What are the benefits of flu water
Is Woodwards Gripe water safe?
From all I could research, I would personally avoid using flu water.
Beyond the original alcohol content that Tim Post mentioned in his answer, some doctors attribute much of the effectiveness to sugar levels, as sugar has a natural pain reliever effect on young children.
At least some doctors seem to be of the opinion that grip water is generally relatively harmless and can bring some relief in mild cases of discomfort. However, in full-blown colic, this does not seem to be recommended and is generally viewed by professionals as ineffective (or at best questionably effective).
Regarding the specific ingredients you mentioned, methyl paraben occurs naturally in fruits like blueberries and is widely recognized as safe for food.
Sarjikakshara appears to be sodium bicarbonate, a common treatment for acid indigestion and heartburn. I found a claim that:
... [sodium bicarbonate] changes the naturally occurring pH of the baby's stomach acid. It can counteract some of the ailments caused by acid reflux when the stomach is sour. However, changing the delicate pH balance in the baby's system can lead to over-alkalinity and exacerbate a colic-like condition. In addition, sodium bicarbonate is also absorbed into the bloodstream and therefore can have undesirable side effects. Studies have shown that sodium bicarbonate can break down and interfere with folic acid and iron, suggesting that it can interfere with the function or absorption of either.
However, that claim is not mentioned and comes from a website dedicated to promoting a brand of flu water that does not use sodium bicarbonate as an ingredient as a selling point. So I take it with a grain of salt.
However, I found a website for pharmacists that says:
Pharmacists should be careful when storing or recommending various "Gripe Water" products such as Little Tummys Gripe Water, Baby's Bliss Gripe Water, Wellements Gripe Water and Gentle Care Gripe Water.7 These undetected products contain sodium bicarbonate, ginger, fennel and / or chamomile, none of which are known to be safe in babies or effective in colic. Pharmacists should not store or recommend these products.
Bronopol is a preservative that is used in pharmaceuticals. This page lists it as "an ingredient to always avoid" and describes it as an "allergen that forms a cancer-causing chemical". This is consistent with information about bronopol in Wikipedia.
Given the potential issues with both bronopol and sodium bicarbonate, I'd say the risks outweigh the potential benefits.
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