One alternative medication that is common is Mexico is to give olive oil, or some other oil to infants to ‘help with their digestion’. It is firmly entrenched in their folklore and the oil can be found in any drugstore (at least in CA), surreptitiously labeled to get around the FDA rules. The problem with the oil is that infants reflux very easily because of their immature anatomy. While refluxing milk into the lungs will cause an attack of coughing and sputtering, the oil will not. The infants can get an oil pneumonia that is difficult to treat. I took care of one case (he died) about 10 years ago, and was told by the attending that it is much more common in areas of the country with large immigrant populations.
I cared for another young child who was given a folk remedy by his grandmother (I can’t remember what it was or why she decided he must have it), whenever she babysat him, which was apparently often. It caused liver failure, and he died before he could be transplanted.
I don’t believe in probiotics, simply because each of has our own particular world of bacteria in our gut. The probiotic cure is much too simplistic. It would not give you nearly enough of a variety to do any good. It would make much more sense to feed the person a small amount of the stool of a person who has lived in the same household. They are more likely to share most of the same gut flora. I’ll bet you would NEVER get a company to sell something like that. Occasionally, we do have to feed patients a concoction of their own stool matter to replenish their gut flora—-I have yet to see probiotics prescribed in the ICU for the same reason!
I’m just not a big fan of untested therapy, when I give standard medication, I know what the risk vs benefit will be, there is a history of literature and studies. I have NEVER seen an alternative ‘therapy’ list any risk of its ‘medication’ or ‘treatments’.