Herbal cold remedy for children is banned
A drugs watchdog yesterday warned parents not to give their children the popular herbal remedy echinacea -- which is taken by many who believe it can ward off colds.
Products containing the herb aimed at children are being removed from the shelves of health shops and pharmacies.
The recommendation relating to children under 12 was made by the Irish Medicines Board (IMB). However, echinacea-containing products for adults are not affected.
There is a small risk of severe allergic reactions and a lack of "scientific data" to support giving the products to children.
The IMB conceded: "This is not a serious safety issue, and the measures being taken are precautionary in nature."
But Jill Bell of the Irish Association of Health Stores insisted last night the herb had been safely and effectively used by children to fight off infection for for over 20 years.
"The ban is completely unjustified and will cause worry to many parents," she said.
A spokeswoman for the IMB said that the use of echinacea could be associated with rare side-effects, mainly allergic reactions, which in some cases may be severe.
The recommendation follows the implementation of the European Herbal Medicines Directive in Ireland which led to a review of previously unregulated herbal products.