The number of people who use alternative therapies has increased exponentially in recent years. The treatments with the use of ayurvedic and dietary supplements are measures which, within the alternative therapies, have had the largest increases. It is calculated that in the market there are at least 20,000 different products containing herbs.
Contrary to popular belief, the majority of people who use therapies with herbs is not "naturist", their purpose is not to avoid synthetic chemicals and is not always true that they have not remained satisfied by traditional medicine. Instead, it is mostly children who enter therapy with herbs in their traditional care such as homeopathy, acupuncture, chiropractic or the herbal medicine.
Are those parents who use alternative remedies for themselves, who use them also for their children. As a result in children has been observed a positive relationship between higher levels of education and alternative medicines. Notwithstanding the above mentioned, many parents respond that they had turned to alternative medicine because of getting dissatisfied with traditional medicines.
Most parents have heard of ayurveda in the weekly and daily newspapers. In recent years, they are numerous articles in the press, devoted to this topic, touting the benefits of treatment with herbs or homeopathic preparations in children. There are very few articles devoted to the description of the dangers of herbs, even if it appears it is necessary that parents are informed of both the benefits, if any, that the dangers of treatment with herbs in children.
The two important points to note are lack of clinical trials to demonstrate the safety and effectiveness of the various preparations, and lack standardizations in preparations of products with herbs, currently on the market.
Most of the published information are nothing but reports on a single case and is presented so anecdotal. But at the same time have appeared in scientific journals proving pediatric publications related toxicity in children with herbs, for the appearance of side effects.
As we have seen the absolute lack of standardization is the other important part of therapy with herbs. There are in fact, very few rules for the preparation and sale of these products. It was definitely shown that there is an absolute lack of uniformity in the preparations, apparently identical, made by different manufacturers and, what is even more serious, often lacks sufficient uniformity among the products made by the same company.
Along with the potential changes in the content, some products lack the standards of purity: it happens that, next to the main component, mentioned on the label, there are other ingredients in the sample are not provided or impurities obtained during the preparation. Pesticides have also been found as a result of inadequate purification of the product during preparation.
It is clear that the problems of standardization can be addressed and resolved in the coming years that will be better when applied to the rules of Good Manufacturing Practice. It follows from all this that as long as new research is not available and further regulation has allowed us to achieve a sufficient standard, health professionals must be very cautious in advising parents about the use of therapies with ayurveda for their children.
On the other hand, parents should be encouraged to discuss with their pediatrician all the remedies that they are preparing to use in their children to improve their health. It must always be remembered that the so-called natural herbal products are not to be considered as the safest, because they originate from plants, which vary their active ingredients, depending on the season, and finally because they are outside of control.
It should be remembered also that the herbal products preparations are not child-proof for their retention in home must be in protected environments, especially for those products that are considered toxic in low doses.
It is important for collecting a careful history from the parents, along with the need to keep open the discussion with parents on alternative medicines. This information allows us to differentiate in a short time the source of intoxication and can also prepare new foundation of trust with the family.
The health workers can play a decisive role in educating parents about the potential risks of therapy with ayurveda, so as to be able to monitor its use in children.