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Nutrition

Herbs & Spices for Kids: What’s Safe and what’s not?

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  • November 18, 2020
  • MKB Team

How to use food & spices in your child's food?

India is renowned as the land of herbs and spices which have been the bane of Indian cooking for centuries. The miraculous healing properties of these are legendary. Spices like turmeric, cumin, asafoetida, chilli, carom seeds, holy basil, cinnamon etc. in everyday cooking play a vital role in the health of our little ones. It is only befitting that we learn more about this traditional wisdom and pass on the knowledge to our children.      

Spices you Must include in your child’s food

  1.  
  2. Cumin: A commonly known kitchen herb, cumin is renowned for its therapeutic qualities. Sprinkle as powder in lemonade or over yoghurt. Cumin aids digestion and detoxification, improves immunity, and stops respiratory infections.

  3.  
  4. Turmeric: Turmeric is one of the best antibiotics. Its anti-viral and anti-fungal properties are used to cure throat and respiratory infections, cold cough and viral fever. It treats bruises and is also used as a cosmetic to brighten skin. 
  5.  
  6. Chilli/Pepper: The nutrients in Chilli/Pepper keep away cold, kill harmful gut bacteria, dissolve mucous accumulation in lungs and improve immunity.
  7.  
  8. Asafoetida/Hing: Hing or asafoetida is used as a digestive herb and prevents gas, cure bloating and flatulence. It’s also used in sabzis and curries.    
  9.  
  10. Fresh Herbs: Use fresh herbs like coriander, mint, parsley, basil, tulsi, thyme, rosemary etc. moderately in your child’s diet. Packed with the goodness of vitamin A, iron, folic acid, B12 precursors and chlorophyll, these herbs bring about improved eyesight, glowing skin, luscious hair and strong bones.
  11.  

How to Use Herbs and Spices

You can include herbs and spices in your child’s food. Herbs and spices give food its flavour and taste. They also create a lovely aroma that should cajole your young ones to eat. Also, herbs and spices contain beneficial phytonutrients and antioxidants that keep the little body strong. However, follow one rule of thumb: Don’t give any herbs and spices to babies under 8 months.

Herbal baths are a great idea as the child’s skin can absorb the amazing healing properties of the herb.

Great ideas for adding herbs and spices to baby food

Fruit

Bananas: Try a pinch of cinnamon, ginger, allspice, or vanilla powder.

Cooked apple: A pinch of cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, or ginger.

Pears: A pinch of ginger, cinnamon, or even mint!

Vegetables

Sweet potato: A pinch of nutmeg, cinnamon or cardamom.

Carrots: A pinch of cinnamon, coriander, cumin, curry, dill, fennel, garlic, ginger, mace, nutmeg, paprika, parsley, or rosemary.

Green beans or Broccoli: A pinch of basil, chives, curry, dill, garlic, ginger, marjoram, oregano, rosemary, sage, tarragon or thyme.

Cereals/Grains & Dairy

Pasta: A pinch of oregano, garlic, basil.

Oats: A pinch of cinnamon, nutmeg or a little vanilla.

Rice (sweet): A pinch of cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla, cardamom, or ginger.

Rice or Quinoa (savory): A pinch of black pepper, basil, oregano and others parsley, coriander, chives, dill and tarragon.

Plain Yogurt: A pinch of mint, cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla, ginger, allspice, cardamom.

When to use the herbs and spices?

As salt and sugar should be avoided before a child is one year old, adding a little spice and/or herbs is a great way to add flavour and introduce kids to herbs and spices.

What are the top Herbs and Spices?

Great herbs to introduce from first foods include parsley, coriander, mint, basil, rosemary or thyme. For spices, try cinnamon, dried ginger or nutmeg, or even a little cumin or turmeric.

The best and safest herbs for kids

  1. Calendula

This flowering herb is easy-to-grow and is a remedy for skin problems like eczema, dry and itchy skin, red and inflamed skin, wounds and bug bites. The anti-fungal properties of Calendula help soothe and heal diaper rash, thrush or cradle cap.

 

Method:

Make a bath out of the flowers and have your child soak in it for about 10 minutes. There are home recipes for making calendula creams and lotions, and the blossom can be used in cooking.

 

  1. Echinacea

Echinacea boosts the immune system and relieves cold, flu, and also ear infections.

 

Method:

The best way to administer this to your child is by adding the recommended dosage of the drops in their food or juice. You can also make a bath from the dried or fresh herbs.

 

  1. Chamomile

Chamomile is a healing wonder. It calms and relaxes the nervous system, aids the digestive system, soothes the tummy, relieves anxiety, fights diarrhoea, colic, acid reflux, and infections, boosts the immune system, helps heal wounds, and relieves irritated skin.

 

Method:

A chamomile bath calms a child before bed, and light chamomile tea is also good for children. 

 

  1. Astragalus

Astragalus enhances the functioning of the immune system, increasing a child’s resistance to catching diseases.

Method:

Add a slice of the root to a cup of water to make tea, or add it to stews, soups, or your pot of rice. The root itself is not consumed, but releases its beneficial properties when it’s boiled.

  1. Elderberries and Elderflowers

This is a great herb to protect and cure your child from cold, cough, nasal congestion, bacterial and viral infections, and flu.

Method:

You can give Elderberry syrup to your child occasionally to support his/her delicate immune system. A bath with Elderflowers is also beneficial.

We hope you found this article useful. Do write in if you have any useful tips to share regarding herbs & spices for kids.

 

Some frequently asked questions have been answered below for you!

You ask and we answer!

 

Q. 1 Can kids take herbs? (Farida Syed, Hyderabad.)

Aromatic ones like cinnamon, nutmeg, garlic, turmeric, ginger, coriander, dill and cumin are perfect to introduce to children, even in infancy after 6 months.

Q. 2 What herbs are safe for babies? (Anjali Usgaonkar, Mumbai.)

Calendula.

Echinacea.

Chamomile.

Astragalus.

Elderberries and Elderflowers.

 

Q. 3 What are the best herbs and spices for kids?(Malti Ramani, Chennai.)

Great herbs to introduce from first foods include parsley, coriander, mint, basil, rosemary or thyme. For spices, try cinnamon, dried ginger or nutmeg, or even a little cumin or turmeric.

 

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MKB Team

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