Sick child in bed

Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM)

Clinical Abstracts
Mar 10, 2023

Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM)

Naturopathic Treatment for Children’s Respiratory Illnesses

Clinical Abstracts
Jul 24, 2024

Antibiotics can be lifesavers. However, if they are misused, they can cause serious harm, strip the body of good bacteria, and lead to antibiotic resistance, making future infections difficult to treat.

Viral infections -  colds, flu, bronchitis, and other upper respiratory infections - are often mistaken for bacterial infections and incorrectly treated with antibiotics which are not an effective treatment. 

A new study sought to identify strategies used by experienced naturopathic practitioners to treat acute respiratory infections in children.

A group of naturopathic practitioners in Canada, the United States, and Australia with at least five years of experience in clinical naturopathic care of children was recruited. A 14-person panel of practitioners was selected to complete a series of four surveys assessing agreement to statements in five areas of knowledge/attitudes, assessment/diagnosis, management, monitoring, and education. Items were deemed to have reached consensus if they reached 70% agreement, or failed to reach a threshold of 40% agreement.

The study found that the practitioners largely agreed that children’s acute respiratory infections can be managed by strategies such as:

  • lifestyle recommendations, such as adequate rest and dietary guidance (like avoiding sugary and refined foods)
  • vitamins C and D
  • herbs, especially echinacea and elderberry
  • hydrotherapy and topical applications specific to the particular illness

Most respondents, even if they have the authority to prescribe antibiotics, rarely deem it necessary to do so.

Naturopathic doctors can be an additional resource for pediatric health concerns, and the strategies they employ safely fill the gap between watchful waiting and antibiotic prescription, thus reducing the use of antibiotics.


Solomonian, L., et al. (2023, February 24). Naturopathic management of acute pediatric respiratory infections: a modified Delphi study. Journal of Integrative and Complementary Medicine.

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