, frustrated and angry.

Where do you turn for help?   Where do you go when the normal doctors cannot seem to help?

Is it worth considering alternative therapy?   Or is it just a waste of time?

Believe me, it is always worth considering complementary and alternative medicine for children’s health problems.   It is often worth trying this before resorting to conventional medicine, as children often respond far better than adults to this approach.

Of course, you should always seek advice from a properly qualified and registered practitioner, one who has experience in treating children.  

There are a number of common problems found in children that cause much anguish for parents, and these include:

  • Asthma or other breathing difficulties
  • Snuffles, coughs and colds
  • Eczema
  • Ear infections and glue ear
  • Immunisations – do I or don’t I?

Complementary and Alternative Medicine may be able to help with any of these, and many other health problems.

The conventional answer to many of these childhood illnesses is the same – steroids or antibiotics.  

Neither of these medicines is conducive to overall health, particularly in the developing child, and in our view can lead to other health problems, either in childhood or later on in life.   It is not uncommon to find someone with ill health in adulthood that seems to have a foundation based upon numerous courses of antibiotics, or steroid medication as a child.

Of course, both steroid medication and antibiotics have their place, but neither truly addresses the underlying condition causing the problem in the first place.

Many of these childhood conditions have certain aspects in common:  they may involve the immune system and the digestive system.

If we accept this theory, this helps us understand the impact of vaccinations, milk and dairy consumption, steroids, and antibiotics on the health of our children.

A number of childhood conditions are infectious, such as recurrent chest infections, glue ear, and the usual colds and snuffles.   If the immune system functions properly then it can deal effectively with these conditions, without having to resort to medications such as antibiotics.

However, through numerous vaccinations the immune system may be compromised.

The use of antibiotics, coupled perhaps with the effect of milk and dairy consumption in early life, leads to damage to the digestive system.   This ultimately leads to ‘allergies’ and symptoms such as sinus problems, asthma, eczema, and irritable bowel later on in life.

Further treatment with suppressive medicines such as steroids and antibiotics increases the problem, which then becomes more and more intractable.

I will never forget when my own daughter developed asthma as a child.   She was given antibiotics and inhalers by her GP and although she improved initially, we found that she needed these more and more often.  

I woke up one day and decided that it was time I took matters into my own hands, and I stopped her inhalers and stopped her drinking milk and eating dairy.

Although she worsened initially, we stuck to our guns, much to the despair and worry of her grandparents, and she eventually recovered and has hardly ever needed an inhaler since, around 5 years ago now.

It is difficult to stick to complementary and alternative treatment because the conditions often worsen initially, and other well-meaning people may try to encourage you to revert back to conventional treatment – ‘the doctor knows best.’

Our approach to childhood conditions is often to carry out tests, known as the BEST Screening test, or Full Body Screening, which allows us to assess the condition fully.   It allows us to assess the nutritional status of the body, whether there are any food sensitivities, or hormonal imbalance, and the balance of energy in the internal organs and systems such as the immune system.

We are then able to recommend the best treatment for that person.

Our treatments are based upon dietary changes, nutritional supplements, herbal or homoeopathic medicines, and possible therapies such as Reflexology or Cranio-Sacral Therapy, or others.

We do find that the conditions occasionally worsen, but if you stick to your course of action it will usually improve, and the general health of the patient will also improve vastly.

It does take time, however, and although children seem to respond quicker than adults, it can still take as long as 10 – 12 weeks for a satisfactory response, and sometimes longer.

Once you realise the strength of the complementary and alternative approach, and once you learn how to treat and manage these difficult conditions, you can take control over them.

Often the most effective approach is dietary, particularly after a course of treatment has effectively resolved most of the symptoms.   The common culprits are milk and dairy, and also sugar, which is found in so many food items these days, let alone the obvious sweets and chocolates.   Their favourite burger happy meal is undoubtedly full of sugar, and very few useful nutrients!

This of course makes the treatment both easy on one hand, and difficult on the other, as to deprive your children of the very things that they crave and beg for requires a strong will and determination, let alone a strong belief that you are doing the right thing.

Give in, and you’ll never find out.   Stick to your guns, and you will be rewarded, your children will be healthier and happier, calmer and better behaved, and life will be easier for you and for them!

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