Is Manzanilla an effective kabag treatment for baby? Here’s what you need to know about the famous green oil.
What can you read in this article?
- What is manzanilla made of?
- Is it safe for babies? Doctors give their expert opinions
- Other kabag treatment for baby
If you’re a new mom, you’ve probably been given advice (probably unsolicited) to buy manzanilla to help you with your baby’s kabag episodes. If there was a traditional Pinay mom starter pack, this small bottle would definitely be included in it.
And it’s hard to contest since a lot of moms (and dads) swear on the wonders of manzanilla for treating their baby’s kabag or colic. They say just a few drops of the oil on baby’s tummy can soothe the child and calm him down within seconds.
But as a millennial mom, you must be wondering: is it really effective? Is it even safe to use with your precious little one?
Uses of manzanilla for baby
When used as topical oil that is massaged and rubbed gently on the skin (about 2 to 4 drops, particularly the back and the baby’s tummy), manzanilla has calming and soothing effects that relieve stomach pain, gas, and other digestive problems.
A study published in 2013 entitled Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, explains that chamomile and citronella oils found in the small green bottle can also help in anxiety and depression. The study also claims that these essential oils can calm the nerves and lower anxiety levels, even in babies.
When applied to the skin, the baby can inhale and smell the oil, and the brain directly receives the signals and gives a trigger to the body to calm down. For this reason, manzanilla users believe that a few drops on their babies back may contribute to them having better sleep.
With all of these benefits, we can’t help but wonder what’s making this oil such a powerful formulation.
What’s in the bottle?
If you go to Google and type the word “manzanilla,” you’ll find that the direct translation for it is “oil of chamomile.”
According to Healthline, German chamomile and Roman chamomile are two essential oils that have calming and soothing effects on babies and children who have a hard time sleeping.
Chamomile is an ancient medicinal herb that contains medicinal properties with natural calming and soothing effects, that are found to be effective for irritable, angry, very young children, while German chamomile is effective in curing inflammation and skin irritation in adults.
According to a medical article called Roman Chamomile Essential Oil Benefits & Uses, written by a nutrition counselor and a certified health coach, Christine Ruggeri, chamomile, combined with lavender, becomes more effective for colic in babies.
However, take note that Healthline advises against the use of any essential oils on infants 3 months old and younger.
Aside from this, a closer look at the ingredients might make you think twice about using manzanilla on your baby. On the website of a popular brand of Aceite de Manzanilla, it shows that its generic name is Methyl Salicylate Camphor + Menthol.
According to an article in Medical News Today, research suggests that inhaling camphor may cause seizures and breathing problems in young children. For this reason, doctors warned that it is not safe for children ages 2 and below.
Do pediatricians recommend manzanilla for baby?
While there is a lot of anecdotal evidence claiming the effectiveness of Aceite de Manzanilla as a kabag treatment for baby, doctors advise against using it as kabag treatment for babies, especially newborns.
In a Facebook post by one mom netizen in 2019, she shared about the warning she got from her pediatrician about the dangers of using Aceite de Manzanilla on babies.
Her doctor, who she claims has been in practice for over two decades, said that using liniments such as manzanilla may cause pneumonia in children.
You can do away with it
Meanwhile, Dr. Barbara Manio, a pediatrician from the Asian Hospital and Medical Center, said that the comfort that a baby feels when this miracle oil is applied to his tummy may be attributed to something else.
She explained that when a baby has colic, the main thing that helps him calm down is getting the air bubbles out of his digestive tract, either by changing his position or applying warmth. This may be what is responsible for easing baby’s pain and discomfort.
“When you rub it on your baby’s tummy, you give your baby a massage. That’s where the relief comes from. Because when you apply it to the tummy, it feels warm. The warmth is what gives comfort to the baby,” she said in Filipino.
The doctor added that one of the dangers of applying manzanilla on your baby’s skin lies in the ingredients. As mentioned earlier, Aceite de Manzanilla contains essential oils, which some babies with sensitive skin are allergic to.
“The danger is a lot of babies might be allergic to manzanilla because it’s a topical medicine.” she said.
Another pediatrician, Dr. Maria Belen Vitug Sales, from Makati Medical Center, agreed that this green oil might not be good treatment for kabag for babies with sensitive skin.
“When you massage your baby’s tummy, you can just use ordinary oil. Because sometimes when we use manzanilla, it feels warm and too strong for baby’s skin. Their skin gets so red and they get allergic reaction from the manzanilla,” she said.
Dr. Gellina Suderio-Maala, a pediatrician from the University of Perpetual Help Medical Center shares the same sentiment. She recommends trying other means to relieve colic or kabag in babies, such as burping and massages (sans the oil).
“Babies are very sensitive so as much as possible, I don’t advise using it because the baby might get an allergic reaction. It may be a local allergic reaction or something worse, it’s a case-to-case basis. So to be safe, don’t apply especially if your baby is still young,” said Dr. Maala.
Another important warning: for babies with G6PD, doctors advise against using any mentholated oil or product, and this includes manzanilla. Consult your doctor first before using anything on your baby with G6PD.
Want to do baby massage? Try these 6 baby oil brands here–with prices!
Iyak ng iyak dahil sa kabag? Subukan ang ilang home remedy para sa kabag ng sanggol
Tummy massage for colic and constipation
Kabag treatment for baby
Image from Pexels
Again, what you need to remember in treating your baby’s kabag is to safely let the air bubbles out of his tummy.
While a lot of older moms still swear by the calming effect of manzanilla in soothing a fussy, colicky baby, there are other methods that you can try to relieve baby’s kabag.
Here are a few home remedies you can try:
- Give your baby a warm bath followed by a gentle massage using doctor-approved baby oil.
- More frequent feedings or change in the breastfeeding position of baby to reduce air bubbles from coming in
- Changing the atmosphere in the room; eliminate light and noise
- For bottle-fed babies, make sure that you put the right amount of formula milk and water to prevent indigestion. Also, try using bottle teats that are recommended for colicky babies.
- A change in environment; take baby out for a walk and carry him in an upright position.
- Wrapping the baby in a blanket or swaddling him will help get the air bubbles out of his tummy.
- Try putting a moist towel (dipped in lukewarm water) on top baby’s tummy.
- Baby bicycle exercise; while baby is lying down, lift his legs and move them in a circular motion like he is riding a bicycle.
To reduce the episodes of kabag, Dr. Maala reminds parents to always burp their baby after every feeding session to make sure the air bubbles come out of his tummy.
She also advises carrying baby in an upright position for at least 20 minutes before putting him down in his crib to reduce colic and acid reflux.
If you have any concerns about kabag or colic in babies, don’t hesitate to consult your child’s pediatrician.
To get more tips and information about taking care of a newborn. Check out our Newborn Safety video in the media section of theAsianparent app. You can download the app for free on Google Play and Apple Store.
Here at theAsianparent Philippines, it’s important for us to give information that is correct, significant, and timely. But this doesn’t serve as an alternative for medical advise or medical treatment. TheAsianparent Philippines is not responsible to those that would choose to drink medicines based on information from our website. If you have any doubts, we recommend to consult your doctor for clearer information.