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It’s disheartening to see your baby cry and writhe in agony due to colic pain. Mothers often don’t know what to do, but what if we told you that the remedy lies in your kitchen? Hing, or asafoetida, is an Indian superfood that is popular for its colon cleansing properties. Used as a kitchen staple in Indian dishes, it is often touted as ‘The Food of the Gods’ and hailed as a natural remedy for stomach aches and colic relief.
Let’s explore its benefits and what it offers to your little one.
Is Hing Safe for Infants?
Hing is safe for infants, but not orally as their digestive system is very weak. Since this spice has a strong taste and medicinal properties, it is best applied as a paste, gently massaged or rubbed on your little one’s tummy, but only around the navel. Remember that babies below the age of 10 months should not be fed hing, even with lukewarm water, due to their underdeveloped immune systems. It may also cause blood disorders in young ones.
When and How to Introduce Hing in Your Baby’s Diet
Home experts recommend adding hing to your baby’s diet after he crosses 10 months of age. Don’t feed it to your baby if he is under 10 months old, and been experiencing stomach gas. Just gently massage the tummy area with a paste made of hing in a clockwise manner, around the navel, and let it stay for a bit. Once it dries, it’s time to make your baby start burping to relieve the stomach pain instantly. After that, just wipe the stomach area using a wet washcloth. You may also give a warm water bath to your baby after a few hours or before putting him to sleep.
For babies above 10 months of age, you can add a tiny pinch of the spice in his meals, soups, salads, purees, lentils, and even beverages like buttermilk.
Hing – Uses and Benefits for Babies
Time to talk about its benefits. Here’s what your little one gets with the goodness of hing.
1. Cures Stomach Aches
If you’re picky about using pharmaceutical drugs or popping pills, try applying a paste of warm water and hing on your baby’s stomach. Stomach aches make your baby cry uncontrollably, and hing is known to possess potent anti-bacterial properties which can regulate the imbalances in the stomach lining. It may provide relief from gas and acidity.
2. Improves Oral Health
There are millions of microorganisms that may enter your child’s mouth, and be hazardous to his oral health. Hing’s antiseptic and antimicrobial properties can help treat toothaches, cavities, and also prevent bleeding gums, and bad breath.
3. Promotes Proper Digestion
Hing promotes proper digestion. Consistent bowel movements mean a healthy digestive system, and to give your little one a kickstart, apply some asafoetida paste around the navel area. This home remedy can also help treat constipation in babies.
4. Improves Appetite
Hing is a grounding herb, and according to ancient Ayurveda, it is known to balance a hyperactive digestive system. It contains anti-oxidising and anti-inflammatory properties that cleanse intestinal flora and removing stagnant food from the digestive tracks. Its soothing effect on the stomach lining promotes appetite, reduces spasms, and assists in eliminating abdominal distention.
5. Treats Colic Aches
Colic aches are best treated by using hing in the initial or mild stages. Try applying some hing paste and massaging the belly. Although it will provide relief from the pain, it won’t work as an immediate cure if the colic ache is at a severe stage, in which case, you need to take your baby to a paediatrician for a thorough check-up.
6. Works As a Natural Enzyme
There are thousands of enzyme supplements available in the market, but why not let food be your medicine, just the way the Greek physician, Hippocrates II once said? Add a pinch of hing along with the other spices to your dishes and let the superfood work its magic.
7. Boosts Immunity
Low immunity is a major health issue in infants. Their immune systems are susceptible to viruses and infections since they are in their developing state. Hing is known to possess anti-bacterial, anti-viral and antiseptic properties, making it a must-have in your baby’s daily diet.
8. Remedy for Cold, Cough, Asthma, and Pneumonia
The spice can also be used to soothe cough in babies. A warm paste of hing and water can be applied on the baby’s chest for some relief from cold and cough. For older babies, it can also be used as a remedy for asthma, pneumonia, and whooping cough. A little bit of the spice can be added to hot water, and the vapours can be inhaled by those suffering from respiratory issues. Hing has been an important ingredient in Yunani and Ayurvedic medicines. It is, therefore, also used for wholesome healing by applying it externally and consuming it in foods.
Now you know how hing can benefit your little one. But, have you been wondering how to make the hing paste? Here’s how you can make some.
How to Make Hing Paste
Making hing paste is easy – just stir in a teaspoon of the spice in warm water and voila! You have your paste! You can use olive oil, ghee, or mustard oil also to make the paste and achieve the same results. For babies above 10 months of age, you can even try stirring in some hing in buttermilk and feeding it to your baby.
Although hing is considered a magical spice, it is essential for parents to be aware of certain things. The points given below will help take the right precautions when using hing as a remedy for your baby’s ailments.
Important Points to Consider While Using Hing for Baby
Here are some precautions and factors to consider before giving hing to your baby:
- If your baby starts crying after using this remedy, call a doctor or visit your paediatrician immediately.
- Always mix hing with lukewarm water, ghee, and milk, and do not add more than a pinch in your baby’s meals.
- Use a wet cotton ball to cover the centre of the navel area and make sure you don’t apply the paste there, especially when the umbilical cord hasn’t dried and fallen off.
- For babies below 10 months of age, do not let them eat, chew, swallow, or gulp down hing directly. Their digestive systems are underdeveloped during this stage and not capable of digesting the spice.
- Do not give your baby hing if he is under any blood thinners or blood pressure medications, and consult your doctor for alternative remedies instead.
Hing is nature’s cure when it comes to coughs, stomach aches, and colic aches. Although it’s not magic, hing works wonders when used long-term. If your baby is over 10 months old, you can use hing as natural protection against colic, stomach gas, and other digestion related problems.
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