Rickets is an ailment that primarily occurs in children causing distortion of the skeletal system owing to deficiency of essential minerals in the system. Owing the lack of the minerals to reinforce the bones, they turn out to be pliable and feeble resulting in bowleg as well as a bowed spine. In its endeavour to recompense, the body produces more cells and this results in an overgrowth of bones that is most conspicuous at the bone ends.
In addition, this disease also creates a distinctive beading akin to a rosary on the patient’s chest. Such deformities mostly take place in infants as well as children who have a rapid growth. Moreover, older children also sometimes complain of pain in the bones while walking.
In the case of adults, similar deficiency of minerals result in the same condition and it is known as osteomalacia. The modifications in the structure of bone are not almost as noticeable or acute since the skeletal system of the adults is completely shaped from before. People enduring osteomalacia also complain of bone pains, especially in the spine and the hip region. In both cases, rickets and osteomalacia, the patients experience acute cramps owing to the declining levels of blood-calcium.
It may be noted that incidents of rickets are usually widespread during the times of war or when there is acute poverty. This is basically owing to the deficiency of vitamin D in the body or absence of sunlight. In fact, vitamin D is vital for the body to absorb calcium – the most crucial mineral for forming hard and stable bones.
As calcium is also constantly required in the blood cells, when there is a decline in the level of blood-calcium, this essential mineral is obtained from all possible sources. Generally, calcium is soaked up by means of the nutrients in our food; however, if this is not available, calcium is obtained from the bones. In the absence of vitamin D, our body is unable to absorb calcium from the ingested food.
The ultraviolet (UV) rays in the sunlight are also indispensible since they activate the synthesis of vitamin D in the skin. In addition, food nutrients in the intestinal tract also supply vitamin D. Vitamin D obtained from the nutrients in the intestinal tract must be subsequently transformed in the liver and the kidneys prior to it becoming completely active.
It may be mentioned here that vitamin D is soluble in fat, which denotes that in case the fats and oils are not absorbed properly, the absorption of vitamin D is also impeded and this may result in the development of rickets or osteomalacia. In fact, malabsorption syndrome is a condition that is caused by taking diets that get rid of all fats and results in inadequate production of bile.
Osteomalacia may also develop provided any kidney or liver aliment puts off the complete vitamin D conversion to its dynamic variety. In addition, taking anticonvulsant medications may often result in the development of osteomalacia. It is only seldom that rickets or osteomalacia occurs owing to absence of calcium in one’s diet.
Supplements and herbs
While generally both rickets and osteomalacia are caused by dietary insufficiency in vitamin D, it is also important to supply calcium in sufficient quantities. In addition, magnesium is also essential for the health of our bones. Intake of silica too is highly advised, as this trace mineral helps in reinforcing the bones. Silica is available in various forms – a liquid gel or in organic variety in capsules. Besides these minerals, vitamin C as well as bioflavonoids too are essential for developing strong bones.
A number of herbs are also effective in curing rickets and osteomalacia. For instance, freshly obtained herbal juices and teas are known to have an instantaneous and consistent outcome on rickets.
Stinging nettle is an herb that contains rich amount of phosphorus, calcium, and vitamin D – all of which are extremely crucial for the development of the bones and also for the absorption of calcium. For best results, take one tablespoonful of the juice extracted from stinging nettle every day. Alternately, you may also include about five to ten drops of the juice to your meals or heat fresh stinging nettle leaves in oil together with onion. Remember, when you steam the leaves, you should only use young leaves of the herb.
The herb stinging nettle possesses diuretic properties and it has been successfully employed in the form of an analgesic (pain reliever) as well as an expectorant. In herbal medication, the flowers, leaves and roots of stinging nettle have also been used to treat rickets. In addition, this herb has also been employed to cure several other ailments varying from hay fever, arthritis, anemia, allergic problems among many other health conditions.
The silica present in horsetail facilitates in enhanced absorption of calcium by the bones even in the absence of calcium supplementation. For best results, take three cups of tea prepared from horsetail or three capsules of liquid horsetail extract every day. Alternately, take 10 to 15 drops of the tincture prepared from horsetail in liquid thrice every day.
Juice extracts of other herbs like dandelion, carrot and watercress also go together with the therapies discussed above. Take one tablespoonful of any of these juices every day to treat rickets. In addition, you may also take a calamus bath with a view to promote metabolism.
Consuming plenty of vegetables and raw fruits, especially those of organic nature, is also beneficial for children suffering from rickets and adults enduring osteomalacia. Also consume dairy products, including milk, cheese, butter and yogurt – all these products contain rich amounts of calcium. In addition, eat sufficient amounts of nuts, such as cashews, almonds, Brazil nuts and walnuts; seeds and sardines. All these are beneficial for people suffering from rickets and osteomalacia.
Specific homeopathic medications are also effective in relieving bone pain in people enduring rickets and osteomalacia. These remedies may be taken four times every day for a maximum period of three days. For instance, the homeopathic remedy Ruta 6c can be given to patients whose bones are bruised, particularly following a thump; Calcarea phos. 6c may be given to patients who experience limbs ache and have a numb and chilly sensation as well as when the affected child becomes extremely exhausted after climbing stairs. The homeopathic remedy Fluoric acid 6c may be given to patients to fight against fleeting and stabbing pains.
Additional things you may do
In addition to taking conventional drugs, herbs and supplements and homeopathic remedies, there are a few additional things that a child suffering from rickets may do to alleviate the symptoms of the disease. For instance, they may spend some time outdoors in sunshine and fresh air. It is important that while they are outdoors in sunshine, they should not wear glasses or contact lenses with a view to promote production of vitamin D.
Try and keep away from carbonated effervescent drinks, fatty crappy foods and sugar. This aspect is crucial, since as far as normal medications for treating rickets are concerned, you ought to receive adequate nutrients into your body and especially those that promote growth of bones and increase their density.
Milk is considered to be the most excellent natural source of calcium and young children enduring rickets ought to drink a minimum of 500 ml of milk every day. In case of acute cases of rickets, apart from milk a supplement of calcium lactate should also be given to the patients orally. The diet of such children when the disease has weaned should comprise an egg taken every day and butter. In addition, adequate iron intake and ascorbic acid is also essential for such children.
In addition to appropriate diet and sufficient intake of nourishments summarized above in this article, one should make every effort to enhance the hygienic surroundings of the suffering child. It is important to get rid of unnecessary clothing and in case the child was confined to indoors earlier, he or she ought to be permitted to enjoy the fresh air and sunshine outdoors. In addition, the child should be provided with light massage at least once or two times every week, as it will also be advantageous in treating rickets.
While the metabolism of the child suffering from rickets is being treated it is advisable to give him a whole food diet in company with rest and mild exercise. Distorted bones and joints need some kind of support or splint bandage, but may possibly gain from applying warm and cold water bringing in herbal as well as aromatherapy medications to ease the pain. In addition, acupunctures and/ or cranial osteopathy may also be advised to facilitate the restoration of balance to the different systems of the body. It is also important to encourage the child to adopt measures that would help in suitable weight loss.
Calcium, 1,000 mg
Magnesium, 500 mg
Silica, 1,000 mg
Quercetin, 250 mg
Vitamin C, with bioflavonoids, 1,000 mg
Vitamin D, 400 IU
Other beneficial herbs