The kitchens of India have always been vibrant and fragrant. Blessed that it is with a wide variety of spices and ingredients, the cuisine in the Indian subcontinent has always been about making food that has intricate layers of different flavours and is full of nutritional value. This is what Ayurveda wanted to offer its beneficiaries – natural remedies for health problems that can be found in your kitchen or garden.
The Spice Box
Ayurveda combines medicinal herbs and spices to create remedies for various problems. Many of the ingredients used are readily available in the spice boxes of Indian kitchens. Every spice has special properties that can help with dealing with particular health problems. These natural remedies are easy to administer and can prevent many other health problems from happening. Here are a few spices that one can explore:
Also known as hing, it is commonly used as tempering for dals and other preparations. It has many health benefits. It can relieve spasms, treat colds and coughs, and aid digestion. It is the base of Hingavastaka Chooranam which is great for restoring gut health and preventing the symptoms of arthritis. Thus, apart from relieving pain, it promotes bone health too.
Sharp and pungent, not only do cloves pack a punch when it comes to flavour, but they are also full of medicinal benefits. They are very good pain relievers. Especially when it comes to toothache. A natural remedy for the same is to dip a ball of cotton in some clove oil and put it on the affected area. It will soothe the pain. The other alternative is to just place a clove close to the affected area and let it work its magic.
Apart from that, they are also a great natural remedy for sinus problems. One good way to do that is to add a few drops of clove oil to hot water and then inhale the steam. This will cause decongestion and ease the suffering.
Another very commonly used ingredient, mustard is a great natural remedy for muscle pain. It also helps in reducing flatulence. However, Ayurveda suggests that it should not be applied to the skin directly. Instead, it should always be made into a poultice, wrapped in a cloth, and then applied to the affected area as a natural remedy. Another benefit of using mustard is that it is also very good for digestion which leads to restoring your gut health.
Nutmeg has many health benefits. Adding it to a cup of milk or tea can act as a natural remedy for insomnia. Along with that, it also helps in improves one’s sex life, treats the lack of control over urination, alleviates general weakness, and reduces diarrhoea, gas, loss of appetite and spleen disorders. This makes it one of the most versatile spices that can be consumed for natural remedies. However, one has to ensure that it is not consumed in excess.
Turmeric is the superstar among spices. Known for being a very potent anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory, it has many other Ayurvedic benefits. According to Ayurveda, it works to relieve congestion in a person, restores gut health by aiding digestion, and is also good for people suffering from arthritis. It is very good for maintaining the flora in our large intestine. To reduce swelling, turmeric paste should be applied to the affected area. If one is suffering from a cold or tonsils, then mixing it with some warm water and gargling can be a very effective natural remedy. It can even help in the treatment of diabetes.
But the benefits do not end there! Turmeric also helps in relieving gas, strengthening the body, and regularizing menstrual cycles. It is also believed that the consumption of turmeric can help in dissolving gallstones, combat the effects of arthritis, and act as a powerful antiseptic which can be applied on cuts, burns, and bruises as a natural remedy.
6) Pepper:The Romans called pepper ‘black gold’ for a reason. Apart from enhancing the flavours of a dish, it also increases the secretion of digestive juices which makes it good for restoring gut health. It also treats problems like constipation and dry haemorrhoids. It reduces the chances of one suffering from the worms. Along with reducing swelling, it can also help in treating the hives if one mixes it with ghee and then applies it to the affected area. The consumption of pepper can also help with dermatitis.
Pepper also improves immunity, reduces inflammation in the joints, expels toxins, improves the circulation of blood, takes care of the heart and the liver, reduces bloating, helps in fat loss, prevents coughs and colds, gastrointestinal problems, and is rich in Vitamin B. Thus, adding that final crack of black pepper on food can offer the body a multitude of benefits.
These are only a few of the spices and their benefits which can act as a preventive measure and a natural remedy. Indian cuisine is rich, nutritious, and good for one’s overall well-being. So the next time you are eating a fresh home-cooked meal, you can appreciate all the spices that are keeping you and your gut healthy!