Peppermint for Baby Colic
If your baby cries more than most babies, he may have colic. According to FamilyDoctor.org, crying that lasts for longer than three weeks, for more than three hours per day and up to three days per week may be an indication of colic 1. When the intense crying occurs, it will generally occur around the same time each day and most likely in the evening hours. Some herbs, such as peppermint, may help reduce symptoms of baby colic. Speak with your child’s pediatrician before using herbs to treat this condition.
If your baby has colic, it is probably the worst pain your baby has ever experienced. Though doctors and scientists are not completely certain as to the cause of colic, some believe that it may be due to an immature or underdeveloped digestive system that is not used to the process of digestion leading to gas. However, for babies that are breastfed, colic may also be a result of certain foods consumed by the mother.
Peppermint, also referred to as balm mint, contains volatile oils and menthol that are used medicinally as well as in an array of consumer products such as gum, toothpastes and candy. The peppermint plant can grow to heights up to 3 feet tall, and it sprouts small purple flowers through the months of July to August. The peppermint plant is native to Europe; however, it can be found in moist climates in North America.
Due to the calming and numbing effect that peppermint produces, it helps reduce flatulence and other digestive conditions. Peppermint works by relaxing the smooth muscles found in the stomach, allowing painful gas to pass. When peppermint is combined with other calming herbs such as fennel, chamomile, licorice and vervain as an herbal tea, it may be effective in reducing symptoms of colic. If you choose to give your baby an herbal mixture that includes peppermint, the University of Michigan Health System suggests starting with 1 oz 2. and never giving more than 4 oz. to 6 oz. per day.
Studies related to the use of peppermint on infants and children are limited; therefore, further studies are needed to determine their safety. It is strongly recommended that you speak with your child’s doctor to discuss proper dosage information before giving any herbal preparations. Though herbs are natural, herbal remedies are not always safe.
- sakdinon/iStock/Getty Images