Spices

Imagine your food without any spices. Unimaginable, is it? We can easily put it this way; wherever you find an Indian you will find spices. No wonder, when food giants from across the world come to India, they have to add an Indian twist to their menu.

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.

black pepper
Black pepper is the fruit of the black pepper plant from the Piperaceae family and is used as both a spice and a medicine. The chemical piperine, which is present in black pepper, causes the spiciness. It is native to Kerala, the southern state of India. Since ancient times, black pepper is one of the most widely traded spices in the world. It is not considered a seasonal plant and is therefore available throughout the year. When dried, this plant-derived spice is referred to as a peppercorn, and is then ground into a powder to be put on food to add flavor and spice.

Because of its antibacterial properties, pepper is also used to preserve food. It is a rich source of manganese, iron, potassium, vitamin-C, vitamin K, and dietary fiber. Black pepper is also a very good anti-inflammatory agent.Health Benefits of Black Pepper are,

  • Good for the Stomach
  • Weight Loss
  • Skin Health
  • Respiratory Relief
  • Antibacterial Quality
  • Antioxidant Potential
  • Enhances Bioavailability
  • Cognitive Impairment and Neurological Health
  • Peptic Ulcers
  • Asthma and Whooping Cough

White Pepper
White pepper consists of only the inner seed of the pepper berry, with the pericarp removed. To make white pepper, the berry is picked fully ripe. Its outer shrunken skin is rubbed off, exposing the dried, greyish-white pepper inside. This white pepper is dried and sold commercially, in whole and powdered forms.

White pepper – and hence, its powder – has a milder, more delicate flavour than black pepper because it contains lesser piperine, the volatile oil that gives pepper its characteristic flavour. It is useful for adding a peppery flavour to light-coloured sauces and soups. White pepper is preferred in Europe, especially France, and is also popular in Japan.Health benefits are,
• White pepper stimulates the taste buds in such a way that an alert is sent to the stomach to increase hydrochloric acid secretion, thereby improving digestion and reducing intestinal gas.
• Pepper is an excellent source of manganese, a very good source of iron and vitamin K, and a good source of dietary fibre.
• In addition, white pepper has diaphoretic (promotes sweating) and diuretic (promotes urination) properties.

Cardamom
cardamom white
Cardamom is well known as a spice used in Indian cooking, and is one of the primary constituents of Garam Masala. What many people don’t realize is that cardamom is also medicinal, and helps relieve digestive problems induced by garlic and onion, making it more than merely an aromatic addition to the stomach-challenging cuisine it accompanies. Cardamom is considered one of the most valuable spices in the world due to its rich aroma and therapeutic properties.

Many varieties of cardamom exist, but there are two genera which include cardamom plants. The first, known scientifically as Ellataria and commonly referred to as green or true cardamom, is found mainly in India. Cardamom grown in Asia is part of the genus Amomum, and goes by an assortment of common names, such as brown cardamom, Java cardamom, Bengal cardamom, Kravan, white cardamom, Siamese cardamom, and red cardamom.

Cardamom is farmed in only a few places in the world, including Sri Lanka, China, Laos, Nepal, Vietnam, pockets of India, and Guatemala. It grows uncultivated more rarely, limited to the rich, dense soils of certain South Asian forests. Despite these limitations, the ground seeds of cardamom, as well as intact seeds often within pods, are widely available for purchase.

As a member of the ginger family, cardamom grows perennially and produces vast, fleshy root structures known as rhizomes. It has large leaves, green and white flowers, an edible but slightly bitter fruit, and large seeds. The seeds of the cardamom plant contain a variety of important minerals such as calcium, sulfur, and phosphorus. They also contain volatile oil composed of acetic and formic acids. This volatile oil, which makes up about 5 percent of the seed’s mass, has aromatic and medicinal properties, and it is what makes cardamom so valuable.

Studies confirm that cardamom oil acts as an analgesic and antispasmodic in rats and rabbits, producing relief and lowered distention and writhing within digestive systems reacting negatively to uncomfortable stimuli. This effect is the primary medicinal quality of cardamom, and Eastern cultures have been taking advantage of it for centuries.

Cardamom has been used to relieve the following medical problems:

  • Bad Breath
  • Tooth, Gum, and Oral Disorders
  • Digestion
  • Urinary problems
  • Depression and Aromatherapy
  • Cancer

Cardamom oils can be added to baths as a form of aromatherapy that fights depression and reduces stress. Ground Cardamom seeds can be made into a tea for similar benefits.

cinnamon
Cinnamon is a spice that comes from the branches of wild trees that belong to the genus “Cinnamomum” – native to the Caribbean, South America, and Southeast Asia.There are two main types of cinnamon:

  • Cinnamomum verum (Ceylon cinnamon), most commonly used in the Western world
  • Cinnamomum aromaticum (Cassia cinnamon or Chinese cinnamon), which originates from southern China, is typically less expensive than Ceylon cinnamon.

