Spices have been used in India for thousands of years not only for enhancing the taste of dishes but for their therapeutic value and also to counteract the negative residual physiological effects of foods on the human body.
KOKUM: Fruit of Garcinia Indica tree used mainly in the hot Southern states for its cooling properties & for alleviating skin allergies.
AJWAIN: Carom seeds or Bishop’s weed seeds are used for their volatile Thymol oils to aid in digestion & are used with starchy vegetables and lentils.
CHILLIES: Are used both ways either fresh or dry. Usage is more common in the hot climes to increase perspiration and thereby cool the body. They also have a medicinal value for easing joint inflammation and respiratory disorders.
NUTMEG & MACE: Nutmeg used sparingly is supposed to cure insomnia and is frequently mixed with warm milk and taken before sleeping. The covering of nutmeg (calyx) is Mace and is considered to ease rheumatism.
FENUGREEK: The leaves, the shoots and the seeds of this plant are used. Ground seeds with water are supposed to cure diabetes, cholesterol and hypertension. It is also given to lactating women for increased milk production.
It is used as a natural testosterone/muscle booster.
TURMERIC: This rhizome of the Curcuma Longa has a multitude of uses in addition to imparting the characteristic yellow in the “CURRY”. It has an excellent antiseptic and anti bacterial effect, often used to treat common cold, cuts and bruises. As a cosmetic it is applied directly on the skin and it reduces acne too. Its latest use is in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease.
ASAFOETIDA: This resin of a plant has a pungent sulfurous odor and is mainly used as a digestive. Also provides relief in asthma and bronchitis.
SAFFRON: Quite truly the King of spices at a whopping $11,000/lb for the best grade. It has the most volatile oils of any spice. Used very sparingly, it is supposed to have anticarcinogenic and antioxidant effects; although historically in India it has primarily been used as an aphrodisiac.