Spices form an extremely crucial part of Indian cuisine and different types and quantities of spices give such different tastes to every Indian dish. Spices, in Ayurveda, is seen as a key ingredient to ensure balanced Agni (digestive fire) and reduce dama (toxins). The ‘beej-bhoomi’ theory of disease in Ayurveda considers indigestion and an increase of a ma in the body to be the root cause of most health issues. This issue can be easily tackled by inculcating spices in every meal. The beauty of spices is that they work gently and gradually, with the benefits adding up over time and no dangerous side effects.
- Turmeric (Haldi): Also known as the ‘golden spice of life’, turmeric is inarguably the most beneficial spice to have existed. It is an ultimate healer of internal diseases and external wounds. It has various therapeutic qualities: antioxidant, anti-tumoral/anti-cancerous, anti-microbial, anti-inflammatory, anti-hepatotoxic, anti-hyperlipidemia, and insect repellent effects.
- Cumin (Jeera): This spice aids in boosting the activity of digestive enzymes and facilitates the release of bile from the liver, speeding digestion and easing the digestion of fats. Studies have shown it to be extremely beneficial for gut problems such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), and has shown a reduction of its symptoms such as abdominal pain and bloating.
- Ginger (Adrak): Ginger helps to break down proteins relieving the stomach and intestines of gas and aiding digestion of fatty foods. This sweet and spicy root is one of the best elements that need to be added to food in order to improve agni and promote digestion. The warming quality of ginger root helps in relaxing muscles around blood vessels and stimulates circulation.
- Coriander (Dhania): Coriander is a cooling spice that can help with Pitta disorders and is, in general, a great spice for summers. It is usually helpful for gastric issues, chest pain, upper abdominal pain, bladder infections, rashes associated with leprosy, fever, and dysentery. A traditional Ayurvedic tea recipe is CCF tea (coriander, cumin, fennel) is tridoshic and commonly sipped during Ayurvedic cleanses because it assists the body in its natural detoxification and filtration processes.
- Cinnamon (Dalchini): Cinnamon has sweet undertones and is used in home remedies for treating various issues that arise with changing weathers such as allergies, cold, cough, etc. However, it should be used in moderate amounts as excessive use may pose some health risks.