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herbs and spices

The practice of using herbs and spices for healing dates back to hundreds of years before the age of modern science. In ayurveda, an age-old traditional Indian system of medicine, aims to preserve wellness by maintaining a balance of all three – the mind, the body and the spirit, and preventing ailments than treating them. Herbs and spices are vital components of the ayurvedic way of healing, in turn restoring an overall balance.

You don’t need to forage jungles for these herbs and spices. They are easily available to you at your local market. Here’s a list for you to add to your shopping list, the next time you hotfoot aisles at the market:


1. Ginger

A common herb found in your kitchen, a brew of ginger can be used to treat common cold and cough. A tiny piece of ginger every day is also known to boost one’s immunity system. Ginger is pungent and most herbs with a spicy taste packs a lot of heat with properties that have a purifying post digestive effect. So be careful and avoid consuming copious amounts of it.


2. Gotu Kola

Gotu Kola, aka the herb of longevity, is a herb that may help boost your memory and reduce anxiety and reduce daily stress. It also has use to treat a variety of skin conditions such as eczema, psoriasis, stretch marks. A study revealed that gotu kola also improved one’s memory after a stroke.


3. Ashwagandha

The super herb showcases polarizing benefits – to calm and to energize! It’s a small woody plant native to the Indian subcontinent and is also considered an adaptogen, meaning it helps your body manage stress rather effectively. Research has also proven ashwagandha to help enhance muscle growth, male fertility, memory and low blood sugar levels.


4. Triphala

A herb with double the effect, triphala rejuvenates and detoxifies. Triphala (meaning, three fruits namely – amla; bibhitaki and haritaki) is proven to reduce inflammation caused by arthritis and also limit the growth of certain types of cancer. It also functions as a natural laxative, reducing constipation and flatulence. In India it’s common to have triphala post heavy meals during celebrations.


5. Cumin

A spice native to the Mediterranean belt and the Southwest Asia, cumin seeds (jeera) are known for their distinct spicy flavor. A study shows that cumin can facilitate the release or bile from the liver and ease the digestion of fat stored. Cumin is also known to protect against type 2 diabetes and can improve insulin sensitivity. It’s used commonly in Indian dals and rice preparation.


6. Turmeric

Like its herb cousins, triphala and ashwagandha, turmeric can both warm your digestion or kill excess heat. Also it’s a customary ingredient in every Indian household, a spice that gives any preparation its characteristic yellow tint. It’s also a common remedy for healing cuts and wounds. It’s main compound is Curcumin, which helps drastically in reducing inflammation and enhance heart and brain health. It’s commonly added to a warm milk concoction accompanying kesar to treat cold and cough and it’s supposed to be consumed right before bed.


7. Cardamom

AKA the queen of spices, cardamom has manifold benefits. Studies suggest that cardamom powder may help in reduce blood pressure. Moreover, it’s known to reduce the size of gastric ulcers by at least 50 to 80 percent.

Adding Ayurvedic herbs and spices to your routine needs to be moderated by a specialist to avoid ill- effects. They are generally safe when taken in small amounts. Consult with a herbologist or a research more on their benefits and side effects before consuming them with little or no knowledge.

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