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Alternatives to Benadryl & steroids?

32 replies [Last post]
By GoingNutsMommy on Mon, 05-22-06, 12:31

Good morning. 5 a.m. here. Up again with asthma for my PA/TNA daughter. This is starting to be a nightly and sometimes daily occurence. Dr. wants to put her on steriods. Anyone else have any alternatives? I've heard about magnesium therapy and have done a lot of reading up. So far the remedies help, but still have to be administered often.
For example, we have used Lobelia with great success, sometimes in place of her inhaler, but, like the inhaler, it still has to be given about every 4 -6 hours. (anyone else use Lobelia?)I need something for the constant inflamation for her. She is so sensitive to everything. I never know if it is FA, pollen, dust, animals or what. She has a slight outbreak on her face today and had an asthma attack at church yesterday morning too. They did serve a TN-containing dessert there, but don't think she or anyone else that touched her got near it. It's probably the pollen.

At any rate, this is getting serious. I can almost set my alarm every night for her to wake up 4 hrs later coughing. I'm not a big believer in Western medicine because of all the side-effects, but I'm about ready to put her on the steroids. Any suggestions? Please!

Also, we give Benadryl on a fairly regular basis, altho I try not to overdo it just for a little sniffle. What do you all do whose kids are allergic to the red dye etc? Doesn't the dye-free version have sucralose? I don't want to give her that either. I read somewhere about an alternative to Benadryl and now I can't find the book. Thanks.

I'm beginning to feel desperate. Please don't be too hard on me; I know some of you are pro-doctor/steroid and that's fine. Just want to look at all our options. I need alternatives. Am going to call an Environmental allergist tomorrow I think.
Thanks for any help out there.

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By Mookie86 on Mon, 05-22-06, 14:22

Have you tried Singulair? That has helped tremendously with some people's asthma. It also can help with allergies.

Good luck. I hope the asthma is under control soon.

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By Daisy on Mon, 05-22-06, 15:12

Please be careful of the "natural meds". They have many undocumented, and sometimes dangerous, side effects and the dosages are not standardized.[/b] Can't find the citation right now, but Benadryl has a long history (they just celebrated it's 60th anniversary). I take the dye-free form and have found it to be quite safe for me. It is rapidly excreted and does not have many long-lasting side effects, hence you have to take it more often.
Many "natural meds" have side effects just like the prescribed pharmaceuticals. Some side effects can be severe; been there done that. I would never do this with a child...even the pharmaceuticals have different effects on children's metabolism.
Pharmaceuticals go through extensive testing, and the side effects are constantly being documented. Unfortunately, very little documentation is done on "natural meds" and many of the benefits (and adverse reactions) are undocumented and from anecdotal sources.
[b]Many pharmaceuticals we use today are from "natural meds"; they have screened and tested to find the right doses to deliver the desired result with the least amount of side effects.[/b]
Please don't allow someone to prescribe something for your child without documentation *on paper* to back it up. And a chemistry degree. And a pharmacy degree. And a medical degree. A chiropracter tried to give me some "allergy meds" one time. He insisted they were "natural teas" and I could not be allergic because I would not have been exposed to them previously (they were from S. America). Of course, I did not take them. I came home and did a few internet searches on some of my trusted herbal sites. Two of the 5 things he wanted me to take are in the same family as my known allergens!
Sorry for the long post!

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By starlight on Mon, 05-22-06, 15:16

I understand how you feel about meds, I'd rather suffer with a headache than take OTC pain relievers, and I'm having trouble finding a treatment for GERD that doesn't involve taking perscription antacids because of the FA/antacid connection (I don't think I could handle having another FA on top of all the problems I already have).

That said, I personally really value being able to breathe, so I don't mess around with it. I'm currently on Singular, Flovent, and Allegra, and I *still* have to use my "rescue" inhaler at least once a day. The pollen is *that* bad this year. It literally feels like someone is sitting on my chest most of the day.

What kind of steroid does he want to put her on? An inhaled steroid (which is long term) or something like prednisone (short term, taken for maybe a week or two)? Because I'm thinking, you could probably go the latter route and she wouldn't have to be on it too long. Just long enough to get the inflamation down, then her prevention routine can be modified so this doesn't happen again. See, it doesn't sound like she's having a bunch of asthma attacks, it just sounds like one big, constant asthma attack that you are just holding at bay with whatever you're giving her. It won't stop until the inflammation in her lungs goes down, and steroids are good at that.

And I personally trust prednisone. When I had cancer (hodgkins), part of my therapy was prednisone. My mother gets chronic bronchitis that will only go away with prednisone, and she's 56 and almost completely healthy (she has some lung issues because she's been smoking for 30 years -that's why she gets the bronchitis-, but nothing like heart problems or anything).

