Ayurveda for babies? Think twice. | The Indian SCENE

Ayurveda for babies? Think twice.

When it comes to young children, alternative treatments containing metals should be avoided.

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Ayurveda is one of the oldest traditions of medicine in the world. As a physician, I admire the holistic approach of connecting the physical and the mental. Ayurvedic treatment combines materials such as plants, minerals, metals, with diet, exercise and lifestyle modification. But when it comes to young children, Ayurveda treatment containing metals should be avoided.

One such treatment is Kesaria Balguti, an Ayurvedic treatment often given to babies for common colds, coughs, worms, teething and rickets. The problem with this treatment is that it is known to contain lead. Lead poisoning is a serious concern for anyone — but especially children. Even small amounts of lead can lead to serious health problems. Lead exposure can cause developmental delay, learning difficulties, irritability, loss of appetite, weight loss, abdominal pain, constipation, vomiting, seizures, reduced IQ and impaired cognition.

This product and many others sold online may not necessarily be produced in an Ayurvedic pharmacy. When it comes to Ayurvedic treatments for children, it is important to get an actual prescription from an Ayurvedic doctor rather than relying on online resources of treatments. Particularly when it comes to children under the age of 5,  I strongly advise parents to avoid treatments and to consult both an Ayurveda doctor and an allopathic doctor before starting treatments.  Many of these products contain high levels of lead, arsenic, iron and mercury and are not approved by the Food and Drug Administration.   Consumers should understand the contents of the products before purchasing them. A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), demonstrated that one-fifth of U.S.-manufactured and Indian-manufactured Ayurvedic products bought on the Internet contained detectable lead, mercury, or arsenic.

Although Ayurvedic medicine has its benefits, it’s important to verify the safety of these treatments in children. Always use caution when buying medical products online. If you are concerned about your child ingesting an Ayurvedic product that contains lead, be sure the child has a lead test and discontinues the treatment immediately.

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