Health Benefits of Spices
Reference: India Brand Equity Foundation
Spices have been closely connected to magic, cultural traditions, preservation, medicine and embalming since early human history. Spices were a key component of India’s external trade with Mesopotamia, China, Sumeria, Egypt and Arabia, along with perfumes and textiles – as far back as 7000 years ago. India is known as the home of spices and boasts of a long history of trading with the ancient civilizations of Rome and China. Indian spices are the most sought-after globally, given their exquisite aroma, texture and taste. India has the largest domestic market for spices in the world.
The contribution of Indian spices to health benefits has been well chronicled since Vedic times.
The contribution of Indian spices to health benefits has been well chronicled since Vedic times. Some of the popular spices and their health benefits are as follows:
Ginger helps to relieve common colds. It is also most commonly known for its quick-relieving effects on heartburn, nausea, upset stomach, diarrhea, motion and morning sickness. It has been found to be a beneficial anti-inflammatory, due to its high levels of gingerol, making it a great natural remedy for headaches, minor body aches and even some cases of arthritis.
Studies have shown that turmeric helps prevent Alzheimer’s disease and joint inflammation. It also helps in minimizing liver damages caused by taking excessive alcohol consumption or regular use of painkillers. A warm glass of milk mixed with turmeric helps in cold and cough. It is also an antiseptic.
The antiseptic and antibiotic properties of clove oil are used in medicines especially in dentistry, oral and pharyngeal treatments. It has wider applications in preparations of toothpaste and mouthwashes, soaps and perfumes. It is also reported to help diabetics in sugar assimilations.
This flavoring agent has wonderful health benefits as it helps in digestion. It is useful in the treatment of respiratory disorders like cough, asthma and bronchitis. It has been proved useful in the treatment of health problems concerning women such as unusually painful and excessive menstruation. It is also used in medicines because of its antibiotic properties.
Cumin is known to relieve from digestive problems, reduce chances of anaemia and alleviate common cold. Antiseptic properties of cumin can help fight flu by boosting the immune system. Cumin helps control stomach pain, indigestion, diarrohea, nausea and morning sickness. Cumin also contains a good amount of iron.
It is helpful for diabetics as it helps in digestion of sugar. It has astringent; stimulant and carminative properties and can check nausea and vomiting. Cinnamon is also an anti-inflammatory, improves cardiovascular health, increases metabolic rate, helps control and regulate blood sugar, and has anti-microbial effects.
Black cardamom eases out digestive problems and reduces flatulence, it is known to provide relief from throat problems, chest congestion, and gum infection. Due to its anti-inflammatory properties and the fact that it can alleviate muscle spasms, black cardamom is a saving grace for asthmatics. It is a great ingredient for respiratory problems.
Saffron has the ability to treat depression, prevents loss of vision, and improves memory. The stigma of the flower can provide relief from digestive issues with the help of its anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and anti-depressant properties. In medicine, saffron is used in fevers, melancholia, and enlargement of liver and spleen. In Ayurvedic medicine it is used to heal arthritis, impotence and infertility.
Nutmeg has anti-bacterial properties. It helps in fighting tooth decay, Alzheimer’s and improves memory. It can also release the tension in muscles.
Black pepper has the ability to increase the production of hydrochloric acid that the stomach needs to help in digestion. It is also anti – bacterial in nature, reduces blood pressure and contains iron that is beneficial for the body.
Garlic with its antiviral and antibacterial properties helps in boosting immunity and keeps one looking fresh and healthy. Garlic’s ability to fight infections and bacteria makes it an effective cure for warts and skin problems. Garlic’s antibacterial and anesthetizing properties can help cure toothaches.