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Magic of Spices

Imagine your food without any spices. Unimaginable, is it?

Right from the kitchen and medicinal uses in homes, spices have an important role to play in different places. India is blessed with a varied climate and each of its state produces some spice or the other. No wonder why spices are used so extensively for cooking in India. Now not only in India but also in most of the other countries spices are considered to be of great use.

Apart from adding color, flavor and taste, consumption of spices provides infinite health benefits. One can be more creative in use of spices if you know its uses better. Some may be a substitute for your costly beauty products and or even medicines.


USES & BENEFITS OF SPICES

Find below quick overview of Indian spices, their uses and benefits:

Spices

Uses

Benefits

Asafoetida (Hing)

It is used for seasoning food especially snacks and has medicinal uses.

A good remedy for whooping cough and stomach ache caused due to gas.

Bay leaf (Tez Patta)

It is used in cooking to add a specific flavor to food It also has some medicinal properties.

Bay leaf oil possesses antifungal and anti-bacterial

Cardamom (Elaichi)

It is used in most of the Indian and other sweet dishes to give a good flavor and smell. It is also used widely in pharmaceutical sector.

Helps to control bad breath and digestive disorder. A whole cardamom chewed is good for coping with diabetes.

Chilli (Lal Mirch)

It is a main ingredient used for adding hot flavor to the food.
Dry chilly is extensively used as spice in curried dishes. It is also used as an ingredient in curry powder and in seasonings. Bird chilly is used in making hot sauces as pepper sauce and Tabasco sauce.
This food is very low in Cholesterol and Sodium. It is also a good source of Vitamin C and Magnesium, and a very good source of Dietary Fiber, Vitamin B6, Iron, Potassium and Manganese.

The antioxidants present in chilli help to cope with cholesterol. It also helps burning calories. A simple ointment made by mixing ground chili peppers in a standard vitamin E cream can be used to stimulate blood flow to an area affected by arthritic pain, lumbago, rheumatism or neuralgia, but again it should be stressed that it is a mask for pain and not always a cure.
Capsicum has a tonic and carminative action; and used in Ayurvedic medicine to promote digestion and to soothe a sore throat. When grounded with coriander seeds and ginger, it soothes abdominal pain and nausea.

Cinnamon (Dalchini)

It is used for mainly for seasoning food and preparing masalas It has medicinal uses too.

It supports natural production of insulin and reduces blood cholesterol

Clove (Laung)

It is used as a cooking ingredient mainly for seasoning or preparing Masalas.

Clove oil is beneficial for coping with tooth ache and sore gums. It is also beneficial remedy for chest pains, fever, digestive problems, cough and cold.

Coriander (Dhaniya)

Coriander leaves as well as seeds are used in cooking. It also has some medicinal uses. It sweetens the breath, especially after eating garlic. As a medicinal plant, coriander has been used as an antispasmodic, carminative, stimulant, and stomachic.
Coriander has also exhibited hypoglycemic activity.

It can be used externally on aching joints and rheumatism. It is also good for coping with soar throat, allergies, digestion problems, hay fever etc. In Ayurvedic medicine, it is used to treat nosebleeds, coughs, hemorrhoids, scrofulous, painful micturation, edema, bladder complaints, vomiting, amoebic dysentery, and dizziness. The seeds can be made into poultices, lotions, or salves for external use to prevent infection of wounds and to ease muscle and joint aches. Coriander seed oil has antibacterial properties and is used for treating colic, neuralgia and rheumatism. The oil also counteracts unpleasant odours in pharmaceutical preparations and tobacco. It is used in perfumes, liqueurs and gin

Cumin (Zeera)

It is used for cooking and it also possesses medicinal properties. Oil of cumin is used as fragrances in perfume. The cumin seed is extensively used in mixed spices and for flavoring curries, soups, sausages, bread and cakes.
It is an ingredient of curry powder, pickles and chutneys.

It is a good source of iron and keeps immune system healthy. Water boiled with cumin seeds is good for coping with dysentery. As a medicinal plant, Cumin has been utilized as stomachic, diuretic, carminative, stimulant, astringent, emmenagogic and antispasmodic.
Cumin is valuable in dyspepsia diarrhea and hoarseness, and may relieve flatulence and colic. It is supposed to increase lactation and reduce nausea in pregnancy.
Used in a poultice, cumin relieves swelling of the breast or the testicles. Smoke in a pipe with ghee, it is taken to relieve the hiccups

Curry leaves(Curry Patta)

It is used as a main ingredient for seasoning in some countries. It has many medicinal uses.

These leaves are beneficial for reducing blood sugar. Each part of the plant provides some benefit or the other. The dried leaves are extensively used in herbal medicines.

