Natural Health: Is It Safe For Kids?

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The debate between conventional medicine and natural health rages on as to what is the best and safest approach to treating childhood illnesses. Of course, almost everyone agrees that the best way to prevent health problems in kids is to feed them a healthy diet. I recommend this book as a great source of information: Super Healthy Kids. The naysayers claim that natural health remedies are unproven, and that some can actually be harmful. The proponents say that natural remedies have been used since the beginning of time, and that they have fewer side effects.

The experts differ in their opinions too. Some Doctors claim that natural medicines are all quackery, while others, like Dr. William Sears, a well known and loved Pediatrician and father of 8, advocates the use of some natural remedies. One thing is for certain: a parent must take the time to educate themselves and make a decision based on their research.

For one thing, the words “safe” and “natural” are not the same. Just because a remedy is natural doesn’t mean it’s automatically safe for anyone. And yet the increasing use of prescription medicines, for example the use of the drug Ritalin which is little different than cocaine, is certainly alarming. In fact a study determined that one out of every twelve children who take Ritalin might develop chromosome abnormalities.

One problem with natural remedies is that there is no hard data (meaning double blind, controlled studies) proving whether or not they are safe or achieve the desired results. Some people claim they work by placebo affect. While there are those herbalists who would disagree with this assessment, saying the placebo affect couldn’t possibly account for all the cures that have been affected with the use of natural remedies.

The wise course of action is to use caution when using any kind of medicine, whether conventional or natural. Study, study, study, ask questions of health care providers, seek answers. And be aware of side effects that can come about when prescription drugs and natural remedies are combined.

Every parent has to decide what is best for his or her child. Be your child’s advocate, be a good consumer, and choose the best option based on your own research.