Chinese Medicine for Common Childhood ComplaintsJasmine Sufi HBSc, BHSc, D.Ac February 1, 2010
You would do anything and everything for your child, including the best treatment possible when they are not well. As children grow, they go through natural stages of development, and with that comes health complaints.
Chinese Medicine has been used for more than 5,000 years on children and infants, and is a safe, natural means of helping your baby. Chinese medicine has two main components: Acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine.
For example, your baby is only a few days old and is crying constantly; nothing you do seems to soothe your child. It is clear that your baby is in some discomfort, refuses to be put down, and demands to be moved around or bounced. Colic is a common newborn condition that can push your patience to the limit, losing precious sleep, leaving you frustrated and concerned about how you can help your little one.
The digestive system in a baby has not fully developed which often results in gas, diarrhea and vomiting. The first step to prevent digestive concerns such as colic is to not over feed infants. Feeding on demand often causes food to stagnate because the digestive system cannot process large frequent quantities of food. Feeding on a schedule is the best means to prevent and treat colic. Rubbing the infant’s abdomen regularly from right to left following the direction of the large intestine helps to move food and gas through the digestive tract, helping to prevent accumulation and pain. If the colic or digestive concerns persist, Chinese herbal medicine can help reduce gas, enhance digestion and calm your baby.
Acupuncture is the gentle insertion of hair-fine needles into various points along the body. The acupuncture points are selected based on energy pathways that run from head to toe. The combination of points is unique to the individual and will help to re-adjust the body’s energy flow to help eliminate symptoms. In children under the age of seven, the energy pathways are immature and have not fully developed. Therefore, acupuncture for children under this age is uncommon. Instead, more commonly used is acupressure – massaging along the meridians, stimulating acupuncture points by touch alone. This form of therapy is gentle and effective. Massaging your infant is an incredible bonding tool, promotes circulation, calms babies and stimulates digestion.
Herbal medicine, as mentioned before, is the most effective form of treatment for children. Herbs are easy to administer and provide fast acting relief from common childhood conditions. Chinese herbal botanicals are prescribed in a combination of two to eight ingredients and are administered in liquid form with a dropper. The herbs can be given separately or mixed with milk or foods. Children recover quickly and therefore do not require long treatments – average treatments will range from a few days to a week.
Other common concerns that can be resolved using Chinese medicine include: cough, colds, constipation, teething pain and fever, pediatric asthma, bed wetting, pediatric eczema, and hyperactivity.
Both acupressure and Chinese Herbal Medicine are an excellent means of helping your child through common childhood health concerns. Chinese Medicine helps balance the body by strengthening and nurturing, as opposed to temporarily masking symptoms. Chinese Medicine can ensure your baby has the healthy start they need for a lifetime of good health.
Tips for Stocking your Herbal Medicine Cabinet: Home Remedies
For burns: This remedy relieves pain, soothes burns and promotes healing of the skin. Mix the juice of carrot, cucumber, potato, aloe and ginger with honey. Place on burn.
For cuts: To stop profuse bleeding of cuts: Use dry ginger powder and sprinkle into cut to stop bleeding
For infected cuts: Make a poultice of crushed burdock roots and apply it warm to the affected area.
For sprains and strains: Ice for the first 24 hours.
If swelling and inflammation persists, and the area is hot to touch: Make a poultice of grated potato mixed with white flour to hold it together. If swelling persists, but is not hot to touch: Cook buckwheat and mix with flour to make poultice. Apply to area.
For imbedded foreign objects: Thorns or splinters: Take half an onion and roast in the oven until soft. Apply warm onion over affected area for 30 to 45 minutes. This will help draw the object to the surface of the skin.