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Well Child™ For A Healthy Winter

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    Lesley Tierra L.Ac., Diplomate in Chinese Herbalism (NCCAOM) is a California state and nationally certified acupuncturist and herbalist. She has been practicing as a primary health care provider with her husband, Michael Tierra, in Santa Cruz, California for almost 20 years. Lesley combines acupuncture, herbs, and food therapies in her work. She is the author of several books, including Herbs of Life, published by Crossing Press, and is co-author, with Michael, of Chinese Traditional Herbal Medicine. Lesley is also the director of the East-West School of Herbal Medicine, and has taught at schools throughout the United States and England since 1983.

As summer turns to fall and then to winter, the nights turn cold and the days brisk. This is a challenging time physiologically as our bodies, especially those of children, try to adapt to the changing climate. Coming into the Fall and Winter seasons, many people continue to eat and dress as if it were still summer, causing the body to work even harder at maintaining homeostasis. This is a special consideration for children who have the added challenge of being exposed to numerous other children in school and day care centers. This requires parents to be prepared by making sure your herbal health care chests are well stocked.

One product worthy of having on hand is Well Child™ by Planetary Herbals, an echinacea-elderberry herbal syrup, specifically designed for the needs of our youth during the winter season.

Well Child™ was developed by Michael Tierra, L.Ac., O.M.D. in the East-West Traditional Chinese Medicine Clinic in Santa Cruz, CA. Michael has been a practicing herbalist and licensed health professional for more than 35 years. His more than three decades of experience are represented in all his formulas, which have stood the test of time in his practice with literally thousands of clients.

Key Herbal Elements

* Echinacea purpurea leaf and root: No other herb is as widely used for winter immune health as echinacea. Originally used by Native Americans of the Plains and introduced to Eclectic physicians in the 1800's, echinacea has become one of the most widely researched botanicals in modern times. While the clinical findings of many studies have been mixed, there is substantial pre-clinical evidence demonstrating its ability to stimulate various immune responses, such as increasing macrophage, phagocytic and natural killer cell activity. Most of the clinical trials that have utilized protocols and dosages similar to those used by professional herbalists have reported positive findings with regard to its immune-enhancing effects. Echinacea is also very safe.
* Elderberry (Sambucus nigra): Whereas echinacea reigns supreme as North America's primary wintertime botanical supplement, the berries of elder have a similar reputation in Europe, where it is widely used in cordials. Most research on elderberries has been conducted in Israel, where it was found to contain potent immune-stimulating compounds as well as powerful antioxidant activity. It makes one of the most delicious proanthocyanidin-rich syrups, so it is an ideal wintertime supplement. In Western herbal terms it is classified as a warming diaphoretic, which makes it ideal in combination with echinacea as a first line defense against the cold winds of winter.
* Honeysuckle flowers (Lonicera spp.): Honeysuckle flowers are among the most widely used botanicals in Chinese herbalism for wintertime health. They are a key ingredient in the legendary classic Chinese formula Yin Chiao, which is perhaps the most frequently prescribed of all Chinese herbal supplements. Honeysuckle flowers are rich in a host of unique flavonoids which likely contribute to their health-promoting effects.

These key ingredients are combined with cinnamon twig, chamomile flowers, catnip, lemon balm, and licorice root in a great-tasting syrup base of purified water, vegetable glycerin, and honey, along with extra vitamin C.

Clinical Experience

At the East-West Clinic, we have experienced dramatic positive results when giving Well Child™. Luckily, this combination of botanicals tastes good. In addition, Well Child™ is formulated in a tasty glycerin base with added honey. The result is a liquid that is easily taken by most children. Because of the honey, we do not recommend Well Child™ for children under two years of age, unless it is subjected to boiling water. We also recommend specific dietary changes, including the avoidance of cold and raw foods during the cold season, eating plenty of broths, avoiding dairy, and eliminating simple sugars from the diet while ensuring the intake of adequate fluids.

References

Chang HM, But PP. 1986. Pharmacology and Clinical Applications of Chinese Materia Medica. World Scientific. Singapore.
Mumcuoglu M. 1995. Sambucus: Black elderberry extract. RSS Publishing, Inc. Skokie, IL.
Upton R, Graff A (eds.). 2004 Echinacea purpurea root: Monograph of the American Herbal Pharmacopoeia. Scotts Valley, CA.


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