Natural Ways to Fight Flu and Common Cold with Herbs and Spices

As medical science advances, we are slowly forgetting how to use natural herbs and spices for the prevention and cure of certain diseases. Today even doctors believe that using natural herbs and spices is the best way to fight against winter ailments.

Ayurvedic doctors suggest that natural herbs and homemade remedies are very effective. Even homeopathic doctors believe that spices are a treasure trove of health benefits. Many spices can help keep several ailments away.

Herbs and Spices fight flu and common cold

Turmeric or ‘haldi’: Turmeric is considered as a natural antibiotic. Many medical studies confirm that the anti-inflammatory action of turmeric is most of the times better than phenylbutazone and cortisone treatments. Turmeric can also be mixed with milk or honey in order to avoid cough.

 

Cinnamon: This next spice on our list, is one of the oldest known spices. Cinnamon or ‘dalchini’ can be used to stimulate blood circulation, which in turn induces warmth in our body. It also helps in strengthening the immune system which makes it the perfect spice for the colder regions.

One can take a pinch of powdered cinnamon and a teaspoon of honey in warm water in the morning to protect one self from cold. It is sometimes also mixed with ginger to tackle common cold. Boiling cinnamon in hot water can help keep winter ailments at bay.

Cardamom: The third useful spice on our list is Cardamom. Cardamom or ‘elaichi’ mixed with cloves in tea can help prevent cough and cold. An old remedy is to boil 3 or 4 cardamoms in a cup of water and add some honey to drink before going to bed. Cardamom is said to clear nose and chest congestions and the aroma can also help uplift spirits.

Clove or ‘laung’: These are at number four on our list of natural herbs and spices. Cloves are used as an ayurvedic remedy to treat respiratory problems. Chewing a clove can help ease irritations in your throat while chewing a burnt clove is said to help tackle cough.

Ginger and Garlic: These are two of the most popular home remedies since centuries. Ginger-garlic pastes are often prepared to be used in Indian cooking. Garlic soups are also perfect for winters. Fresh ginger pieces can be added to chicken soups and be relished with garlic. Garlic also has anti-inflammatory capacities and it also helps in fighting throat and chest infections.  Chewing a piece of ginger everyday can help keep various winter ailments away. A piece of garlic can also help in making the immune system strong. When used to remedy a cold or a flu, they are considered by many to be better options than over the counter remedies.

Black pepper: This spice is regularly used to improve digestion, treat gastrointestinal problems like diarrhea and dyspepsia. It also helps stimulate appetite. Black pepper mixed in tea can help treat cold, cough and sore throat. A preparation of black pepper, long pepper and ginger is regularly prescribed for a variety of diseases.

So, add the above mentioned spices to your list and keep the common cold at bay this winter season.

Further more information about herbs and spices for the prevention and cure of certain diseases, visit – http://india.ramdevfood.com/

Various Spices used in South Indian Cuisine

India is a vast country with diverse geological regions, cultures and food. The food and the food habits of each region, East, West, North and South are completely different. The climate of each region influences the type of food eaten in that area.

In South India the climate is sultry and hot. They receive a good amount of rainfall and also fruits and vegetables are easily available. Their main food is rice, and the popular south Indian dishes are sambhar, rasam, dosa, idli, vadas, payasam etc and not to forget a range of chutneys.  The chief spices and ingredients are lentil, tamarind, curry leaves, chilies, and mustard, cumin, cinnamon, etc. Coconut oil is commonly used.

All the spices and ingredients used in South Indian cuisine have dietary as well as therapeutic benefits. The food is hot and spicy and it has a blend of taste, aroma, smell, and seasoning.

Tamarind – This is a commonly used spice in South Indian cuisine. It is rich in dietary fibre and helps to excrete bad cholesterol from the body. It is anti-oxidant and is rich in iron, calcium, copper, potassium etc. It is also rich in a number of vitamins.

Turmeric –The rhizome of the plant is dried and powdered. It is a part of almost all South Indian dish, it adds colour to the food. It is a natural antibiotic and when added to food its healing ability is beneficial to the body. It has calming effect on the stomach, it is anti –inflammatory and kills inner parasites and also purifies blood.

Coconut – Grown in large quantity, coconut is the main ingredient of South Indian cuisine. Fresh grated coconut or its milk is used to make the curry thick, to add flavor and taste to a dish.

