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Herbal preparations and homemade herbal teas for children

The matter of fennel


At present, there is increasing interest in plant ingredients and their use in drugs, teas and food supplements. The market for food supplements includes products that contain a wide range of substances with nutritional or physiological effects. The products broadly fall into two main groups: vitamins/minerals and ‘other substances’ [including herbs and plants, extracts of these, and a number of specific food components with health effects (e.g., Coenzyme Q10, lycopene, lutein)].

The dried unpacked herbs and food supplements most requested in Italy during recent years have been those for gastrointestinal complaints. Included in these products are herbs useful against abdominal pain caused by infantile colic. Traditionally, fennel fruit and oil were used to relieve gas, and treat stomach trouble and inflammation of the upper respiratory tract. Recently, some literature data caused much concern among Italian parents of infants and young children due to the supposed risks related to the regular use of fennel tea for colic treatment. But the concentration of fennel essential oils, and of estragole in particular, within fennel infusions or instant teas for infants, is 1000-fold less in comparison to the maximum level of estragole accepted as a food additive by European regulation. In some cases, according to physicians, some herbal teas can be used also for infants. It is important to take into consideration that the most suitable products for babies would be instant teas, manufactured ad hoc according to the European law for baby foods.

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Correspondence to Maria Laura Colombo.

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Colombo, M.L. Herbal preparations and homemade herbal teas for children. Nutrafoods 11, 19–24 (2012).

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  • herbal tea
  • fennel tea
  • estragole
  • children