WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- As more parents choose home remedies for theirchildren's gastrointestinal complaints, the question arises, which onesreally work?
Kathi J. Kemper, M.D., M.P.H., a pediatrics professor at Wake ForestUniversity Baptist Medical Center, and the author of "The HolisticPediatrician," has written the cover article for ContemporaryPediatrics magazine on which herbs and dietary supplements can helpchildren with nausea, constipation and similar gastrointestinal (GI)problems.
"What we did was look at the original research, the studies,what people were out there doing, and came up with a guide forpediatricians," Kemper said. "Historically, 50 years ago, people usedhome remedies. Then they began relying on prescriptions, and now thereis a swing back toward using more natural health products."
The article in the current issue cites chamomile as one of themost widely used and safest herbs for children with abdominaldiscomfort. It can be given in small amounts to treat colic in infantsand can be combined with peppermint, star anise or fennel for stomachaches, gas, indigestion and bloating for school-age children, accordingto the article.
Ginger has been well documented as a remedy for nausea anddyspepsia. Probiotics, such as yogurt, have been used to preventantibiotic-associated diarrhea, newborn colic, ulcerative colitis, anda variety of forms of diarrhea. On the other hand, the article saysthat star anise should be avoided for colicky infants.
The article recommends further study of herbal products forchildren and greater communication between patients, parents andpediatricians on these topics.
Kemper, a Brenner Children's Hospital pediatrician who is theCaryl J. Guth Chair for Holistic and Integrative Medicine, wrote thearticle with Paula Gardiner, M.D., a clinical fellow at Harvard MedicalSchool.
About Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center: Wake ForestBaptist is an academic health system comprised of North CarolinaBaptist Hospital and Wake Forest University Health Sciences, whichoperates the university's School of Medicine. The system comprises1,187 acute care, psychiatric, rehabilitation and long-term care bedsand is consistently ranked as one of "America's Best Hospitals" by U.S.News & World Report.
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