Log In
Wednesday 26th June 2019

US mums feed herbs to babies

3rd May 2011

A large number of babies in the US are fed herbal supplements or teas by their mothers, according to a recent study.


The researchers questioned about 2,600 people over a period of several years.

Feeding children gripe water to treat colic was one of the most common herbal cures reported.

In general, mothers who breastfed their infants (as opposed to weaning them early) were more likely to also feed their children herbal supplements.

Overall, about 9% of all mothers reported using herbal medicines, and many of those mothers reported taking the supplements themselves.

The researchers could not be sure whether or not the issue was a definite cause for concern.

Kathi J. Kemper, chair of the Centre for Integrative Medicine at the Wake Forest University School of Medicine, who was not involved in the study, said that doctors did not report babies being brought to emergency rooms due to cases of herbal tea poisoning.

She said she believed the study was useful, since the way people gave herbal supplements to babies had never been studied before.

Study author Sara B. Fein, a consumer science specialist with the FDA, said that the study was needed because the organs of infants grew rapidly.

She said that there were special concerns about almost anything to do with infants.

In all countries where they are sold as food, supplements and teas tend to be less stringently regulated.

In some cases, supplements are contaminated with heavy metals due to bad planting locations and unsafe manufacturing processes.

For the study, the researchers asked nearly 3000 pregnant women what herbal supplements they had taken.

After their babies were born, the women were again questioned about any herbal supplement use.

As part of the study, the mothers were told not to count skin creams.

Just under 10% of all mothers reported giving herbal supplements to their babies, most often to treat fussiness, digestive difficulties, colic, and sleep loss.

Fein said that there were a wide variety of supplements that did not fit a single category, such as chrysanthemum tea, clove oil, astragalus, comfrey, elderberry tea and flaxseed oil.

He added that garlic oil, goldenseal extract, grape extract, horehound tea, lemon tea, orange oil, orange tea, red raspberry tea, rosemary leaf tea, sambucol, slippery elm, and white oak bark were also hard to categorise.

Share this page


Paul Blake

Wednesday 11th May 2011 @ 7:31

One simple scientifically tested remedy for colic and one of the possible causes has been known for years. This particular cause is the intestinal flora in the babies gut is out of balance causing poor digestion and gas pain. The remedy is simple probiotics (see study below) that you can find at any health food store, I have seen it work almost immediately. Buy only refrigerated for freshness as they tend to be of the better quality.

Poor Intestinal Flora Symptoms: irritability, bloating, abdominal pain, foul smelling bowel movements, constipation/diarrhea, food sensitivities, rectal itching, spitting-up, poor immunity

Colic Symptoms: crying suddenly after a feeding, crying is loud and continuous for one to four hours, baby's face often is flushed or red, hands clenched, belly is distended or prominent, the feet are often cold, baby may arch their backs, draw up their legs to their tummy, extend their legs rigidly, pass wind.

A 2010 scientific study published in the Journal of Pediatrics reports the effectiveness of a probiotic treatment for colic. The authors report states that the probiotic Lactobacillus reuteri significantly reduced crying time among infants with colic, compared to placebo. The subjects included 50 exclusively breast-fed infants, that were administered either L. reuteri or a placebo.

Savino F, Cordisco L, Tarasco V, et al. Lactobacillus reuteri DSM 17938 in infantile colic: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Pediatrics. 2010;126(3):e526-e533.

Doc Blake

Post your comment

Only registered users can comment. Fill in your e-mail address for quick registration.

Your email address:

Your comment will be checked by a Healthcare Today moderator before it is published on the site.

Mayden - Innovative cloud-based web development for the healthcare sector
© Mayden Foundation 2019