Natural Herbal Medicines
Spices and Herbs
Condiments and their Herbal Value
A condiment can be a spice, sauce or other ingredient added to the food to enhance the aroma, add to the flavor or color of the dish. I t is usually added in such a way that its flavor does not clash with the flavor of the main ingredient itself, rather it enhances and improves it.
Types of Condiments:
Asafoetida: Asafoetida is popularly called hing in India and Pakistan. This herb can be used in cooking pulses. It is a very strong herb and very small quantity is added otherwise it gives too much flavor to the dish.
Benefits: Asafoetida is not only a strong flavored herb suitable for giving taste to the food but it is mostly used as a home remedy for many problems. Most important of which are stomach problems, gas troubles and indigestion. Asafoetida does not have very good smell so it can also be used as pesticide. To some extent asafoetida and lemon mixture can be used to have relief from toothache. Pounce asafoetida in lemon juice and then dab a cotton swab in it and keep under your teeth and you will find instant relief because the mixture is warm.
Basil Leaf: Basil leaves are commonly used in many dishes in eastern as well as in western too.
Benefits: Basil leaves possess many beneficial effects. Basil leaves boiled with tea, honey and ginger can be an easy remedy for seasonal flue, cough, and fever. Basil leave boiled in water can be used for sore throat. Basil leaves water can also be used for gargling.
Bay Leaf: Bay leaf has a very mild fragrance and it is cultivated in warm climates. It gives aroma and flavor to food in which it is added. Before serving it is removed from the dish.
Benefits: Messaging bay leaf oil on swollen or other effected areas can help relieve from pain. Bay leaf also help in digesting certain types of proteins in the body. They are also effective for stomach problems and in relief from flatulence.
Black Cardamom: Cardamom is one of the most favored spice. Its use is very common in many dishes. It gives warm feelings in the mouth. It has a pungent taste and it is very aromatic.
Benefits: Black cardamoms have a very strong flavor chewing a few seeds of black cardamoms can help getting rid of bad smells. Cardamoms and mint boiled together help in relief from hiccups.
Black Cumin Seeds: Black cumin seeds are used in a very few recipes. Its flavor does not go well with every dish in which they are used. Some of the eastern recipes include black cumin seeds.
Black Pepper: Black pepper is one of the spice which suits in terms of taste to not only salty dishes but to sweet dishes too. We use black pepper on daily basis so there is no need for detailed introduction.
Black Salt: Black salt is found in warm climates. It has somewhat salty and sour taste. Its use is limited to very few dishes but it has lots of beneficial health effects.
Benefits: Basically black salt is used as a laxative and digestive aid in many herbal medicines. Black salt contains less amount of sodium therefore it is advised to patients with high blood pressure and it can also be used as constipation healer because it has ability to soften the stool.
Carom Seeds: Carom seeds are also called as Ajwain. These are very uncommon except in some parts of Asian countries. They have smell like thyme but they are much more strong in flavor than thyme and a very small amount of carom seeds can give too much flavor to the recipe.
Benefits: Carom seeds too are great digestive aid. They can be dried and pounded in lemon juice which can then be stored. This home made herbal medicine can be used in small quantity for relief from digestive troubles.
Cinnamon Sticks: The use of cinnamon sticks is too very common. It is used in spicy dishes and at the same time its powder is used in many sweet dishes especially in cakes and desserts because its taste is neither sweet nor spicy completely but a combination of both.
Benefits: Cinnamon sticks can help prevent clumping of blood in blood vessels and it can also improve your virtual memory and it has been proven by some researches. Its smell cannot be compared with any other herb, spice or condiment. Its scent can help improve brain functioning.
Cloves: Cloves are found in tropical climates. It is the dried flower bud of the clove tree. It is an ancient spice.
Benefits: Chewing cloves can give relief from toothache. It has a fragrant scent and its chewing can also help get rid of bad breathe. They also have antibacterial and antiviral properties.
Coriander Seeds: Coriander seeds grow inside the coriander flower. Most part of coriander plants are edible but leaves and seeds are mostly used in the recipes.
Benefits: Coriander seeds too have many health benefits and these benefit are different in the seed and the leaf of the plant. Coriander seeds contain antioxidant which are helpful in preventing rancidity in the dish.
Cumin Seeds: Cumin seeds have been in use since antiquity. They are the seeds of the parsley plant. Its use is very common in Asian cuisines.
Benefits: Cumin seeds boost enzymatic activity in the intestine which help in the digestion and absorption of certain nutrients. Its use is also common in ayuverdic medicines for digestive relief. It also contains antioxidants too.
Fennel Seeds: Fennel seeds are highly aromatic herbs. Their plant contains yellow flowers and feathery leaves. Their us is less common in cuisines then as herbal medicines.
Benefits: Variety of benefits are associated with fennel seeds and they are part of many herbal medicines. Chewing fennel seeds can help you get rid of bad breathe and it is very relieving in colic pains. Boiling fennel seeds in water and then storing the strained water can help in digestive problems like acidity, stomach pain and in indigestion. Its water has all the properties of domestic "gripe water" especially for infants.
Fenugreek Leaves: Fenugreek leaves have a slightly bitter taste but they are quite flavoring. They are therefore added after the recipe is ready to serve or is in the final stage of cooking.
Benefits: Fenugreek leaves are a rich source of many minerals including iron, calcium, magnesium and zinc. These minerals are very rare in other foodstuff. These leaves are cooling and therefore they are soaked in water and the water is then used as a gargle for sore throat.
Green Cardamom: Green cardamoms are also part of spicy and sweet recipes. They are used in the dishes to give flavor because it has a very strong flavor.
Benefits: It helps in getting rid of indigestion and it also enhances appetite. It improves blood circulation and used as a remedy for sore throat because it is cool to eat or chew.
Mace: Mace is also called as Javitri in India and Pakistan, its use is common in these areas. It is also used in very small quantities in Italian recipes in pizzas, lasagna, sausages etc.
Benefits: It has a very strong flavor and very small amount is enough mostly. Its benefits are similar to that of nutmeg.
Read an Article on Other Important Spices and their Benefits
- Spices as Herbal Medicines Part 2
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