Health Benefit of Indian Spices

Ayurveda is the science of life. There are plenty of Nighantus in ayurveda which deliver an ocean of knowledge about ayurvedic herbs and their health benefits. Ayurveda physicians are very well acquainted with such herbs and deliver treatment to their patients according to their illnesses. But many of these herbs are used by common man in his day-to-day life as a food supplement in the form of spices for preparing food. These spices add an amazing flavor to food. But apart from the flavor that they add, they also possess great medicinal properties. Spices have delicious taste. They help to improve digestion, strenghthen senses, give good complexion and a healthy weight. They are easily digested. The use of spices stimulates the secretion of digestive enzymes. Following are the 10 common spices used in preparing food items with their medicinal properties:

Turmeric (Haldi)
It is a very good complexion enhancing agent. Mixing turmeric with milk and applying it externally helps to enhance the complexion and hence it’s a common practice to apply turmeric to to be brides in Indian culture. If such a mixture of haldi and milk is taken internally it helps to relieve cough and soar throat. Also, turmeric can be applied externally on a bleedin wound to stopbleeding.

Asafoetida (Hinga)
It is a very common spice found in every Indian kitchen. But it has many medicinal properties. It is best for relieving abdominal distension, abdominal pain, cramps and gases. It is alsouseful in worm infestation. Asafoetida is also given in delayed or difficult menstruation.

Cloves (Lavanga)
A very common health benefit of cloves known is that it relieves cough. Apart from relieving cough, it also acts as an expectorant. It is helpful in nausea, vomiting, colds, indigestion hiccups, headache. Clove oil is very helpful in relieving toothache. It is also considered as an aphrodisiac and it helps in promoting sexual activity.

Cumin (Jeera)
It is carminative and stimulant. It is helpful in colitis, gas, digestion, abdominal pain, distention.

Black pepper (Meere/maricha)
It is Pungent in taste. It acts as stimulant, carminative, decongestant, expectorant. It burns up toxins. It is useful in colds, flu, cough, gargle for sore throats, feveretc. It digests fat and thus is helpful in obesity. It helps in expectoration of mucus, sinus congestion. It also clears kapha from the system in the morning.

Mustard (Mohri)
It is stimulant, analgesic and expectorant. It clears head and sinuses, chronic colds and coughs. If an external paste is applied for 10 minutes, it is useful in chest troubles, blisters, inflammatory nerve disorders, pain and swelling of joints, oedema, abdominal colic and pain etc. it is also useful to obstinate vomiting, in gout, sciatica, urtiaria and arthritis.

Nutmeg (Jatiphal/jaayphal)
It is the best sedative of all spices. It is stimulant, carminative and astringent. It is useful for abdominal pain, dysmennorhoea, insomnia, poor absorption(especially in small intestine), abdominal distention, incontinence,diarrhea, dysentery, impotence,mental disorders. Decoction prepared in milk is useful for nervousness, anxiety and hysteria.

Garlic (Lasun)
It is digestive, carminative, laxative. It is very helpful in kapha related disorders. It has anti-helminthic property and can be used against worm infestation. It is helpful in abdominal pain and distention, indigestion and loss of appetite. If it is roasted with ghee, it helps to relieve kapha disorders and indigestion. The oil present in garlic helps to get rid of pus-cells in mucus.The oil is also used as an anti-tuberculosis agent.

Ginger (Aala/sunth)
It is commonly used in every household. Ginger is very helful in digestion. Therefore, it is recommended that a small quantity of ginger with salt should be taken everyday half an hour before both meals. This helps to increase the digestive power. It is very useful in coughs and cold. A small quantity of juice should begiven along with honey to relieve cough. It also helps to obstinate vomiting.

Cardamom (Ela/Elaichi)
It is most commonly used as a mouth-freshner. It helps to get rid of nausea and vomiting. It also is carminative and helps in cough. It is useful in abdominal distension, indigestion and absominal pain. The decotion helps in relieving excessive thirst.

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More by :  Dr. Akshata Donde

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