Many of the spices and ingredients traditionally used in Indian cuisine have historically been associated with traditional medicine, and some are believed to have health benefits. Whilst we’ll let you decide how effectice they are (and none are a replacement for modern medicines), it is interesting to see all the research that is being done into these ancient spices and their chemical components.
Turmeric is the spice that gives curry its yellow colour. It has been used in India for thousands of years as a spice and medicinal herb. Turmeric contains curcumin, a chemical with powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Most studies used turmeric extracts that are standardized to include large amounts of curcumin. Arthritis is a common disorder characterized by joint inflammation. Many studies show that curcumin can help treat symptoms of arthritis and is in some cases more effective than anti-inflammatory drugs.
As a rich source of healthy carbohydrates, almonds can be a major boost to your energy, rather than the basic, simple sugars found in wheat flour.
Due to the nutrient density in almond, as compared to regular flour, it can help to fill you up more rapidly, and with better food, which can prevent overeating and help in general weight loss.
By eliminating the simple sugars of basic flour, almond flour may help regulate the release of glucose and insulin into the body. This is ideal for people with diabetes or those at high risk of developing the condition.
Ginger, also known as Zingiber officinale, is a flowering plant, whose root or rhizome is used as a spice. It can be consumed in many forms, fresh, dried, powdered, and in the form of oil and juice. In many places, it is mostly used in sweets and alcoholic beverages such as ginger beer and wine. You can make your own ginger tea by steeping grated ginger in boiled water. It is a natural cure for a sore throat, coughs, and colds. Ginger juice and ginger chews are other home remedies, often given to alleviate nausea and digestive problems.
Ginger has been discovered to be a facilitator of the digestive process. The elevated sugar levels after a meal may cause the stomach to reduce its natural rate of emptying its contents. Ginger may help in regulating high sugar levels and soothing the stomach, thus, maintaining its regular rhythm.
Tamarind has been a long-time folk remedy with a long list of uses, including treatment of sore throats and sunstroke. It may also have antibiotic and anti-inflammatory properties. Excellent source of vitamin B, vitamin C, potassium, magnesium, iron, thiamine, phosphorus, riboflavin, and fiber.
Basil is revered for its strong medicinal and healing properties in India. One can still see basil plants outside many Indian households, even outside the cramped urban flats. Holy basil is offered to Gods in the form of prasad.
Basil contains a range of natural antioxidants, which might help protect body tissues against free radical damage. To reduce the oxidative stress in the body, one must up the intake of antioxidants. Basil contains two important water-soluble flavonoid antioxidants, known as orientin and viceninare.
Human cultivation and use of saffron spans more than 3,500 years and extends across cultures, continents, and civilizations. Saffron, a spice derived from the dried stigmas of the saffron crocus (Crocus sativus), has through history remained among the world’s most costly substances. With its bitter taste, hay-like fragrance, and slight metallic notes, the apocarotenoid-rich saffron has been used as a seasoning, fragrance, dye, and medicine. Saffron can be used to make a delicious, relaxing tea
Curry leaves are the leaves of the curry tree, scientifically known as Murraya koenigii Spreng and belonging to the Rutaceae family. The plant is native to India and is usually found in tropical and subtropical regions. It is cultivated in various other countries such as China, Australia, Nigeria, and Ceylon. The height of the plant ranges from small to medium. The useful parts of this plant are its leaves, roots, and its bark.
Curry leaves are natural flavouring agents with a number of important health benefits, which make your food both healthy and tasty along with giving it a pleasant aroma. They contain various antioxidant properties and have the may help with diarrhoea, gastrointestinal problems such as indigestion, excessive acid secretion, peptic ulcers, dysentery, diabetes, and an unhealthy cholesterol balance.
Black pepper is the fruit of the black pepper plant from the Piperaceae family and is used as both, a spice and medicine. The chemical piperine, present in black pepper, causes the spiciness. It is native to Kerala, the southern state of India. It is not a seasonal plant and is, therefore, available throughout the year. When dried, this spice is referred to as a peppercorn. Because of its antibacterial properties, pepper is used to preserve food. Black pepper is also a very good anti-inflammatory agent.
In Ayurvedic practices, pepper is added to tonics for treating cold and cough. Pepper also provides relief from sinusitis and nasal congestion. It has an expectorant property that helps break up the mucus and phlegm depositions in the respiratory tract.
Consuming green chillies can help in the digestion process since it is very high in vitamin C. Also, foods that release saliva while chewing help in proper digestion of the food; thus eating green chillies aids in digestion. Helps in weight loss: since green chilli helps in burning the excess fats of the body, it helps in weight loss and thus increases the metabolism of your body. Spicy foods also make you feel “full” quicker!
There are three types of onions: yellow, red and white.
Onions probably originated in central Asia, in modern-day Iran and Pakistan. Prehistoric people probably ate wild onions long before farming was invented. Onions may have been among the earliest cultivated crops.
Onions also grew in Chinese gardens as early as 5,000 years ago, and they are referred to in the oldest Vedic writings from India. Onions may encourage a healthy heart in many ways, including lowering blood pressure and lowering heart attack risk.
The true bay leaf is scientifically known as Laurus nobilis, and this is the nutrient-rich variety that we us. Many other leaves have a similar appearance and aroma like true bay leaves, but not the same nutrient content. This plant is a small tree native to the Mediterranean region. When the essential oil of bay leaves is extracted, it can be mixed into a salve and applied to the chest to help alleviate various respiratory conditions.
Cardamom is a spice that originated in India, Nepal, and Bhutan. It is regarded as the queen of spices and is one of the most expensive spices, ranking third, the first and second being saffron and vanilla, respectively.
Cinnamon (Cinnamomum verum) is one of the most popular and recognized spices in the world, which is derived from the bark of a number of trees that fall within the Cinnamomic genus. Cinnamon bark has been used for flavouring both sweet and savoury dishes for thousands of years. “True cinnamon” is the species found in Sri Lanka.Two substances present in cinnamon, cinnamaldehyde and eugenol, can both actively prevent cancer cells from spreading. Cinnamon sticks have a naturally warming quality, which has made them useful for the treatment of the common cold and various forms of flu for generations. A cup of chai with a cinnamon stick in it is a wonderful when you have a heavy cold!
Cumin is extremely good for treating digestive problems. It is also a carminative, which means that it relieves you from gas troubles, and thereby, improves digestion and appetite. The very aroma of cumin, which comes from an organic compound called cuminaldehyde, activates the salivary glands in the mouth, which facilitates the primary digestion of food.