How do I explain that herbs and plants can be just as harmful as mainstream medications? A coworker started selling the "It Works!" line of body wraps and supplements. Apparently, the doctor who formulates the supplements told them all that one could double up on the supplements if they weren't working, that taking too many would be "like eating too much broccoli! It's natural!" Um. No.
Well, she gave me a sample of one of the supplements, and then told me that she is giving it to her three year old for his undiagnosed ADHD. It's an "anti-stress formula" that this doctor is also touting as an ADHD treatment. I just can't quite figure out how epimedium, goldenroot, siberian ginseng, schisandra, and tribulus terrestris are going to treat ADHD. They seem to be more for ... male enhancement.
Does anyone have any advice to pass on to her? She's very gullible and from meeting her son I can understand how she wants anything to help.
If it helps, she might get the same result with just Siberian ginseng, as it's a very mild sedative. But it's usually not recommended for children. I don't know much about the rest of it,though. Exactly what kind of doctor is this?
Remind her that aconite and jimson's weed are found in the garden, but are deadly! Everything you put in your body has an effect on it, it's just a matter of what kind and how strong. Kids bodies don't always process things as well as adult's.
It is a good idea to familiarize oneself w/ the actions of herbs *before* taking them or giving them to children. Some properties in herbs can be hard for the liver to process - even more so for little people. Certain herbs also have hormone altering properties. I was just reading on another board where a gal was taking huge amounts of licorice root to help her flagging adrenals and ended up w/ really heavy bleeding at her menstrual time brought on by the strong estrogenic effects of licorice. Her response - more herbs!
Herbal remedies are indeed a wonderful, natural alternative to allopathic medicine. But IMO it's naive to take anything - even vitamins and other supplements, w/o knowing exactly what they do in the body. That goes double for things we give to children.
Just my .02.
The doctor is actually a medical doctor - I looked him up, thinking that he might have been an unlicensed vet or something, but no. I just don't know enough about herbs to tell her if any of these are dangerous. It looks like some of them may help the liver to function, possibly to protect it from the other herbs. I don't know.
I talked to her again today and she said her son is doing fabulously. He's calmed down immensely and isn't a "different person" as she feared would happen with traditional medications.
Oof. I give up.
I mentioned to her that while this supplement might not be explicitly dangerous, most of the herbs' main uses are to promote testosterone. Not what you'd want in a hyperactive and destructive three year old, right? She laughed and cracked a joke about him bulking up and getting football scholarships.
What can you do.
OY! Yeah, those herbs will promote his vigourous spirited self.. Maybe the doc is thinking that, similarly to how Ritalin is a stimulant but has a focusing effect on ADHD chemistry, these will do the same?? mmm that is sticky biz.
The best way to treat/explore ADHD without or with minimal drugs is to find an educational setting for the kid that is open to and experienced with that. Find a school that understands not all kids learn by sitting in a desk.
Using examples of poison is sometimes a good teaching "picture", where you can emphasize that all medicines, no matter where they come from, plant or pill, can hurt you if you overdo them. They can also build up in areas of your body and cause stress, while seeming to alleviate outer symptoms.
I am a middle school teacher and I see ADD/ADHD all the time. The only way to treat it is to first have it diagnosed properly by a team of pediatricians, child psychiatrists who specialize in it. THEN you can explore nutritional and educational paths that may be helpful. Be wary of any kind of doc who says loading a little body with meds/herbs is the answer. There is a WHOLE kid there to consider, and a many-faceted, team based solution.