With most newborns, gas drops are an absolute necessity and lifesaver! With my second son, we are going on six weeks and giving him gas drops at every feeding. His tummy is still not quite ready to handle some food. That being said, with eight to ten feedings a day we go through a lot of gas drops! I am super glad that I was able to be prepared with homemade herbal gas drops this time around. Not only does this save me tons of money, it gives me the option of avoiding harmful preservatives and chemicals found in most conventional gas drops and gripe water.
I have found this herbal tincture to be extremely helpful in relieving the most stubborn gas bubbles and calming my little one to sleep. In order to make your herbal gas drops you will need:
- Distilled water
- 32 ounce glass jar, I typically reuse a big spaghetti jar and cover it with scrapbook paper to keep the light out.
- Dark glass bottle with dropper
Fennel in Latin is called Foeniculum Vulgare. It is used for a variety of ailments, but it is most widely known for its ability to increase gastric juices in order to prevent indigestion and expel gas from your stomach. It is also prevents constipation, so if your little one is constipated this tincture would also be of great aid.
In India after each meal, they are known to chew on Fennel seeds to help with their digestion and to prevent bad breath.
We will be using Fennel seeds, also called the Fennel fruit, for this herbal tincture. You can purchase them in the Spice section at your grocery store or online here.
Catnip may not be quite as familiar to you, but it is the second herb we will use for this tincture. Catnip in Latin is referred to as Nepeta cataria. I know it is odd to include the scientific or Latin name, but it is a good practice to do so. Having these names ensures that you purchase the correct herb and not another part of the family with a similar name, but different herbal qualities.
Catnip is best known and most widely used as a sedative. When your little one's digestibbe tract is all knotted and tense with gas, Catnip will help soothe and relax the muscles, so the gas can go away. It will also help relax your little one to sleep, so it is a very beneficial herb in this tincture. You can purchase Catnip from a health food store that has a bulk area or online here. Typically, Catnip is kept with the loose leaf teas in health food stores.
What is a Tincture?
I have mentioned the term tincture several times in this post, and now I will explain what I mean. A tincture by definition is a liquid extract made by soaking herbs in alcohol or glycerin. There are many different types of herbal preparations that could be just as effective, but I think a glycerin tincture is the strongest and easiest way to give herbs to an infant. Some other options to consider are: essential oils, tea, and poultice.
Essential oils are the strongest type of herbal preparation and are to be used with caution. One must be extremely careful using them with children and must make sure that they are properly diluted. I have used essential oils on my newborn very effectively, but they are extremely diluted. The best form for these little ones is a tincture.
For this tincture, we will be using glycerin because it is intended for babies. Alcohol tinctures are great, but they are a little strong in taste and not as easily given as a glycerite tincture. The technical name for our tincture in the herbal world is called a Glycerite. Glycerin is a sweet oil that is made from vegetables or animal fat. I prefer vegetable glycerin personally because of the flavor and taste.
Glycerin can be synthetic so be sure to check the label and make positive it says pure vegetable glycerin. I order mine by the gallon from Amazon and really like this brand.
Now down to the fun part, actually making your gas drops. Depending on how much you want to make, you will want to keep everything to a 1:4:3 ratio. That is 1 part herbs to 4 parts of glycerin to 3 parts distilled water. This will require you to do a little bit of math, but I promise it is easy. :)
For example, we want to make around 32 ounces of tincture. We will use 16 ounces of glycerin, 12 ounces of water, and 4 ounces of herbs. This would make approximately 28 ounces of tincture. In the end, because the dry herbs will soak up some of the liquid, you may want to make more so you end up closer to your desired amount. You will just need a much bigger bottle.
So now that we have the brain work out of the way, we can make our tincture.
- Measure out 2 ounces of fennel seeds and 2 ounces of Catnip and place them in a 32 ounce jar.
- Measure out 16 ounces of glycerin and 12 ounces of water and place in a seperate bowl.
- Mix the glycerin and water together
- Pour over the herbs in a jar
- Seal tightly and leave for two weeks, shaking daily
- After two weeks, you will strain out the herbs and discard them. You can then keep the glycerite tincture in the same jar or funnel it into an amber dropper bottle, like this one.
* Herbal tinctures must be kept stored in dark containers because the light will destroy their effectiveness. You can keep it in any glass jar, just cover the outside with dark paper. I typically make big batches of tinctures. I purchase 1 or 2 ounce amber glass bottles with the droppers and just keep refilling them as I need to. This allows me to keep my herbs handy and the dropper is awesome in administering the herbal tincture.
Because whole herbs are completely safe for children and adults and have no side effects, you do not need to worry about over dosing on them. I recommend that you give your newborn to two year old about half a dropper full per dose. With my newborn, I give this at every feeding to be proactive in getting rid of gas. If I by chance miss a feeding and my little one, starts crying because of discomfort, it will usually take in between 10 and 30 minutes to take effect and calm him down.
I have never at this point had to give more than half a dropper full to my two year old son. Typically, that dose takes care of his tummy aches. For an older child or adult, I would suggest a full dropper full at at time.
I hope these herbal gas drops are as much as a lifesaver for your family as they are for mine! I would love to hear if you have success with this tincture!