Also, I've never heard of the magnesium therapy you're considering, but magnesium also can have its problems:

[i]Magnesium poisoning can cause severe diarrhea in young people, and mask the symptoms of other illnesses. Very high overdoses can lead to coma. The risk of complications of magnesium poisoning is greatest for:

-Elderly people with inefficient kidney function

-Patients with kidney problems or intestinal disorders

-[b]People who use antihistamines[/b], muscle relaxants, or narcotics.

Severe dehydration or an overdose of supplements taken to counteract hypomagnesemia can also cause this condition.

People who have hypermagnesemia may feel flushed and drowsy, perspire heavily, and have diarrhea. Breathing becomes shallow, reflexes diminish, and the patient becomes unresponsive. Muscle weakness and hallucinations are common. The patient's heart beat slows dramatically and blood pressure plummets. Extreme toxicity, which can lead to coma and cardiac arrest, can be fatal.
found here: [url="http://www.healthatoz.com/healthatoz/Atoz/ency/magnesium_imbalance.jsp"]http://www.healthatoz.com/healthatoz/Atoz/ency/magnesium_imbalance.jsp[/url]

[This message has been edited by starlight (edited May 22, 2006).]

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By starlight on Mon, 05-22-06, 15:31

Uh, I just did some research on the Lobelia you've got your daughter on, and I think you'd be better off with the steroids.

[i]Side Effects and Warnings of Lobelia:

Declared an "unsafe herb" by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Toxic levels of lobelia usually result in vomiting, sweating, [b]breathing problems[/b], pain, paralysis, diarrhea, mental confusion, faintness, rapid or weak pulse, low blood pressure, vision and hearing disturbances, coma and death. [/i]
found here: [url="http://www.dietsite.com/dt/alternativenutrition/Herbs/lobelia.asp"]http://www.dietsite.com/dt/alternativenutrition/Herbs/lobelia.asp[/url]

- Lobelia is not recommended for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.
[b]- Lobelia should not be given to children.[/b]
- People with liver or kidney disease should use Lobelia with caution.
- Do not use Lobelia for more than 6 weeks.
- Side effects of this herb include nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, coughing, tremors and dizziness.
- Overdose may lead to profuse sweating, tachycardia (rapid heart beats), convulsions, hypothermia (very low body temperature) and coma.[/i]
found here: [url="http://au.health.yahoo.com/041101/25/1unc.html?r="]http://au.health.yahoo.com/041101/25/1unc.html?r=[/url]

For a list of side-effects of prednisone, check here: [url="http://www.medsafe.govt.nz/profs/Datasheet/a/Apoprednisonetab.htm"]http://www.medsafe.govt.nz/profs/Datasheet/a/Apoprednisonetab.htm[/url]

In that link, it says : [i]Acute overdosage is unlikely to cause any life threatening symptoms and treatment is rarely necessary.[/i]

I do think it's great that you're considering your child's future and her well-being by exploring all your options, but I think your best option at this point is western medicine. Because personally, I think I'd rather take a drug that may cause peptic ulcers or osteoporosis over one that could result in coma and death...

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By CanadaPA on Mon, 05-22-06, 15:38

I am very hesitant as well on using the inhalers and steroids. But since my son has started Singular I notice I tremendous difference. I guess since he is PA I want his lungs to be in great shape in case of accidential exposure. He also feels better all the time.

We took him to an Asthma clinic and they gave us the statistics for long term use etc. This helped us with the decision to use Singular.

Good Luck

[This message has been edited by CanadaPA (edited May 22, 2006).]

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By Corvallis Mom on Mon, 05-22-06, 17:10

This is a tough call... I will NEVER give my child something that has not been subject to regulatory oversight, however.

I am telling you as a pharmacologist and as a chemist that any "herbal" treatment is every bit as "interventionist" as mainstream pharmacological interventions. Herbs [i]are[/i] drugs--[i]no, drug cocktails[/i], in spite of what many CAM practitioners wish you to think. The advantage to going mainstream is that you [i]have some idea what both short and long-term side effects are going to be, as well as some comfort that you aren't likely to overdose.[/i]

I am all for non-pharmacological interventions. This might seem contradictory, but many of my colleagues feel similarly. BUT. There is a huge difference between using a neti pot for hay fever symptoms and using an unregulated herbal remedy on a young child.

Herbal preparations with a very long history and a total lack of serious adverse events I will consider for my daughter. We're talking gingerroot or chamomile tea. But I have the ability to find and understand scientific literature on anything I choose to check out. Therefore, I can find out readily what herbs are likely to have kidney damage as a side effect. Ephedra or Ma huang is the only thing that I am aware of as a true remedy for asthma... and this is really a rescue med, which has other well-documented dangerous side effects.

