Chinese Herbs for Colic Butte MT

Traditional Chinese Medicine views colic as caused by over-feeding. Infants are seen as having sensitive digestive systems, and over-feeding, including breast-feeding, can overwhelm an infant. Read on to see what kind of solution do they provide.

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Chinese Herbs for Colic

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By Jake Paul Fratkin, OMD, lac

Q My baby is 6 weeks old and has had constant colic. He is fussy during the day, but cries inconsolably at nighttime. My doctor says that he will outgrow it. Does Chinese medicine have anything that could help?

A In my clinical practice, I address colic with both Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and a modern naturopathic perspective. TCM views colic as caused by over-feeding. Infants are seen as having sensitive digestive systems, and over-feeding, including breast-feeding, can overwhelm an infant. This leads to food stagnation with accumulation of undigested food and mucus. Also, feeding infants too much fatty, sweet, raw, cold or hard-to-digest food can cause colic. In some cases the baby will spit up. In others, the inability to process food and move it downward causes painful abdominal distension, crying and discomfort.

In simple cases, gentle abdominal massage in a clockwise direction, followed by gentle downward stroking along the abdomen, can provide relief. In China, mothers are encouraged to have fixed feeding times, with the idea of a fixed amount. Babies are separated from the breast when they are three-quarters full, and the babies quickly get used to this.

We treat babies who do not respond to the above massage with Chinese herbal medicine or acupuncture to break up food stagnation and support weak digestion. This approach, while very effective, should be prescribed and performed by Oriental medical practitioners who are experienced working with infants.

The naturopathic view is that colic often has a food trigger, particularly dairy. Having the baby or the nursing mother stop all dairy should be the first course of action, including yogurt, ice cream, cheese and goat’s milk. In severe cases, other food triggers may include eggs, gluten, grains, nuts, seeds and beans. Usually, meat, vegetables, fruit and rice are not allergenic, and the nursing mother should stick to these foods until potential reactive foods can be identified.

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