Natural Remedies for Colic
When you are unable to soothe your colicky baby on your own, you may search for other remedies, such as a natural or herbal cure for colic. Although such remedies claim to be effective, the careful studies designed to test for effectiveness and safety are rarely performed. Also, just because these remedies for colic are "natural," it does not mean they are free of side effects.
Colic is one of the most frustrating conditions of infancy. Compound this with the lack of fail-proof treatment options (see Colic Treatment), and it is understandable why parents may search for a natural or herbal cure for colic. Unfortunately, there are none.
Search the Internet for a natural or herbal cure for colic and you are bound to find many products making such claims. However, the medical research for the most part says otherwise.
Various supplements, teas, and emulsions have all been studied for treating colic symptoms. Some studies have shown a benefit. However, until there is more reliable scientific data, it is simply too early to recommend any of these options.
You may have also read about infant massage being recommended to treat colic. However, studies have not shown that it can decrease symptoms in a colicky baby.
Before considering any natural remedy for colic, do your research and talk with your infant's healthcare provider. Some things to also keep in mind include:
- Does it work? With herbal remedies, the careful studies designed to test effectiveness (and safety) are rarely performed, so most information is based on small studies or individual case reports. For example, colocynthis, which is found in cocyntal and Hyland® colic tablets, is unlikely to cause harm. However, it has not been proven to be effective for colic.
- What are the possible risks? People often assume that natural products are always safe and free of side effects. However, this is simply not the case. It is reasonable to assume that any natural product with the capability to have medicinal properties may also have side effects.
- What you see on the label may not reflect what is in the bottle. For example, some herbal supplements have been found to be contaminated with heavy metals, prescription drugs, or other dangerous ingredients. As an example, various types of gripe water, which is often promoted as a colic cure, have been found to contain glass and alcohol.
- Some supplements have been found to contain much more or much less of the featured ingredient than their label states. Therefore, make sure the manufacturer of your product is trusted and reputable. It is a good sign if a manufacturer abides by the rules of Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) for drugs. Your pharmacist is a good resource for information about which manufacturers are the most reputable.