And that doesn't even begin to address the fact that leaving asthma untreated NO MATTER WHAT YOUR PERSONAL BELIEFS ABOUT MEDICAL PRACTICE MIGHT BE is causing lung damage your child will have to live with for a lifetime. Experimentation for yourself is one thing-- but your child can't really give consent.

I sympathize with you as a mom. Really I do. But not treating a child's asthma appropriately-- think about this, please. You could easily be reported to CPS by your physician if you deny recommended treatment.

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By pennykandy on Mon, 05-22-06, 18:13

Hi there, your daughter sounds a lot like mine...she has pretty bad asthma (in fact is home today because of a viral illness that is meaning 2 hour nebs and yes...steroids) And she is almost never completely controlled (meaning I would say she hasn't gone more than a couple days without a neb since I can remember)

I too have struggled with the whole steroids thing, and have come to the conclustion that nothing else works. In fact for the past couple springs we've had her on an every other day steroid course for about 6 weeks to prevent her from ending up in the hosptial due to asthma from environmental allergies.

When steroids are used in a controlled manner the side effects are prety minor. It's uncontrolled and long term use of steroids that causes a lot of issues.

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By Corvallis Mom on Mon, 05-22-06, 21:16

This is a resource that is fairly reliable, in my professional opinion (as someone who conducts research in this field-- really). [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/wink.gif[/img]
It contains mostly citations for professional journal articles that you can find at many research libraries (at universities). You may need to know the latin name for the plant you are interested in, however.


If you have concerns about "medicating" your child with anything-- talk to your practitioner about those concerns. They should be able to tell you why they think it is needed, what will happen if you don't, and what things (good and possibly bad) will happen or should if you do, as well as what other reasonable alternatives they see. It is foolish [i]not[/i] to ask those questions. JMO.


Skepticism is healthy, just keep an open mind.

Lastly, please understand that herbal preparations contain A LOT of different organic compounds... some of them may have desirable effects as drugs, and some of them may be dangerous. And the relative potency of those organic compounds may change unpredictably with harvest methods, seasons, etc. I'm not saying that they don't work-- I [i]know[/i] that many of them [i]do[/i] work. Foxglove is hardly "safer" than commercially prepared cardiac glycosides, even though I could make some tea from the plants in my backyard right now. Because I cannot verify the concentration of each glycoside in my backyard samples, this strategy is [i]more[/i] dangerous, not less. Herbs and supplements aren't much safer than illicit street drugs in this country. In the EU is a different story. Look to Germany if you want to see what is safe and practical.

Just understand the risks you are assuming on behalf of your child.

PS... I was actually quite amused that you assumed (quite wrongly) that I would be totally ignorant and skeptical about CAM practices... [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/biggrin.gif[/img] An herbal extract is the focus of my current research, and herbal/folk medicines have been an enduring passion of mine for about 20 years now!

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By dk on Tue, 05-23-06, 00:39

I think you have gotten great advice here, but I really want to restate what someone said early on. I like to breath also. I have dealt with allergies and asthma since I was tiny, and now have two kids that deal with the same problems. I remember asthma attacks as a kid, and there really wasn't a lot they did for me. It was really scary. Do what you have to now to get your childs asthma under control, then consider where to go from there. Even as an adult I have had some really scary attacks and landed in the hospital for several days. Not only that, but I have had two people that I knew die from asthma related problems. It can be dealt with and lived with (as many of us on the board can attest to), but it is important to get things under control.

That said, I have been on many many meds over the years for allergy and asthma. Some are still around and some aren't (actually I took benedryl when it was still a prescription!) I would personally take inhalers over pills any day. The immediate side affects are less. I have at times taken myself off meds and also refused meds because of side affects, so I do understand your concerns.

Good luck. It is much harder to make some of these decisions with our kids than for ourselves. (Oh, my son is on singulair and it has been awsome for him!)

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By lilpig99 on Tue, 05-23-06, 01:13

The doctor may want her on steroids for her asthma...UNTIL her lungs are sufficiently healed and less inflamed to allow other meds to help. This is very common. My DD was hospitalized because of trouble like your DD is having. A short course of steroids was extremely necessary in order to 'calm' the lungs down a bit. When the lungs are that twitchy, they need extra help. Don't be afraid of a short course of oral steroids...they can be VERY needed and I would hazard a guess that if my DD was experiencing such awful trouble as your DD is, I would insist she have a course of oral Steroids, too.

Also, your doctor may want to eventually try an inhaled..very mild steroid as a daily preventative. Such as pulmicort. My dd takes one via neb every nite and ever since she has, her asthma is practically non-existant. It is a very safe steroid.

Remember, if you avoid the medicines which your daughter may need (and I am not a doctor...), your DD may suffer from some side effects of having uncontrolled asthma, one of which is poor growth. These medicines are tried and true...I hope you give them a chance! Best of luck to you and I pray your DD is breathing well soon!!!


