What is gripe water and is it safe?

Aug 15, 2017

Gripe water is a generic name for an old-fashioned liquid medicine to relieve infant discomfort, the ingredients of which now vary by country, but scientific reviews show it’s either ineffectual or harmful.

Gripe water is currently marketed in the U.S. as a natural cure for infant discomfort, but it is not regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and respected health authorities have concluded its ingredients have no better effect than water.

Then why do so many people swear by gripe water?

In the past, gripe water was sold or homemade with alcohol or sugar, and it still is in some countries today. Neither alcohol nor sugar are healthy for infants, and they are clearly dangerous at certain levels. But parents were not always aware of this, and it seemed to calm children down.

In the U.S. today, gripe water is called an herbal supplement, with ingredients like ginger and fennel. There’s also ample evidence showing those ingredients have no effect that’s better than plain water.

Why should I trust you?

Our articles are short and to the point so that parents can quickly get the answers they need, but there’s lengthy research behind each article. Below are the best sources we found and used for this article, and we recommend visiting them yourself if you’d like to check our facts and get more in-depth information:

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