India is the biggest producer, consumer and exporter of spices in the world. India exports about 180 different spices to 150 countries of the world. A wide variety of spices are grown in different parts of the country many of which are native to these places. Others are imported and cultivated locally. Spices have been used in Indian kitchens for centuries, they are one of the most important thing in our daily diet. Spices are added to food to give it flavor, aroma, and to preserve it, also spices are said to be really good for health. Several spices are blended together to give food the known Indian taste. Not only in kitchens but spices play a vital role in pharmaceutical products, medicines, cosmetics, etc. Spices are known to help in curing many deseases like arthritis cancer, diabetes.
Spices add a twist to our foods. Without spices food looks, smells and tastes dull and lifeless, a pinch of common spices is what we all need. Be it cardamom in our tea, turmeric in lentils or curry leaves in curry, all the spices offer something different and are an essential part of our lives. They are known to be effective in gastric problems, blood disorders, infectious diseases. There are 7 spices which are a must to have in indian households. These spices are used for their aroma and spices and for their potential health benefits.
Turmeric has been used since ancient times as a healer, coloring agent and most importantly to give a yellow shade to our food and all the health benefits it provides us with consuming just a small amount daily. It is like a sack of nutrients. It has many benefits including, it’s antioxidant and antispetic properties. It has been a prominent ingredient in cosmetic industry as well. Face creams, face washes, etc with the goodness of turmeric are found in abudance. It is grown as a rhizom and can be used as fresh or dried. Cucurmin is the main component of turmeric. It is also helpful in stopping blood for minor cuts. Also known as golden spice or indian saffron. It helps relieve pain, aids digestion and supports immune system. A glass of milk with turmeric can be very effective at night for better sleep and digestion. It is known to provide warmth to the body, clean blood and cure skin realted problems.
Cumin consists of oil that provide a particular aroma to the seeds. It is the basic and one of the first ingredient used while cooking. Smal boat shaped seeds is an ancient spice used as whole or powder and is infused with the hot oil or lightly roasted to bring out the flavor. It has an earthy aroma, and is beneficial for heart related diseases due to its antioxidant properties and has various vitamins and minerals in it. Cumin seeds improve taste and craving. Cumin oil posesses antifungal and antimicrobial properties. It is helpful in toothache and jaundice as well and is widely used in pharmaceutical industries.
India accounts for the major production of fenugreek and is derived from various states out of which Rajasthan alone gives 80% of the indian output. The majority is cultivated and consumed in India itself. It is used as a herb dried or fresh in cooking, it possesses bitter taste which is reduced by roasting the seeds. Fenugreek plant is about 2-3 feet tall, it’s green leaves and pods that contain small, golden-brown seeds. For many years it has been used in Chinese medicines to treak skin problems many other diseases. And for similar reasons it has long utilized in households and can be found in shampoos and soaps as well. For it’s nutritious value and sweet nutty taste it has been a must to have spice in Indian kitchens. Fenugreek may be helpful in aiding diabetes and is also taken as supplement.
Coriander is one of the most used herb to flavor dishes, the seeds known as Coriander and the leaves as cilantro. Commonly known as dhaniya in india, It is also known as chinese parsley. Used in soups, currie masalas in India, middle, eastern and asian meals. While leaves and dried or ground seeds are used, coriander is useful in lowerin blood sugar, boosting immune system, lower heart related deseases. Both seeds and leaves of coriander are very different in taste. Whole seeds are added to vegetables, pickes, lentils and baked goods. Their aroma is released by warming. While leaves are used to garnish dishes. Coriander seeds are toasted and ground before eating as their texture can be hard to chew. A bright shining green plant. Surprisingly it has several skin benefits. It slowly absorbs the sugar in stomach and stimulates insulin and is found effective in lowering blood sugar levels in diabetic patients.
Clove is grown in Asia and America, its oil, stem, dried flower buds and leaves are used in making medicines. Clove is very effective in dental problems and can cure toothache when applied directly to it. Also used as a flavoring in foods and beverages, toothpaste, perfume, soaps and cigarettes. It resembles a nail in shape. It’s use in culinary is mainly for flavoring as it blends both with sweet and savory dishes. Clove oil has antispetic and antibiotic properties and is used especially in dentistry. Clove is often found in indian cuisine for it aroma and flavor and is a part of garam masala, which is a mixture od different spices.
Cinnamon is a spice extracted from bark, leaves, flowers, fruits, and roots of the cinnamon tree and has been a part of traditional medicine for thousands for years. It has many health benefits and is also used for flavoring and fragrance. It is effective in blood sugar levels, lower cholesterol, stomach issues and obesity. It has antioxidant, antibiotic and anti inflammatory properties and has traces of nutrients in it. In india it is used in making chutneys, meat or rice dishes. Sometimes while cinnamon sticks are also used.
After Saffron and vanilla, cardamom is the most expensive spice in the world. This versatile pod is used in teas, spices and many sweets are garnished using cardamom. In indian cuisine whole pods of cardamom are used in making curry, milk deserts and many other dishes. It is widely used in making chai as it for its aroma and flavor. It benefits in gastric problems, cardiovascular issues, controlling cancer and cholesterol and is rich in nutrients. It is also included in garam masala as an essential ingredient. These small green and black pods have a wide range of uses added to their list.