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By cgroth on Tue, 05-23-06, 01:15

Is your daughter on any prescription meds for her asthma? As a Pharmacist, I am not a big fan of herbal remedies as they are not tested by the FDA or regulated in any way. I am not saying they do not work, but I would be concerned giving them to my children without studies. There are lots of options for asthma treatments. Singulair was mentioned - not a steriod. Many MD's use a short steroid burst to get asthma under control. Inhaled steroids are also another good option for long term control. There is not much systemic absorption - I personally use an inhalled steroid to control my asthma and it works great. Overuse of Albuterol will require you to use more and more to achieve relief and contol of asthma. It is much safer to use something everyday for maintenance and then to use the albuterol as a rescue med only. I'm not trying to preach, but I'm just giving my perspective. HTH

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By hblmom on Tue, 05-23-06, 03:04

I understand your feeling on too many or what you feel are "strong" medicines. However I would do the steroids, probably oral as well as inhaled at this point, from there probably weaning to inhaled only (which I'm told have fewer side effects) as well as maintenance medications. Our allergist really put things into perspective for me, as such our son has been better off. Our arsenal consists of Rhinocort, Pulmicort, albuterol, Singulair and Zyrtec, we always keep ora-pred on hand as well. We have not used any steroids since November and were able to take him off Singulair in March, he only takes 1 tsp of Zyrtec daily and has used his rescue inhaler only occasionally since pollen season started. We plan to re-start the Singulair in July hoping to avoid his usually poor Fall- we have found if we hit with the preventatives early enough we can avoid a much longer course of heavier drugs. Our allergist said every inflammation increases damage which in turn can increase the severity of his asthma overall, the key she believes is to prevent symptoms, I think our son has flourished in her care. She understands how I feel about medicines, but is very clear she would not prescribe anything she did not believe he needed.
Good Luck.

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By Edinview on Tue, 05-23-06, 04:09

I was reading this thread, then switched over to CNN.com and saw this article on a new asthma therapy they are developing in which they use wires to burn spasming lung tissue to stop the airways from closing down during an asthma attack. Wouldn't this be exciting if it could be done safely?


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By hopechapel on Tue, 05-23-06, 12:36

I sympathise. I have struggled and rebelled against the daily preventive asthma meds. My son had asthma end of November nd we went all winter and most of pollen season before he got hit on Monday. My Dr. always works with me on the need for Pulmicort, Singulair. After an attack I give in and do it for awhile. I think maybe I have been a patient who does not "get it" for them. Now I'm back to preventives. Like with peanut, I am always hoping that he simply will outgrow.

So, if you have success let us know because drugging healthy child on a daily basis seems counterintuitive. What I am trying though, is to really up his nutrition. 500mg Vit C, Shakllee alfalfa, a multi, lots of red and purple fruits and veg.s for bioflavanoids, (I used to get flax oil down but then a got a nut warning on the bottle)- EPA, acidophilus, Quercitin.....

You might want to go along with Western med and at the same time try to build your child up with super-nutrition. If it does not affect the asthma --- it can't hurt, unless it is mega doses or wanton magnesium, etc.

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By hopechapel on Tue, 05-23-06, 12:39

I sympathise. I have struggled and rebelled against the daily preventive asthma meds. My son had asthma end of November nd we went all winter and most of pollen season before he got hit on Monday. My Dr. always works with me on the need for Pulmicort, Singulair. After an attack I give in and do it for awhile. I think maybe I have been a patient who does not "get it" for them. Now I'm back to preventives. Like with peanut, I am always hoping that he simply will outgrow.

So, if you have success let us know because drugging healthy child on a daily basis seems counterintuitive. What I am trying though, is to really up nutrition. 500mg Vit C, Shakllee alfalfa, a multi, lots of red and purple fruits and veg.s for bioflavanoids, (I used to get flax oil down but then a got a nut warning on the bottle)- EPA, acidophilus, Quercitin.....

You might want to go along with Western med and at the same time try to build your child up with super-nutrition. If it does not affect the asthma --- it can't hurt, unless it is mega doses or wanton magnesium, etc.

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By Going Nuts on Tue, 05-23-06, 12:46

I understand how you feel, and also tried the alternative route for some time.

But here's the thing with asthma: Everytime you wheeze, you are doing a small amount of damage to the lungs. That's why it is crucial to get it under control, and remain aggresive about keeping it that way. This was explained to be by a pediatric pulmonologist when my son was little and while I hated putting him on meds I hated the idea of him ending up with permanent lung damage even more.

This point was really brought home to me several years later when my mom, who had untreated asthma for years, was diagnosed with COPD (like emphysema). The cause? Permanent damage to her lungs from uncontrolled asthma. She's now tied to an oxygen tank 24/7.

