Secret Behind Spices: Interesting Facts & Benefits
It is a fact that before we saw the revolution in allopathic treatment for diseases, our ancestors had the healing secrets of our common spices. They knew about their magic and potent of these herbs and spices. When it comes to the culinary history of India no one can beat the mind seductive fragrances and alluring flavours; Indian people believe in grinding the whole spices before they add it to any cuisine or use its medicinal properties.
People who say that all Indian food is hot does not know much about the variety and combination of the spices that are used in the traditional cuisines; these perfectly blended spices make the Indian dishes stand out of the box. One cannot resist the aroma and how perfectly they are cooked and presented. The diversity in India plays a major role in the enormous list of traditional and local cuisines, some of them even have invented their spices according to the taste of traditional dishes.
The recipes of curries are not the same for everyone, every home and every cook have their own way of preparing it, you can always expect the unexpected from Indian spice, they will never shy to surprise you.
We will be talking about four major spices and their secrets that are not only popular in India but also have recognition in other parts of the globe.
Pepper (Kali Mirch)
Black pepper is a lot more than just a warm spice with a musky scent; black pepper oil is known for its beauty and health benefits. The contribution is essential because it has monoterpenes and active ingredients like caryophyllene and limonene, they make pepper recognizable for its ultimate healing property.
It has been proven that limonene and caryophyllene possess anti-inflammatory, antinociceptive and antioxidant properties which help in delaying the signs of ageing, wrinkles, loose skin, reduces symptoms of rheumatism, arthritis and muscle injuries. It is also well known for increasing blood circulation in painful areas.
Cinnamon (Daal Chini)
Cinnamon is originated from the bark of Cinnamomum Zeylancium, found majorly in Indonesia, Southeast Asia and South America. Its leaves and flowers help extract the essential oils and its inner barks are being cut and dried out which are available as cinnamon sticks in the market. Health beneficial properties of cinnamonlike anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory anti-cancer agents are clinically tested and proven.
In the recent past, scientists have claimed that cinnamon is being used to cure type II diabetes, heart diseases and obesity. Consumption of cinnamon increases the metabolism and it also curbs the appetite. Our ancestors have used it as a remedy for treating a lot of diseases.
Cardamom is known as the queen of spices because of its aroma and taste, it gives a special touch to Indian dishes. We all know about the fragrant property of cardamom, the way it can beautifully blend with curries and tea.
But it does have numerous health benefits such as cardamom is widely used for curing indigestion and improving metabolism. Cardamom is highly used in volatile oils like limonene, camphor, eucalyptol, borneol and terpinene. According to Ayurveda, cardamom helps in detoxifying a caffeinated body, cleanses the urinary tract infections, improves the lung circulation, antispasmodic, treats bad breath, cures mouth ulcers when used with appropriate drugs and last but not the least counteracts excessive acidity in the stomach.
Cumin Seeds (Jeera)
Scientifically known as Cuminum cyminum, cumin is the member of the parsley family. India is known as the main producer of cumin and it is profoundly known for its function that cures all the digestive problems. Cumin is rich in properties like anti-oxidant, anti-microbial, detoxifier, reduces body heat and contains vitamin E. Some skin benefits of cumin are- it treats boils, fights skin disorders, reduces skin itching and prevents ageing.
When it comes to the health benefits of Cumin Seeds (jeera), we can have a long list for that as well, it regulates blood sugar levels, keeps your heart healthy, regulates the menstrual cycle, strengthens bones. Ayurveda has described cumin seeds as a digestive stimulant, carminative, antacid and astringent. Cumin seeds are being used in an Indian household from a very long time, people are well aware of its medicinal properties as they have been a part of our lives from centuries.
Herbs and Spices have specific definitions scientifically and botanically. “Herbs” are the leaves which store the flavour component. Apart from making the food look good and delicious, spices do have pharmacological and medicinal properties. People have again started believing in the useful roles of spices in the healthcare sector other than seeing them primarily as the organic enhancers of cuisines. Scientists are researching more about the potential health benefits of herbs and spices, there has been observed a rise in these researches due to the failures and high level of toxins involved in the conventional drugs and inaccessibility of expensive drugs in rural areas.