Chamomile, Baby’s Little Wonder Herb

Chamomile. A little flowery herb you drink as tea when you need help getting sleepy. That’s all I thought it did too, once upon a time. But now I’m never without a jar of dried chamomile. That stuff is a whole medicine cabinet in a mug, and yet this misunderstood member of the sunflower family goes along in life being viewed as a dainty little flower whose only power is making you go night-night. As far as I’m concerned, though, it’s the best and most versatile herb for babies and young children.

Chamomile tea is gentle and effective as an astringent for things like diaper rash and heat rash when applied directly to the skin. As a drink, it soothes a queasy or sore tummy and it helps halt diarrhea. Cradle cap bugging you? A little rinse in chamomile can help soothe the itch and scratch. It’s also good for a cough, bronchitis, staving off nightmares, and easing ulcers (for the nervous parent). But one of my favorite uses is for that crankity thing that happens to babies and toddlers when they teethe. If your child gets all squirrely and restless from teething like my son does, a little warm chamomile tea does amazing things. I give my son just a couple of ounces of warm tea when he’s all wound up from the discomfort of a new tooth, and I usually see a calmer, happier baby in about 30 minutes. Yes, the Chamomile Fairy comes and replaces my child with a quiet one. Okay, not really. But the transformation is often quite remarkable.

No matter how you use this magical herb, preparation is pretty much the same. Take two teaspoons of dried herb and using a tea strainer or tea ball, steep it in a mug of very hot water for about 10 – 15 minutes. Strain the tea well, and of course make sure it isn’t too hot to drink. For younger babies, I’d try using only small quantities, although I’ve not heard of any dangers. The only precautions would be these: Chamomile can have a binding effect, so if your baby is constipated, you may want to steer clear until her plumbing is back to normal. Also, any tea is diuretic so try not to give too much before bedtime or your sleepyhead will just wake up with a wet diaper. Lastly, I have heard of one child having an allergic reaction to chamomile, so no matter the age, try a small amount first to make sure there are no side effects. A swabbing of tea applied to the skin can be a good way to test – watch for redness or irritation. Other than these few small cautions, chamomile is by far one of the safest herbs. It’s definitely one of the most versatile!

So there you have it! A wonderful herb you can keep on hand as a replacement to several over-the-counter medications for children. Certainly one of my favorites. There’s been more than one tough day that has ended with the sight of me slumped on the couch with a mug of this in hand, waiting for its calming relief – and a sighting of the Chamomile Fairy.

19 thoughts on “Chamomile, Baby’s Little Wonder Herb

  1. Chamomile has disinfectant and healing properties for wounds — e.g. cuts, scrapes, burns and scratches — not only for babies and children, but for all ages, and pets, too. It also makes a good soak for tired or athletes-foot-infected feet. I’m glad to see more people discovering this and getting the word out.

    Unfortunately, chamomile is one of the things that people with oral allergy syndrome can be sensitive to, so anyone with hay fever should use it with caution and monitor their reaction.

  2. Thanks, Meggs! Yeah, some people are sensitive to the chamomile. That’s why I’d suggest testing it out first, just to make sure there’s no reaction. Skin tests often work well, or if you know you’re allergic, there is a chance your baby is too. Thanks again!

  3. I’ve known of the wonders of chamomile tea since I was little, and my Mom has given it to me and my siblings since our infancy. However, my son’s pediatrician does not recommend it at all… I just find it funny that about 30 years later, in a more advanced and modern medical world, chamomile is not always recommended or recognized.

  4. You know…I was born in Romania and I remember in our family and ALL over Europe chamomille, mint as well as other herbal tea were always given to children since they were babys and it did wonders!!! What’s the deal here with these doctors? They almost make it sound like you are giving your child something HORRIBLE! I mean I have my third baby now 10 weeks old and I looked on line to see what info was there on these herbs as tea for infants and I was shocked!!! This poor lady was disperate to find something calming for her baby that was not sleeping at night and she was aksing questins on mint and chamomille tea, and the responses she has were HORRIBLE. She was called crazy by some people that posted their answer…I think there were only three positive posts and the rest were unbelivable! I was SHOCKED and SO ANGRY!!! There defenately needs to be more pesitive info about these incredible, GOD created herbs that were used for CENTURIES specially in Europe. Thanks for your info…

  5. Chamomile isn’t recommended by Doctors because it’s a natural and cheap way to cure many things, all without profit to the pharmaceutical companies.

  6. My 5 years old son has ADHD and I started giving him Chamomile tea and Omega 3 and two weeks after I had a meeting with his kindergarten teacher who said he has been a changed child for the past 2 weeks. I make sure I am never out of this wonderful herb and he gets it morning and nights and loves it.

  7. Keep in mind everyone that if you have a child that needs surgery or has had surgery, discontinue the chamomile use as it contains coumarin – a blood thinner!
    many drugs are based on herbs – treat them accordingly.
    always do your research and always start in very small doses once you’ve checked the herb on the skin first to make sure there’s no allergic reaction.
    other than this, chamomile has a wonderful effect on colic and sure saved my life – and possibly the life of my kid who I was ready to kill!!!!
    just joking but really colic is horrible for everyone and chamomile does indeed cure it most of the time.

  8. Curriosity but how did you manage to get your child(ren) to drink it. Mine aren’t really taking to drinking it and i don’t know if its because its warm or if they just don’t like it? Let me know please??? I tried putting honey in it too so that it was sweet but it didn’t work.

  9. I mix mine with milk and my kids’ too. My oldest daughter drinks hers with regular while the youngest drinks it with soy milk. Warm milk for bed with a shot of chamomile is great to ease the pre-bedtime fits.

  10. Crystal, honey is not recommended for children under 1 year of age. So if your kids are older than that, you’re fine. And as Tim suggested, milk might do the trick to make it more palatable if your kids don’t care for it.

    And Corina, I actually spent time in Romania back before I was into herbs, and I loved how whenever I had the slightest malady someone seemed to have a bag of dried herbs just for that! My experience there, and having the opportunity to spend time with Europeans who aren’t afraid to rely on plants as medicine, are big factors in my choice to follow the herbal path. You’re so right! It’s a total shame that in this country we have very little knowledge of plant medicine. Fortunately, I’m seeing quite a shift in us average folks. Perhaps the doctors aren’t grasping it, but the rest of us are slowly gravitating that way. I’m happy to see it because let’s face it – there are no good, safe medications for infants. But there are a few blessed herbs that are mild and safe when we learn how to use them.

    Thanks for all the comments here, guys! I love reading your responses, ideas, etc.

  11. I’ve used chamomile tea when my kids get allergies…. U know- runny nose, swollen eyes and sneezing. It seemed to help them relax. Has anybody else had success with chamomile in the treatment of allergies??

  12. Hi,

    Can all herbs be tested for safety this way on the skin? What if you have an herb in a capsule? Would I just boil water first then pour the herb from the capsule into the hot water, and rub it into my skin to check for an allergic reaction? Thanks

  13. For the capsule perhaps you could open it and allow the herb to soak in a small amount of warm water first, making like a paste. Then put it on your skin. I can’t guarantee you’ll be able to pick up on every allergic reaction possibility by doing this, but it is a pretty good indicator.

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