Nobody likes seeing their kids on meds, but asthma is nothing to mess with!

Best of luck,


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By GoingNutsMommy on Tue, 05-23-06, 15:02

First, thank you all for your thoughtful responses. I do appreciate the help. I should have clarified that I'm mainly looking for non-drug alternatives, but, that being said, we do use western meds also, so it is helpful to hear about those as well.

If time permitted, I would write more,and suggest more sites, but here is one that addresses the pros/cons of Lobelia: [url="http://www.naturalhealthcourses.com"]www.naturalhealthcourses.com[/url] for more info.

All I can say is that we have used it with great success and no adverse side effects in the several years we've been using it. My PA DD who is prone to throwing up on occasion from various foods or whatever, has never once thrown this up or complained of a stomachache even. We have used it in conjunction with other meds, such as albuterol or short-term steroids when necessary with no reactions, only benefit. She's hardly had to use her inhaler since. From what I've seen, and read, there are more side-effects (including difficulty breathing!) to the nebulizer we have also used at times. Anyway, that's our experience.

Also, as Lobelia is an emetic, it also seems unlikely that it would kill anyone (of which i can't find any documented cases) since your body would purge it before that happened. But that's in high doses anyway. If anyone does try it (esp us allergic people) I would recommend great caution, as with anything we take, to start with a very small dose to see how you react. But for those of you looking for a drug alternative, I think it's something worth looking into.

Now I'm just looking for something that will help with long-term maintenance, as a steroid woudl do. (which I certainly haven't ruled out at this point). Am just cheking out all our options. Wondered if anyone else had heard of the magnesium therapy or anythign else that helps w/ the inflamation? Actually I'm going to a holistic health practitioner today who maybe can help too.

Thanks again and I'm sure this won't be the end of this subject!

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By Corvallis Mom on Tue, 05-23-06, 17:00

One last thing you (and your mainstream practitioner) both need to be aware of.

Herbals which are not fully characterized (and frankly, [i]very few of them are[/i]) are going to contain trace components which may contribute unexpected effects. Any herbal preparation is likely to contain hundreds or even thousands of different molecules in varying amounts.

Beta antagonists are naturally occuring compounds. For someone who is taking a beta blocker, epinephrine/albuterol (beta agonists) can be totally ineffective. This is why heart patients are not generally candidates for immunotherapy. They can't be saved if they anaphylax.

Imagine how much more dangerous this situation becomes when the physicians trying to treat refractory anaphylaxis [i]don't understand that they must overcome a beta-blockade[/i]??

And don't try to tell me that lobelia doesn't contain one. You don't know, and neither does your herbalist. I guarantee that your physician will support yoru efforts to increase dietary antioxidants and probably will advise you that alteration of the omega 3/6 ratio is also fairly innocent and perhaps helpful in reducing overall inflammation, but no way is an herbal preparation a good idea for a child at risk of either a fatal asthma attack or anaphylaxis.

You may unwittingly be giving your child a drug which will render rescue medications [i]useless.[/i]

As for your assertion that you haven't noticed any acute toxicity symptoms, it is stunning to me that you regard this as definitive. What evidence do you have regarding clearance times and rates? And would they even be valid in a child you daughter's age?? The emetic ingredient may not even be the "active" one in this case. You could be slowly poisoning your child or causing her irreparable liver or kidney damage... damage that won't be seen for years. Have you even confessed to your mainstream physician or pharmacist what it is you are doing with the magnesium and lobelia??

I recognize that this is falling on deaf ears, but I really hope for your child's sake that someone talks some sense into you.

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By Going Nuts on Tue, 05-23-06, 18:48

My suggestion to you is the same as Corvallis Mom's - try Omega 3's under the supervision of an MD (too much can cause bleeding). Many people have had success in reducing overall inflammation, but it is certainly not enough to be relied upon when a child is reacting.

One more thing about asthma - it is far easier to keep it under control before a flare than it is to get it under control once it has already flared up. Once there has been a bad flare up, it takes more and stronger meds to get it under control than one would need for maintenance. Once it is under control, strictly maintaining the environment (frequent vacuuming with a HEPA vac, dusting, washing stuffed animals, etc.) combined with Omega 3's may reduce your DD's need for meds. But it has to be gotten under control first, and from the sound of things it is far from under control.

BTW, how old is your DD? Did I miss that somewhere?


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By that'smetrying on Tue, 05-23-06, 18:48

Just a reminder that steroids are a "naturally" occuring substance. Our bodies produce them. Don't write them off--they are amazingly helpful in calming down allergies and asthma. It sounds like your daughter's asthma is not under control...and anaphylaxis combined with asthma can be deadly. My son is TNA w/asthma, he takes singulair and advair daily -- they have made an incredible improvement to his quality of life.

mom to Ari(6) - severe nut allergies, asthma, you name it - and Maya (8), mild excema

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By Corvallis Mom on Tue, 05-23-06, 19:56

From her intro thread, Amy,
We have a PA 3 1/2-yr-old girl...

