What are the Ingredients?

US brands are generally one of two types: dietary supplement or homeopathic (organic gripe water). The ingredients and method of action depend on which type is being used.

Homeopathic Gripe Water

Colic Calm is the only homeopathic brand available in the US. Like dietary supplements, homeopathic medicines are not reviewed by the FDA, but unlike dietary supplement brands they are listed in the FDA’s medical product database and are made according to Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) for over-the-counter medicines, using medicinal grade ingredients. Colic Calm contains no sugar, simethicone, sodium bicarbonate, herbal oils and extracts, wheat, gluten, soy, dairy, or animal products.

Active Ingredients

The natural active ingredients in Colic Calm are prepared at 1X and 3X homeopathic dilutions. Colic Calm’s active ingredients are:

Active IngredientsHomeopathic Indications
Carbo Vegetabilis 1Xgas relief, upset stomach
Carum Carvi 3Xdigestive aid
Chamomilla 3Xirritability, hiccups
Foeniculum Vulgare 3Xgas relief
Melissa Officinalis 3Xirritability, restlessness
Mentha Piperita 3Xbloating, colic
Prunus Spinosa 3Xupset stomach, colic
Zingiber officinale 3Xdigestive aid

Inactive Ingredients

PreservativesBoth (Flavor & Preservative)Flavor
Benzoic AcidVegetable GlycerinXylitol
Potassium CitrateCitric Acid
Potassium Sorbate
Note that all of the preservatives used in Colic Calm are listed as GRAS (Generally Recognized as Safe) by the FDA.
Colic Treatments
Homeopathic Ingredients

Dietary Supplement Brands

Dietary herbal supplement brands tend to cost less than homeopathic products, and are manufactured according to less stringent DSHEA guidelines applicable to foods and nutritional supplements. Dietary herbal supplements are not required to use medicinal grade ingredients or certify that they are made according to Good Manufacturing Practices.

Active Ingredients

Dietary supplement brands rely on the essential oils ginger and fennel as well as sodium bicarbonate (ie. baking soda) for their effects.

Essential Oils

Ginger and Fennel Essential Oils

Both Ginger and Fennel have traditional herbal uses for heartburn, and gaseousness. It is thought that certain enzymes contained in these oils may aid digestion or that their antimicrobial properties may alter a baby’s digestive microflora. The FDA lists fennel and ginger oils as GRAS. However certified experts in therapeutic use of essential oils, at the Alliance of International Aromatherapists, caution against the ingestion of essential oils and they cite Fennel Oil, as potentially toxic.

Gut flora is one the most important factors affecting our health. An adult digestive system contains around 4 pounds of bacteria made up of about 100 trillion microbes. Some essential oils act like an antibiotic but we don’t yet have a clear picture of how ingesting essential oils affects gut flora in general.

Baking Soda

Sodium Bicarbonate (Baking Soda)

Baking soda has been used for decades as a remedy for heartburn. Baking soda is an antacid (alkali) that neutralizes stomach acid, thereby reducing the burning sensation that accompanies gastroesophageal reflux. The downside of antacids is that the body needs stomach acid to absorb vital nutrients from food, such as calcium, folic acid and iron. Furthermore, sodium bicarbonate is of little value as hyperacidity is rarely a cause of colic. Moreover, if given continuously and in large doses, baking soda may cause alkalosis and milk alkali syndrome. Chronic overuse of antacids has been linked to a host of health problems, such as bone disease, stemming from nutrient deficiency. As Dr. Mercola also points out, stomach acid plays an important role in the immune system, protecting the gut from harmful bacteria, so neutralizing it with sodium bicarbonate may not be such a good idea.

Other Ingredients

The other ingredients in the two major US brands are added primarily as flavors, preservatives or both. These include:

PreservativesBoth (Flavor & Preservative)Flavor
Citrus Bioflavonoid ExtractVegetable GlycerinSugar***
Potassium SorbateCitric Acid
Sodium Citrate
Xanthan Gum (stabilizer)
Propylene Glycol (solvent)
Disodium EDTA*
Methylparaben**
Propylparaben***

Cautionary Ingredients

Cautionary Ingredients
  • Disodium EDTA* is primary used in topical cosmetic products. EDTA is a powerful chelator, meaning it binds metals. Some studies suggest that EDTA is mildly mutagenic, meaning it can impair cell DNA. The risks of EDTA in food products are not fully understood and require more research.
  • Parabens** are banned in some countries as potential carcinogens.
  • Sugar*** may provide a short term benefit of improved taste which can temporarily improve a child’s disposition. However, sugar may ultimately worsen symptoms of gassiness and irritability.