An Indian kitchen is incomplete without spices. India has been known since ancient times for its varied varieties of spices. The country was even invaded in the past by various explorers in lure of the spices that the India possesses. Spices are consumed by sautéing them in ghee and using them with vegetables, dal (lentils) or curry. It can also be used for garnishing, dressing salads or preparing health drinks.
Spices play a pivotal role in stimulating digestion and assimilating food which in turn helps in maintaining a balance and healthy Agni or digestive Fire. The importance and role of spices is doubled when the food cooked is heavy in nature. If spices are not used in the right quantities, these foods can produce toxins which can block the body channels. Spices even help in cleaning toxins from the body.
Five most important spices which should be a part of every kitchen
Coriander (Dhania)- The assimilation of other herbs and spices, used during cooking, is done with the help of the coriander seed. This spice is known to be quite gracious to the Doshas and according to Ayurveda, it balances the body and mind. Coriander is also helpful in digestive, respiratory and urinary disorders. It even treats skin ailments caused by the aggravation of the Pitta.
Ginger (Adrakh)- Ginger is considered to be irreplaceable in every kitchen as it helps in bringing flavor and pungency to the food. It even assists in digestion and hence is called the ‘universal medicine’ for its healing properties. Respiratory disorders caused by aggravation of Kapha and Vata can also be cured with ginger. This invigorating spice is even used in herbal tea to treat common cold and cough.
Cumin (Jeera)- Jeera is widely used as a condiment and flavoring agent in curries and lentils. It is mainly known for its aromatic qualities and acts as a stimulant for digestive disorders. It is also an antiseptic and it enhances the functioning of the liver and pancreas, thus cleansing the body off its toxins and helping in absorbing nutrients into it.
Fenugreek (Methi)- known mainly for its healing properties, Fenugreek is helpful mainly in treating digestive, respiratory, nervous and menstrual disorders. It even aids in purifying skin and facilitating weight loss. One should have water with fenugreek soaked in it overnight. This helps in reducing blood sugar levels in the body. This spice is bitter-sweet in flavor and is mainly used for cooking vegetables and dals in Indian kitchens.
Turmeric (Haldi)- Turmeric is referred as the Indian Saffron. It tastes bitter, astringent and pungent. It contains various therapeutic qualities and is also considered to be rich in anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties. It is an indispensible part of the Indian cuisine. It even enhances metabolism and helps remove undesirable fat from the body when used in cooking.