Cinnamon – This is the bark of the tree. It lowers LDL cholesterol, is beneficial for diabetes, it gives relief to people suffering from arthritis. It is a natural food preservative so when it is added to food it averts the growth of bacteria and prevents the food from spoiling.

Asafetida ( hing) – This has a pungent flavor and a strong taste. It is beneficial for respiratory disorders, flatulence, impotency etc.

Black Pepper – When added to food it improves digestion, it reduces intestinal gas, it is an anti oxidant and prevents the growth of bacteria in the intestines.

Cardamom – It helps to offset acidity in the stomach and when the powder of cardamom is sprinkled on coffee it act as an aphrodisiac. When added in food it improves digestion and helps to lessen stomach gas.

Cumin seeds – Cumin has a strong discrete flavor, it improves digestion, helps to cure heart burn and stomach pain. The seeds are anti oxidants and anti- flatulent, these help in digestion. These are rich in vitamins and minerals like iron, copper, calcium, vitamin E, A, and C etc.

Mustard seeds – Mustard seeds are used in almost all dished in South India. These add a pungent aroma to the food. These are used in vegetarian as well as non vegetarian dishes, and also in pickles and chutneys.

Mustard seeds are rich in anti-oxidants, minerals and vitamins. They are a rich source of B-complex vitamins, and vitamin E. It helps to lower blood cholesterol and regulate the metabolism.

Conclusion

All the spices used in South Indian cuisine are of pant origin. These prevent diseases and promote health. They also increase the flavor of a dish.

Turmeric – Most Popular Spice of India

Turmeric is one of the most popular spices of India. It is also popular as medicine used as a part of home remedy. Turmeric is added to many dishes in India. Further, it is also regarded by the Hindus as something sacred for use in ceremonial and religious occasions. Besides flavouring the food, turmeric is believed to purify the blood and a remedy for skin conditions. Indians have known the magical medicinal properties for ages. Ayurveda used it for the treatment of many inflammatory conditions and diseases like arthritis and muscular disorders. It was also used to tackle asthma, flatulence, colic and ringworm. A pinch of turmeric powder put in your cooking every day is not just to give a vibrant yellow colour to your food, but also to antidote you. An Indian kitchen is rarely seen without a tin of turmeric powder on the shelf.

Turmeric is one Indian spice that continues to be reinvented and rediscovered throughout the world. In India and other Asian countries, the use of turmeric is mostly popular as food adjunct in many vegetable, meat and fish preparations. Turmeric not only adds to taste, flavour and colour of the dish but also, it is believed that it preserves the food. Moreover, due to its medicinal virtues, by consuming turmeric regularly with food in any form, it prevents many diseases. Turmeric, by dint of its aromatic oil content, flavours foodstuffs, acts as an appetiser and aids digestion. It is also used to colour liquor, fruit drinks, cakes and jellies. It is used to flavour and at the same time colour butter, cheese, margarine, pickles, mustard and other foodstuffs.  Turmeric has been traditionally regarded as important source of medicine. It is said to be anti-oxidant, due to the phenolic character of curcuma. It is considered useful both for internal and external applications. It is considered useful for cancer patients. It is a stomachic, carminative, tonic, blood purifier, vermicide, and an antiseptic. It is taken with warm milk to act as expectorant. Mixed with lime it is applied externally to get relief from sprains and pains. Turmeric is considered as excellent natural cosmetic.  Smearing turmeric paste on the face and the limbs during the bath is found to clear the skin and beautify the face. Many cosmetics available in the market are manufactured using turmeric as one of the ingredients.

Turmeric has been used worldwide since very ancient times. Several unique properties of the Indian turmeric make it an ideal choice as a food flavour. It also finds use in the preparation of liquors, dyestuffs, medicines, cosmetics and toiletries. It is used as natural colorant. The curcuma present in turmeric imparts its distinctive yellow colour. In beauty care, women have used turmeric paste since very ancient times. Today it finds use as an antiseptic and an anti-tanning agent. It prevents and cures pigmentation, making skin translucent and glowing. It cools and makes the skin smooth. It is used to purify blood. It also helps in protecting the skin from allergy.

Indian Spices – Best of Healthy & Tasty Food

Spices are dried aromatic parts of the plants, normally the leaf, flower, roots, bark or nuts of a plant, pods, stalks or berries, which are dried, maybe roasted and ground to be added to the other ingredients. Spices add flavour, aroma and add therapeutic value to the food items. It is actually hard to imagine cooking without spices. With us having a huge variety of ground spices of the finest quality…..the potential for cooking and creating delicious recipes at home has never been better!

