QUESTION: Is there a way to treat rhinitis in a 6-year old with herbs?
ANSWER: There are herbal ways to deal with rhinitis and allergies. There are herbs that are specific for respiratory complaints which can be effective and safe for a 6 year old to use. We have found that what seems to help allergy sufferers the most is when they take immune stimulating herbs as well as herbs specifically for the respiratory system. In fact some only take the immune stimulating herbs and do just great. We think it is rather like the idea of when the cup overflows. Your body can tolerate only so much of an allergen and then symptoms are experienced. If your body’s defenses are stronger, it will tolerate more of the allergen before you will begin to experience symptoms.
Immune boosting herbs that seem to work so well for others are Lapacho (Pau D’Arco) and Echinacea. Now quality is everything with herbs and they need to be used in the most effective ways to truly be of help. Herbs are generally subtle, so you don’t want to be too subtle in your methods of use. It is important to take breaks from your usage if you have taken the same thing for a long time. If you take these kinds of herbs every day for 2 – 3 weeks then you need to take a break for 4 – 7 days before resuming the same herbs or a different herb. Some authorities even recommend only taking Echinacea for 4 days at a time before taking a break. This gives you the general concept though.
One more option is Slippery Elm Bark. The dictionary defines rhinitis as irritation of the mucus membrane, which is what the respiratory tract is made of. Slippery Elm is an extremely soothing agent to all mucus membranes. If you can soothe the mucus membranes there will be less mucus produced.
When symptoms are acute, you should take more herbs. Take more frequent dosages and/or possibly larger doses. When you are only addressing a long standing condition with minor symptoms or using herbs as a preventative, take less.
Many allergy sufferers know the time of the year when they suffer the most and begin to take immune stimulating herbs 2 – 3 weeks in advance of that time as a preventative. We hear great feedback from those using this approach.
For children, herbal doses may be attained by comparing the weight of the child to an average adult. Just consider what the adult dose would be and divide it according to how much your child weighs.
Tea – Adult dose is generally 1 cup of tea
Liquid Extract – Adult dose is generally 5 – 15 drops
Powdered Extract – Adult dose is generally ½ teaspoon (either dissolved in liquid or is the equivalent to a couple of capsules
If it were me I would use:
Echinacea (angustifolia or purpurea)
Lapacho Extract Powder – an instant powder that dissolves in any temperature liquid and tastes especially good in orange juice!
Sinus Tea or Sinus Liquid Extract Combination. (They are the same recipe.)
Slippery Elm Bark Caps or the bulk powder. If the caps are not an option because of the age of your child maybe you could sprinkle the powder on cereal or hide it in other food or something. It thickens like corn starch, just to warn you though!