Many parents hope to control the effects of their child’s autism with natural treatments, but long-term studies have found that these methods are often ineffective or even harmful. There is a growing movement towards researched and FDA approved medication for children on the spectrum, but it can be costly and difficult to find insurance providers willing to cover it.
The “herbal remedy for autism shows promise” is a treatment that has shown to be effective in treating the symptoms of Autism. The pros and cons of this herb are discussed here.
Some herbs are said to help persons with autism modify their behaviour and alleviate some symptoms.
There is a scarcity of study on these plants. Do not feed your kid herbs without first consulting a physician.
Some herbal supplements, like chamomile or garlic, may offer potential health advantages. Natural remedies for autism should never be used in lieu of established therapy.
Consult your child’s doctor about the benefits and drawbacks of these natural remedies, as well as how to include these supplements if they believe they may help.
Herbal Treatment & Natural Therapies: Can They Work for Children With Autism?
Autism is a developmental disease characterized by deficits in the following areas:
Other people’s behavior.
Ability to think.
Functions of the motor system
When someone is diagnosed with autism, they are referred to as having autism spectrum disorder (ASD) according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5). Autism is now understood to have a wide range of symptoms and skills, therefore it occurs on a spectrum rather than as a discrete group of symptoms.
Parents of children on the autism spectrum want to do all they can to ensure their children’s healthy growth and development. Behavior therapy, usually with an applied behavior analysis (ABA) therapist, is the most common way for controlling autistic symptoms. However, children with autism may benefit from dietary therapy, physical therapy, art therapy, and other complementary therapies.
Some parents may opt to assist their child’s health using herbs and vitamins. While some of these products may have some advantages, they should not be used as the main or sole means of treating your child’s autism symptoms.
Complementary and Alternative Medicine Research, Including Herbal Remedies
Herbs and herbal supplements are often promoted as ways to boost the immune system, improve cognition or learning capacity, and flush the body of pollutants. Anecdotal data suggests that herbs and supplements work because individuals who take them feel better, and parents who give them to their children in safe dosages report improved conduct.
Supplements, on the other hand, have very little medical evidence to support their use as a therapy for any ailment, including autism.
Natural Treatments’ Popularity
There were no research on how persons on the autistic spectrum benefitted from herbs or natural therapies, according to a 2015 assessment of medical literature. Natural medicines such as herbs, essential oils, and vitamins, like other uncontrolled supplementary treatments, may have unpleasant or dangerous side effects.
Following the publication of that article, additional medical research was performed to learn how parents utilized complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) to treat their autistic children. According to a 2016 study by German researchers, CAM is widely used as a therapy for children and adolescents.
The median prevalence of complementary and alternative medicine therapy was 54 percent in 20 research with 9,540 individuals. Specialty diets and dietary supplements were the most popular CAM therapies, whereas herbs and natural remedies were less common. In comparison to other mental conditions, more patients with autism used complementary and alternative medicine to address their symptoms, according to the study.
In a separate German research, 211 parents of children on the autism spectrum were questioned whether and how they employed complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) therapies with their children. Although physical therapies such as craniosacral therapy were the most often reported approaches, 46 percent of research participants claimed they had had utilized at least one sort of CAM with their children. Around 18% of the group said they would be prepared to attempt CAM in the future to assist their kid, with physical treatments being the most popular.
Some Potential Advantages
A research that looked at herbal medicines for treating autism symptoms in youngsters found some promising results. The study’s authors were clear, however, that the sample size was modest and that the spectrum of herbal therapies was extensive.
Traditional Chinese medicine therapies for autism were compared to herbal supplements alone, as well as herbal supplements with no extra intervention. When these therapies were utilized with traditional treatment, such as behavior therapy, many of the 567 patients with autism had positive results. Herbal treatments have not been linked to any major side effects.
Some small-scale research backs up the efficacy of herbs and natural medicines.
A six-month study of two herbs used in traditional Chinese medicine on 15 children with autism found that the treated group had improved attention, problem-solving flexibility, and planning ability when compared to a separate control group of 15 autistic children.