(sigh) Thus my [i]very[/i] serious concerns about her apparent determination to use "herbal" remedies for her child's asthma... [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/frown.gif[/img]

So according to what she wrote above, she began using lobelia when her daughter was around 18 months old.

[This message has been edited by Corvallis Mom (edited May 23, 2006).]

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By Going Nuts on Tue, 05-23-06, 21:47

Thanks Corvallis Mom. I swear, my 40+ brain ain't what it used to be... [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/rolleyes.gif[/img]

I figured it was in there somewhere, and didn't have time to review!

BTW, hijacking this thread for a moment - Corvallis Mom, I've been trying to congratulate you on your DD's accomplishment, but when I can manage to get into OT I can't post. So go on, and brag away. You both deserve it.

Back to your regularly scheduled thread...


[This message has been edited by Going Nuts (edited May 23, 2006).]

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By GoingNutsMommy on Tue, 05-23-06, 22:30

Thanks again, everyone, for your time. Pls don't think, Corvallis, or anyone else, that it is falling on deaf ears. That's why I'm here. In addition to talking to doctors, I want to talk to "real people" who've been there. And many of you are as knowledgeable, if not more so (or at least willing to spend more time explaining things) than my doctors.

We have tried both western and alternative treatments (not as long with the Lobelia/other teas as 18 mos. can't remember exactly, but it's been more recent; have tried various things). I understand I can't see "what it's doing to her,"; I can only go on results and consultations from herbalists (yes my dr. knows we take it, but doesn't know anything about it, so what good does it do me to discuss it with them further? One said, if it's working for you, then ok) but you must admit you can't see that with prescription drugs either. The FDA approves these drugs and then it's only after they start killing people (it's in the news almost daily now) that they then take them off the market. So, I just don't believe that anything the FDA approves is automatically safer than an herb. That being said, yes, there are risks to anything, and we allergy-prone people must be more vigilant than your average person.

As for the possible interactions about epis and the tincture, that I didn't know, so I am glad you told me,Cor. There is a lot I still have to learn and I'm doing the best I can thru educating myself, seeing the doctor, and as of today, also seeing a new holistic practitioner.
I have been caught btwn a rock and a hard place up til now because I could not afford to see a holistic dr really; I had to mainly rely on the HMO and since they can't advice me in herbistry; only drugs alone; that puts me in a hard position. AT this point I'm willing to pay some big money to see the holistic dr because I feelthe HMO has largely failed me in giving me no options.

As of today, I may have found what I have been looking for in regards to the natural anti-inflamatory, tho. I have a friend at my preschool who told me about this mangosteen fruit juice (distributed by XanGo, I think it's spelled) that has a high amount of "xanthones" (also found in St. John's Wort) which work as a natural anti-histamine, inflamatory, analgesic, anti-fungal etc. Her son, now 4, was allergic to many foods including milk and eggs, and after taking this fruit juice on a daily basis, as well as changing their diet to more healthful, is no longer allergic.

Sorry this is so long, but here is an excerpt from the brochure: (no, i'm not selling this stuff; at least not yet!):
"For yrs I suffered from allergic rhinitis...I consulted w/ severl ENT and Allergy specialists and was prescribed a variety of antihistaminic agents (Allegra, Zyrtec, Claritin, asacort, Flonase) with only marginal relief of my symptoms. I decided to try mangosteen after I reviewed some scientific literature and was surprised to discover robust evidence that the xanthones in garcinia mangostana L. actually inhibited histamine release and also reduced prostaglandin E-2 synthesis which is known to mediate allergic reactions in the human body.

To my utter amazement, I can bear witness to the fact that within 2 days of ingesting only one ounce of mangosteen twice a day I had almost complete resolution of my allergic symtpoms...The validation of this product by identifying the scientific role of xanthones allows me to refute the many skeptics who are biased against the use of all natural non-toxic treatments for medical illness and would rather worship at the altar of Big Pharma and buy into the medical establishment's view that all we need are stronger medications to vanquish all of the world's diseases, notwithstanding the fact that the Institute of Medicine reports that adverse reactions to medications kill AT LEAST 108,000 PEOPLE A YEAR.
Throughout my medical career I have been disheartened to observe that in the US we have more medicines but less health"...Wishing you much health, Louis A, MD, MPH
I wonder if anyone else out there in cyberland has heard of mangosteen or know of anyone who has tried it? It is not an herb, simply a fruit juice, so I think there is even less risk (altho this allergic mom will be careful of even that, as I know we can be allergic to any substance). We tried a sip of it today, and it's tasty. So, think we are going to try this as well. What you are all saying about the inflamation is true -- I know that -- it's just a matter of what to do about it.

