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Finding a good herbalist

The recommendations in this article are entirely suitable for a parent to work through themselves but, especially if the baby is having further health problems that are not self-resolving, and even perhaps to be sure to be getting the best quality herbs possible from those that are being recommended here, there may be a great deal of benefit to you to try to find a good herbalist in your area. There's a short write-up to suggest how you might go about finding such a person here


Here they come

Here come the teeth! Babies cut 20 teeth by the time they are three years old. They usually start at around 5 to 6 months and the most common pattern is that one of the lower central incisors comes in first, then the four upper incisors and the two lateral lower incisors follow in over the coming weeks and months. Then come the one-year molars and the canines, and then come the two-year molars.

All babies have at least some trouble when they are teething, at least at first. For some it is a practical torture, both for them and their caregivers. Most parents will report that their babies get sick in some way when they are teething, especially at first. Whether that be coughs, earaches, cold symptoms, upset stomachs, upset bowels, or flus and fevers, varies greatly between children.

Along with teething that is causing excessive discomfort and distress, any prolonged symptoms are an indicator that the system needs support. Fortunately, there are a number of herbal strategies that are entirely safe for babies and are highly likely to help.


Chamomile is usually the first herb to think of for most small children's problems. Its soothing, calming, anti-inflammatory and healing actions can be exceptionally helpful for many of the most common children's troubles, including teething. There are many ways to harness its benefits.

Make a strong Chamomile tea by pouring a cup of freshly boiled water over placing 2 to 3 tsps of the dried flowers, or 3 or 4 Chamomile tea-bags if you can't get the loose herb. Cover and allow the mixture to steep for at least 10 minutes before straining off the infused tea. Place a clean wash-cloth, preferably with a reasonably rough texture, into the tea so that it is soaking wet then put the cloth into the freezer. When it is very cold and has become somewhat hardened, but not frozen, it will be ready to use. The combination of the effects of the herb and the cooling action of the semi-frozen cloth on the inflamed gums can give great relief. You may want to have another cloth cooling down while they are chewing all the cold and 'juice' out of the first one.

When it has cooled to room temperature, a tsp or two of the Chamomile tea can be safely drunk by the baby to calm and ease their discomfort.

Similarly, you may want to experiment by pouring the Chamomile tea into an ice-cube tray and, when it has frozen, put pieces of the hardened tea into a cloth that they can chew on.

The above methods obviously take some time to get ready, to get the benefits of Chamomile immediately, you can wrap a cloth around some Chamomile flowers, wet the cloth in hot water and give to the baby to suck on. More about this essential herb for children here

Matricaria recutita (Chamomile)


Clove oil

Many people over a certain age will get an instant association to past experiences in a Dentist's office as soon as they smell Clove oil. With good reason, Clove oil relieves dental pain and was widely used as a local anaesthetic when getting painful procedures in the past.

It is very safe to use for a baby, but it will be wise to dilute it with an edible oil such as Olive oil. A safe and strong mixture would be 2 drops of Clove oil to 3 or 4 drops of oil. Place this mixture on a saucer or other surface, rub the tip of your index finger in the oil, the vigorously rub the gum between your thumb and index finger.

I have given this method to a great many parents and, when I tell them about how to apply it, I usually take their hand and show them how firmly I am suggesting they rub their baby's gums. They usually look quite surprised at how strongly I am telling them to do it but, when they practice it at home, they immediately see how much the baby likes it and is helped by it.

In fact, with all the various teething rings and other products, the baby is trying, with a great deal of difficulty because it has not yet developed its coordination, to put a great deal of pressure on its sore and swelling gum. When you get your fingers in there without being shy about it, you can usually feel exactly where the tooth is trying to come through. Get right in and rub firmly around the area, you are loosening up the tissues to help them to give way to the emerging tooth. Helping Nature to do what it has to do.

Many parents find that they can keep the strongly smelling clove oil aside for emergency level pain and just the firm gum-rubbing by itself is enough to keep their baby happy until the tooth comes out.



If you thought the Clove oil smelt pretty bad, wait until you find out what Valerian is like.! Yet, as pungent as the aroma of it is, the taste really isn't so bad, and babies and children are usually very adaptive and responsive to it.

Valerian is one of the greatest of all herbs for stress and tension. It also has considerable pain-relieving properties for teething and, for simple reasons of individual preference, may suit some babies better than the Chamomile or Clove recommendations. If you will try Valerian then I suggest getting the smallest bottle you can of its tincture. Then, similar to how you applied the Clove oil, you put a few drops on to a hard surface, then dip your finger in the tincture and rub into the gums. The baby will get a dose of Valerian into the bloodstream, but you must not have any concern that this could do them any harm. On the contrary, it may help a great deal with the stress they are feeling whilst easing the pain in their mouths. Use it freely and frequently if it helps. A baby could easily, safely, absorb 10 drops of Valerian in a day without any cause for concern. There is more information about this remarkable herb here

Valeriana officinalis (Valerian)


Further care

The teeth will come out and the trouble will pass but, as mentioned earlier, many babies get sick when they are teething. If the illness comes and goes within a couple of days, then there is nothing to worry about. However, if a problem comes and stays, then it is time to take some action. Look further at the A-Z of conditions here to see if there is an article specifically written on the area you are concerned about, or read the general discussion on children's health found here

Please understand that I cannot personally advise you without seeing you in my clinic.
This living 'book' is my labour of love so, wherever you are, I wish you peace & good health!



© 2011 R.J.Whelan Ltd