Asafoetida (heeng, hing): This pungent, sharp and very strong spice has a taste and flavour so potent that even a pinch of it is enough to make all the difference in your cooking. Its medicinal usage is largely for its digestive properties. Heeng is added to foods that are considered gas-producing in nature.It helps in easy digestion and relieves colic in infants
Turmeric (haldi): This dried root is a natural anti-septic and anti-inflammatory, hence an effective home remedy for small cuts, wounds and arthritis. Turmeric is being researched widely for its anti-cancer properties. And many a lovely lady will swear by its contribution in giving that special glow to the skin.
Cinnamon (dalchini): These are long, dark brown and dried sticks with a flavour that leans towards the sweet, as well as the mildly hot. It aids in digestion and is also known for its blood sugar and cholesterol lowering properties. Cinnamon tea is a great way to ward off nausea, flatulence and common cold.
(Elaichi): The most aromatic of all Indian spices, our very own elaichi is consumed in two forms â€“ green (choti elaichi) and black (badi elaichi) pods. Bad breath, loss of appetite, depression, indigestion, nausea; you name it, cardamom cures it. It is a great carminative (causing expulsion of gas), diuretic (causing urination), digestive, expectorant (helps bring up phlegm from lung etc) and stimulant. Besides providing health benefits,
Cloves: These dried flower buds of the clove tree are considered one of the â€œhottestâ€ among spices. They have antibacterial and antiseptic properties. Being a natural anesthetic, it is used as a remedy for toothache since ages.
Fenugreek (methi): Bitter in taste, methi seeds are of excellent medicinal virtue. They are a great blood purifier, laxative, help in maintaining metabolism, prevent constipation and act as an antidote for several skin problems. Methi paste, applied on the scalp, helps in nourishing and regenerating hair.
Fennel (saunf): These small green seeds are not only the heart of several dishes and pickles but are also eaten as a post meals as a mouth freshener. Fennel is carminative (gas/flatulence releasing) by nature. These seeds are a good source of vitamin C, potassium, iron, and fibre. Fennel is a known antispasmodic and is used to relieve colic, especially in infants and children.
Cumin, a popular seasoning with curries and gravies, is rich in iron and aids digestion with its antioxidant properties. It is also used to reduce acidity and boost immunity. Cumin also contains phytochemicals which are known to inhibit cancer cell growth.
Ginger, perhaps most well-known for its digestive and decongestive properties, is widely used to relieve nausea and soothe an upset tummy, as well as to treat colds and allergies. So make sure you have your cup of adhrak chai daily!
Red chilli powder (lal mirch): This super spicy chilli powder sure knows how to pack a punch â€“ in terms of its fieriness, as well as health benefits. The powder is known to reduce LDL or bad cholesterol, and is also rich in antioxidants like vitamin A and flavonoids like beta-carotene. Fresh chillies are also a good source of vitamin C.
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