For many people, Ayurvedic diet is synonymous with vegetarian and spice-rich diet. And indeed emphasize the classical texts of Ayurveda, the positive effect of vegetarian diet on the mental and spiritual development and Spices to improve taste and digestibility. Especially with the knowledge of the healing properties of spices can do your daily meals are an effective medicine, their use can be adapted to a wide variety of ailments.
However, these findings are not old “Ayurvedic invention”, but also determine in our culture for many thousands of years the development of medicine. From the ancient Egyptians, Greeks, Romans, Teutons to the Moors in Andalusia – all took advantage of exotic spices from the Orient, India and China to improve the taste and effect of food.
The Egyptians cultivated and imported anise, dill, fennel, fenugreek, cardamom, coriander, garlic, Ajwain, black cumin, pepper, mint, saffron, mustard, thyme and juniper. The Greeks preferred pepper and ginger from Yemen, cinnamon from China and cloves and nutmeg from the Moluccas (in present-day Indonesia), while the Romans in saffron, anise and her absolute favorite spice, cumin reveled.
About the healing properties of spices you knew then already well informed: The founding fathers of Western medicine already distinguished the healing powers of black, white and long pepper, described the digestive and antispasmodic effect of coriander, used black cumin for headaches, basil as Magentonikum and aphrodisiac Safran used as tonics and cosmetics in sauces, tinctures and oils.
All this shows that the spices used in Ayurveda look back on a long tradition in our own kitchen.Unfortunately, this knowledge has been lost to the healing powers of dried fruits, bark, seeds and herbs over time, so again today there is a great need for education.
Healing with Spices
For home use, the ayurvedic spice medicine the correct use of taste (Rasa) is the most important form of therapy. The taste sensations on the mucous membranes have a direct influence on the physical and mental balance of the three doshas vata, pitta and kapha and the functioning of the digestive fire (Agni) in its utilizing and cell-renewing quality. So whether we cook our soup with hot chili or sweet saffron, has a decisive influence on the effect and tolerability. Because basically act all sweet foods more nourishing, uplifting and soothing, while hot spices are considered stimulating, aphrodisiac and weight-reducing.
Commonly used spices in Ayurvedic cooking
Ajwain is a nearly unknown spice in our latitudes. It helps in indigestion of all kinds, gastritis, loss of appetite, bloating, cramps and purifies blood. The mild and aromatic taste of Ajwainsamen, spicy and bitter, goes well with braised cucumber, green beans and peppers. Inhaling the vapors is good for asthma and cough.
Asafoetida is known as Stinkasant, asafoetida or Hing. It is one of the few spices which are used only in very small amounts. Excellent and fast does the spice in acute gastrointestinal disturbances such as nausea, vomiting and diarrhea, but even with sluggish bowel and constipation because it stimulates digestion and distributes bloating, acts anticonvulsant and also menstruation promoting.
A quarter pinch Hing drunk in a glass of boiled water sips, strengthens the healthy intestinal flora, strengthens Agni, calms Vata and is good against worms.
Cayenne pepper or red chillies have an intense and burning sharpness, which is why they should be extremely careful dosing.
Pitta types should avoid chillies, unless they suffer from a weak Agni. For the lazy kapha metabolism (Manda-Agni) Chili acts very stimulating and reduces fatty tissue.
In Ayurveda, we distinguish the effect of dried ginger (Sunti) and of fresh ginger (ardraka). Fresh ginger has a sharp taste (Katuvipaka) and dried ginger has a sweet taste (Madhuravipaka).
Ginger can be used for all meals, but should not be eaten in summer in hot weather. He is regarded as a panacea and is particularly used for Agni-strengthening and Ama-degradation.
Fresh ginger strengthens the liver functions, helps the natural immune system and harmonizes the Vata system. He diluted naturally the blood, thus preventing effectively the formation of blood clots before.It also lowers a nutritionally high cholesterol and is useful in bronchitis, asthma and (rheumatoid) arthritis.
Ginger juice is a natural tonic, which stimulates digestion and appetite, bloating and intestinal colic relieves and rejects them toxins from the intestines.
Cardamom belongs to the genus of the ginger family and is for refining different food uses. Because it is light, dry and cold, it is used especially in the summer and reduce Pitta. He has a sweet, sharp and bitter taste is appetizing and diuretic. Along with ginger and turmeric cardamom neutralized the slime-forming effect of the milk.
Coriander is a cornerstone of the Indian spice palette. For Pitta people fresh coriander leaves or dried seeds are the best seasoning.
Coriander seeds are very beneficial for the digestive and enzyme system, relieve bloating and strengthen nerves and brain. Coriander has anti-inflammatory and is slightly hot on its characteristics, but cooling and gives all foods a fresh and spring-like aroma.
Cumin, also known as cumin, turmeric addition is an important part of the commercial curry. roasted in ghee, unfold the seeds develop a wonderful flavor that refined cabbage and potato dishes. It stimulates digestion, regulates the intestinal flora and purifies blood. Together with coriander and fennel dampen an increased Agni, and as Sud with ginger, salt and sugar it acts Agni-stimulating. Cumin has little, hot, dry and sharp penetrating properties, reduces Kapha, Vata regulates and is useful in diseases of the urinary tract.
Turmeric, also known as turmeric, brings metabolism by its bitter and astringent properties into balance and reduces all three doshas. He’s very blood purifier, helps with allergies, allergic asthma, hay fever, skin problems, hemorrhoids, and chest pain. Its ingredients stimulate the flow of bile, the liver function, act to promote an anti-inflammatory, antiseptic and stimulates the metabolism. In warm water dissolved and sips drunk he is also effective against
Cloves are used in Ayurvedic cooking whole or ground, have mild and cold properties, are tasted bitter and spicy and reduce Kapha and Pitta in the body. Because of its blood purifying, analgesic and digestive action of carnations are greatly appreciated. They eliminate gastric and intestinal cramps and pain, stimulate the skin, salivary glands, kidneys, liver and bronchial mucosa.
Safran, very Based in Ayurveda known as rejuvenating spice, acting, stimulant, analgesic and nourishes all doshas. It is recommended for depression and the harmonization of the menses or lack of sperm production.
When home remedies saffron is used for headaches due to Rakta and Pitta in the form of nasal drops of ghee with saffron.
Cinnamon has hot and lightweight properties, a sharp, sweet and bitter taste, reduces Kapha and Vata and has antiseptic, anticonvulsant and expectorant. It stimulates the heart and acts dilating the peripheral blood vessels. infused as tea relieves fatigue and cinnamon cold.
Milk with cinnamon is a good drink to promote the motor nervous system (Vyanavayu). It reduces blood sugar levels and stimulates the uterus. For headaches fine cinnamon and sugar powder and immediately afterwards a few drops of ghee can be snorted.