Yes, we have used the oral steroids when necessary (and we may very well again), such as when she got a bad cold, and we also have the inhaled version, and it does work, but, again, it is the long-term effects that concern me (among QVAR's side effects listed are dry throat, trouble breathing, bad taste, nasal congestion, pain or headache, vision changes, and death "if your body is stressed due to a major infection...due to low steroid levels").

If I can find an alternative, something as simple such as this juice, I want it. I will let you all know if we find it helpful. It might sound too easy, but sometimes some of the worst problems are remedied with the easiest solutions when all is said and done.

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By that'smetrying on Tue, 05-23-06, 23:34

If herbal remedies were required to be tested by the FDA they would have the same side effect warnings as mainstream remedies. The goverment requires all the side effects to be listed whether or not the majority of people in the study were affected. Almost anything you put in your body has a "side effect." The side effect of eating too much Ben and Jerry's for me is that I gain weight..although I think it is worth the risk! Once lungs have scarring, it is hard to reverse the damage..just my thoughts!

mom to Ari(6) - severe nut allergies, asthma, you name it - and Maya (8), mild excema

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By that'smetrying on Tue, 05-23-06, 23:43

I found this article written by a natural health practitioner who is skeptical of mangoteen's claims. You might find it helpful.

mom to Ari(6) - severe nut allergies, asthma, you name it - and Maya (8), mild excema

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By starlight on Tue, 05-23-06, 23:44

[b]death "if your body is stressed due to a major infection...due to low steroid levels")[/b]

This is true for most steroids, but no doctor will ever tell you to just stop taking them. You decrease your dosage over a week or two. Therefore, this rarely happens.

One thing I wanted to remind you of, while you're looking for "natural" remedies. Peanuts? Are natural. Dust, pollen, trees, plants, cats, dogs, bee stings, mold, shellfish, wheat...all natural. I have horrible allergies, but all of them are to natural substances, not man-made. Steroids will not kill me, a peanut will. Since your child is already on allergy medication, I'm assuming she has environmental (natural) allergies as well. Combine this with what Corvallis Mom was saying about not knowing what else is in the herbal medication. The next thing you try may be the next thing to cause anaphylaxis in your daughter. Who's to say that one of the things you give your child isn't going to have unlisted peanut protein in it, or something else that may cause her an allergic reaction? And with the terrible asthma problems she's having, her chance of survival is very low. I know you wouldn't feed your daughter ice cream or a dessert treat without reading the ingredients, and even then, many PA parents choose to call manufacturers to see about cross-contamination, so I don't understand why you would take this chance on herbal remedies. Herbal remedies are not FDA regulated...using your own argument, while the FDA doesn't pull it's drugs until they start killing a bunch of people, at least they can! The herbal businesses do not have to report their deaths to the FDA, and when they do, it takes FOREVER to get the drug off the market (remember phen-phen?).

If you want to try herbs on yourself, go right ahead, but please don't experiment with your daughter's health. The sites that I posted above say lobelia is NOT FOR CHILDREN and NOT for people on allergy medications. When I posted that, I believed your daughter was maybe 8-11 years old, but she's 3 1/2. At least do the western medicine route until she's old enough to understand the risks/benefits and make her own choices (4-6 years of western medicine will not hurt her). And please get her to her allergist SOON, because it's day two of this discussion and her lungs may getting so bad in the mean time that she may never be able to take a deep breath again.

I'm sorry if I sound harsh, but I can't really breathe right now due to my asthma. It's like having someone putting a pillow over your mouth and nose and lightly pressing. You can kind of breathe, but you're not getting nearly enough oxygen. Your lungs HURT, like you're getting punched in the back. I know how your daughter is feeling right now, and I just want what's best for her, as I know you do. And the best thing for her right now is to get her lungs functioning properly as quickly and reliably as possible.

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By cgroth on Wed, 05-24-06, 00:50

Quote:Originally posted by GoingNutsMommy:
[b]Yes, we have used the oral steroids when necessary (and we may very well again), such as when she got a bad cold, and we also have the inhaled version, and it does work, but, again, it is the long-term effects that concern me (among QVAR's side effects listed are dry throat, trouble breathing, bad taste, nasal congestion, pain or headache, vision changes, and death "if your body is stressed due to a major infection...due to low steroid levels").

As I said in an earlier post, inhaled steroids do not have much systemic abosorption. You would have to be on some MAJOR (oral) steroids for a long time to have death as a side effect. I also think most herbs would have death as a side effect if they actually listed them!

Also I just wanted to say "Amen" to your post Corvallis Mom concerning the beta receptors. The unknown with herbals can be dangerous in so many ways.