Cinnamon has been consumed since 2000 BC in Ancient Egypt, where it was very highly prized (almost considered to be a panacea). In medieval times doctors used cinnamon to treat conditions such as coughing,arthritis and sore throats .

Modern research indicates that this spice may have some very beneficial properties.

Health benefits

  • Cinnamon is used to help treat muscle spasms, vomiting,diarrhea, infections, the common cold, loss of appetite, and erectile dysinfuntion.
  • Cinnamon may lower blood sugar in people with type 1 or type 2 diabetes, according to Diabetes UK. However high quality research supporting the claim remains scarce.
  • Can help fight against bacterial and fungal infections.
  • The study authors concluded that consuming up to 6 grams of cinnamon per day “reduces serum glucose, triglyceride, and total cholesterol in people with type 2 diabetes.” and that “the inclusion of cinnamon in the diet of people with type 2 diabetes will reduce risk factors associated with diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.”
  • Tel Aviv University researchers discovered that cinnamon may help prevent Alzheimer’s disease. According to Prof.
  • According to the study authors, “the most effective extracts against HIV-1 and HIV-2 are respectively Cinnamomum cassia (bark) and Cardiospermum helicacabum (shoot + fruit).”
  • According to a neurological scientist at Rush University Medical Center. Cinnamon could help eliminate the need to take some expensive and unpleasant drugs.
  • Lower the negative effects of high fat meals.

Cloves
Cloves are one of the highly prized spices, widely recognized all over the world for their medicinal and culinary qualities. They are the “flower buds” from evergreen rain-forest tree native to Indonesia.

Botanically, the spice belongs to the family of Myrtaceae of the genus; Sygyzium, and scientifically named as Sygizium aromaticum.

The flower buds are initially pale in color, gradually turn to green, and, finally develop into bright-red clove buds by the time of harvesting. Buds are generally picked up when they reach 1.5-2 cm in length.

Structurally, each bud consists of long calyx; terminating in four spreading sepals, and four unopened petals, which form a small ball (dome) at the center. The sweet aroma of cloves is due to eugenol, an essential oil in them.

Medicinal properties and health benefits of cloves

  • The active principles in the clove are known to have antioxidant, anti-septic, local anesthetic, anti-inflammatory, rubefacient (warming and soothing), carminative and anti-flatulent properties.
  • The spice contains health benefiting essential oils such as It is a phenyl-propanoids class of chemical compound, which gives pleasant, sweet aromatic fragrances to the clove-bud. Eugenol has local anesthetic and antiseptic properties, hence; useful in dental care essentials as well as in treatment procedures.
  • The other important constituents in this spice include:
    essential oils: acetyl eugenol, beta-caryophyllene and vanillin, crategolic acid;
    tannins: gallotannic acid, methyl salicylate (painkiller);
    the flavonoids: eugenin, kaempferol, rhamnetin, and eugenitin;
    triterpenoids: such as oleanolic acid, stigmasterol and campesterol
    and several
  • The active principles in the clove may increase gut motility as well as improve the digestion power by increasing gastro-intestinal enzyme secretions. Thus, helps relieve indigestion and constipation problems.
  • The spice also contains a good amount of minerals like potassium, manganese, iron, selenium and magnesium. Potassium is an important electrolyte of cell and body fluids that helps control heart rate and blood pressure. Manganese is used by the body as a co-factor for the antioxidant enzyme, superoxide dismutase.
  • Further, the spice buds contain very good amounts of vitamin A and beta-carotene levels. These compounds are known to have antioxidant properties. Vitamin A is also required by the body for maintaining healthy mucus membranes and skin in addition to essential for vision. Consumption of natural foods rich in flavonoids helps to protect the body from lung and oral cavity cancers.
  • Additionally, this spice is a good source of vitamin-K, vitamin-B6 (pyridoxine), thiamin (vitamin B-1), vitamin-C and riboflavin. Consumption of foods rich in vitamin C helps the body develop resistance against infectious agents and scavenge harmful oxygen-free radicals.

cumin
Health Benefits of Cumin

The health benefits of cumin include the following:

Digestion: Cumin is extremely good for digestion and related problems. The very aroma of cumin, which comes from an aromatic organic compound called Cuminaldehyde, the main component of its essential oil, activates our salivary glands in our mouth, which facilitates the primary digestion of food.

