Is Echinacea Safe for My Toddler?

Updated on April 06, 2008
J.B. asks from Queensbury, NY
23 answers

HI Moms,
I am just wondering if I can give echinacea to my almost 3 year old? My little girl has had a cold for 2 weeks and I am afraid it is turning into a sinus infection. I would really prefer something natural to give her (rather than anti-biotics). Does anyone have any suggestions? Thanks!

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D.S.

answers from New York on

they make an echinacea for children. I bought it in the health food store. An international specialist doctor had recommended it for us. Most pediatricians in the US do not recommend it for children.

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M.R.

answers from New York on

J.,

I find it to be very safe. I learned about eachinacea when my daughter was young also. I find that when I give her a dose on a regular basis once a day through the winter months she has a better winter. She does not get sick very often and/or her colds are not harsh. Just be sure to check the dosage amount for her age and weight. Some people think it's crazy, but I swear by it. I'm with you, I'd prefer an herbal method over a prescription or drug.

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T.P.

answers from New York on

In the U.S., more than $300 million are spent each year on echinacea, mostly in an attempt to treat and prevent the common cold. Colds are especially common in children, who average 3 to 8 colds a year, each lasting about a week. Parents want something natural and gentle that works. But does echinacea work in children? Researchers from the University of Washington and from Bastyr University (an alternative medicine institution) decided to find out. A total of 524 healthy children aged 2 to 11 were included in the 4 month long study. When they got colds, half of them were given echinacea and half were given an inactive placebo, and it was kept a secret which was which. The findings were published in the December 3, 2003 JAMA. There were no differences between the two groups in the duration or the severity of cold symptoms. Colds lasted an average of nine days, with peak symptoms lasting a day and a half, whether or not they got the herbal remedy. But more than 7 percent of the children taking echinacea developed a rash. Echinacea appears to do nothing to help treat cold in children. It doesn't help them feel better or get better quicker. But it does cost money, and can have side effects. It is possible that echinacea may help to prevent colds, but this has not been proven. I hope someone will look into the possibility as carefully as this team looked into echinacea as a treatment.

Alan Greene MD FAAP
December 09, 2003

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L.J.

answers from New York on

Dear J.,

I have been giving my children echinacea for years! I use a brand called Esberitox which is chewable. I must say, not only do they love it, it reduces their illness nearly 100%. They are the healthiest children I know! I don't know if it will clear up a sinus infection on its own, but it is safe to try. You may need to also give her saline nose drops to help clear her out. The other thing I would try is a warm vapor bath and then "suck" her nose with one of those baby nose things. Unless she knows how to blow her nose, of course. Good luck
L. J.

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J.H.

answers from Syracuse on

Hi J.,
I give echinacea to my 2 oldest kids 5 and 3 1/2 and have been for a year...a childrens form I get in Wegmans' grocery store. You give it to them for 10 days, then 10 days off, then 10 days on, 10 days off...you get the idea.

I can honestly say I don't think it has helped a bit! They were sick with everything all winter!!! (Pre-school doesn't help that, though!!)

Good luck to you,
J.
PS - If you aren't sure, never be afraid to call the pediatrician.

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S.R.

answers from New York on

while echinacea is safe for small children, it will do no good at this point in the game! Echinacea is an immune booster that works optimally at the beginning of an upper respiratory bug.
If things are heading towards a sinus infection, first thing you want to do is to decrease foods that are mucus forming! All forms of dairy and soy are first to go.
Warm soups and lots of water will help to thin mucus. Homemade chicken soup with some slices of ginger would be on the top of my list.
Another thing that works great is Eucalyptus essential oil. Put a couple of drops on a washcloth and then put it in the shower. The vapor does wonders for clearing sinus and lungs.

Check out Keeping your Kids Healthy with Chinese Medicine by Bob Flaws. You'll find some other great food based and herb based ideas that will make your life a lot easier!

Hope this helps,
S. Rubin
www.drsusanrubin.com

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S.C.

answers from Buffalo on

Hi J.,
Our dd was sick a lot from 8 months to 2 years old. She had over 14 ear infections and 2 sets of tubes. She would be sick for 2 weeks, better for maybe a week and then sick again. It was very frustrating and her sleep petterns suffered for it too.

