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Home » Common ailments

Are herbal teas safe for babies?

Submitted by on Tuesday, 24 April 2012 Loading Add to favourites  4 Comments

herbal_teaI recently had a question from a reader about whether or not herbal remedies were safe for her baby. She wrote:

“I love herbs, I use them quite often on me or my older son. But because my daughter is still quite little, she will be 1 year old next month, I am unsure if it would be safe to make her herbal teas, in case she is not well- I know chamomile is safe for babies- but what about thyme, elderflower…”

Just like our reader I love using herbs too. There is nothing quite as satisfying as going out into the garden and picking your own medicines, provided by Mother Nature.

My deepest belief is that Mother Nature provides all we need for a healthy life. She provides seasonal foods that give us trace minerals and vitamins, flowers which are food for the soul and if we take “Let food be thy Medicine” seriously; there’s a lot we can do for ourselves and our families by eating with the seasons and learning about the healing properties of foods and herbs.

Little Miss Green has been bought up on herbal teas. Yes we sometimes buy teabags in a box (she loves some of the fruity ones such as echinacea and raspberry) but more often than not, she just goes out and picks whatever she feels drawn to from the garden and I make it into an infusion.

Here are some herbs she’s been drinking as herbal teas since she was a year old:

Fennel

Fennel is a wonderful herb for stomach aches, trapped wind and colic. You’ll find that some conventional ‘gripe water’ is simply fennel tea! For babies, rather than using the seeds, use a couple of the feathery leaves in a mug of almost-boiling water. Cover and seep for five minutes before straining. Strain and cool before serving in a sippy cup or offer your baby a couple of spoons of the tea

Lemonbalm

This beautifully, scented herb is wonderful for calming anxious babies. If your baby is getting worked up because they don’t feel good then a cup of lemonbalm tea might be just the thing. Use a few fresh leaves and seep in a mug of almost boiling water for ten minutes. Strain and cool before serving in a sippy cup or offer your baby a couple of spoons of the tea.

Camomile

Camomile is the number one herb for babies. It’s very gentle and is great for soothing restless babies; especially when teething. It has a beautiful appley scent that is released when you crush the plant. Place a small sprig of chamomile in a mug of almost boiling water and seep for five minutes. Strain and cool before giving to your baby as above; this is a nice tea to serve before bedtime to help your baby settle.

Catnip / catmint

Catnip is soothing and can help babies with colic as it relaxes the digestive system. It’s also good for babies that are nervous or restless as it relaxes the mind. Another great use for catnip is with lowering fevers so it’s really worth growing a pot of catnip in the garden. To make catnip tea, put a couple of leaves of catnip into a mug and cover with almost boiling water. Seep for 10 minutes then strain and cool.

For toddlers you can make herbal infusions and pour them into ice lolly moulds (popsicles). These make refreshing and medicinal treats.
With regards to thyme and elderflower; I cannot give advise because I’m not a medical professional or a certified herbalist. The information provided on this website and all related publications, whether print or digital, whether implied or explicit, are not intended to be taken as medical advice; it is for informational purposes. I assume no liability for what you choose to do with this information. You should always be cautious and use common sense, do research and consult professionals when it comes to medicine, both herbal and otherwise. Consult your medical care provider for persistent symptoms, illnesses, and injuries.

It is my belief that every parent should follow their own volition and knows their child better than anyone else. I would gladly use any garden herb on MY baby, but I cannot suggest that anyone else does the same. Thyme is particularly powerful and you would only need to use one or two of the tiny leaves in an infusion for treating infections, coughs and colds. It is my opinion that the best way for a baby to take herbal teas is to get the mother to drink them, then pass them on via breastmilk.

What about you – what herbal remedies have you used on your babies?

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4 Comments »

  • This is just fascinating, Mrs. Green! I love the whole concept of using infusions for our health. I’ve always considered herbs strictly for their culinary properties. But a long time ago, I was choosing fresh herbs from the farmer’s market and an elderly woman, standing next to me, started talking about how she has used herbs for herself and her husband and that they are in the best of health. She felt convinced that it was because of the herbs she uses on a daily basis. It fascinated me to think that these lovely, tasty herbs could also be so wonderful for our health. I’ve since read about it and sure enough … herbs have fabulous health benefits. It was so lovely to find that out … these plants that give me so much pleasure in cooking are also good for us. :-)

  • Mrs Green says:

    @Small Footprints: What a lovely story; I can just picture you talking to the elderly lady and sharing ideas about herbs. I just love mother nature – she’s awesome!

  • I believe some teas from REAL herbs (not necessarily bags of unknown quantities and dosages) are perfectly fine for babies. I remember my grandmother giving me anise seed with thyme tea for colic and upset stomach. I do think the herbs should be carefully measured as some are potent but other than that, yes, I absolutely believe raising your children on herbal tea is much better than any chemical remedy around!

  • Mrs Green says:

    @The Blissful Beet: Absolutely agree that making yourself from scratch is the way; you can grow and harvest them to your specification and know there are no nasties or contamination. Love the anise seed and thyme combination; that sounds powerful and tasty too!