Children are complex little individuals and, just like adults, require patience and understanding when managing their health. One of the most useful tools in naturopathic practice is herbal medicine – a fact to which many of our patients can attest!
Infants and children can be given herbal medicine, completely safely – in fact, children respond very well to herbal treatment. The doses prescribed are much less than those for an adult, usually based on the child’s age and weight. Even small babies can be treated herbally, often via breast milk or weak herbal teas.
Liquid herbal medicine can be challenging to administer due to its strong taste, however, small doses diluted in a weak juice (such as grape, or fresh apple) improves palatability. Your herbalist may also add something like licorice or peppermint to flavour a mixture; or use glycetracts, herbal extracts that have a sweeter flavour.
Often, the attitude of the parent or carer towards a medicine will affect the attitude of the child – therefore, remaining relaxed and positive about taking the herbs, and giving appropriate rewards where necessary, can ensure compliance. Herbal tablets can also be given to older children – they are very effective and can be easier to take than the liquid form.
Safety is always a consideration, particularly in the very young, which is one of the most important reasons to see a qualified professional before giving a child any medicine.