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Ask the Pediatrician

Dr. Jennifer Shu and her team of pediatricians answer your health questions.

Dr. Jennifer Shu

Question & Answer

Question

Are over-the-counter herbs of any value in treating my child’s colds?

Answer

​Many studies of certain herbs, such as Echinacea or Astragalus, have shown them to have remarkable effects on the immune system. A randomized controlled trial on the use of Echinacea to treat colds in children showed no benefit. Therefore, more research is needed. 

Parents should be warned that some herbal remedies, such as camphor or eucalyptus oil, may be soothing if inhaled but also can have harmful effects, including seizures or coma, if ingested by children.