Fenugreek (Methi)

It is mainly used as a green leafy vegetable and seeds are used for seasoning and preparing Masalas. It also has medicinal uses. Fenugreek seeds help lower blood sugar and reduce the need for insulin. It may also improve glucose tolerance and excretion. Fenugreek may also have beneficial effects on triglycerides.

Fenugreek seed tea or sweet fudge is good for increasing breast milk. It also helpful for treating diabetes and lowering cholesterol. Fenugreek and Digestive Aid - Fenugreek is used medicinally as a digestive aid .
Fenugreek in Anemia - It is useful in low blood pressure and anemia because of its high iron content.
Fenugreek Breastfeeding Benefits - The benefits of Organic fenugreek in breastfeeding stem from the diosgenin in its seeds, a compound similar to estrogen. As such it increases milk production and stimulates breast tissue growth in human as well as in cows.
Fenugreek and Cholesterol - The benefits of fenugreek may inhibit the absorption of cholesterol as well as decrease the amount of cholesterol

Garlic (Lassan)

It is used for cooking as well as for the medicinal purpose. Garlic is a natural immune system enhancer. The active properties, sulphur compound allicin, ajoene, allyl sulfides and vinyldithins, has been shown to kill 23 types of bacteria, including salmonella and staphylococcus. It can also kill 60 types of fungi and yeast.

It is useful for coping with cough and cold. It also has antibiotic properties. Garlic enhances the body's immunity from colds and flu.
Garlic has been proven effective in lowering blood pressure. The active ingredient allicin is effective in helping to promote proper circulation throughout the body.
Garlic can drop the level of cholesterol in the blood by 15% when taken for 2 months or more. When Garlic is taken as a supplement and combined with a positive diet change, blood cholesterol levels can drop enough to reduce heart attack risk by 30%.
Garlic can be safely taken for mild, recurring or chronic infections such as infections of the mouth, ears, throat, and colds.
Other benefits to using Garlic are stress reduction, blood purification, and anticoagulant effects.

Ginger (Adrak)

It is used for giving a specific flavour to food and has many medicinal uses. Supports healthy digestion, offering 180 times the protein digestive power of papaya. Contains at least 12 anti-aging constituents that inactivate free radicals.

Soothes digestion.
Supports blood platelet health and cardiovascular function.
Reduces inflammation.
Enhances natural resistance for cold and flu. It is used for abdominal bloating, coughing, vomiting, diarrhea, and for the treatment of inflammatory joint diseases, such as arthritis and rheumatism.

Mustard (Rye)

It is used for seasoning as well as green leafy vegetable. The use of mustard oil is extensive in India but it is banned in some countries.

Mustard oil is good for body massage and even for getting good hair. It consists of omega-3 fatty acids. It is an excellent source of iron, zinc, manganese, calcium, protein etc.

Nutmeg (Jaiphal)

It is used in powdered form for garnishing and also for masala preparation. It is used in soaps, perfumes and shampoos. It can also be used for medicinal purpose.

It is beneficial for the treatments of asthma, heart disorder and bad breath.

Pepper (Kaali Mirch)

It is extensively used in cooking, especially for garnishing. It is has many medicinal uses too.

It helps coping with cold, cough, infections etc. It helps to deal with muscle pains and digestive problems. Black Pepper has been used as carminative, reducing stomach and intestinal gas and has been found to stimulate the activities of the heart and kidneys. The Pepper fruits are acrid, bitter, carminative, aphrodisiac, diuretic, digestive and stimulant hence useful for arthritis, asthma, fever, cough, dysentery, dyspepsia and flatulence.
Also used in vertigo, paralytic and arthritic disorders.

Saffron (Zaffran/Kesar)

It is used for cooking as well as in beauty products. It is mainly used in sweet dishes. It has good medicinal properties.

It helps to cope with skin diseases. It is a good remedy for cough, cold and asthma.

Star anise (Chakra Phool)

It is used in cooking and for medicinal purpose

Star anise oil is beneficial for rheumatism. It is helpful for digestion and avoiding bad breath

Turmeric (Haldi)

It is used in cooking and skin care products. It has wide range medicinal uses. Turmeric is anti-viral, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-parasitic and anti-biotic. Turmeric keeps viruses from replicating. It kills staphylococcus and salmonella

It strengthens the digestive system, aids in the digestion of protein and normalizes metabolism. Turmeric is a blood purifier. It regulates blood sugar. It corrects anemia and restores poor circulation. Turmeric removes oxidized cholesterol - Preventing heart attack! Turmeric is also an anti-inflammatory. Turmeric helps keep your tendons, ligaments and joints moist, flexible and strong. Taken internally, it will help reduce pain and swelling from an injury or sprain.