A 12-week trial of a Japanese herbal treatment purported to treat behavioral signs of dementia including restlessness was conducted on 40 Asperger’s patients. Approximately 90% of the participants said their behavioral issues had improved.
Ginkgo biloba’s anti-inflammatory and cognitive-enhancing promises were investigated in 47 youngsters with autism. There was no statistically significant difference between the placebo-controlled group and the ginkgo-treated group.
Traditional Care Isn’t a Replacement
These studies demonstrate the growing popularity of complementary and alternative medicine, which may be used in conjunction with or instead of traditional treatments such as behavior therapy. Following an autism diagnosis, these questionnaires may assist clinicians in guiding parents in making healthy decisions for their children.
Natural remedies are not a substitute for standard autism therapy, according to several studies. The majority of studies on natural remedies, such as vitamins and herbs, suggests that they may relieve certain symptoms to some extent, but the evidence isn’t definitive. The research on supplements and herbs that have been conducted, such as those detailed above, are of a relatively modest size.
While some natural treatments seem to have some promise, they lack the data that other autism therapies, such as applied behavior analysis, have. While some physicians may advocate include natural medicines in your child’s treatment plan since there is a low risk of side effects and potential benefits, they will not propose substituting natural remedies for research-based medications.
Children are safer when behavior therapy is combined with a thorough grasp of the dangers and side effects of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) therapies such as herbs and natural medicines.
Herbs & Supplements That May Support Improvements in Your Child’s Autism Symptoms
If you want to combine conventional therapy with herbs and natural remedies to help your autistic child’s physical health, here are some of the most popular herbs and supplements that are proven to be safe in certain doses:
Chamomile: This flower is often used to make tea and is said to help with anxiety and sleep. It is also said to help with inflammation and healing. While there are few medical studies that look at the efficacy of chamomile, anecdotal evidence suggests that it might help you relax.
Echinacea is a popular plant for lessening the symptoms of colds, flus, and other diseases. It may also aid in the healing of wounds. Several research have shown that echinacea helps shorten the duration of cold symptoms; however, none of these investigations were definitive. Other research have shown that the advantages are just a placebo effect, while others have found evidence that the plant may improve immunological function.
Garlic: Garlic is a favorite of home cooks and chefs worldwide, and it has a lot of health advantages. It contains antibacterial properties and has been linked to decrease cholesterol and blood pressure. There may also be some cancer-prevention advantages. These advantages have been claimed in a few minor medical trials, but there isn’t much direct scientific proof. Anecdotal evidence seems to back up garlic’s advantages.
Ginseng is a food and a health supplement that is said to be able to treat almost everything. However, the herbal effects of ginseng may be so powerful that taking it with some prescriptions, such as NSAIDs like ibuprofen or aspirin, or blood thinners like warfarin, can be harmful. Ginseng supplements are also not recommended for diabetics. Ginseng does have an influence on blood flow, which may help some individuals feel more energized.
St. John’s wort: Many individuals use this herbal supplement to help with depressive symptoms, therefore persons with autism who also have co-occurring depression or anxiety may benefit from it. This plant might make you more sensitive to the sun. It may interfere with the effects of several prescription drugs, so don’t take it with them.
To help children with autism, behavior therapy must be the first option.
While herbs, vitamins, and other natural therapies might help your child’s physical and mental health, it’s crucial to keep two things in mind.
First and foremost, autism is incurable. Because it is a lifelong developmental disorder, the primary course of management is to manage symptoms.
Second, the therapies your child’s physician recommends are evidence-based, which means they’ve been shown to help children with autism control their behaviors and gain new abilities. Using natural treatments to replace conventional care is a risky strategy that might harm your child’s health and development.
The “ancient treatment for autism” is a natural treatment that has been used for many years. There are pros and cons of the use of this natural treatment.
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Janice is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst. She graduated from the University of British Columbia with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Special Education. She also holds a Master of Science in Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA) from Queen’s University, Belfast. She has worked with and case managed children and youth with autism and other intellectual and/or developmental disabilities in home and residential setting since 2013.