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The Best Spices and Herbs for Ayurvedic Cooking

According to Ayurveda, cooking with spices is the key to making food your medicine and optimizing nutrition. Spices enhance digestion, remove accumulated toxins, reduce inflammation, and boost your gut health. Spices and herbs work gently and gradually with the benefits adding up over time and no dangerous side effects. Spices and herbs, like ginger or turmeric, can help digestive problems ranging from bloating, heartburn, acid reflux, pain, gas, constipation, diarrhea, to burping. In Ayurveda spices are regarded as medicine, so we can digest and assimilate food to its highest potential!

Below are some of the mostspices that are frequently used in Ayurvedic cooking:

Turmeric– Turmeric is the one of the most revered spices in Ayurveda. It 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 turmeric include decreasing pathogenic bacteria found in the intestines, calming inflammation, reducing undigested food in the gastrointestinal tract, treating stomach ulcers, colds, and reducing the risk of bowel cancer. Turmeric is one of the best anti-inflammatory agents and can be used for most people! Cook ground turmeric in your oatmeal, kitchari, veggies, rice, and more!

Ginger– Ginger is known as the “universal medicine.” It is highly respected in Ayurveda and works for all body types. Ginger is a powerful spice that helps to cleanse the body of toxins, increase the secretion of digestive enzymes, and promote healthy circulation. It relieves gas and cramps in the abdomen, including menstrual cramps. Ginger is a great diaphoretic and great for colds, cough, and vomiting. We recommend using fresh ginger in meals from oatmeal, soups, to vegetable lunches. Fresh ginger is also great soaked in lemon juice eaten 15 minutes before a meal as a digestive appetizer!

Cumin– Cumin is an excellent spice that increases the absorption of nutrients and helps sluggish digestive system. Cumin also helps to reduce bloating, belching and gas, and helps to reduce diarrhea. We recommend using whole coriander seeds with cooked greens in sesame oil.

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. We recommend using whole coriander seeds with cumin seeds and fennel.

Cardamom– Cardamom is a great digestive stimulant. It wakes up the spleen, increases digestive fire (Agni), and stimulates the mind and heart. Cardamom clears food cravings and refreshes the palate. It destroys mucous in the stomach and upper GI tract, thereby reducing Kapha. Cardamom can alleviate indigestion, gas, morning sickness, and acid regurgitation. It assists in digestion and assimilation. We recommend using cardamom in chai or Coconut Date Bliss Balls.

Black Pepper– Black pepper is one of the most powerful digestive stimulants. Pungent and heating, it works as a stimulant and kindles the digestive fire, increases the secretion of digestive juices and helps destroy toxins (Ama). It is a great antidote to cold foods like raw salads or foods. Black pepper with Turmeric in honey works as a powerful expectorant and mucus cleanser.

Asafoetida (Hing)– Asafoetida, often referred to as “Hing”, cleans up the intestinal flora and strengthens the digestive fire. It is a powerful digestive stimulant and helps remove food stagnation from the G.I. tract. It can be used in cases of flatulence, cramps, spasms and worms. We believe this is as essential in a kitchen as black pepper or cayenne!

Ajwan– Ajwan is a strong respiratory and nerve stimulant. It is a powerful decongestant for both the respiratory and digestive tracts. Ajwan removes stagnation in the metabolic system. It promotes kidney function and energizes the nerves. It can help with poor appetite intestinal gas, and sinus congestion.

Fenugreek– Fenugreek is used to enhance digestion and prevent stomach disorders. It has been found to help the treatment of Diabetes along with a healthy diet. It strengthens the digestive system and helps reduce flatulence, indigestion, and sluggish liver. Fenugreek can also have beneficial results in treating urinary disorders, blood cholesterol levels, and sore throat. Cook it with other spices like ajwan, cumin, and coriander in ghee or sesame oil with greens!

Cinnamon– Pungent and sweet, cinnamon 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. We recommend using it in chai or Coconut Date Bliss Balls. It is great to use with nutmeg and cardamom!

This is just scratching the surface of the healing benefits of spices and herbs! Ayurveda believes food is medicine. While eating incredibly yummy recipes, Ayurveda believes it’s good for you body to eat dark greens and bitters though you might not be accustomed to them at first depending on your current diet. Food can be yummy, healing, and make you feel energized and ready to take on the day! We recommend instead of taking a highly processed pill for vitamins and greens, use your food and cooking to get your medicine! You’ll be amazed at how much energy and vitality you feel.

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