Baby Colic Relief Kailua HI
By Karta Purkh Singh Khalsa
If you frequently march the halls at 2 a.m. with a bawling baby, you’d probably gladly sacrifice a right arm for an effective colic remedy. Fortunately, you only have to cough up a couple bucks at the health food store. Fennel is here to save the night.
Just what constitutes colic? Doctors define it as an infant crying at least three hours daily, three days a week, for more than three weeks. In the Western world, colic afflicts 15 to 30 percent of newborns. Although physically benign, according to mainstream medical thought, colic can emotionally devastate the parents—and it can’t be pleasant for the baby either.
The party line in conventional medicine states that colic results from an immature development of the nervous system and not from indigestion or pain. Dicyclomine, a prescription drug for colic, sedates the brain by inhibiting neurotransmitters. It also causes a slew of side effects—such as breathing difficulties, seizures, and even death.
In contrast, traditional remedies for colic usually treat the baby’s intestinal gas. For that, fennel seed (Foeniculum vulgare) ranks as one of the world’s most popular remedies. It contains essential oils that warm the stomach, increasing movement in the intestines. How the oils work remains unclear, but it appears that they dilate the vessels of the gut, increasing blood flow and speeding the metabolic rate of the digestive tissues. Consequently, food moves through the GI tract faster. The less time food sits in the gut, the less time gas has to form.
In 2005, a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial studied 93 breastfed colicky infants. For seven days, they received a dose of fennel mixture twice daily before breastfeeding. Crying time dropped on average two hours per day in 85.4 percent of infants in the fennel group, compared to 48.9 percent for the placebo. Better yet, no adverse reactions occurred.
To try this remedy, you can buy “gripe water” (bottled water containing fennel or other anti-colic herbs) through drugstores and health food stores. Dill seed, which is closely related to fennel, as well as chamomile, lemon balm, and ginger are also common ingredients, depending on the formula. You also can brew your own fennel tea. Simply simmer 1 tablespoon of fennel seeds in 1 cup of water for 15 minutes. Strain out the seeds, allow the tea to cool, and give it to the baby by the teaspoon until symptoms improve. For infants less than 12 months old, avoid adding honey, which can cause botulism in babies that young. Otherwise, sweeten away—and a spoonful of fennel will help the colic go down!
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