Spices And Ayurveda
By Dr Sajimon George BAMS, AAA, ATMS
Indian spices occupy an important place in history. It brought us not only traders but invaders too. It was much worthier than gold and gave life to the dishes. The demand for spices lead to wars, treatises and sea route discoveries! Spices provide a therapeutic flavor, fragrance and colour are the properties that attracted us over the centuries.
In Ayurveda, spices and herbs are used in treating many health problems. According to the Beej- Bhoomi theory, proper digestion is crucial to health. The root cause of all disorders is poor digestion. When food we eat is not digested properly and if our body cannot absorb the nutrients from it, the there is no use of eating all the healthy dishes. The undigested impurities stay in the body and clogs all the channels through which nutrients flow to different parts of the body. Ama is the byproduct of poor digestion and metabolism. The build up of ama creates a total damage to proper functioning of body by
- Clogging the micro-channels and preventing flow of nutrients and energy
- Prevents the free movement of wastes.
- Weakens immunity
Spices enhance digestion and metabolism and helps to cleanse ama from the body. They work gently on the body and the benefits keep adding gradually over years of time. Some spices should be sauted and some should be cooked along with other ingredients. Some spices are warming and some are cooling agents to body. Warming spices are –
- Black Pepper
Some of the spices that make our body cool
Saffron is the spice that possess many vibrant qualities and high ‘Satvic’ nature. It is the queen of all spices. It is the most expensive one too.
Spices can prevent and heal many ailments that we suffer. Turmeric, Ginger, Nutmeg, Cinnamon, coriander, cumin seed, fennel seeds, cardamom, clove, saffron, Ajwain, sesame seeds, black pepper, cumin are some of the top spices used in Ayurveda.
As per the concept of taste in Ayurveda, every meal should possess all the six tastes. The hunger signals from the brain gets pacified only when all the tastes are felt by the tongue. Such a fulfilling meal would prevent anyone from over-eating and it would reduce unhealthy food cravings. Sweet, sour and salt is found naturally, while astringent, bitter and pungent tastes ate rarely met in our food.
Spices supply this deficiency and encourages a fulfilling and healthy meal each time. Pungent taste found in spices improves the digestive fire and helps in gaining the metabolism the body needs. It opens up the micro-channels and cleanses the body from Ama.
Add these in your daily diet and find the wonders these spices would work on your overall health.