Disadvantages of Echinacea
Does your child suffer from cough and colds? Are you using Echinacea as a remedy for the problem? Now, you may think twice about its use for your children because according to a health agency, Echinacea is not safe for children.
According to the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), children should not take Echinacea because of possible allergic reactions or anaphylaxis.
Uses of Echinacea
Echinacea is a popular remedy for cough and colds and it is also used for depression and menopausal symptoms. Echinacea is considered a natural remedy because it comes from a North American flower.
The use of Echinacea in respiratory conditions has a long history, but it was only during the last five years that Echinacea was scientifically proven to aid in coughs and colds. In fact, the use of Echinacea reduces the duration of the condition by 1.4 days, and this has been supported by over 14 studies.
However, the MHRA has now issued a statement that Echinacea should not be used by children younger than 12 years old because of various side-effects. This statement was based on the recommendations of the UK Herbal Medicines Advisory Committee (HMAC) and European Herbal Medicinal Products Committee (HMPC).
Disadvantages of Echinacea for Children
Despite being a natural herb, Echinacea was proven to be unsafe for children. Due to the following reasons:
● Echinacea may cause allergic reactions
Echinacea has potent allergens that may cause allergic reactions in children. These allergic symptoms may include itchiness, rashes, swelling of the tongue and mouth, and difficulty in breathing.
● Echinacea may lead to anaphylactic reaction
Children who take a lot of Echinacea or who have hypersensitivity to it may suffer severe allergic reactions, or anaphylaxis may develop. Anaphylaxis is usually life-threatening because of severe disruption in the respiration as a result of swelling or inflammation of the airways. Also, anaphylaxis may lead to anaphylactic shock, which involves loss of cardiovascular tone manifested by a very low blood pressure and irregular heart rate.
They have already concluded that the benefits of Echinacea for children under 12 years are outweighed by the negative side-effects, so it is generally not recommended that children take this herbal remedy. Although the risk for anaphylactic shock is rare, precautionary measures still need to be employed in order to prevent this life-threatening reaction.
Effects of Echinacea in People Older than 12 years
Although Echinacea should not be used in children, its use is still safe for people older than 12 years old. In fact, adults can benefit from a quick reduction in cold symptoms. Children older than 12 years also benefit with maintenance of normal weight.
According to the MHRA, the use of Echinacea by children is not actually a serious concern; however, parents can still eliminate the possibility of allergic symptoms by avoiding the use of the herb.
A very good alternative to Echinacea for treating coughs and colds in children is the use of honey. It is not only effective in reducing symptoms, but is also safe and children love the sweet taste.
We now consider that not all herbal remedies are safe. Contrary to popular belief that herbs do not have any side-effects, some may still provide harmful effects. Nevertheless, the use of herbs is relatively safer than the use of synthetic drugs because, despite the possible side-effects from herbs, these tend to be lesser and milder than those experienced with drugs.
Posted by Pitt Goumas