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Healthy Cooking

Sonia Mazumdar

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Spices and Condiments in our Daily use with their Medicinal Value

Here are enlisted few of the daily used spices and condiments in our food along with their medicinal value: Cayenne Peppers; red chillies; lalmirch: It is used in Ayurvedic medicines to reduce phlegm and inflammation in the Kapha doshas. It cures dyspepsia and in combination with ginger (sunthi/ dried adrak) and rhubarb (amlavet / revandchini) it is useful in rheumatism (joint pain).

Coriander Leaves: (Cilantro or hara dhania). This fragrant and cooling herb is grown profusely in South America, India, and most tropical climates. The cooling energy of cilantro is used to reduce high Pitta conditions, and the cilantro juice is used to neutralize the poisons of snakebites and insect stings. These leaves are good for all three doshas. It is diuretic and is useful in urinary infections.

Boil a handful of dhania leaves in two cups of water. Boil till one fourth of it is left. Drink this decoction in sore throat, acidity, bloating stomach, flatulence, indigestion and vomiting.

Ginger Root: This rhizome has been used in both Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine for over five thousand years. Native to Asia, ginger is widely used throughout Indian cuisine. Ginger has heating, cleansing, and stimulating properties. It is used in digestive problems, muscular pains, and constipation. It used in various curries, dals, and is best for Vata and Kapha types. Ginger and rock salt if taken before meals increase appetite. Ginger juice rubbed on and around the naval cures all kinds of diarrhea.

Anardana:dried seeds of pomegranate: this is useful in all the three doshas. Syrup of anar is useful in malaria. The fruit itself is useful to treat anaemia. It increases appetite, promotes digestion and is useful in vomiting.

Lemon: Nimbu: nimbu reduces the excessive Kapha and vata disorders and inturn increases Pitta. It is used in all kinds of digestive disorders. Asafetida: Known as hing, asafetida is a highly pungent dried gum resin obtained from the ferula plant. It is used in Ayurvedic medicines as well as in South Indian cuisine. Ayurvedic pharmacologists give it to br**st-feeding mothers to cleanse and increase milk. This resin is used sparingly in foods for Vata and Kapha types.

Rock Salt: Sendha namak. A salt mined in its crystalline form from the underground dry seabeds. Recommended by Ayurveda for use with cooking foods, rock salt has the highest mineral content of any salt. Cooling in Energy, it has an unusual oxidizing property not present in sea salt. Even when salt is prohibited in a diet, Ayurveda permits a certain quantity of rock salt. Rock salt is good for all types; it is best for Vata, and for occasional use by Pitta and Kapha types.

Camphor: (Kacha karpoor). This edible crystalline compound is obtained by distillation of the fragrant leaves of the Indian and Chinese evergreen. Very tiny pieces of this raw and natural camphor are used to flavor milk beverages, puddings, and sweets. This crystal is also used in Ayurvedic medicine in Kapha remedies. Inhale camphor vapors to relieve headache and cold.

Black pepper: kali mirch: this is used in disease aggravated by Kapha and vata. It is useful in allergic rhinitis (cold and flu due to allergy), cough with sputum (expectorant cough) and shortness of breath (asthma). In case of toothache or infected teeth, powder few grains of black pepper and apply on teeth as a tooth powder and then gaggle.

Black Cumin: Shah Jeera or royal cumin. Often called kala Jeera. Black cumin grows abundantly as a wild annual of the Himalayas. The seed is black, slender, and is closely related to the common cumin seed. This glorious seed may be used by all three doshas.this in combination with safed Jeera is used in lactating mothers to promote br**st feed.

Cumin: Jeera or safed Jeera. This ancient spice is a relative of caraway. Its golden aromatic seeds are used in cooking throughout India. They are dry-roasted and either ground into powder or coarsely crushed for vegetable dishes and dals. The energy of cumin is suitable to all three doshas. In renal stone i.e. stone in kidney 5 Gms powder of safed Jeera mixes with sugar should be given daily before breakfast.

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