I sought the advice of a naturopath when Natalie was18 months old to avoid the constant anti biotics that wreacked havoc on her bowels and apetite. Here is what she recomended: Give lots of vitamin C&E (foods and supplements), probiotics daily (you can get a powdered form to mix into her milk or juice) and this wonderful stuff I can't remember the name of. We haven't had to use it in over a year and a half. If you ask your naturopath for a spray imunity booster,they will know what it is called. It is a small, potent raspberry flavoured spray that you give once a day when not sick and up to 3 times a day when you are. Dosages start at 1 year old and up to adult. I wish I oould remember the name of it for you! It is like colostrum, as it is chuck full of antibodies and healthy nutrients. It is made from animal milk though, not human. Worked for our daughter really well. She is hardly sick now and has not been sick once since she started pre school 6 months ago.

Good luck!

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S.B.

answers from Albany on

Hi J.,

Some herbal remedies are not recommended for kids under a certain age so you may want to check with your pediatrician. Your pediatrician may also know of herbal type products that are good for a toddler. My former pediatrician did and even had them on hand.....

Take care,
S.

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S.R.

answers from New York on

I would check with the pediatrician first.

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L.B.

answers from New York on

I'd check with your pediatrician. Several times our doctor told me that kids systems differ greatly from adults -- better safe than sorry.

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A.T.

answers from New York on

Echinacea doesn't work like that, you can't give it once she is sick. Echinacea boosts the immune system, so after her cold is done with, you can start giving it to her for future colds. CHECK WITH YOUR PEDIATRICIAN FIRST. Many peds are strictly clinical and don't discuss herbal remedies, so check with yours and see what his opinion is. As far a s it being a cold, are you sure its a cold? It may be allergies. Again, check with your ped. You can also try some Vicks Vaporub. A dab the size of a nickel rubbed throughout her chest and a sweatshirt to cover up should help her breathing. Good Luck

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C.L.

answers from Jamestown on

Hi J.,

When my kids were younger and they got colds, I would give them ONLY fresh fruit in the mornings -- and did not mix the varieties (1-1/2 to 2 hours between each type). Usually, they were better by the afternoon. Takes longer to heal the older you get. Also, as they get older, it is harder to limit their diets <smile> as they just go into the kitchen and get what they really want...

Fruit is amazing, it sweeps through your body like a broom and cleans the system. Fruit is digested quickly so it is best to eat it on an empty stomach. In the afternoon and evening -- lots of veggies.

Plenty of pure water is important as well -- but not with food as it dilutes the digestive enzymes. Most people do not drink enough water -- general rule of thumb: divide your pounds of body weight in half for the minimum number of ounces of water you should drink each day. My oldest son drinks about a gallon of water a day and hasn't been sick in years.

Raw, organic food is best -- not processed juices. Twenty minutes after you cut a piece of fruit, a large percentage of the nutrition is gone... heating also kills natural enzymes as most cannot survive in temperatures over 100°-110°F