The enthusiasm for trying different flavours lies behind the availability of ready spices. Use of spices dates back centuries and encompasses both cooking and healing roles. Today, there also a revival of interest in the healing power of spices and are becoming popular for their mild therapeutic qualities.

People throughout the world flavour their foods and beverages with spices. The traditional dishes of Asia feature large quantities of cinnamon, cloves, ginger and pepper. Spices enhance the flavour and aroma of any dish. Each and every spice has its own merit. Pickling spices act as preservatives of meat and other foods which would otherwise spoil. Spices possess nutritional and medicinal merits as well. Today, there is a better understanding of the role spices play in our well-being. Ayurveda, the system of Indian medicine, inculcates a large number of spices in its combination of preventive and curative medicines. The extra zing that makes Indian food so popular all over the world is because of the spices used to cook Indian food dishes. The basis for Indian sauces is the ground masalas and spices. The popular Garam masala is used in many types of gravy and otherwise. The combinations of the different spices used in the Indian foods vary from region to region in India and this gives the unique flavour to the dishes. India is a vast country with many states. The spices are mixed together to make various combination spices which make the food more palatable and tasty. Spices add nutrients and flavour to the dishes without fat or calories.

Turmeric, an essential spice in Indian food, is used because turmeric inhibits blood clotting, reduces liver toxins, and helps the liver metabolize fats and so aids weight loss. . It is believed that turmeric could play a role in slowing down the progression of Alzheimer’s disease. Peppercorns have a pungent, woody aroma and are hot. The garam masala is a mixture of spices. Asafoetida is a resin taken from a plant, and is a distinctive and pungent spice. It is commonly found in the powdered form. Asafoetida is used mainly for its digestive properties, especially in the cooking of beans and lentils, as it is known to have anti-flatulence properties. All Indian spices offer significant health benefits and contribute towards a healthy life of the individuals. The five key Indian spices are cumin seeds, coriander seeds, ground turmeric, mustard seeds, and ground red chilli powder. All of these provide harmony in flavour of the food.

The Popularity of Traditional Indian Spices

India is known in the world for its beautiful traditions and its mouth-watering food. The food items and the recipes are famous throughout the world due to the spices used in them. These spices add aroma and taste to the food, they also possess certain medicinal values.

Indian food cannot be imagined without these spices. Indian spices like celery, coriander, cumin, and mint have been proved to cure a variety of diseases like common cold, cough, cancerous tumors etc. Now people are beginning to understand the significance of Indian spices in food and medicine. Spices are known to have a positive influence on the digestive process and the absorption of the food.

Spices not only enhance the flavor and aroma of the food they also provide color, and taste to a range of cuisines. Even the western countries have adopted the use of these spices in food preparations. These may be used whole or in powder form. Indian food and spices have been popular all over the world since early times.

The Romans and the Arab traders imported spices from India. Indian cuisine and spices became very popular all over the world by the Middle Ages.  India had active spice trade with major kingdoms in Asia and Europe. At that time many battles were also fought to get access to the spice route to India.

Some of the main and commonly used Indian spices comprise black pepper, turmeric powder, asafetida, cardamom, mustard, coriander, ginger, cumin, red chilli powder, fennel, cloves etc. The spices are also used to make a variety of medicines and cosmetics. Mustards and  cloves are used to preserve food for long period of time.

The spices are derived from different parts of the plants.

  • Roots – Spices like turmeric, ginger, garlic and onion are the roots of the plant. Turmeric has anti-bacterial and antiseptic properties. It is used in a variety of cosmetics and other beauty products. It is used for treating internal injuries. Ginger is used for treating stomach problems, ulcers, common colds and acidity.
  • Leaves – The leaves of peppermint, rosemary, curry leaves, coriander and  methi are very popular.  Mint leaves give a unique and distinctive flavor to the dishes. Coriander leaves have a refreshing aroma. These leaves have a number of medicinal benefits like improving digestion and the appetite.
  • Bark – Cinnamon, the most popular varieties of Indian spicy, is the bark of a tree. It has a rich aroma and a strong flavor. It is used in a number of dishes for its appetizing taste. It aids in lowering blood sugar and cholesterol and to improve the digestive system.
  • Flowers – Caper, rose and saffron are parts of the flower, and are  used in the Indian cuisine for their rich and unique fragrance.
  • Seeds – The seeds of cumin, coriander, cardamom, fenugreek etc. are some very popular Indian spices. Fenugreek is used for purification of blood, as a laxative, and as an antidote for various skin problems. Cumin is a popular seasoning, which is rich in iron and has antioxidant properties.

