Indian Spices and Herbs used for Home Remedies
Some Medicinal Uses of Common Spices in the Kitchen
Many Indian spices are used in the kitchen for increasing the flavours and tastes of food. We often tend to forget their health benefits or unaware of them. In the olden days, people used these spices for their medical needs, and they were able to maintain their health when the help of doctors was not available. Some of the typical spices used in Indian cuisine also have many health promoting properties and disease preventing properties. In India, we cannot think of food without spices. Most of these spices and herbs are used daily in our kitchen.
Names of the Spices for Home Remedies
The important spices are -
- Black Pepper
- Cumin seeds
- Fennel seeds
- Mustard seeds
Some of these spices are used in making garam masala powder which is an essential ingredient in the preparation of most of the non-vegetarian food and some of the vegetarian food too.
Asafoetida, Black Pepper and Cardamom
Medicinal Uses of Asafoetida, Black Pepper and Cardamom
- Asafoetida - It has a pungent flavour and is available as gum piece or powder. It is one of the main ingredients for making sambar powder. Sambar is a main vegetarian dish. It is helpful in treating respiratory disorders like asthma and coughs. Besides, we use it for digestion and painful menses in the women. When we add this herb in the cooking, it imparts a unique flavour and taste.
- Black Pepper – These little peppercorns are one of the most traded spices. They are used to treat cold and fever, earache, diarrhoea, constipation and heart diseases. It can stop bleeding on a cut when applied topically. Used in Asian and European cooking.
- Cardamom - These green pods are helpful in reducing bad breath, digestive disorders, and coping with diabetes. They contain potassium, calcium and magnesium. They are also rich in vitamins like riboflavin, niacin, vitamin-C. These aromatic pods also contain essential volatile oils. These pods are antiseptic and antioxidant.
Cinnamom, Cloves and Coriander
Medicinal Uses of Cinnamom, Cloves and Coriander in the Home Remedies
- Cinnamon – This bark-like spice is a widely used spice and has an aromatic and refreshing taste. It is available as sticks and powder. Helpful in the control of glucose level in blood and reduces blood cholesterol. Also used for cold and cough.
- Cloves – They are available as aromatic flower buds and oil. Cloves are used as expectorant, stomach upset and toothache. They are also used in toothpaste, mouthwash, soaps and perfumes commercially.
- Coriander – Coriander is available as seeds and in powder. Though they are used mainly to spice up food, they are also useful for treating diabetes and allergies and digestion. For the preparation of garam masala powder, we add coriander seeds, too. Coriander leaves are antioxidants having essential oils and vitamins. These leaves may help in reducing bad cholesterol (LDL). The leaves are low in calories and contain potassium, iron, magnesium and calcium.
Cumin seeds, Fennel seeds and Fenugreek
Medicinal Uses of Cumin seeds, Fennel seeds and Fenugreek in Home remedies
- Cumin seeds – These tiny seeds are helpful in relieving pain, boosts the immune system, nausea, stomach pain and cramps. It has a right amount of iron.
- Fennel seeds - They are helpful in reducing constipation and lowering LDL cholesterol levels. Also useful as anti-flatulence. The use of Fennel seed oil includes treating joint pains by massaging the affected area. In India, in many restaurants, they are given for mouth refreshment, quoted with sweets.
- Fenugreek – Fenugreek is available in the forms of seeds and powder. The use of this spice includes treating gastric problems and liver health. Besides, it is also used by nursing mothers to increase breast milk.
Health Benefits of Garlics, Ginger and Mustard in Home remedies
- Garlic – Garlic is available as pods, paste, powder and capsules. Rich in Manganese, Vitamin C and Vitamin B6, reduces common cold and flu, reduces BP and cholesterol, prevents Alzheimer's Disease and Dementia, reduces lead toxicity, and reduces a headache with local application.
- Ginger – comes as a tube. It is useful in treating cold, stomach upset, blood pressure, joint pains, headaches, heartburn, morning sickness.
- Mustard seeds – packed with vitamin B complex and relieves in rheumatoid arthritis, and muscle pain.
Medicinal Uses of Turmeric and Saffron
- Turmeric - This is bright orange in colour with anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and antiseptic properties. It is available in the forms of powder and capsules. Prevents Alzheimer's disease, keeps liver safe. Besides, it also helps to treat loss of appetite, stomach bloating, intestinal gas and skin problems like ring worms.
- Saffron – With the anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and antidepressant properties, saffron is helpful in treating depression, preventing loss of vision, improving memory, enlargement of spleen and liver. In Ayurveda, saffron is useful in treating impotence and infertility.
Herbs : Basil and Mint - Medicinal Uses in Home Remedies
Basil (Tulsi) and Mint are two important herbs used commonly in many households. Basil plant is planted in the front of the house and mint usually in the kitchen garden. They are very easy to grow. In addition to adding flavour and taste to the food, they too have many medicinal uses and used for home remedies.
- Basil (Tulsi) - Leaves of this humble plant is used for common cold and fever, headache, sore throat, skin disorders, kidney stones and insect bites. It is consumed and applied locally. A drink made of tulsi leaves and black pepper is helpful to increase immunity, if used for a few days. In many Hindu households in India, Tulsi is considered as a holy plant and is worshipped in front of the house and used for puja.
- Mint - Very useful for respiratory disorders, indigestion, nausea, oral health, fatigue and depression.
Where Do We Get These Spices and Herbs?
Most of these spices are available in our regular provision stores. During this internet age, they are also available online. Some of them can be easily grown in our kitchen or terrace gardens like Tulsi, Mint, Fenugreek, Coriander etc.
The information provided in this hub is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult your physician, or health care provider before taking any home remedies.