Are you at your wit’s end with a teething baby? Zainab Jagot Ahmed talks us through five spices to combat teething pain.
Being a mother I totally understand how difficult it is when your little one starts teething. It can be very distressing to see your little one in so much pain! I remember feeling completely helpless and wished that I could take the pain away, not to mention the sleepless nights that follow… (I was on autopilot for the next year!)
What can I do for my teething baby?
I went on a BIG TEETHING SHOPPING SPREE!
- Teething toys
- Teething gels
- Teething granules
- Children’s medicines
You name it, I tried it… anything to provide some sort of comfort or pain relief for my little one.
Although I used all of these methods (not all at the same time!) usually a combination of them i.e. teething toy and teething gel, I still wanted to do more. So I turned my attention to spices.
Being from Indian origin meant that I already cooked with spices, but spices can be used for more than adding flavour to meals, they have also been used for their medicinal properties for generations, and many of them have been proven to contain natural analgesic properties to help combat pain.
Spices for teething
After months of researching aromatic spices and their natural health benefits, I began to understand which spices would be of most benefit to my little one, and began including various combinations within my little one’s meals in the hope that they would provide an extra little boost of pain relief (in addition to the traditional methods I had spent a fortune on). Every little helps right?!
5 Spices to combat teething pain
- Cloves – dried flower buds of a tropical tree. They contain the compound ‘eugenol’, a powerful oil widely used within dentistry for natural oral pain relief. It is also used to add flavour to sweet and savoury cuisines worldwide.
- Nutmeg – another spice which contains the oil eugenol. It offers a warm and spicy taste to meals and compliments both sweet and savoury dishes.
- Cardamom – a flavourful spice commonly used within Indian cookery. Its analgesic properties can help to reduce pain in teeth and gums. It is also believed to cleanse the mouth for good oral hygiene.
- Cinnamon – A warm, fragrant spice with a hint of sweetness. Great for cooking with, baking with or sprinkling onto fruit – apples and bananas. Contains a natural analgesic property to soothe pains.
- Black Pepper – a common seasoning found in virtually every household. It too contains analgesic properties to help relieve pain in teeth and gums, and is believed to promote strong teeth.
This simple, yummy recipe with you from ‘Indian SuperMeals: Baby & Toddler Cookbook’ (£3.99), not only has oodles of taste (courtesy of the flavour enhancing spices), it also uses a combination of spices from my Top 5 to help towards providing some pain relief for your little one. So give this one a go!
Snack to ease teething
Spicy Sweet Potato Fries (V) — 7 months plus
- Total preparation and cooking time: 25mins
- Makes 2 servings
If your poor little one is teething, this tasty snack may help to sooth those uncomfortable symptoms. The nutmeg not only provides a warm, spicy taste to complement the sweet potato, it also contains the compound ‘eugenol’, which is used as a natural medicine to treat toothaches. Combined with the powerful analgesic properties of cinnamon, this is a wonderful snack to combat teething pains.
- SuperFoods included: olive oil, sweet potato
- SuperSpices included: cinnamon, nutmeg
- tbsp olive oil
- tsp ground cinnamon
- Pinch of ground nutmeg
- 1 small sweet potato — peeled, washed, cut into 2” sticks
- Pre-heat the oven to 200C/400F/gas 6.
- In a bowl add the oil, cinnamon, nutmeg and stir.
- Add the potato sticks to the bowl and give it a good toss to coat them with the seasoning.
- Lay them flat on a baking tray and place on the middle shelf.
- Bake for 20mins or until tender, turning over half way.
- Allow cooling before serving to baby.
Author of Indian SuperMeals: Baby & Toddler Cookbook – the UK’s FIRST Indian baby food cookbook. Available to buy now from Waterstones.com and Autharium.com. From just £3.99
Note: None of the above spices should be applied directly to soft oral tissue; they should all be used within cooking. Spices are suitable for babies from 7 months onwards. A comprehensive list of resources, references and links can be found within ‘Indian SuperMeals: Baby & Toddler Cookbook’ to support the various statements about spices and their health benefits.