Ayurveda puts spices at the heart of its medicine and its nutrition. Most spices enhance digestion, and that’s one of the reasons spices are revered in Ayurvedic cuisine. Not only do they help enhance digestion, but they also help remove accumulated toxins in our digestive tract making spices valuable additions to our daily diet.
Many of us have complained of digestive problems in some point of our lives with issues ranging from bloating, to heartburn, to acid reflux, pain, gas, constipation, or diarrhea, burping or distension. Most of them can have a negative effect on the way we spend our day, what we accomplish and how we feel about our body. In Ayurveda spices are regarded as medicine. Spices are like herbs: they work gently and gradually, with the benefits adding up over time and no dangerous side effects.
Listed below are some of the spices that are frequently used in Ayurvedic cooking along with their healing benefits:
Tumeric is a powerful cleanser of the liver, and has gained a lot of popularity in the last few years. Some of the many benefits of tumeric include decreasing pathogenic bacteria found in the intestines, calming inflammation, reducing undigested food in the gastrointestinal tract, treating stomach ulcers, and reducing the risk of bowel cancer.
Ginger- is highly respected in Ayurveda, and is said to universally treat all diseases. Ginger is a powerful spice that helps to cleanse the body of toxins, increase the secretion of digestive enzymes, and promote healthy circulation. Ginger is also a very useful spice that helps to cure nausea.
Cumin- If you have a sluggish digestive system, cumin is an excellent spice that increases your body’s absorption of nutrients. Cumin also helps to reduce bloating, belching and gas, and helps to reduce diarrhea.
Coriander- Coriander is a tri-doshic spice highly appreciated in ayurveda. It is a cooling spice and contributes the sweet and astringent tastes. Ayurvedic texts suggest that it is good for digestion, wets the appetite, supports a healthy response to allergens and also helps purify the blood.
Cardamom- Cardamom clears food cravings and refreshes the palate. It destroys mucous in the stomach and upper GI tract. Cardamom can alleviate indigestion, gas, morning sickness, and acidity. It assists in digestion and assimilation.
Black Pepper- Pungent and heating, this spice acts as a stimulant and kindles the digestive fire, increasing the secretion of digestive juices and helps destroy toxins.
Cinnamon- Pungent and sweet, this aromatic bark of tree is a great spice for strengthening and enhancing the flow of circulation. It has antiseptic and detoxifying properties. It is particularly good for strengthening and enhancing the flow of circulation. It creates internal heat and has a natural cleansing action which is why it is a widely used home remedy for colds and flu, and aids in the absorption of other medicines.
Asafoetida (Hing)- Asafoetida, sometimes referred to as “Hing”, cleans up the intestinal flora and strengthens the digestive fire. It can be used in cases of flatulence, spasms and worms.
The key to living a healthy life is to eat with awareness and always maintain a balanced perspective regarding diet and lifestyle. We here at Santa Cruz Ayurveda hope these tips help support you during the winter months. May you be peaceful, happy and healthy during this season and beyond.
Many Blessings, Santa Cruz Ayurveda