For centuries, Indian cooking has incorporated spices that are used specifically for their nutritional benefits and powerful healing properties. This practice has been influenced by Ayurveda, one of the oldest systems of medicine in the world, which places great emphasis on the specific healing attributes of different foods. A variety of spices are used as home remedies in common illnesses such as cold, cough, fever, influenza, upset stomach, aches and pains, bruises, burns and wounds. These spices are harvested from different parts of plants and trees such as flower, fruit, seed, root, leaf, and also the bark is used in medicinal preparations.
You probably already use some of these common spices in your cooking for flavor. Now you can incorporate them into your diet to specifically help treat your symptoms. Here are seven spices to consider:
We use it to add flavor in sauces and soups, but bay leaf can also help with digestion and colic in infants. And a compress of bay leaf is often used in India to reduce pain in strained or sprained ankles or other joints. It can also help with congestion of the chest and coughs.
In many parts of East India, a concoction made of black pepper and honey is taken each morning as preventive medicine against many common diseases. Black pepper has been extensively used in Ayurveda in the treatment of asthma, skin infections, cough, diarrhea, fever, gas, indigestion, rheumatoid arthritis, sinus congestion, and intestinal parasites.
Grown in South India, cardamom adds a great fragrance to food. It’s also known for its warming reactions in the body. Tea made with cardamom and other spices such as ginger, cloves, peppercorns and cinnamon, with a little honey can give quick relief to colds, coughs and mild fever. It can also help treat indigestion and gas.
Shown to have anti-inflammatory properties, cinnamon is useful in relieving arthritic pain and regulating blood sugar. This common spice may also be helpful in treating tooth decay and gum disease. It has long been used for relieving the congestion of colds and allergies.
Try these recipes that include cinnamon:
Thought to have great pain-reducing properties, cloves have been used to treat toothaches by applying clove oil to the gums and the area of the mouth. Additionally, cloves are known to relieve pain due to arthritis and insect bites. They have anti-fungal and anti-microbial properties and can prevent nausea and improve digestion.
Try these recipes that include clove:
Most popular for its anti-inflammatory properties, ginger is used in the treatment of common ailments such as nausea, colds, bronchitis, and influenza, and greatly helps in relieving the symptoms of allergies and menstrual cramps.
Try these recipes that include ginger:
This vibrant orange root of the plant, which is usually dried and powdered before use, is a powerful antiseptic and anti-bacterial and can be put on a wound to prevent infections and speed up the healing process. Turmeric has anti-inflammatory properties and can be helpful for joint pain when used on a daily basis.
Try these recipes that include turmeric:
Preparing Your Spices
I recommend purchasing whole organic spices whenever possible. Most whole spices benefit from a light dry toasting before grinding into the powdered form.The goal is to brown them without burning them. Warm a cast iron skillet to medium heat, add the spices and stir with a wooden spoon. Continue to toast until the spices turn to a golden brown color. After they have cooled, use a mortar and pestle or spice grinder to turn them into powder.
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Note: PLEASE consult with your doctor before making any changes to your diet or medications. The material on this site is provided for educational purposes only, and is not to be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.