Benefits of spices in Ayurvedic cooking
Spices are herbs that affect multiple systems in our body including our gut, airways, metabolism, muscles, skin and bones. These spices and what we eat can help us heal ourselves. Ayurveda believes food is the best medicine and that the kitchen is our pharmacy. According to Ayurveda, moderation is key, it’s not recommended to overuse any herbs, even the superfoods.
Before deciding which spices to use it’s important to know which ones are best for your body type. You can take the Dosha Quiz to find out your predominant dosha, and we can identify imbalances in an online Ayurvedic consultation.
We have prepared some general information for you on five principal spices. For children and pregnant women, the body’s physiology is a bit different so make sure you consult with an Ayurvedic physician to get the best results.
Coriander, turmeric and cinnamon are moderate spices while ginger and pepper are more potent herbs. These are some of the spices that we used in Oneworld Ayurveda’s Detox & Reboot online program.
Gingerol is known for improving gastric motility that helps the passage of food through the digestive tract and suppresses muscle spasms, cramps, bloating, heaviness and nausea.
Gargling warm water with ginger and turmeric helps to reduce throat infection and earaches.
You can include ginger slices in cooking or make simple teas. Drinking ginger tea helps to reduce inflammatory aches and pains, opens up the sinuses, reduces headaches and improves fat metabolism.
Pepper comes in two varieties black and white. Both have almost similar medicinal properties but black pepper is little more potent so only a pinch of it is recommended in cooking and teas.
Pepper is also good for digestion, prevents cancer by detoxifying the body and helps in weight loss. This spice has its best effect on our respiratory system by reducing excess mucous secretions that creatine congestion. It helps in improving our immune system function as it’s an anti-infectious herb which is also a blood cleanser. Pepper can be used in day-to-day life by adding it to soups, curries, stir fried vegetables and herbal teas.
As pepper is one of the stronger spices, limited doses are recommended.
A herb with a nice aroma that’s rich in active compounds that improve our health. Cinnamon is renowned for its effect on our mind as it can help reduce cravings for excess sugar, alcohol and cigarettes.
Its rich antioxidants help to improve cardiac health by balancing cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of diabetes by improving hormonal health.
Cinnamon powder or sticks can be used based on their availability. You can add cinnamon to teas, while making porridge, or even in fruit juices and smoothies.
Coriander teas or water boiled with few coriander seeds support the kidneys. It helps to reduce oedema or swelling, water retention and heaviness in the body. Coriander helps to reduce the risk of recurrent urinary tract infections and bacterial growth in the female genital tract. As coriander is a well-known diuretic it helps in detoxing the body, balances high blood pressure and reduces fatigue. It can be used at any age even for children and in pregnancy as it’s not a pungent spice.
Drinking water boiled with coriander that’s kept overnight can help to reduce hot flashes and brings calmness to the mind. You can use dry seeds, powder or fresh coriander leaves.
Turmeric is popularly known as the golden spice. It is rich in antioxidants, anti-cancerous, anti-inflammatory and anti-infectious active compounds.
It can be used internally and externally. Curcumin is best absorbed in our body in the presence of pepper. Drinking turmeric tea with a ginger slice helps to reduce seasonal allergies, improves lung health, and eases inflammatory pain in the joints and muscles.
Applying the paste of turmeric externally on the skin settles down acne, pimples, insect bites and local inflammatory swellings. Turmeric is a blood cleanser that improves the skin health reducing skin allergies and skin disease like eczema.
Dr. Resmi V. Rajagopal, BAMS, MS (Ayurveda Gynec), PGDYNDr Resmi is a versatile Ayurveda doctor from Kerala, India. She received her Bachelor’s degree from Pankajakasthuri Ayurveda Medical College and her Master’s Degree from Jamnagar college in Ayurveda Gynecology & Pregnancy Care. Dr Resmi joined the Oneworld Ayurveda team in 2018. Read more »
Dr. Ninnu Sudarshan, BAMSDr. Ninnu Sudarshan received his degree B.A.M.S. of Ayurveda from the renowned Pankajakasthuri Ayurveda Medical College in Kerala, India, the cradle of Ayurveda. Dr. Ninnu was the Ayurvedic consultant in the Kottakal Ayurveda clinic in Kollam and worked in the Arya Vaidya Pharmacy in Coimbatore. He is a leading figure as Resident Doctor of Oneworld Ayurveda. Read more »
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