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Indian Spices and Their Health Benefits

Thursday, May 3rd, 2012 Health

Indian food is considered as one of the healthiest cuisines of the world. Different cooking styles from different states of India have adapted methods of cooking which uses minimum oil. However it is rich, colorful and full of texture.

To understand the health aspect of Indian curries one has to refer to the various spices and ingredients used in the cooking process.  Most of the spices used are believed to have medicinal values, high in anti oxidants and digestive qualities. They are combined carefully with other ingredients to make it balanced and wholesome.

Pictures by Joey Armstrong

Indian food served at restaurants around the world is enhanced with cream, butter, clarified butter (Ghee) and nuts to make it thick and rich. Examples of these preparations are Butter Chicken, Chicken Korma, Tikka masala etc. However these preparations are only served on special occasions and festivals as a treat.

Homemade curries in India as a part of daily dining mostly contains curries prepared from fresh vegetables, free run chicken, fresh eggs, sauces based on natural ingredients such as onions, tomatoes, tamarind, coconut milk and Lentils. They are usually accompanied by brown rice, rotis and Chapattis which are made from whole wheat and sometimes with multigrain.

Spices and its medicinal values


Cinnamon is a rich source of anti-oxidant, eases digestion, reduces cholesterol levels and blood sugar


An active component in clove lends it anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory  properties used to reduce toothache and stomach ache.


Ginger is used widely to soothe many medical conditions as it contains components like gingerols, zingibain, bisabolenel, oleoresins, zingiberole. It is used naturally to treat nausea from morning sickness, treat nausea related to motion sickness. Anti-inflammatory properties help ease muscle and joint pain, stimulate circulation, and ease bronchitis and congestion


Often referred as” King of spices” turmeric is used in almost all the curries due to its significance. It is naturally used as anti inflammatory and as a promising diet aid in reducing belly fat. It is also high in anti oxidants and used as home remedy for cuts and wounds

Bay Leaf

Bay leaf has an active ingredient called “Parthenolides” it is helpful in curing migraines and often acts as a natural stress reliever.


Garlic is proven to be an anti-septic and helps to cure blemishes and wounds. It is rich in components which help to control cholesterol. It is also known to reduce blood clotting and aids blood circulation


Commonly called as elaichi, cardamom helps in countering stomach acidity it also acts as a great aphrodisiac when its powder is mixed with coffee or tea. It generates appetite, aids in nausea and takes care of the bad breath problem.

Indian Spices when used in right combination can be very beneficial to maintain a good lifestyle.  Even today they are used in Ayurveda which is Indian medicinal practice appeared during the Vedic period in India. Ayurveda is believed to be based on 5 elements of the world earth(Pritvi), water(Jala), Air(Vayu), fire(Agni)  and human body.  It is also sub categorized into Chyle or Plasma, Blood or Ratka, Flesh or masa, fat or medha , Bone marrow or Asti majja and Semen or Sukra Dathu

It is believed that Indian spices help to balance and maintain all the elements of human body mentioned in ayurveda.

These spices should be used as a part of prudent lifestyle. These spices are not medicine and not meant to be eaten raw.