Imagine your food without any spices. Unimaginable, is it? We can easily put it this way; wherever you find an Indian you will find spices. No wonder, when food giants from across the world come to India, they have to add an Indian twist to their menu.
Right from the kitchen and medicinal uses in homes spices have an important role to play in different places. As India is blessed with a varied climate each of its state produces some spice or the other. No wonder why spices are used so extensively for cooking in India. Not only in India but also in some other countries spices are considered to be of great use.
Apart from adding colour, flavour and taste, consumption of spices provide infinite health benefits. You 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 even medicines. Have a quick overview of Indian spices, their uses and 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 flavour 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 flavour 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 flavour to the food.||The antioxidants present in chilli help to cope with cholesterol. It also helps burning calories|
|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 coriander seeds are used in cooking. It also has some medicinal uses.||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.|
|Cumin (Zeera)||It is used for cooking and it also possesses medicinal properties.||It is a good source or iron and keeps immune system healthy. Water boiled with cumin seeds is good for coping with dysentery.|
|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 seed tea or sweet fudge is good for increasing breast milk. It also helpful for treating diabetes and lowering cholesterol|
|Garlic (Lassan)||It is used for cooking as well as for the medicinal purpose.||It is useful for coping with cough and cold. It also has antibiotic properties.|
|Ginger (Adrak)||It is used for giving a specific flavour to food and has many medicinal uses.||Helps to avoid digestive problems. It is beneficial for coping with cough and cold.|
|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|
|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.||It helps deal with skin problems. Turmeric powder can be used for healing cuts and wounds. It also makes coping with diabetes easier.|
Spices are used and imported from India since ages. Many of these spices like cardamom, clove, nutmeg, ginger etc., are inseparable ingredients of the Indian 'Masala Chai'. This shows that spices form the basis of not only food in India but also for making a good cup of tea.
Though these spices provide innumerable benefits they should be used sparingly. The excessive use of spices in food can cause harm to the health. Try to make specific use of these spices. This will help you to make optimal use of the resources provided by nature. Strike the right balance and add some spice to your life.
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- The Indiaparenting Team