Thus, spices essentially add spice in life and to the diet. Using spices is a simple way to improve the food and to boost your overall health. This is the major reason for the popularity of traditional Indian spices.

3 Basic Indian Spices Without Which Cooking Indian Food Is Incomplete

First thing that attracts you to any dish is its appearance. Next comes the aroma and then the taste. One crowd puller quality of the Indian cuisine is its colourful look. It is the use of different spices in correct proportions that is behind the tempting look of the dish.

Though various different spices are used in different dishes, there are some spices which are the very base of Indian cooking. These are turmeric powder, chilli powder and cumin coriander powder.

Even though cumin seeds and coriander seeds are two different spices they are used together as cumin coriander powder since the aroma and flavour of the two compliment each other splendidly. Cumin adds a richness and depth to just about any dish and coriander gives cool lemony flavour. Both these seeds are ground together to get homogeneous powder that can hardly be omitted from any Indian dish.

A good amount of coriander cumin powder is added in curries to provide a crunchy texture to them. It blends well with stews, soups, smoked meats and gives them an extraordinary taste.

Coriander powder prevents non vegetarian dishes from early spoilage as it contains substances that kill meat-spoiling bacteria and fungi. As it sooths the stomach for both adults and colicky babies when it is added to the food it helps to increase digestion and solves the appetite problems.

Cumin powder is well known for its diuretic, carminative, stimulant, astringent, and antispasmodic properties and so it provides invaluable health benefits. It is very effective in treating dyspepsia, diarrhoea and hoarseness and it also provides relief from flatulence and colic problems. Its use improves digestion and stimulates the appetite.

Turmeric is greatly used in Indian cooking to give the Indian curry special flavour and its famous yellow colour. In fact an Indian dish without turmeric tends to look very insipid. Turmeric has antioxidant properties. It has natural antiseptic and anti bacterial qualities.

Turmeric was also used nearly 3000 years ago in the ancient Vedic culture of India. Today it is being used as an important spice, beauty product and in spiritual ceremonies. Turmeric adds zest to any dish and combined with other spices it adds a wonderful curry flavour.

When used in food it provides a lot of health benefits and healing properties. It acts as a tonic, blood purifier and an antiseptic.

The red chilli powder, produced by grinding dried chillies, is another important ingredient of Indian cuisine. It adds colour, spiciness and flavour to the dishes. Its odour is aromatically strong and the taste is distinctive, strong and spicy.

It is widely used as a stabilizer in curries and other dishes. It contains anti-bacterial, anti-carcinogenic, analgesic and anti-diabetic properties. It is also known to reduce LDL cholesterol levels in obese individuals. Good amount of minerals like potassium, manganese, iron, and magnesium and Vitamin, A, B, C and E are found in chillies.

Thus, to conclude Indian cooking is just incomplete without cumin, coriander, turmeric and chilli powder. Just use quality Indian spices to make your Indian food preparation extraordinarily tasty.

The Golden Turmeric – Health Benefits & Healing Properties of Turmeric Powder

It is said that turmeric was used nearly 3000 years in the ancient Vedic culture of India. It has and is being used as an important spice, beauty product and in spiritual ceremonies. Uses of turmeric powder range from food to medicines. Turmeric Powder is used widely in Indian Dishes. Almost all Indian vegetable and meat dishes use turmeric either as separate spice or in the spice mixture. It is a principal ingredient in curry powder. Brine pickles and to some extent mayonnaise and relish formulations, non-alcoholic beverages, gelatines, butter and cheese etc. use turmeric oleoresin. Turmeric is used in the preparation of medicinal oils, ointments and poultice. It is stomachic, carminative, tonic, blood purifier and an antiseptic. It is also used in cosmetics. The botanical name for turmeric is Curcuma longa L.

Hindi: Haldi

Bengali: Halud, Pitras

Gujarati: Haldhar, Haldi

Kannada: Arishia

Konkani: Halad

Malayalam: Manjal

Marathi: Halede, Halad

Oriya: Haldil
Continue reading