I hope you find something that works for your daughter. I will be interested in seeing what you find. Most of my schooling focused on Rx drugs although I did have an herbal elective.

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By lilpig99 on Wed, 05-24-06, 04:28

I keep coming back to this thread (maybe out of frustration) and reading the enlightening posts of many. I think I am with the majority (but maybe not, who knows) when I say 'I am screaming in cyberspace that you will run to your western doctor and let him/her get your daughters breathing under control!!!" I just can't take the fact that she is so young and time is going by and you are merely experimenting! I understand your quest for knowledge, but pleeeeaaaase get your daughter some real tried and true help and quickly. My post is not to offend you, it is just the mother in me, thinking of a 3 1/2 year old silently suffering--and with all honestly, that's what's happening here--having breathing trouble and from my point of view, she needs your help in this, she cannot take herself to the doctor.

Relief could be merely a day or so away if you let it....

Prayers for a quick recovery for your DD and please continue to consider the comments of many here.

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By GoingNutsMommy on Wed, 05-24-06, 05:09

First of all, I understand that "natural" does not = safe. It does depend who you talk to as to what is considered safe, however. I don't feel I've been experimenting, but just doing the best with what I knew.

You will all be happy to know, however, that you have sufficiently scared me into using the steroids until if and when we have a better option and things are under control. My reservations about using it are less than my reservations about not using it right now.

Thank you for the info, starlite; i haen't looked yet, but will chek that out also. I know you were all a little harsh, but maybe that's what i needed to hear right now. I needed someone else to help make a decision.

I have asthma too, so I do know what it is like. I grew up getting adrenaline shots and all that. I was simply hoping to find some better options for her. I'll keep looking, but in the meantime will do what modern medicine recommends despite my reservations. I'm tired of fighting this and worrying what to do. You've all worn me down! I know it has helped her in the past, so maybe short-term meds will be ok as you have all said. Thanks for all your concern; I know it's out of concern since you've all been there too. She's doing better this eve, but would appreciate your prayers as we continue to learn how to manage this.

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By hblmom on Wed, 05-24-06, 19:27

Since you seem to have come to terms with the short term steroids to get things under control, please consider upping your preventatives accordingly. We have had to use Benadryl and albuterol about 2-3 times a week for the last few weeks for "that cough", we have re-started his Singulair. I worry about the long term consequences, but it took us a long time to get him to be this well, preventatives seem to be the answer for him. I believe the Zyrtec he has taken for the last 4 1/2 years is responsible for his asthma being so manageable now. The bottom line is I want him to be able to enjoy the summer (yard work, playing outside, running through the grass) and as long as a couple preventatives relive his symptoms, I think it's worth it.
Good Luck to you. I read a few things that made me cringe in this thread, but I think everyone only wants what is best for the children here. One thing that I think has helped my ds is an incentive spirometer, we work at it 2x a day and I have seen a great increase in his numbers. I still have to chat with his allergist about it, but I can't see where it would do any harm.
I also wanted to add that prior to being referred to an allergist, we used a chiropractor, and I do believe whatever he did provided some relief for ds as far as breathing.

[This message has been edited by hblmom (edited May 24, 2006).]

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By Daisy on Thu, 05-25-06, 00:14

I remembered where I saw an article for Mangosteen Juice.

Q: Can mangosteen juice cure cancer, migraines, and other conditions, as claimed?

A: No. Mangosteen marketers make far-fetched and unsubstantiated claims for their products, which are sold as

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By GoingNutsMommy on Tue, 05-30-06, 17:08

Hi, Daisy. Thanks for the info. I am going to continue doing more research on it. There are some other sites, mangosteenmd and I think it's [url="http://www.pubmed,"]www.pubmed,[/url] for research info.

I have to say, though, based on my friend's story, I was impressed. She has been taking it for several yrs. Her son, now 4, was 15 mos when she started and he had a litany of allergies, not unlike my own story. She was breastfeeding and finally gave it up because she couldn't eat anything w/o him breaking out. At any rate, after taking this, her son was able to eat just about anything. He did start breaking out for a while, she said, because she was giving him too many new foods. But once she lessened that, he has been fine ever since. She said it worked like Benadryl in that she would give it to him when he had hives and they would just disappear before her eyes; only they didn't return like they did several hrs later w/ the Benadryl.

And her husband, who was really skeptical, even after seeing the results from their son, did take it on his wife's insistence. He had asthma so bad he was hospitalized 3 times and nearly died. After 6 mos of taking Xango, he says he has had no more symptoms and doesn't even carry an inhaler. I thought that was impressive.

Hope this story may help someone out there. It sounds ilke it might be worth a try. It is costly, but not much more than a co-pay for a doctor visit and a lot more fun! I will continue to research and let you know.

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