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Does Gripe water help babies with gas?

It's 11 p.m. and your baby won't fall asleep because she's suffering from painful gas. Not sure what to do? How about trying Gripe Water. Never heard of it? Well, gripe water is one of the best and oldest homeopathic remedies to soothe digestive pains caused by colic, gas or reflux.

What is gripe water?

First, let's start off explaining where it got its name.

In a round about way, it probably came from a bonus effect from a formula Nottingham doctors used in the mid-1800's to treat fen fever (malaria). The doctors discovered the formula not only treated the fen fever, it also soothed crying babies with gastroenteritis. The slang at the time for gastroenteritis was "watery gripes." It is thought that pharmacist William Woodward, who registered the words "gripe water" as a trademark in 1876, and sold bottles to the public and doctors, was influenced by the 19th century slang. Woodward's Gripe Water caught on like wildfire and became immensely popular in Europe as a home remedy for baby gas. It still exists today.

Modern day gripe water is a twist on the one that began so long ago. Today, ingredients, such as chamomile, fennel, caraway, peppermint, and ginger, are used for their specific ability to stimulate the body's self-healing process. Brand names include Baby's Bliss, Colic Calm, Little Tummies, and Colic Ease. Each brand has their own unique blend of ingredients, but they are all trying to achieve the same end. That is, to overcome the symptoms of baby gas naturally with no side effects.

Yes, but does gripe water work?

It works. Check out baby forums and read about the successes parents have had with it. One argument that it works can be found in the longevity of the stuff. It has been around in one form or another since the middle of the 1800's. It is a standard baby shower gift to give in Europe.

Also, the natural ingredients that exist in the different formulas have been used since the middle ages to relieve intestinal gas and intestinal cramping.

For example, one brand, Colic Calm Gripe Water, uses peppermint as one of its ingredients. Peppermint is a well-known digestive aid that induces the expulsion of gas from the stomach and intestines. Peppermint also prevents spasms of the stomach and intestines and stimulates bile flow.

Many brands incorporate fennel as an ingredient. Fennel suppresses spasms in the intestinal tract. Fennel has long been used by herbalists for indigestion and as well as a gas-relieving and gastrointestinal tract cramp-relieving agent.

Another popular ingredient is ginger. Think back. Did your mother give you ginger ale to drink when you sick to your stomach as a child? If yes, she did so with good reason.

Ginger is an outstanding soothing natural medicine for the gastrointestinal tract. Like peppermint, ginger has been shown to beneficially influence gastric mobility while also reducing intestinal spasms. It is also a very effective remedy for nausea.

The all-natural ingredients mentioned above have been used for centuries to alleviate intestinal discomforts. There is no reason to believe these ingredients will have suddenly stopped being effective.

So, if your infant is suffering from painful gas, gripe water is a concrete step you can take to soothe your baby immediately. Most gripe water brands contain all-natural ingredients which are not harmful to your baby; however, I would certainly consult your pediatrician first before giving your baby any medications, remedies or supplements.

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