In all, 1,164 doctors in Germany, Spain, Russia, Bulgaria, Colombia and Israel were surveyed about the way they treat children up to the age of 12 years. Not surprisingly, pharmaceuticals and other conventional therapies were the leading treatments being used, and were prescribed to around 40 per cent of children, but in some countries the alternative remedies were running them a close second. In Colombia, for instance, one in three children are regularly prescribed vitamins and minerals.
Natural and homeopathic remedies are most commonly prescribed to treat colds, colic, sleeping problems, and recurrent infections, say researchers from the Blankenstein Hospital in Germany. Doctors were also influenced by the preferences of parents who were worried about side effects of conventional drugs.
The doctors surveyed had a “high interest” in alternative remedies, although their knowledge was sketchy, the researchers said. A lack of proof of effectiveness, and knowing how the remedies work, were the main reasons why some doctors were reticent to use alternatives.