Aim: The current study aims to evaluate the prevalence of the utilization of various herbal remedies in children hospitalized with lower respiratory illnesses. Assessment of the different herbal products which are most commonly used. Moreover, the indications of usage, the route of administration, and the frequency of administration.
Method: All children who were hospitalized in 3 centers through period of 18 months period due to acute bronchiolitis, pneumonia, or bronchial asthma were included in this study. Any caregivers who were present during the hospitalization of such children were asked if they could respond to a questionnaire that included the names of any herbal products that they used, the indications which warranted their usage, and the frequency and route of administration.
Results A total of 155 patients with acute lower respiratory illnesses were included. The overall prevalence of herbal medicine use was found to be 59.3%. The highest percentage of use was among children with bronchiolitis. Around 24 herbal products were used; the most common ones being sesame oil, fenugreek, olive oil, and dates. The most common indications of use were in order to relieve cough and abnormal breathing. The oral route was the main route of administration (95.7%) followed by nasal administration (4.3%). The median number of frequency of administration was 2 times
Conclusion: The use of herbal medicine in Saudi children with acute lower respiratory illnesses is very common. Further studies to assess the safety profile and possible benefits of these products are needed