Being an Indian American I know for sure that our Indian cuisine takes immense pride in the vivid use of Indian spices. Indian food is the fourth favorite cuisine in the world and the credit goes to the most exotic Indian spices used in preparing this flavorful cuisine. These Indian spices not only imparts the flavor and aroma to the dishes but are also known for their medicinal properties. Ayurveda – the ancient medical science from India has been using these Indian spices in manufacturing the Ayurvedic medicines since thousands of years. Let’s see here 5 Indian spices which have known medicinal properties and if used in moderation can be pretty beneficial.
- Cinnamon– Cinnamon is known for its aroma and flavor. It is used in a dish to enhance the flavor and to add the aroma. It is also added in desserts mainly in powdered form. Several small studies have linked cinnamon to better blood sugar levels. Some of this work shows it may curb blood sugar by lowering insulin resistance. Cinnamon is used to give relief from indigestion, common cold and diarrhea.
- Cloves– Cloves are very popular in Indian households not only to be used in cooking but also as a treatment for tooth aches. Due its anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties cloves and Clove oils are used to relieve tooth ache. It’s one of the ingredients in organic toothpastes also. Cloves can also relieve you from vomiting, upset stomach and indigestion. So next time you feel a little bilious try cloves to relieve the symptoms.
- Cardamom– Cardamom is the spice which has very intense aroma and taste. It is used in small amount to enhance the flavor. Cardamom is used in both sweet and savory dishes. The medicinal properties of these green pods are immense and traditional medicine has been using cardamom for centuries. Cardamom can be helpful to people with high blood pressure, it may help fight cancer cells, may help with digestive problems and also helps in relieving nausea. Cardamom is often used as breath freshener as it eliminates bad breath specially after having food.
- Turmeric– Turmeric is a spice which is used in Indian cooking to give a golden yellow color in the dish. But turmeric has been used in Indian Ayurvedic medicines since thousands of years. The compound found in turmeric is called curcumin, which has powerful anti-inflammatory properties and is an antioxidant. Due to its anti-inflammatory characteristics and it being a strong antioxidant turmeric has shown support in reducing the joint pains caused by arthritis. Turmeric supplements has shown results in improving heart conditions. In India turmeric has also been used since ancient times in treating skin related problems like acne, blemishes and pigmentation.
- Black Pepper– Black pepper is a widely used spice throughout the world. It has sharp and mild flavor which makes it best to use with most of the dishes which needs an extra pungency. Black peppers are an excellent source of antioxidants and have anti-inflammatory characteristics. Due to these properties Ayurveda has been using peppercorns in the medicines since thousands of years. Black pepper aids in digestion, congestion and relieves constipation. Black pepper is rich in vitamin B and produces calcium.
Though the Indian spices are known for their health benefits and has been used in traditional medicines since a very long time, but before taking any of the herbal supplements or taking these spices to gain health benefits always consult your doctor first. The studies and researches in this direction are small and limited and it’s always better to get advices from your doctor especially if one is on certain medications.