Here the Ayurvedic properties and uses of some of our ingredients: whether consumed in tiny amounts (as in our ghee) or used in larger amounts in Ayurvedic remedies, spices are important for a healthy life.
Cinnamon is a warming spice that enhances digestion and increases ojas, which is our innate quality of resilience, joy and vitality. It is often used in formulas for digestion, cough and fever. Like many aromatic spices, it is also considered to balance vata.
Nutmeg is calming for vata and enhances vitality. It supports healthy digestion by clearing toxins and supporting the normal movement of the digestive process. Nutmeg helps clear mucus and cough or to help promote sleep.
Cardamom is a warming spice, often used in beverages, rice dishes and meats. In Ayurveda, its warming qualities are excellent for calming vata. Cardamom is also stimulating for the appetite and digestion, and can help relieve cough and respiratory symptoms and remove mucus from the stomach.
Turmeric has such a beautiful golden color due to the cur-cumin content. It’s recently popular in the mainstream as an antioxidant, but its history goes back to ancient times. In Ayurveda turmeric is known to eliminate excess Pitta (correlating with inflammation in western medicine) from the blood and liver, and also helps to cleanse the channels or screams of the body (the large channels such as digestive system, all the way to the more subtle channels which are similar to the meridians in Chinese medicine).
Black pepper is used as a flavoring, but has important qualities for health. In Ayurveda it’s used as a rejuvenate spice for the lungs, and its cousin Long Pepper even more-so. Black pepper is also a digestive, used especially with heavier foods like meats, or when a person needs digestive support. Black pepper is actually a fruit, and if you grind it you will notice a rich, pungent and fruity aroma.
Fennel is an excellent digestive, supports heart health and can help alleviate nausea. It can be used to enhance appetite by removing ama (toxins) and stimulating agni or digestive fire. It is one of the 3 components in the popular CCF detox Tea.
Coriander has an interesting combination of sweet, bitter and astringent taste. It has warming qualities, yet also can help with balancing pitta (as heat and inflammation) and is often used as a blood purifier and to support digestion.
Cumin is one of the best spices for reducing and balancing vata. It is also a wonderful digestive, helping to reduce gas and redirect digestive energy downward. At Indian restaurants you will likely see a seed mix you can chew after meals- including cumin seed.
Garlic has an interesting perspective in Ayurveda. It is considered to have a stimulating quality, enhancing digestion, aiding in respiratory conditions, improving digestion and a tonic for heart and brain.
Ginger is one of the most important herbs in Ayurveda. It has hot/pungent qualities making it a great stimulant for digestion – with dried ginger having more heat than fresh.
Whether you have favorite spices or love to explore new ones, make spices a part of your diet for overall health!