Piles: The main cause behind piles (hemorrhoids) is constipation added with infections in the wound in the anal tract, which are also caused by constipation. Cumin, because of its dietary fiber content and carminative, stimulating, antifungal and antimicrobial properties, acts as a natural laxative in powdered form.

Diabetes: Although research is still ongoing, early studies report that cumin, among a number of other spices, can have a powerful effect in preventing diabetes by reducing the chances of hypoglycemia.

Insomnia: This is a very peculiar property of cumin. It is a stimulant as well as a relaxant at the same time. This property cannot be attributed to a single component alone, just as causes of insomnia cannot be attributed to a single cause. However, studies show that the proper intake of vitamins (particularly B-complex) and good digestion help to induce a sound sleep. Cumin helps in both of these factors. Some of the components of cumin essential oil are hypnotic in nature and have tranquilizing effects, which also help to relieve stress and anxiety that commonly causes insomnia.

Respiratory Disorders, Asthma, Bronchitis: The presence of caffeine (the stimulating agent), and the richly aromatic essential oils (the disinfectants) make cumin an ideal anticongestive combination for those suffering from respiratory disorders such as asthma and bronchitis.

Common Cold: The common cold is a viral infection which affects our body frequently when our immune system becomes weakened or vulnerable. Again, the essential oils present in cumin act as disinfectants and help fight viral infections which can cause the common cold.

Lactation: Cumin is rich in iron and thus very good for lactating mothers as well as for women who are undergoing menses or who are pregnant, since they are more in need of iron than others.

Anemia: As stated above, cumin is very rich in iron (more than 66 mg. in every 100 grams) which is more than 5 times the daily requirement of iron for an adult. This iron is the main constituent of hemoglobin in the red blood corpuscles of blood. It is hemoglobin which transfers oxygen (as the oxide of iron) to the body’s cells and whose deficiency causes anemia. So, cumin can be a nutritious additive to daily diet for anemic people and avoid the symptoms of anemia like fatigue, anxiety, cognitive malfunction, and digestive issues.

Concentration and Cognitive Malfunction: The amount of iron in cumin leads to increased hemoglobin production and subsequent prevention of anemia, but that increased blood flow has other benefits as well. When your blood circulation is in top form, adequate amounts of oxygen are able to reach the organs and the brain, leading to optimal performance of those bodily systems.

Skin Disorders: Almost everyone knows that vitamin-E is good for the maintenance of skin and the prevention of premature aging symptoms.

Fennel
Health Benefits of Fennel

Anemia: Iron and histidine, an amino acid found in fennel, are both helpful in treatment of anemia. Whereas iron is the chief constituent of hemoglobin, histidine stimulates production of hemoglobin and also helps in the formation of various other components of the blood.

Indigestion: It is a common practice, particularly on the Indian Subcontinent, to chew fennel seeds after meals. This is done to facilitate digestion and to eliminate bad breath.

Heart Disease: Fennel is a great source of fiber, as mentioned above, but besides the advantages to digestion that fiber provides, it also helps to maintain healthy levels of cholesterol in the blood stream.

Cancer: The raw vegetable itself hasn’t been extensively studied in regards to cancer protection, but the fennel seed extract has, and the findings regarding cancer protection are quite impressive.

Blood Pressure: Fennel is a very rich source of potassium, which is an essential nutrient in our bodies and is vital for a number of important processes. One of the attributes of potassium is its quality as a vasodilator, which means that it relaxes the tension of blood vessels, thereby reducing blood pressure.

Brain Function: Potassium, found in high levels in fennel bulbs and seeds, is an electrolyte, which means that it facilitates increased electrical conduction throughout the body.

Diarrhea: Fennel is helpful in curing diarrhea if it is caused by bacterial infection, because some components of the essential oil in fennel such as anetol and cineole have disinfectant and antibacterial properties.

Colic: Polymeric and heavy molecules are useful in the treatment of Renal Colic. Such polymers, also called Phytoestrogens, are found in Anethole, a component of the essential oil in fennel. This attribute of fennel makes it quite helpful in the treatment of Renal Colic.

Immune System: 1 cup of fennel bulb contains almost 20% of the daily requirement of vitamin-C, which makes fennel quite a rich source of this beneficial element of our diet.

Menstrual Disorders: Fennel is also an Emenagogue, meaning that it eases and regulates menstruation by properly regulating hormonal action in the body.

Breast Enlargement: The flavonoids present in fennel seeds increase the amount of estrogen thereby acting as a stimulant and tonic. Fennel seeds helps increase the size of the breasts as they increase the formation of new cells and tissues in the breast.

