Indian Herbs and Spices for various Health Benefits

Spices are not only integral to develop the flavors of the food, but they are also an essential source of natural supplementation. Many of the spices possess health benefits and remedial properties. Ayurveda medicine utilizes several Indian spices and herbs to treat complex ailments.

1. Red Chili

It is an essential ingredient of Indian cooking. The striking ‘hot’ flavors of the food are procured with red chili powder. Red chilies are also used in whole and dried forms to produce different levels of spice in the food.

Originally, the taste of red chili is sweet and smoky but they reap the ‘heat’ from their stems. The flavors range from mild to extreme depending upon its cultivation and some environmental factors.

Red Chili belongs to the capsicum family. Capsaicin is an active ingredient that is found in the inner wall of the red chili peppers; it is an irritant that renders a burning sensation when it interacts with the mucous membranes in the mouth.

Capsaicin is effective in treating muscle and joint pain. It is used in creams and ointments produced to relieve pain including minor strains and arthritis-induced pain. Moreover, it is also used to curtail the symptoms of peripheral neuropathy.

According to some clinical studies, capsaicin can also be beneficial in combating obesity, heart diseases, blood sugar disorders, and even cancer.

Surprisingly, red chili powder may also help in losing weight as it boosts the metabolism, and capsaicin aids the thermogenesis process that converts fats into heat.

There are 40 calories in every 100 grams of red chili powder.

It is advisable to consume one to two teaspoons of red chili powder in daily meals. However, the toxicity of red chili powder can be very harmful to the respiratory system and stomach health.

2. Turmeric

Indian cooking cannot be completed without using turmeric. It is a core ingredient and provides color to the curries.

Turmeric is highly aromatic. It tastes earthy, bitter, and musky. The major contribution of turmeric in cooking is the aroma and color. The smell of turmeric is orangey and ginger-like. It is known as Indian saffron due to the distinct flavor and scent.

The main component of turmeric is curcumin.  It has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Curcumin is a  natural anti-inflammatory component that is beneficial to, treat acute and chronic inflammation in the joints or muscles. Turmeric lowers the chances of cardiovascular diseases and assists in the treatment of arthritis.

Many studies were conducted on the role of turmeric in the treatment of cancer. It is inferred that turmeric can be a possible cure for cancer. Moreover, it is also considered an anti-aging supplement.

Turmeric is widely used as a general supplement. It is suggested that this extraordinary spice aids in dealing with depression and Alzheimer’s disease.

According to WHO, 1.4 mg of turmeric per pound of body weight is advisable for regular intake. Every 100 grams of turmeric has 29 calories. However, using it regularly for a long period is not recommended. Although it does not impose any serious side effects if used in a small quantity in daily food consumption.

3. Cumin

The aromatic cumin is a prominent ingredient of multiple cuisines around the world. It is a herb that is known for its distinct taste and scent.

Cumin is extracted from seeds of the Cuminum cyminum plant that is originally grown in Asia, Africa, and Europe. It is from the family of Apiaceae.

It is used in whole and ground forms. Cumin has an incredibly peppery taste. Moreover, there is a pinch of earthy, nutty, and warm flavor in cumin that lends the food an excellent taste and prominent aroma.

The cumin seeds are loaded with Calcium, Magnesium, and Iron. It is an excellent source of dietary fiber and improves digestion. Some of the main constituents of cumin are terpenes, phenols, flavonoids, and alkaloids.

Phytochemicals are also a key component of cumin; it is a fabulous antioxidant and anti-flatulent. Furthermore, cumin can help in the treatment of diabetes, aid weight loss, reduce inflammation, works as a natural antiseptic.

There are 375 calories per 100 grams of cumin seeds. There is no risk in the daily consumption of cumin seeds. However, a high dosage of consumption may inflict kidney and liver problems. It is advised to have a moderate amount of cumin seeds in daily food intake.

4. Coriander seeds

Coriander is also known as cilantro belongs to the family of Apiaceae. This plant is fully edible, however, seeds are dried to prepare the spice.

There is a distinct difference in the aroma of fresh leaves and the dried form. The coriander seeds are brownish and hollow from the inside. It has some incredible oils that provide a traditional flavor and smell to the food.

Despite pertaining to the same plant, fresh coriander leaves, and the dried seeds bear varied tastes. The fresh leaves are very citrusy whereas the coriander seeds taste warm and spicy. There is a touch of loamy and sweet flavor in the coriander seeds. It is a vital spice used in various Asian cuisines.

Coriander seeds are a great source of calcium, copper, and iron. This spice is also loaded with many essential supplements such as Vitamin C and Riboflavin.

They are very beneficial in the process of digestion and keeping high cholesterol at bay. According to research, coriander seeds can also help manage diabetes; there are certain compounds in the seed shells that maintain the glucose level in the body.

The key components of coriander are vitamin C, folic acid, and vitamin A. Therefore, it can be very helpful in treating common cough and flu. Moreover, it’s a terrific supplement for skin and hair.

There are 298 calories in 100 grams of coriander seeds and it is a source of dietary fibers as well. A long-term and unreasonable usage of coriander seeds can exert pressure on the liver in the long run. It is recommended to have 2.5 to 5 grams of coriander seeds in daily consumption. Many people prefer to boil coriander seeds in the water and consume it as a supplement. Nevertheless, consuming a small number of coriander leaves in a daily diet is not risky at all.

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