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Teething can cause all sorts of discomfort for babies and parents alike. Read about several natural remedies that can reduce inflammation and ease the discomfort for your little one.

Many cultures around the world believe that herbs have healing effects and introduce spices to their little ones early on. For instance, fennel is widely used as a go-to remedy to soothe upset baby tummy, and turmeric is a well-known antiseptic with anti-inflammatory properties.

Spices are proven to increase the liking for vegetables [1].  The healthiest nations in the world such as the Italians or the Japanese introduce their children to spices early on. Western culture tends to condition young children to eat bland foods from the beginning, such as plain white pasta, and it's no wonder a good deal of them later turns into picky eaters.

Of course, when introducing new foods and spices to kids, it's crucial to keep it simple — introducing what the family is eating is a great idea when the child is around the age of one, but you shouldn't immediately give them the spicy adult version that you're having.

Cinnamon

Cinnamon is one of the oldest known spices with many health benefits, but I'll focus on teething pain only this time. This ancient spice offers some amazing antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. As most of us probably know, anti-inflammatory properties are crucial in reducing the painful swelling. [23]

Ingesting dry cinnamon is dangerous, especially for children and persons with bronchopulmonary diseases. [4] Some parents give their baby a cinnamon stick to gnaw on, others rub the powder on a child's gums, but I prefer adding it to my daughter's fruit puree. This way, I don't have to be afraid that she might choke, and we still get all the benefits, plus her purees are way more aromatic and tasty.

Cinnamon can boost learning abilities. A study conducted on mice showed that cinnamon can turn slow learning mice into fast learners [5].

Turmeric

Same as with cinnamon, turmeric is rich in analgesic and anti-inflammatory agents — especially curcumin — that can prevent your baby getting sick after picking viruses/bacteria from dirty items that she constantly puts into her mouth due to the teething discomfort. [6]

The Journal of Natural Science, Biology and Medicine suggests that turmeric has impressive health benefits including the healing of inflamed gums. [7]

Cardamom

The essential oils in cardamom impede the growth of bacteria and viruses. Like turmeric, cardamom's close relative, cardamom offers analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties that help with pain and swelling, especially in the mouth and mucous membranes. [8]

It is also believed that this spice used mostly within Indian cookery cleanses the mouth thoroughly.

Why should you avoid clove oil for teething pain?

Throughout the history, cloves and clove oil have been in use for different kinds of toothaches, including teething pain. A few companies are selling clove oil specially made for teething pain, but I’m not sure I’d use this on my child because of the oil's well-known strength and numbing effect. The numbing sensation of clove oil comes from eugenol — a chemical compound often found in insecticides and mosquito repellents.

A study published in 2006 in the Journal of Dentistry showed that cloves worked just as well as benzocaine in relieving toothache, but just knowing how strong the oil repels me from using it on the baby. All the more, high doses of eugenol are toxic to the liver, and who can be certain what is the right dose for a baby. [910]

On the other hand, dried cloves are highly praised and considered one of the healthiest spices full of antioxidants when used by adults. This herb often takes place among the top five with the highest levels of antioxidants among dried spices. [11] Regardless of its benefits for adults, and being a part of most "natural teething remedies" lists, I'd stay away from the plant when it comes to teething pain and children in general just to be on a safe side. You know — safety first!

The bottom line

Being parts of different cultures and generations also brings different approaches when it comes to teething remedies. It's all fine as far as we don't endanger our children.

Too salty or too spicy meals can cause discomfort to your teething child because the tissue around the tooth that slowly emerges is tender and painful. Make sure you don't go overboard with these as sometimes less is more. There's a difference in hot and aromatic spices, and the aforementioned spices are all from the aromatic category. Wait until the child is a bit older to introduce hot spices.

Make sure that your spices are fresh; if they're a few years old they may be having things living inside that you don't want anywhere near your child!

Disclosure

I wouldn't recommend any of the spices and herbs from this list for younger babies. If your child is older than a year, then it's safe for him to eat the majority of adults' foods, but if you have a four-month-old who's cutting her first tooth, you can try gum massage, a teething ring, or anything from the list of natural teething remedies.

Give your teething child a lot of love and care because love is the most powerful pain reliever. No kidding! Hugs and kisses produce endorphins, or „the happiness hormone,“ a chemical known for reducing our perception of pain. [12]

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