Seasonal Allergies One of the most commonly recom- mended natural treatments for ad- dressing seasonal allergy symptoms is stinging nettle, believed to modulate the production of the histamine that prompts noses to run and eyes to water and has been shown to be safe in adults. It comes in tincture, tea and capsule form. Mars also likes Allergena region-specific homeopathic allergy medicines, which deliver traces of local pollen to help the body develop immunity to them. Alternately, sub- stitute citrus juices for milk during allergy season. Vitamin C has been shown to normalize histamine levels, while dairy products can boost mu- cous production.
Stir one teaspoon of salt into eight ounces of water and gargle. “It is antiseptic and will make the pain go away,” counsels Mars. She also recom- mends using the infection-fighting herb Isatis root, in tincture or capsule form. McClafferty says to try a spoonful of honey; it has antimicrobial properties and may act as a cough suppressant.
Teething Pain Oil of clove contains a compound called eugenol that serves as a natu- ral pain killer and antibacterial agent. Baral recommends mixing no more than one drop of clove oil with honey and rubbing it on the gums (not recom- mended for children under 12 months). Or, saturate a clean cloth with calm- ing chamomile tea or wintergreen tea, a natural analgesic, and let the baby chew on it.
When children suffer from com- mon ailments, it is natural for parents to wish to soothe their suffering as quickly as possible. Just be aware that, along with the physician and the pharmacist, there is still an important role to play for “Doctor Mom.”
Lisa Marshall is a freelance health writer and mother of four who lives near Boulder, CO. Connect at Lisa@LisaAnnMarshall.com
NATURAL APPROACHES TO ADHD by Lisa Marshall
rugs for treating attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are among the hottest-selling
medications today, garnering 13 percent of children’s prescription dollars, with sales soaring so quickly that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) re- cently had to declare a national shortage. That worries naturopathic doctors
Matthew Baral and David Deichert. “People have gotten in the bad habit of going to medication first, without trying natural therapies,” states Baral, a pediatrics professor at the Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine, in Tempe, Arizona.
In some cases, prescription medi-
cation is warranted, says Deichert, an ADHD specialist with Bastyr University, in Kenmore, Washington. But in most cases, he sees it as a stopgap measure as the longer-term benefits of diet and lifestyle changes slowly kick in. The two naturopaths offer these
natural wellness approaches.
Minimize Food Additives After decades of parents’ suspicions that additives like food coloring and artificial flavors may fuel behavioral changes in kids, several recent studies have bolstered such claims. A 2007 study of nearly 300 kids ages 3 to 8, published in The Lancet, found that those given drinks containing artificial dye showed significantly higher hyper- activity within a few hours. The British government now requires labels warn- ing that children’s products containing dye may impair attention.
Consider an Elimination Diet A first-of-its-kind 2011 study, also in The Lancet, showed that when 50 kids with ADHD were put on restrictive hypoallergenic diets free of allergens like gluten and dairy for five weeks, their symptoms improved far more than those in the control group. When the eliminated foods were reintroduced, symptoms returned in 63 percent of the children. Deichert says that ADHD pa-
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tients with digestive problems, recurring ear infections or skin problems—all symptoms of possible food sensitivi- ties—are particularly good candidates for elimination diets.
Curb Screen Time and Get Moving “Very large studies have associated TV and video game use with a worsening of ADHD symptoms,” notes Deichert. He recommends that for each half-hour of screen time a child gets outside of schoolwork, they get a half-hour of exercise.
Buy Organic A 2010 study of 1,100 children, pub- lished in the journal Pediatrics, found that the more pesticide residue children had in their urine, the more likely they were to be diagnosed with ADHD.
Check the Iron Studies in the Archive of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine and elsewhere have shown that children diagnosed with ADHD are more likely to have lower iron levels, and when those that are deficient take iron supplements, their symptoms either subside with- out medication or they react better to lower doses of medications. As a pre- cautionary measure, Deichert suggests that kids be checked for their ferritin levels before beginning iron supple- mentation.
Consider Safer Supplements Clinical research is still inconclusive, but in their practices, Deichert and Baral have both seen ADHD patients benefit from zinc, ginkgo biloba, acetyl-carni- tine and omega-3 supplements.
A final note: While it helps that re- search has been stepped up to address the epidemic of attention-related dis- orders, that doesn’t mean that all valid solutions need to carry a company trademark.
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