Babies: Chamomile tea for colic?

My son is four weeks old and he has colic. I just warm up some chamomile tea and give him a spoonful or two. It seems to make him burp and calm him. What is your opinion concerning the use of chamomile tea to help soothe a colicky baby?

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Robert Steele

Robert W. Steele, MD, is a board certified pediatrician at St. John's Regional Health Center in Springfield, MO. He graduated from medical... Read more

Chamomile has been used throughout the world for infantile colic supported more by word-of-mouth than scientific validation. To date there has only been one study that has been published in a reputable medical journal investigating the use of chamomile for infantile colic. So, certainly one could argue that the medical community has been sorely behind in investigating a potentially beneficial medication.

The history of chamomile is a long one going back to the Egyptians who worshipped its healing properties. More modern times have found it the source for investigation into its possible anti-inflammatory properties.

So, what is a parent to do concerning the safety and effectiveness of this herb when it comes to colic? Apart from rare allergic reactions, tea made from chamomile has been safely used for many centuries in many cultures. It is important to be confident that the herb is reasonably pure. Arsenic, lead, and other serious poisons have been ingested by unsuspecting tea drinkers. And there are plenty of reports of children being significantly harmed (even dying) from teas made from questionable sources. As for the effectiveness, there are certainly parents who swear by it, while others notice no difference. Until more unbiased studies are done, the answer to whether chamomile is beneficial to infants with colic will remain a mystery.

Be sure to let your little one's doctor know that you are giving him chamomile tea. His physician can only be completely helpful if he/she is aware of what he is eating.

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