Botanicals and Dietary Supplements
Despite a rich history of use in traditional medicine, evidence for the efficacy and safety of botanicals in children remains relatively sparse. Consistent with 2007 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) results, data from the 2012 survey shows that non-vitamin, non-mineral dietary supplements are the most commonly used complementary modality in children. More than 1 in 10 children in the U.S. use some type of dietary supplement which can come prepared as tablets or capsules, powders, tinctures, syrups, and brewed teas. In infants, use prevalence was recorded at 9% per data from the Infant Feeding Practices Study II, which uses data collected between 2005 and 2007. Botanical supplements were reported in infants as young as 1 month of age. Most common reasons included fussiness, digestion, colic, and relaxation in the form of gripe water (for colic), chamomile, teething tablets, and unspecified types of teas (Zhang, Fein, and Fein 2011). According to the 2012 NHIS survey, fish oil (discussed in Chapter 4) was the most commonly used dietary supplement, surpassing echinacea as the most commonly used by children in 2007. Probiotics (also discussed in Chapter 4) were among the top three reported supplements used in the 2012 report (Black et al. 2015).