By ANAHAD O’CONNOR
Published: August 31, 2009
Colic — uncontrolled screaming and crying in an otherwise healthy infant — can be one of the most stressful parts of raising a newborn.
While its cause is uncertain, there is evidence that it stems in part from gastrointestinal discomfort. That may explain why chamomile tea, which according to research can ease intestinal spasms, has long been a home remedy for colic. Various studies have examined its usefulness, finding it simple, inexpensive and fairly effective.
One report by the American Academy of Pediatrics in 2007 reviewed two of those studies, including a randomized clinical trial that involved 68 colicky but otherwise healthy infants, ages 2 to 8 weeks. One group received either an herbal tea (served warm or cool) made primarily with German chamomile, and the other placebo tea. The scientists reported that each infant was offered either the tea or placebo with every bout of colic, up to 150 milliliters — a little more than half a cup — no more than three times a day. After a week, “parents reported that the tea eliminated the colic in 57 percent of the infants,” the researchers reported, “whereas placebo was helpful in only 26 percent. No adverse effects were noted in either group.”
Other studies have had similar results. Experts say allergic reactions to chamomile are rare, but one way to check is to swab a bit on the skin. If no redness develops, it should be safe.
THE BOTTOM LINE
Research suggests chamomile may ease colic.
ANAHAD O’CONNOR firstname.lastname@example.org