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H
erbal Medicine
 

Children and Herbal Therapy

© David L. Hoffmann BSc (Hons), MNIMH

With its focus on preventive medicine, holistic approaches to health can be most helpful in many of the common problems of childhood. If conditions are brought under control during childhood they can often be avoided entirely in adult life. Examples are asthma and eczema, both of which can start at a very early age and become an ongoing theme throughout the persons life. If treated successfully with herbs there is rarely a continuation of the disease into adulthood.

Children have special needs and special plants address these needs. Whenever possible focus upon the tonics and normalizers. The healing capacity of children can be quite incredible. The most relevant remedies are pointed out in each section below. Care must also be given to dosage, obviously a lower dosage being used. For details of the standard pharmaceutical formulae used to convert adult dosage to that appropriate for any particular age, please refer to the preparations chapter or James Green's Medicine Maker's Handbook.

Possibly the most important consideration is the relevance of tender loving care. Children respond to love and caring in wonderful ways. So do adults, if they give themselves the chance!

A number of useful books have written about herbs for children, of which I would highly recommend the following three. Each is colored by the authors particular preferences and biases, but then who am I to comment on personal bias!
Christopher, John R. Herbal Home Health Care. Christopher Publications, Provo, 1984
Riggs, Maribeth. Natural Child Care. Harmony Books, New York, 1989
Scott, Julian. Natural Medicine for Children. Avon Books, New York, 1990

Childhood Diseases
The so-called childhood diseases are viral syndromes most often seen in children who lack immunity until they have recovered from the disease, and then rarely get the problem again. Usually not serious, they can cause severe fever and discomfort, and occasionally lead to serious complications. In adults, the same diseases can have different and more serious manifestations. Some of the commonest are outlined here, but please refer to the end of this chapter for a discussion of mumps.



Digestive System

There are many herbs that are appropriate for treating digestive problems in Children. Carminatives are especially important. Of the many possibilities, please review these remedies and ensure their various actions are familiar to you:
Althaea officinalis (Marshmallow)
Anethum graveolens (Dill)
Chondrus crispus (Irish Moss)
Filipendula ulmaria (Meadowsweet)
Foeniculum vulgare (Fennel)
Gentiana lutea (Gentian)
Matricaria recutita (Chamomile)
Melissa officinalis (Balm)
Mentha piperita (Peppermint)
Pimpinella anisum (Aniseed)
Rumex crispus (Yellow Dock)
Symphytum officinale (Comfrey )
Ulmus fulva (Slippery Elm)

Treatments outlined in the chapter on digestive problems are relevant here. Please refer to the following sections:
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About The Author
Whilst working in conservation and lecturing in ecology and the eco-crisis for the University of Wales, David Hoffman became convinced that to heal the world, to embrace planetary wholeness and responsibility for it with hope, he as an individual had to be whole within himself....more
 
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