Herbal Medicine

Let’s not sugar coat this – Chinese herbal medicines are strong and bitter-tasting.  Compared with fruity flavored sweet medicines children are typically they may even seem gross!  Since this is the case, liquids are by far the easiest for babies and kids to take.  Liquids can be masked and many contain sweeteners such as glycerin and/or rice syrup.  Some liquids are formulated as flavored syrups which can make administration of the herbs easier if the child finds the flavor palatable.  Some practitioners have success with granules and loose herbs, but taste and texture can be an issue.  Before prescribing herbs to your patients make sure to set expectations that the herbs might taste yucky your patient must take it anyway.  The earlier children in life start taking herbs, the easier they’ll manage the taste.

Making Chinese Herbs More Palatable
Have the parents mask the taste of the herbs in juice, applesauce, nut butter, frozen grape juice concentrate, or chocolate sauce (last resort). Give a small bite sized treat afterward for positive reinforcement (eventually they won’t need it).  Have the parents start out with a smaller dose of the herbs that are masked and slowly increase the dosage until they are taking the full dose.

Dosage for Children
Check with the manufacturer to get specific dosage instructions, but in general smaller amounts are given more frequently.  A common dosage for the Gentle Warriors line is 15 to 30 ml (1/2 to 1 squirt) 3 – 5x/day.

Kan Herb Company

I use the Gentle Warriors and Peacemakers pediatric line available from Kan Herb Company most frequently in my practice. This is my favorite pediatric line because the herbs are concentrated and smaller doses are needed for a therapeutic effect. They’re also fairly well tolerated by children, they are easy to mask and they are effective.   Below I’ve listed the most common indications for the Gentle Warriors Formulas as outlined in the Growing the Dao by Efrem Korngold.

  • Windbreaker – earaches, sinusitis, sore throat, colds, flu, allergies
  • Chest Relief – laryngitis, cough, phlegm
  • Pipe Cleaner – bronchitis, painful cough, tenacious phlegm
  • Open Air – acute asthma, wheezing
  • Deep Breath – chronic asthma, wheezing
  • Grow & Thrive – poor appetite, low resistance, weak digestion, frail
  • Tummy Tamer – indigestion, gastroenteritis
  • Easy Going – constipation
  • Belly Binder – diarrhea
  • Fire Fighter – rash, hives, impetigo, bites, stings
  • Quiet Calm  – trauma, stress, moodiness, hyperactivity, crankiness

Golden Flower Chinese Herbs

They sell Jake Fratkin’s line of herbal syrups. Each bottle comes with a handy dispenser for direct administration of herbs. The syrups are flavored and meant to be taken straight. Here is a list of the general uses and formulas available through Golden Flower.

  • Children’s Clear & Release Formula is a formula for common cold, and it can also be used for fever due to viral infection. It combines herbs from various antiviral formulas, including Gan Mao Ling, Yin Qiao San and Zhong Gan Ling.
  • Children’s Lung Clear Formula addresses the sticky-viral stage as well as the more productive, rattly phlegm-heat stage, which are the two stages most commonly seen.
  • Children’s Jade Defense Formula is a variation of Yu Ping Feng San, in a syrup form that children can easily take.
  • Children’s Ear Formula is used for acute or chronic otitis media. Ear infection appears with acute, sharp pain, and this formula addresses microbial infection with accumulation of turbid damp.

Blue Poppy 

Blue Poppy also has a line of liquid pediatric herbal formulas.  Many herbalists like this line because the formulas are very palatable.

  • AllerEase Jr. This formula provides remedial treatment of acute episodes of allergic rhinitis characterized by clear, runny, itchy nose, itchy eyes and sneezing.
  • Bupleurum & Angelica This formula treats the most common patterns causing pediatric earache and ear tugging.
  • CQ Jr. This formula is designed to help end sore throats before they become serious and require antibiotic intervention. It addresses wind heat external contraction with an underlying defensive qi vacuity.
  • Dry Nites This formula addresses bed-wetting in toddlers and young children due to a combination of lung, spleen and kidney qi vacuity, which is the most commonly seen pattern of this condition.
  • Little Dragon This formula is designed to treat pediatric obesity due to phlegm heat brewing and obstructing.
  • Lung Qi Jr. This formula is for cough and asthmatic wheezing. It clears heat and transforms phlegm, stops coughs and wheezing, and supplements the spleen.
  • Peaceful Focus is designed for children with pediatric attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) due to liver-spleen disharmony with internal heat, malnourishment of the heart spirit, and possible phlegm dampness.
  • Quiet Nites addresses the common problem of colic, intestinal gas and indigestion with night-crying and leg pumping in infants due to food stagnation complicated by stomach heat.
  • Tender Teeth is designed to address the common problems associated with teething in infants.

In addition to Chinese herbal formulas I also use a variety of nutritional supplements.  Here is a brief overview of some of the companies that Sell Pediatric Nutritional Supplements.

Emerson Ecologics  

They sell many different brands of supplements, essential oils, herbs and vitamins. The pediatric supplements come in chewable and liquid formulations. They also sell a variety of homeopathic and Bach flower remedies. They have highly concentrated probiotics like Therbiotic Complete from Klaire Labs.

Orthomolecular Products 

They sell my favorite pediatric allergy formula, D-Hist Jr and have a pediatric constipation formula, Ready-Set-Go, that is very palatable.

Energetix 

They have a variety of complex homeopathic remedies to help with lymphatic drainage and sell my favorite chewable probiotic, Flora Syngery Chewable.