Chamomile for Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease

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Gastroesophageal reflux disease can be a condition that makes even eating painful. Learn about using Chamomile for Gastroestophageal reflux disease with help from a practicing pediatrician in this free video clip.

Part of the Video Series: Keep Your Body Healthy
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Video Transcript

Hi, I'm Dr. David Hill, and today we're going to talk about using chamomile for Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease. Now, chamomile has generated a lot of interest in part because it's one of the few herbal supplements or remedies where we have some relatively strong data for something that we really need, which is helping with colic. Does chamomile make a perfect colic remedy? No, there are no perfect colic remedies. Colic is a condition that is very difficult to treat, but some studies of chamomile tea have suggested that it can be helpful for colic. Now, does that mean it's also helpful for Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease? The studies would suggest probably not. The difficulty in babies is knowing the difference. Sometimes children with Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease will cry especially after feeds and they may not vomit a whole lot, so you may not know that they have the GERD they may just remain stuffy a lot, have some chronic cough and wheeze and be really unhappy after they eat. Is that colic or is it Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease? Sometimes we try a medication that's effective against Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease like Ranitidine or Prevacid/Lansoprazole to see if they help. Would it hurt to try a little bit of chamomile in that setting? No, probably not. On the other hand, if you've got a baby who is spitting up like a fountain all the time, it's clear that they have reflux, the chamomile is probably not going to be the answer. Now, some tips when you're using chamomile for a colicky baby. First of all, babies need lots of calories to grow. So, you don't want to use a lot of something that's not breast milk or an infant formula, because that's going to displace some calories. They don't need any water, and tea is essentially a sort of water. So, I'd stick with just an ounce or so at a time. You don't want to load the baby up with fluid in their belly. Second of all, you might start to think, maybe I'll add some honey to this and make it taste better, but for an infant under 12 months of age, you never want to give them honey. There is a rare but very real risk that that child will get botulinum toxin. Botulism lives in honey, and older children and adults are not as susceptible to the effects of the toxin, but infants may stop breathing and die. So, if you are using the whole chamomile, hold the honey until that child is at least one year old. Talking about chamomile for Gastroesophageal Reflux, I'm Dr. David Hill.

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