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Spices have been a part of Indian and South-east Asian cuisine from a long time. We have a long and exhaustive history with the both the various kinds of spices and herbs available locally. Our lifestyle is such that we have inculcated these spices into our daily life either by consuming through food or making […]

Spices have been a part of Indian and South-east Asian cuisine from a long time. We have a long and exhaustive history with the both the various kinds of spices and herbs available locally. Our lifestyle is such that we have inculcated these spices into our daily life either by consuming through food or making masala chai (spice/ masala tea). Rather, Haldi (turmeric) is a key ingredient in all our dishes whether making sabzi (vegetable) or giving a tadka for the daal (pulses).

I have also written a blog on both spices and herbs before, which consist of many other spices and herbs that we can use either in our drinks, food or dessert to make full use of their beneficial properties.

For spices, you can visit the article here.

For herbs, you can visit the article here.

Here are a few of the spices and herbs that we use in our daily life. And if we don’t use these spices and herbs, we need to add them soon for their super beneficial properties.

Spice n Herb - Clove

Image Source – Craig Hermann

Cloves

Scientific Name: Syzygium aromaticum

Part of Plant Used: Unopened flower buds

Ingredients: beta-caryophyllene;

Volatile oils: eugenol;

Flavonoids: kaempferol, rhamnetin

Health Benefits: If you’ve had dental work done, you might have used cloves or its extracts. Volatile oil eugenol has slightly anaesthetic and anti-bacterial properties. They are also found to offer protection against industrial pollutants like carbon tetrachloride; gastrointestinal tract cancers; and joints inflammation. The two major flavonoids, kaempferol, and rhamnetin are anti-inflammatory and also has antioxidant properties.

Flavour: This spice has a strong and sweet flavour.

Cilantro/Coriander

Spice n Herbs - Coriander

Image source – Jules from flickr.com

Scientific Name: Coriandrum sativum

Part of Plant Used: Leaves (cilantro), seeds (coriander)

Ingredients: dodecenal;

Flavonoids: quercitin, kaempferol, rhamnetin, epigenin;

Phytonutrients: carvone, geraniol, camphor, linalool;

Phenolic acid: caffeic,  chlorogenic acid

Health Benefits: Coriander can be called as a wonder herb/spice. It aids to stimulate insulin release to lower blood sugar levels, reduces lipid peroxidation amount in the blood, and increases HDL cholesterol while lowering LDL.

Research has suggested that in cilantro, the volatile oils have antimicrobial properties. Dodecenal is twice as effective as common antibiotics at killing Salmonella. There has been a total of eight other antibiotic compounds isolated from this herb/spice.

It is claimed by a few herbalists and natural health practitioners that cilantro has the ability to chelate heavy metals like mercury and aluminium from the body.

Flavour: This herb has citrusy flavour with a nice tanginess. Its flavour is warm and a little bit nutty and sweet.

Spice n Herb - Dill

Image source – Liz West from flickr.com

Dill

Scientific Name: Anethum graveolens

Part of Plant Used: Leaves and seeds

Ingredients: Monoterpenes: carvone, limonene, anethofuran;

Flavonoids: kaempferol, vicenin; various volatile oils

Health Benefits: Dill is known for its anti-bacterial and also chemoprotective properties. This herb is predominantly good to protect against compounds in the smoke of cigarettes, grills, and incinerators.

It also helps in boosting the free radical protection by activating glutathione-S-transferase.

Flavour: It’s to a great degree versatile and includes a pleasantly earthy, to some degree lemony flavour to all that you add it to. Dill is truly delicate, so include it close to the very end of cooking.

Spice n Herbs - Ginger

Image Source – Delphine Menard from flickr.com

Ginger

Scientific Name: Zingiber officinale Rosc.

Part of Plant Used: Root

Ingredients: gingerols

Health Benefits: This spice is carminative and helps to relax and soothe the intestinal tract. This root has an amazing record with regards to gastrointestinal help – various studies have demonstrated it to greatly affect motion sickness and one indicated it to be better than Dramamine.

It also helps with nausea and vomiting during pregnancy. It contains gingerols, which are anti-inflammatory compounds.

Flavour: Keep ginger in the kitchen fresh. Its flavour can be said to be pungent spicy.

Herb n Spice - Mustard Seed

Image Source – Jessica Spengler from flickr.com

Mustard Seed

Scientific Name: Sinapis alba

Part of Plant Used: Seeds

Ingredients: myrosinase enzymes, Phytonutrients: glucosinolates

Health Benefits: Mustard contains compounds known as glucosinolates in an abundant amount. The myrosinase enzymes present in mustard helps to break down the phytochemicals into isothiocyanates which inhibit the growth of existing and new cancer cells in the GI tract. Mustard seeds are considered to be a good source for asthma relief and also for rheumatoid arthritis due to the presence of selenium and magnesium.

Magnesium also aids in sleeping, decreasing the frequency of migraines, and people with a risk of heart attack. Mustard can also relieve congestion of respiratory system.

Flavour: Mustard is a great spice for its spicy and scented qualities.

Precautions: Mustard seeds have goitrogens, it can cause troubles for people suffering from thyroid issues.

Image Source - Michele M. F. from flickr.com

Image Source – Michele M. F. from flickr.com

Nutmeg

Scientific Name: Myristica fragrans Houtt.

Part of Plant Used: Seed

Health Benefits: Nutmeg has the ability to sooth the digestive system and lower blood pressure. It can also be combined with massage oil to relieve joint pain and inflammation. As for other benefits, it cures diarrhoea

and toothaches, stimulates the cardiovascular system, helps in concentration, and enhances the efficiency of the liver in removing the toxins.

Flavour: Nutmeg is spicy and sweet. In small quantity, it adds depth by blending with other flavours.

Precautions: This spice can be utilised as a hallucinogen. 1 gramme of Nutmeg can cause mild hallucinations, euphoria and visual distortion. In large amounts, it is similar to MDMA (ecstasy). Beyond that, there are painful side effects, the risk of Nutmeg Psychosis, and the fact that effects can linger for three days.

Turmeric

Spice - Turmeric

Image Source – Steven Jackson from flickr.com

Scientific Name: Curcuma domestica Loir.

Part of Plant Used: Root

Ingredients: curcumin

Health Benefits: It has been used in the traditional Chinese and Indian systems of medicine as an anti-inflammatory agent to treat a wide variety of conditions, jaundice, including flatulence, bloody urine, menstrual difficulties,  haemorrhage, bruises, toothache, colic, and chest pain.

It also has chemoprotective  and therapeutic properties and affects the breast, prostate, lung, colon, pancreatic and oral cancer.

Apart from this, it also reduces the risk of leukaemia in childhood, improves the functioning of the liver, protects the cardiovascular system, and also protects against Alzheimer’s disease in numerous ways.

Flavour: Turmeric is a strongly flavoured spice. It has a little bitter taste with a slight pepperiness.

Now, that we have a list of super herbs and spices, we can start applying them immediately into our daily life and lead a healthier, fitter and better tomorrow.

You can get a list of many other spices and herbs apart from these in my other articles. Apart from these, there are many other articles on healthy living and other food items benefits and ill-effects. If you would like to refer to them, please visit and read my articles on my blog here.

Herbs n spice

Image Source – Michael Stern from flickr.com

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