Leena Frances Keefer is an herbalist. For over 20 years she's used herbal remedies on herself and now uses them for her family.
She says, " We use them more as preventative health than using them in more serious conditions and things like that. So generally we just try to get through cold season. Get throught the flu season and things like that."
And Leena isn't alone. More and more parents are trying the remedies.
Ralph Magri is the owner of Kate's Natural Products in Harrisonburg. He says he often gets a reaction out of first time 'herbal" users. He says, "We see them surprised that they work as well as they do and that there's no side effects. The children seem to be fine."
There are still a lot of herbs have never been tested on adults or children. That leaves the question of whether the products are effective and safe.
Dr. Eric Kramer says, "That's the problem. Theres such a broad wide range of supplements out there now that we don't know which ones are truly doing anybody any good versus a placebo effect where people feel like they're making improvements because they're taking it and they're anticipating getting better."
Kramer also says it's important for you to do your own research.
He continues, "Before exposing your child to something that is largely unregulated, do your homework. Get on the Internet. Go to official sites. Speak to your physicians or someone in the know and gather all the data together and decide to yourself if its' going to be safe."
Parents are often concerned that they'll wind up paying for empty promises instead of reliable remedies.
Magri says, "To address the wasting money thing. I know that we've all taken over the counter pharmaceutical products that didn't work either and that's just simply because we're not all the same." There are several Web sites available on the Internet for anyone interested in herbal medicine. A popular suggestion is www.webmd.com.