Children and Herbs – Does Herb Is Good Remedies for Kids?
This is a particularly important topic. Can children safely take herbal remedies? The short answer is vague. It does depend on the herb and the amount given. While this is logical when it comes to over the counter or prescription medications, it is seldom thought of when it comes to herbs.
The long answer starts with the most important step a parent can take when considering herbs for their children. Talk to the pediatrician first. Many doctors have begun taking courses about herbal preparations and should be able to steer you away from herbs that are bad for a child.
Each herb is different. Some are mild enough that a two year old could tolerate small amounts. Some are so strong they can’t be given to children six years old and younger. One is even a bad idea for children fifteen and under. Here is a list of a few problem herbs to watch for.
Eucalyptus: Medline Plus, a government medical site, says that eucalyptus is unsafe for children, especially those six and under. Those two and under shouldn’t even be permitted to smell the oil. The oil is also toxic to everyone if it isn’t diluted. That includes both skin preparations and ingested preparations.
Fennel: This herb has been used for centuries to improve milk flow and to ease colic in infants. WebMD reports that it could be unsafe to use this herb by lactating women. Two cases of serious neurological problems were reported after the mother drank a cup of the tea. Before using this herb, talk to your pediatrician for advice.
Hops: Some websites state that hops should not be given to children. These sites don’t say why, nor do they back up what is said. In my opinion, hops shouldn’t be given to young children, nor should they have a lot of contact with it. Hops contain phytoestrogens, which could have an effect on developing reproductive systems.
Peppermint: The oil of peppermint can cause breathing spasms in infants and young children. It should not be applied to their skin or used in their vicinity. Enteric coated peppermint oil may be safe for children over the age of eight. In any case, check with the pediatrician before using this oil on or around children.
Willow: Willow was aspirin before aspirin was born. It has the same potential for causing Reye’s syndrome as aspirin does. It should not be given to or used on children fifteen and under.