Sure, sometimes you need the Infant Tylenol and Mylicon, but sometimes a few herbs will do the trick just as well. Of course, like medicines, herbs should be used with care, especially for babies and small children. The following are a few of my favorite, gentle herbs.
Chamomile is my favorite for infants, as it is very gentle and great for common infancy issues. I use it when my babies have a cough, sore throat, upset tummy, or just general restlessness. It’s easy to grow yourself in the summertime, though I think it’s kind of weedy looking so I put it at the back of my herb bed. But it’s also easy to find at any grocery store in the herbal tea section. Look for a chamomile tea, but be sure to buy a tea that contains only chamomile. Often you’ll find a blend and some of the other herbs included may not be safe for babies. Celestial Seasonings sells a chamomile tea that is only chamomile, and that’s the one I normally buy.
How to Use Chamomile
To use it for baby for easing any of the above symptoms, I simply make a strong tea out of 1 or 2 tea bags. If you are using loose dried chamomile, use about 1 to 2 tablespoons per 12 ounces of water. Heat the water almost to boiling and pour it over the herbs or teabags. Let steep for 5 minutes, then strain or remove tea bags. Stir in a spoonful or two of sugar until just sweet to the taste. Let sit until still warm but cool enough for baby to drink or mix with cool water and give to baby in bottle or sippie cup.
I give this tea to my 1 year old when he is fussy, teething, restless, or congested. I give it to my 2 ½ year old when she is coughing, congested, or has a sore throat. If I hear her coughing in the night, I will make up some tea, bring it to her warm in a sippie cup, have her drink a little, then leave it by her bed. It’s usually all gone by morning, and I usually don’t hear her coughing again during the night.
If you have tea left over, you can refrigerate it and serve it the next day with meals or mixed with juice. After that, discard and make fresh tea.
You can buy fennel seeds in any grocery store’s spice section, so no special trips to the natural health store
needed. Fennel is a common ingredient in Gripe Water (a homeopathic treatment for click in babies) and some versions of Gripe Water are made exclusively with fennel, which basically means it’s just fennel tea. That’s what fennel is good for; it’s known to relax the muscles of the digestive system, so it helps infants to expel gas in their little tummies. It can also be helpful with indigestion.
How to Use Fennel
To make fennel tea, crush about ½ teaspoon of fennel seeds. Heat 8 ounces of water almost to boiling, pour over the crushed seeds, and let steep for 10 minutes. Strain through a fine sieve, sweeten with sugar if desired, and give to baby when cool enough to drink.
Another common grocery store find, caraway seeds are easy to locate and you’ll know them best for their presence in rye bread. Caraway seeds are known to help expel gas and relieve bloating in the same way fennel does, by relaxing the the muscle tissue of the digestive tract. It is also considered a very safe herb, so it is ideal for infants with gas, indigestion, or other colicky symptoms.
How to Use Caraway
To make caraway tea, crush about 2 teaspoons of caraway seeds. Heat 8 ounces of water almost to boiling, pour over the crushed seeds, and let steep for 10 minutes. Strain through a fine sieve, sweeten with sugar if desired, and give to baby when cool enough to drink.
You probably won’t find this in the grocery store, so visit your favorite online herbal supplier or local natural health store, or grow some in your backyard this summer. (It’s really easy to grow and produces a lot.) It’s great crushed in your iced tea this summer for a lemony kick. It’s also a great herb for easing gas and cramps; it has the same antispasmodic effect as fennel and caraway. Like chamomile, lemon balm has a very calming, anti-anxiety effect. The calming effect coupled with the antispasmodic properties make it a great herb for infants with colic, who don’t feel good and then get upset and tense because they don’t feel good. It’s has no known side effects other than possible exacerbation of thyroid problems when used for more than a few days in a row.
How to Use Lemon Balm
To make lemon balm tea, use 1 heaping tablespoon of dried lemon balm leaves (or 2 tablespoons of fresh). Heat 8 ounces of water almost to boiling, pour over the lemon balm, and let steep for 10 minutes. Strain through a fine sieve, sweeten with sugar if desired, and give to baby when cool enough to drink.
DISCLAIMER: The statements on this website have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These statements and the formulations listed are not intended to diagnose, prescribe for, treat or claim to prevent, mitigate or cure any human disease, but are intended for nutritional and/or supplemental support only. The third party information referred to herein is neither adopted nor endorsed by this web site but is provided for general informational purposes.
Consult your physician in cases of sickness or injury. Use common sense. The information presented on this website is intended to be an educational tool to help you in overseeing the overall health of your family and understanding the importance of nutrition, the options for treatment, and the possible methods for maintaining overall health and wellbeing.
You can buy these safe herbs for baby at our website Teas.com.au