Monday, January 10, 2011

:: ask a naturopath ::

Please welcome Calgary-based Naturopathic Doctor, Natalie Sweett to the blog for our newest feature -
 Ask a Naturopath. Please send your questions along for future posts!

Question: Are there any natural ways to treat or prevent ear infections?

I love when people ask questions about how to prevent conditions, as prevention is a key part of Naturopathic Medicine.  The best way to prevent ear infections is to breastfeed.  By breastfeeding you are building your child’s immunity, thereby arming them with the tools to fight against the bacteria that can cause ear infections. Also breast milk is free of food allergens.  Formula tends to be dairy based which is one of the most allergenic substance for infants.  A common symptom of food sensitivity is recurrent ear infections. I would suggest breastfeeding for 6-9 months if not longer.  Four months has been proven to be effective but the longer a child is breastfed, the better.

There are a number of ways to treat ear infections naturally.  One of the most effective treatments is garlic ear drops.  You can usually find this in health food stores but you can also make your own.  Crush a couple small cloves of garlic into 5 or 6 Tbsp of olive oil, let this sit for awhile to become concentrated, then put 2-3 drops (with a dropper) in the affected ear.  You can do this twice a day until the ear infection resolves.  If your child has a burst eardrum DO NOT put anything into his or her ears but otherwise this is a wonderful treatment.  For other home remedies and further information be sure to contact your local naturopathic doctor.

Question: Does Chamomila really work for teething?  Do amber necklaces really work?

This question comes at a great time; I just had a patient in my office who was having trouble with her little one teething.  Chamomila is an excellent general remedy for teething.  It is the main ingredient in a number of homeopathic formulations sold at health food stores and drug stores.  The potency of the Chamomila is generally between 6 and 12CH in these products.  At this dose, it can be very effective but sometimes a higher potency is required.  If you have tried Chamomila at this dose and works but wears off quickly you can try giving your little one a 30CH dose, I wouldn’t recommend going higher than that without consulting a health care practitioner.  All that said, Chamomila is not the right remedy for all teething babies.  If you try it or have tried it and it has not helped it is a good idea to consult a naturopathic doctor in your area to determine a more effective remedy for your child.

As for amber necklaces, I cannot really comment on them as I do not know much about crystals and stones.  I have had one patient who is using the necklace and has found that it does not do much for her child.  It is a beautiful trinket though.

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