Herbal Hazards to Watch For

By Stacy Whitman

Natural’s always better, right? Not necessarily.

Nearly 10 percent of infants are given herbal remedies before their first birthday, and some get them as young as 1 month of age. But a recent study published in the journal Pediatrics finds that herbal products aren’t always safe for little ones.

Even when they come from natural sources like plants, botanical products can have potentially harmful side effects, especially if taken in conjunction with some other drugs. Because they aren’t well regulated, some supplements also may contain heavy metals or other contaminants that could be risky for a baby.

The bottom line? Make it a policy to talk to your child’s physician before giving him any botanical product, including gripe water, chamomile, teething tablets and herbal tea.