We use a tincture of echinacea as well -- a couple drops under the tongue every hour -- but not for colds unless they drag out and fruit didn't do the job. Your kids may be too young, though, for it under the tongue -- but that is the quickest way to the bloodstream.

~~~
just read Lena's response about essential oils ... rubbing Oregano Oil on the soles of their feet when they go to bed is beneficial for a lot of illnesses...if you get pure oil, dilute it -- I use a couple drops of Oregano Oil to 10 drops of something else -- and wash your hands afterward or they may burn. The bottoms of feet are not as sensitive as hands.


good luck!

Warm Regards,
C.

*
(: have an awesome day :)
*

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E.O.

answers from New York on

Hi J.. I'm E.. I am a massage therapist (not a doctor) working with chiropractors. I have given my son echinacea since he was about 3 years old. I have used a specific brand developed just for children. The brand is Herb for Kids. They carry a line of herbal blends and they are formulated in doses appropriate for children as young as 2 years of age. You can find their line of products online. They will have a blend appropriate for the stage of respiratory dis-ease that your daughter is coping with. Also, chiropractic is great for children as it helps the nervous system function optimally, which will strengthen her immune system. Hope this info is helpful and hope your little one is on the way to being well.

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C.L.

answers from Jamestown on

It has always been my belief that this herb must be used at the onset of symptoms, not after you are already sick. Here is some research I found:

What the Science Says
>Studies indicate that echinacea does not appear to prevent colds or other infections.
>Studies to date have not proven that echinacea shortens the course of colds or flu. For example, two NCCAM-funded studies did not find a benefit from echinacea, either as Echinacea purpurea fresh-pressed juice for treating colds in children, or as an unrefined mixture of Echinacea angustifolia root and Echinacea purpurea root and herb in adults.1,2 Other studies have shown that echinacea may be beneficial in treating upper respiratory infections.3
>NCCAM is continuing to support the study of echinacea for the treatment of upper respiratory infections.

Also, Whenever children are going to use any medicinal drug or herb, it is important to first discuss the relative risks and benefits of it with their pediatrician, who is most familiar with their medical history and experiences with medications. While the doctor may not know right away what all the pros and cons are with the various herbal medicines, she can work together with you and other health professionals (e.g., a pharmacist) to get more information so you can make an informed decision.

Check out this website........
http://life.familyeducation.com/medications/safety/40457....

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L.W.

answers from Albany on

Hi J.
I am so glad that you want to try natural products to help your children. I have given my daughters (ages 7 &4) echinacea plus other natural products since they were 1-2 years old. Antibiotics cause more damage then good in my opinion. In the last two years I have started using Essential Oils and they are awesome. My daughters are doing sooo much better, health wise and otherwise as well. I would highly recommend that you check out the website below. If you have any questions please contact me.

www.youngliving.org/LENAWOLFE

These products have also changed my life BIG time, go to the following link to read my story, again contact me if you have any questions.

www.oil-testimonials.com/7719

Take care and I'm wishing you the richest blessings for you and your family.
Best Regards,
L.

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D.

answers from New York on

Actually with most herbs, once the condition has started they won't help much. So giving her echinacea now won't make it go away faster. But call a naturopathic doctor for advice.

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G.P.

answers from Utica on

I know of 2 things that are safe for toddlers - used them on my daughter - they are in the Isotonix line - Might-a-mins (children's multi w/probiotitcs and OPC-3 (powerful antioxidant) I started taking OPC daily and haven't had any sinus or respiratory infections since - I used to get bronchitis at least once a year and it has been over 4 years without! POWERFUL STUFF. And natural! My girlfriend sells it and her daughters had all sorts of resipratory trouble that has been helped greatly by taking the OPC.

you can purchase them them or get more info thru www.marketamerica.com/pmwrege

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A.P.

answers from New York on

Check out the book "Smart medicine for a healthier child". It has a lot of great natural remedies in it.

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D.G.

answers from New York on

Absolutely not. It's not even proven effective or FDA approved for adults!

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D.S.

answers from New York on

they make an echinacea for children. I bought it in the health food store. An international specialist doctor had recommended it for us. Most pediatricians in the US do not recommend it for children.

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B.S.

answers from New York on

Hello J. B -

Try Sambucol Immune Formula - excellent for the whole family! It works fast, it's all natural!

For Prevention, take it once a week.

Good health -

Sally

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N.F.

answers from New York on

When my kids were little I gave them echinacea. You can find it at a all natural or Whole food store. It comes in drops or in a tea form. Good stuff and it works-just have to follow directions and other normal preventive measures. Another natural way to help with the sinuses is to use luke warm salt water and drain the sinuses using a dropper or a niti-pot. Your local pharmacy should have one. Or you could buy a sinus saline solution and use that. It is very safe to do.

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A.D.

answers from New York on

J.,

You should definitely double check with your pediatrician but I do know that they make Children's Echinacea. My daughter is 2 1/2 and takes it when I think she is starting to get a cold. She has never had a problem taking it.

Good luck and I hope your daughter is feeling better soon.

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C.G.

answers from New York on

The bottle of Echinacea that I get from Melaleuca - can be used for kids at one a day. Why not call the company and ask them if it is safe? I do that for all the products in my home that I have a question about especially when it is for my kids. No one is better to ask then the manufactures themselves. For my kids colds, I use Tea tree oil and put some on their pillow and in their humidifiers. I also use Melaleuca's Pain-a-trate (wintergreen oil and camphor) as a "vics" rub on their back and feet. Hope this helps.
C.

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