[Management of Acute Gastroenteritis in Children: A Systematic Review of Anthroposophic Therapies]

Complement Med Res. 2018;25(5):321-330. doi: 10.1159/000488317. Epub 2018 Jul 25.
[Article in German]


Background: Acute gastroenteritis in children accounts for about 10% of hospital admissions and is still one of the major causes of death worldwide. As many children are treated with complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) and anthroposophic medicine, respectively, especially in Europe, the aim of this review was to descriptively present published anthroposophic therapies applied for the treatment of acute gastroenteritis in childhood.

Methods: A complex search strategy recording a broad spectrum of CAM therapies was developed to identify anthroposophic therapy options for the treatment of gastroenteritis in children. The search was conducted in 4 general scientific as well as 3 CAM-specific databases.

Results: In total, 3,086 articles were identified and screened for anthroposophic related content. The majority of hits deal with nutritional/dietary therapies. Articles considering anthroposophic approaches constitute only 3.1% (7/227) of all CAM-related articles. Among these articles 2 observational studies, 3 experience reports and 2 reviews were identified. In the experience reports, a variety of anthroposophic remedies was recommended but mostly unsupported by scientific evidence. However, observational studies for the anthroposophic medications, Bolus alba comp. and Gentiana comp., were detected. Additionally, studies investigating the efficacy and safety of Chamomilla, Ipecacuanha, Podophyllum or Tormentilla preparations in homeopathy and phytomedicine, respectively, were presented.

Conclusions: Most CAM-associated therapies for gastroenteritis in childhood comprise dietary recommendations. Studies concerning anthroposophic approaches and medications, respectively, are deficient. The results of this study underline that effort is needed to evaluate anthroposophic therapies in a clinical setting.

Keywords: Anthroposophic medicine; Children; Complementary and alternative medicine; Diarrhea; Vomiting.

Publication types

  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Anthroposophy*
  • Child
  • Complementary Therapies / statistics & numerical data
  • Gastroenteritis / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Research / statistics & numerical data