Fennel, Chamomile - Help for Colicky Babies (and their Parents) with Polish Recipes

Our articles at Polish Culture Website usually do not talk about babies. This time I wanted to help you to deal with your crying baby, by making you familiar with herbs which we use in my home country, Poland.
Almost all parents are worried when a baby cries. Although medically - there are not more that 20% of babies with colic - with long periods of uncontrollable cry lasting many hours a day. Every baby cries sometimes for too long making their parents frustrated and worried what is a problem. Probably you are familiar with a herb, FENNEL (Polish: koperek wloski). Fennel tea is a medicine which millions of Polish parents are giving to crying babies when they expect them to have problems with their digestion system or bowel movements.
I was also giving fennel to my daughter born in the USA with the applause of my husband who is an American.

My baby daughter Elizabeth, her "official" picture a day after she was born in the hospital, see her other pictures here

We found fennel to be a better medicine than the other the anti-gas and anti-colic baby medicines found somewhere else in American pharmacies.
Although fennel is not recommended by American Academy of Pediatrics it is also not forbidden, according to American pediatricians. The reason why it is not recommended - fennel is a herb, herbs in their pure forms are not extensively investigated especially since there was no habit to give fennel to babies in America.
In Poland fennel is so popular that one can buy even a fennel tee for babies in the pharmacies. If you would like to buy a fennel tea please look at the telephone book with Polish pharmacies (Polish: "apteka") with herbs ( Polish "z ziolami"). Here is a link: Apteki, pharmacies, z ziolami (with herbs) .
While searching the internet I also found a website with medicines for colic babies. One of the medicines, "Gripewater" is based on fennel and other natural herbs. Here is some information from the website:

"All-natural remedy containging ginger, fennel, and sodium bicarbonate to help your baby through colic, teething, and hiccups.
Unfortunately, gripewater has not been widely known or available in the United States, where most parents are told there is no effective relief for colic. Instead, many American parents spend countless hours consoling their crying baby, trying to soothe their discomfort. Until now...
Fennel ()natural, safe and effective treatment for stomach upset, hiccups, gas and other conditions with a centuries long history of human use."

This medicine is available under Baby's Bliss Gripe Water from a website about Colic Remedies.
Here is another link to Chamomile and Fennel Tea for babies.

You can buy fennel tea for babies in Polish pharmacies in Chicago area. It is a bit expensive (40 dollars for a package of 50 tees), nevertheless useful if you need it.

Below is a recipe how to prepare a fennel tea for a baby. The only thing you need to do is to buy fennel seeds. Fennel seeds are available in every grocery store in herbs section. They cost 2-4 dollars for a container of 1.5 oz of fennel seeds. It is more than a sufficient amount for the time when baby is colic:

  • Add a half of a teaspoon of crashed fennel (you can crash it by use of the wooden spoon or cut it with a knife) to a cup of water
  • Boil
  • Pour through the strainer
  • You can sweeten it by adding some water which was boiled with sugar
  • cool it down.

The other popular herb to calm down a baby with digestion problem is chamomile usually use as a chamomile tea. I do not need to write about it too much because chamomile is also popular and recommended in the USA for soothing a baby. Read about Chamomile Tea.
Polish Cooking Books and Recipes Store
Herbs, Fruit and Vegetables in Polish Cuisine.

written by Jagoda Urban-Klaehn, (article #116)

My recommended books (they were a great help for me):

What to Expect When You're Expecting, Third Edition
by Heidi E. Murkoff, Arlene Eisenberg, Sandee Hathaway

What to Expect the First Year
by Arlene Eisenberg, Heidi E. Murkoff, Sandee E. Hathaway

What to Expect the Toddler Years
by Arlene Eisenberg, Heidi E. Murkoff (Introduction), Sandee E. Hathaway

Two more books. This time about herbs:
I recommend

Polish Herbs, Flowers and Folk Medicine by Sophie Hodorowicz Knab, Mary Anne Knab (Illustrator)

Stefan Buczacki's ' Best Kitchen Herbs' is a comprehensive guide to growing culinary herbs. It is very cheap also!

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