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In my clinic I have found that the Ayurvedic system has been very helpful in the management of common childhood ailments, for example - colic, bed wetting, jaundice, anemia, constipation, diarrhea, eczema, dry skin, adenoid problems, blocked nose, anxiety, mental stress, sleep disturbance, hyperactivity, loss of appetite and ADD.
Common childhood problems & symptoms
Tonsilitis & Adenoids
Adenoids and tonsils are glandular tissue located inside the throat (adenoids are located high in the throat behind the nose and soft palate), and in some children, usually aged between 7-12 years old, they become swollen, red and inflamed. In orthodox medicine this problem is usually treated with antibiotics and in more serious cases they are removed surgically. I have found that this condition can be treated with the taking of Ayurvedic medicine and an anti-Kapha diet after which the adenoids settle down permanently.
Many babies and children suffer with eczema and this is mainly due to a Pitta imbalance, therefore it is treated with Pitta balancing medicine and diet and by applying preparations to the effected area. Eczema can be triggered by the same allergens that cause asthma (please refer to the section on asthma for more information).
Bed wetting in children is very common, it may be caused by an anatomical or histological problem in the urinary tract, in this case, it is best treated medically. However if the problem is not structural it can be treated very effectively through Ayurveda. I have found that the brain believing that the person is sitting on the toilet can cause bed-wetting, by it sending the wrong message to the bladder telling it to release. In Ayurveda this is understood as being a weakness of Shukra Dhatu (semen element, which applies to both men and women). Although the treatment takes a minimum of 3-6 months, sometimes more, I have found it to be very successful. Bed-wetting affects male and female children equally. In Ayurveda each child is treated according to their own personal condition, they do not all receive the same treatment.
Watery Eyes in Babies
I feel that this is due to the baby being deficient in vitamins A, C, D and E. If they are being breast fed the baby can be treated through the beast milk.
I have had personal experience of this with my daughter. One day, when she was 3 months old I noticed that she had watery eyes in the morning, this continued for 3 days which made me concerned and I thought that she may need medical help. I then had an idea of a herbal preparation that contains vitamins A, C, D and E that would be suitable for this condition. I gave it to my wife to take and after a few days of breast-feeding my daughter’s eyes were clear again.
Generally a new born baby has an undeveloped digestive system and is often unable to digest breast milk properly. The symptoms of colic in babies are; continuous crying which leads to a red face, restlessness and inability to sleep.
Ayurveda has ways to manage this problem by treating the mother according to her constitution, in this way the baby will receive some of the medicine through its mother’s milk. This will enable the baby to digest the breast milk easily. The success of the medicine is shown by the baby sleeping peacefully and no longer crying. If the baby’s colic is due to formula or breast milk it can also be helped with oil massage (Abhyanga) using Ayurvedic herbal oils.
Loss of Appetite
Excess Kapha causes a loss of appetite and the body becomes generally heavy and lethargic. Enzyme activity and liver function become sluggish. Excess Vata can cause similar problems, often accompanied by weight loss and exhaustion. There is frequently excess acidity in the system. Children often suffer these symptoms.
Ayurvedic treatment will focus not only on the vital topic of individualised dietary advice but also on the best times to eat, according to individual biorhythms. Herbal tonics are an integral part of the treatment.