Teenagers Wellbeing

This issue we will focus on older children’s health. Teenagers suddenly find themselves in a phase of whirling emotions from aggression to depression, body parts are taking on new shapes and dimensions and pimples may be erupting at the most inconvenient times… Don’t worry, there are ways to help.

Again, in this age group, maximising overall health involves supporting our teenager’s emotional states and sense of self-worth, as well as physical considerations. Recently my three teenagers have been very affected by the war in Iraq and they all got ‘sick’. When we started addressing the sense of anger and hopelessness they were feeling they started to feel more self empowered. My eldest son then organised a local student strike and peace march so our youth were able to express their feelings about the war and do something so they felt they were heard. Being aware of topical issues and finding ways of empowering our youth in addressing these is a big part of health, especially for this age group.

The huge increase in hormones often needs to be balanced at this time.

For young men — testosterone levels are up to 800 times higher at this age than at any other stage. Pimples, liver, bowel complaints and excess energy may present. Herbs such as Chaste Tree, Evening Primrose Oil and Withania (Ashwaganda) are a few that could make a big difference. Too little testosterone, poor muscle development, lethargy and lowered concentration may be supported herbally with Tribulus, Wild Yam and Withania.

The developing female may be affected with acne/pimples, weight gain, breast soreness, menstrual pain and mood swings. Herbally, Chaste Tree, Shatavari, Ginseng and False Unicorn are great, according to specific needs.

Flower Essences for both sexes are invaluable now for their general balancing effect. Adol Bush Flower Essence is wonderful and can be added to most drinks or simply taken straight. Individually prescribed mixes can be obtained from your local Herbalist/Naturopath.
Pimples:  Can be reduced with hormonal balancing mixes as well as by supporting the liver and cleansing the blood. Externally cleansing and healing the skin with Calendula, Lavender, tea tree oil or Ledum tincture can also help a lot. Diet plays a large role too. Inspiring teenagers to eat well balanced meals instead of relying on junk food directly impacts on their skin (and overall health). The media tries to coerce our teenagers into eating potentially harmful foods with their advertising campaigns aimed at youth.

We can encourage good eating habits by giving them information and statistics and by having fast healthy food available at home as well as by providing wholesome regular meals. Routine is important too, to cope with the extra load. Encourage them to balance rest and getting enough sleep with outdoor exercise away from the computer and TV! Trying different sporting or outdoor activities can be a fun way of hanging out together and may help them find an ongoing healthy fitness hobby. My boys surf, play competition basketball, fish, golf, horseback ride and play music and rap.

Recreational drugs including cigarettes, alcohol and marijuana can become part of the peer group pressures. The latest studies show that supplying youth with statistics and factual information discourages use of these substances. If however, your teenager does experiment with these things there are herbs and essences that reduce the harmful effects. Homeopathic Nux Vomica is one of these, as is St Mary’s thistle herb and Ghee.

The teenage years also have some illnesses which are spread easily due to their increased interest in interacting, like for example, Glandular Fever, Meningitis and Hepatitis. All of these need specific individualised health care to prevent ongoing weakness. Sexually transmitted diseases need prior clear information to help prevention eg. use a condom!! Reinforcing respect for their bodies and those of others is also vital. Herbs and Homoeopathics can be successfully used if infections do occur.

Q: My son is in year 12 and gets overloaded with the study required. He also gets stomach cramps and headaches before exams which increases his tension and affects his results. Can you help at all?

A: Using Adol Bush Flower Essence ongoingly, and study blend around exam time will help. Also calming herbs like skullcap, fennel or chamomile for the cramps, headache and tension. There is also a wonderful mix of herbs which increases concentration and memory containing Bacopa (Brahmi) and Gingko Biloba. Talking to your son and assisting him to express his worries and helping him plan his overall study programme so he feels more prepared when the exams come around could help too.

Published in byronchild/Kindred, issue 6, June 03


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