Parenting: Raising Happy, Healthy Kids
Nature's Way and Modern Medicine
lot of parents out there are looking for different choices around health,
not necessarily to choose alternative versus medical treatment but to
use an integrated form of the two types of things together," says
Mary Bove, N.D., a naturopathic physician in practice at the Brattleboro
Naturopathic Clinic in Brattleboro, Vt.
her practice Bove acts much like a primary care physician doing general
family medicine. But as a naturopath, the remedies she prescribes are
most often herbal treatments that are aimed at jumpstarting or fortifying
the body's immune system to fight off sickness, particularly when it
comes to young children.
ages of two and five-years-old, many children have repetitive respiratory
problems: earaches, sore throats, runny noses. They see the pediatrician
but the child is not sick. It doesn't warrant antibiotic treatment,
yet the child still is not feeling well, so the parent is looking for
some alternatives; whether or not they can do things in lifestyle, diet,
or supplements that would help the child to become more resistant to
"When I look
at a child I look for a number of things. Could there be an allergic
response here? Could the child be interfacing with something in their
life on a daily basis that's creating an immune response and making
their immune system be on alert so it becomes hypersensitive?"
is, in many instances, not enough to combat some of the more common
infectious ailments that can spread rapidly among school age children.
Antibiotics have their place in the overall care of children according
to Mary Bove, but she does question the frequency with which they seem
to be prescribed.
about antibiotics is, a lot of people want to look at them as they're
either good or bad. And I think that it's whether they're appropriate
for the situation or not. There are some very clear situations in which
they are appropriate and they should be implemented at that time. And
then there are some situations in which I feel often they're overused
be a child who has fluid in the ear. Fluid in the ear is a wonderful
medium for bacteria to grow. Antibiotics are not necessarily a treatment
except that a large number of pediatricians would use antibiotics for
it. That sets up a problem in the sense that the child becomes more
exposed to the antibiotics. It decreases their ability for their immune
system to work, and pretty soon their own system forgets how to mount
a good response."
In her Vermont practice
Mary Bove routinely treats children with herbs like thyme, rosemary,
chamomile, lemon balm, elderflower, eyebright, lindenflower, and ginger.
She is also an advocate of parents getting involved with administering
herbs to their children as part of a practical program of home care
but, she warns, parents need to be careful.
medicines, and like any medicine, they can have a downside. Not all
herbs are safe for all people. If you have never used them before, seek
out the help of an herbalist or call the American Botanical Council.
If you're new to using herbs with children, remember what you're reading
on the label. If it's not a product that's made specifically for a child
you're going to be reading directions for an adult."
Bove says common
sense should prevail in the purchase and usage of any herbs. Ask retailers
who their manufacturers are. Find out about a company's reputation.
At any time when using an herb if you get an unexpected or abnormal
response, stop its usage and consult a knowledgable source. The American
Association of Naturopathic Physicians operates a referral line at +1
(206) 298 0126.
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