Right from the kitchen spices have an important role to play in different areas.
Apart from adding colour, flavour and taste, consumption of spices provide infinite health benefits.
You can be more creative in use of spices if you know its uses better.
Some may be a substitute for your costly beauty products and even medicines.
Check out the list below and see their uses and benefits.
Though these spices provide innumerable benefits they should be used sparingly.
The excessive use of spices in food can cause harm to the health.
Try to make specific use of these spices.
This will help you to make optimal use of the resources provided by nature.
Strike the right balance and add some spice to your life.
|Asafoetida (Hing)||It is used for seasoning food especially snacks and has medicinal uses.||A good remedy for whooping cough and stomach ache caused due to gas.|
|Bay leaf (Tez Patta)||It is used in cooking to add a specific flavour to food.|
It also has some medicinal properties.
|Bay leaf oil possesses antifungal and anti bacterial|
|Cardamom (Elaichi)||It is used in most of the Indian and other sweet dishes to give a good flavour and smell. |
It is also used widely in pharmaceutical sector.
|Helps to control bad breath and digestive disorder. |
A whole cardamom chewed is good for coping with diabetes.
|Chilli (Lal Mirch)||It is a main ingredient used for adding hot flavour to the food.||The antioxidants present in chilli help to cope with cholesterol. |
It also helps burning calories
|Cinnamon (Dalchini)||It is used for mainly for seasoning food and preparing masalas It has medicinal uses too.||It supports natural production of insulin and reduces blood cholesterol, it also lower blood sugar levels and triglycerides|
|Clove (Laung)||It is used as a cooking ingredient mainly for seasoning or preparing Masalas.||Clove oil is beneficial for coping with tooth ache and sore gums. It is also beneficial remedy for chest pains, fever, digestive problems, cough and cold.|
|Coriander (Dhaniya)||Coriander leaves as well as coriander seeds are used in cooking. |
It also has some medicinal uses.
|It can be used externally on aching joints and rheumatism. |
It is also good for coping with soar throat, allergies, digestion problems, hay fever etc.
|Cumin (Zeera)||It is used for cooking and it also possesses medicinal properties.||It is a good source or iron and keeps immune system healthy. |
Water boiled with cumin seeds is good for coping with dysentery.
|Curry leaves(Curry Patta)||It is used as a main ingredient for seasoning in some countries. |
It has many medicinal uses.
|These leaves are beneficial for reducing blood sugar.|
Each part of the plant provides some benefit or the other.
The dried leaves are extensively used in herbal medicines.
|Fenugreek (Methi)||It is mainly used as a green leafy vegetable and seeds are used for seasoning and preparing Masalas. It also has medicinal uses.||Fenugreek seed tea or sweet fudge is good for increasing breast milk. |
It also helpful for treating diabetes and lowering cholesterol
|Garlic (Lassan)||It is used for cooking as well as for the medicinal purpose.||It is useful for coping with cough and cold. |
It also has antibiotic properties.
|Ginger (Adrak)||It is used for giving a specific flavour to food and has many medicinal uses.||Helps to avoid digestive problems. It is beneficial for coping with cough and cold.|
|Mustard (Rye)||It is used for seasoning as well as green leafy vegetable.|
The use of mustard oil is extensive in India but it is banned in some countries.
|Mustard oil is good for body massage and even for getting good hair.|
It consists of omega-3 fatty acids. It is an excellent source of iron, zinc, manganese, calcium, protein etc.
|Nutmeg (Jaiphal)||It is used in powdered form for garnishing and also for masala preparation.|
It is used in soaps, perfumes and shampoos.
It can also be used for medicinal purpose.
|It is beneficial for the treatments of asthma, heart disorder and bad breath.|
|Pepper (Kaali Mirch)||It is extensively used in cooking, especially for garnishing. |
It is has many medicinal uses too.
|It helps coping with cold, cough, infections etc.|
It helps to deal with muscle pains and digestive problems
Cayenne pepper may reduce cholesterol levels
|Saffron (Zaffran/Kesar)||It is used for cooking as well as in beauty products.|
It is mainly used in sweet dishes.
It has good medicinal properties.
|It helps to cope with skin diseases. |
It is a good remedy for cough, cold and asthma.
|Star anise (Chakra Phool)||It is used in cooking and for medicinal purpose||Star anise oil is beneficial for rheumatism. |
It is helpful for digestion and avoiding bad breath
|Turmeric (Haldi)||It is used in cooking and skin care products. |
It has wide range medicinal uses.
|It helps deal with skin problems. Turmeric powder can be used for healing cuts and wounds and may also reduce inflammation in people with arthritis. |
It also makes coping with diabetes easier.
Benefits for your children.
Many parents are surprised to find out that spices and herbs can be a great source of vitamins, nutrients and antioxidants.
This can be very helpful information especially if your little one is a picky eater. By adding a little flavor, you can also add healthy nutrition to the foods your family eats.
Here is a brief list of some of the nutrients in a few common herbs and spices:
Basil: Magnesium and vitamin K
Cayenne Pepper: Vitamin A
Cilantro: Fiber, iron and vitamin K
Cinnamon: Fiber, calcium, vitamin K and iron
Dill: Iron and calcium
Paprika: Vitamin A
Parsley: Vitamin C, K and A
Rosemary: Fiber, iron and calcium
Thyme: Vitamin K
Turmeric: Iron, potassium and vitamin B6
Sage: Vitamin K
Make preparing foods interactive.
Preparing foods with your little one can be a great way to engage their sense of smell.
For infants, take different bottles of spices that you have in your pantry and you and your little one can take turns smelling them.
Try taking several exaggerated sniffs from the bottles and then put the bottle below their nose to smell.
For toddlers, take out a small bit of the spice or herb and place it in from of them to smell and play with.
Then let them try to choose which spice it is by letting them smell each bottle.
This can be a fun way to introduce spices and herbs to your children.
Spices and herbs are also a great way to open your little one’s eyes to a variety of new flavors and tastes
Try some of these pairings to create a new tasty treat for your family
- Corn with chives or sweet paprika
- Tomato with basil
- Avocado with cilantro
- Roasted potatoes with rosemary
- Green beans with garlic
- Cinnamon with apples, oatmeal or yogurt
- Nutmeg with butternut squash or sweet potatoes
- Garlic in tomato sauces
- Thyme with cooked veggies and soups
Spices and herbs are full of flavor, so a little can go a long way – start small and add more as needed.
Spices can stay fresh for up to a year – try using permanent marker to write the date opened on each spice container so you’ll know when it is time to buy new ones.
Don't be afraid to experiment – try different spices with foods you already love for a new taste, or experiment with foods that are not so popular in your household to create a tasty treat everyone will enjoy.
It is recommended that spices should be introduced after eight months in age.
Try introducing one spice at a time in small amounts.
Wait about five days before introducing a new spice to make sure that your baby does not have any allergic reactions.