Flavorful spices have always been an integral part of Indian cooking. An entire sub-branch of Ayurveda, Svasthavritta, is dedicated to the science of healthy living. It includes the usage of medicinal spices for activating body energies, building immunity, and preventing diseases.
In this article, we have assembled and put down together a list of the top five must-have kitchen spices
A lot of people wrongly believe that Indian food is synonymous with Ayurvedic food. Although both of them share some of the same ingredients, standard, modern Indian fare takes a lot longer to prepare, because it involves a lot more ingredients that are intended to stimulate one’s taste buds.
Ayurvedic meals have fewer ingredients, take considerably less time to prepare, and usually taste a lot fresher, and as they bring out the natural flavors of our foods. They are also designed to stimulate the taste buds, as Ayurveda teaches that digestion starts with the sight and smell of food.
Here are the five Ayurvedic spices that will surely amaze you consistently, so here are the recommended herbs and spices for every kitchen have:
- Cumin Seeds
- Ajwain Seeds or Bishop’s Weed or Cimon Seeds
- Rock Salt
1. Cumin Seeds
In Sanskrit cumin means ‘Digester’. It is one of the most used spices in the Indian kitchen. There is not a single savory in Ayurveda meal that can be made without adding cumin seeds. Cumin herbs help in digesting the existing toxins in the body. These seeds are such great overall digestive aid, which helps prevent all sorts of digestive issues and disorders from cropping up, to begin with. Cumin seeds are especially beneficial for diarrhea and vomiting. Another advantage of cumin seed is that it helps in purifying the breast milk for lactating mothers.
Turmeric is also known as the ‘Golden Herb’ of Ayurveda and is used extensively throughout the world for its healing properties. Turmeric consists of properties that have the ability to balance out the three doshas of the body- Vata, Pitta, and Kapha while reducing the ama or the toxins in the system. It serves as an appetizer for food and helps in boosting immunity, preventing many future health problems.
The consumption of turmeric is not restricted to oral intake but turmeric can be also applied externally. External application of turmeric provides relief from all kinds of itching and greatly aids in the process of wound healing. In Indian households, turmeric is such a go-to item for topical application onto wounds that Johnson & Johnson also created a special turmeric-infused band-aid! It is often recommended that clients should drink warm milk with turmeric to help reduce swelling and otherwise aid in the healing of post-injury physical traumas.
When turmeric is applied externally, it provides the additional benefit of enhancing your complexion and therefore is often used to help beautify brides-to-be before their weddings in India.
3. Ajwain Seeds or Bishop’s weed or Carom Seeds
When one is in pain, they reach out for ajwain seeds. This has become each girl’s mantra for the (much rarer) instances that they experience menstrual cramps. It consists of an almost instantaneous benefit of soothing pain and is completely natural and has eliminated the need for the once-a-month addiction of taking painkillers during periods.
If you are suffering from bloating and gas-related pains? Ajwain is also the answer to it. Ajwain seeds can be consumed regularly, as part of the daily diet. Doing so will help in preventing gas and bloating in the first place, and is something that the Ayurveda practitioner often recommends to their clients who are having chronic gas-related problems. When one is suffering acutely from gas, bloating, or any kind of stomach pain, they should boil ajwain seeds in water and then drink it once the water cools to a temperature they can comfortably consume.
Those who have heart-related conditions should not have ajwain, however, as it is considered quite healing to the body. If you are in doubt if you suffer from heart issues, you should consult an Ayurveda practitioner.
One of the most amazingly delicious herbs in the kitchen spice box is cardamom. You can simply consume it by adding a dash of it into the milk, once you do that trust me there is no going back. This spice is what helps make Indian and other types of sweets taste so sweet, and benefits hyperacidity.
Also, Cardamom can help you fight bad breath as one of its actions in the body is cleansing the mouth.
The major action of cardamom in the body is to reduce nausea. It can also be given to babies by being mixed with honey or lukewarm water to those who are suffering from coughing accompanied by vomiting.
5. Rock Salt
Have you ever thought that your standard salt could be a culprit in preventing you from losing needed weight? Well yes, It can. The reason for this is that the normal salt that the majority of us consume comes from the sea and which is why it is called “sea salt”, and hence has a lot of water in it. Ayurveda practitioners always recommend their clients who are interested in weight loss to consume Himalayan rock salt instead of sea salt. As the rock salt comes from land, rather than the sea, it will not create the same kind of water retention and weight gain that regular sea salt can create.
As per the Ashtanga Hrdayam Sutrasthana, Chapter Six, Verse 144, rock salt has the additional advantage of kindling the digestive fire (with a balanced digestive fire being the key to good health in Ayurveda), and also prevents burning, along with many skin conditions.
The above-stated five Ayurvedic spices have all contributed to making the kitchen like a magical medical clinic, and which truly makes us feel empowered to create as much health as we want to.
Try adding one or all of these spices into your meal and you, too, and then you can also begin to experience some of the magic, health, and empowerment that the amazing science of Ayurveda blesses us with.