Eye Care: Using fennel in food helps protect the eyes from inflammation, as well as helping to reduce disorders related to premature aging and macular degeneration.

Respiratory Disorders: Fennel is useful in respiratory disorders such congestion, bronchitis, and cough due to the presence of Cineole and Anetol which are expectorant in nature, among their many other virtues.

nutmeg_whole
Just a little Nutmeg grated into soup or sauce, or a few drops of nutmeg essential oil rubbed on the skin, can do a world of good for your health. Take a look at the healing benefits of this rich, aromatic spice.

  • Nutmeg aids sleep. When we were children, our grandmother would give us a glass of milk with a pinch of powedered nutmeg. “It will help you sleep better,” she would say. And it did.
  • A dusting of nutmeg adds aroma and enhances the taste of your food. It also gives you trace minerals that keep the immune system strong. Potassium, calcium, iron and manganese are among key minerals found in nutmeg.
  • Just a little nutmeg, ground and mixed with water or honey into a paste, can make skin look clearer and brighter within a few days, reducing scars and alleviating acne. You can also add nutmeg to your face scrub for the same benefits.
  • For centuries, nutmeg has been used as a medicinal spice that brings relief from digestive problems. So grate a little nutmeg into your soups and stews for a boost of flavor and a healthy gut!
  • The star spice in dental care has traditionally been clove. But few might know that nutmeg too has proven antibacterial properties that protect the teeth and gums. Nutmeg oil has eugenol, which brings relief from toothache. That’s why you often find it listed among the ingredients of toothpaste. Combined with cinnamon, it makes a powerful antiseptic, antimicrobial paste.
  • Nutmeg keeps the brain sharp! It contains a natural organic compound called myristicin, which is known to shield your brain against degenerative disease such as Alzheimer’s.
  • The essential oil of nutmeg brings relief from muscular and joint pain. Apply it to a localized area of swelling and discomfort, and feel the pain melt away.
  • In holistic medicine, nutmeg is often prescribed to rev up blood circulation and treat kidney infections. Traditional healers believe it also strengthens the liver.

dv277031
Mace spice is dry, outer aril that firmly enveloping around the nutmeg kernel. Nutmeg and mace indeed are two separate spice products of same nutmeg fruit. However, mace characteristically has higher concentration of certain essential oils and features refined yet intense aroma than nutmeg. For the same reasons, it commands special place in the kitchen spice box!

Mace as well as the nutmeg seeds were thought to have originated in the tropical rain forest of Indonesian Maluku Islands, also known as the spice Islands. Binomially, nutmeg is an evergreen belonging to Myristicaceae family, and known scientifically as Myristica fragrans. There are several species of nutmeg grown all over the world other than Myristica species, such as M. argentea, M. malabarica (Indian), and M. fatua. They are rather similar to M. fragrans in appearence, however, have inferior flavor and aroma.Health benefits of mace spice

  • Essentially employed as an aromatic agent, mace spice greatly enhances color, taste and flavor of foods. Nonetheless, it contains some of the anti-oxidant compounds essential oils, minerals, and vitamins.
  • Mace features quite different nutritional profile than nutmeg has. It is less in calories, however, has more concentrations of essential oils, vitamin A, vitamin C, carotenes, iron, calcium,
  • The spice contains fixed oil trimyristine, and many essential volatile oils, which gives a sweet aromatic flavor such as myristicin, elemicin, eugenol and safrole. These oils occur in higher concentration in mace than in nutmeg. The other less important volatile-oils are pinene, camphene, dipentene, cineole, linalool, sabinene, safrole, terpeniol.
  • The active principles in ace spice have many therapeutic applications in many traditional medicines as anti-fungal, anti-depressant, aphrodisiac, digestive, and carminative functions.
  • Mace has more vitamin-C content than nutmeg. 100 g mace spice has 21 mg against just 3 mg of nutmegs. Likewise, mace blades contain more riboflavin (vitamin B-2).
  • Mace arils are rather excellent sources of vitamin-A. 100 g of mace provides 800 IU vitamin A, nearly nine times more compared to that in nutmeg.
  • Mace arils contain more calcium, copper, iron and magnesium than nutmeg. 100 g of mace powder has 13.90 mg of iron when compared to just 3.04 mg of nutmeg. Manganese and copper are utilized by the human body as co-factors for the antioxidant enzyme, superoxide dismutase. Iron is essential for red blood cell production and as a co-factor for cytochrome oxidases.

fenugreek
In Indian households, we frequently use both the seeds and leaves of methi (fenugreek) in our dals, parathas, curries and various dishes.

However, you wouldn’t know that methi or fenugreek is also a rich reservoir of medicinal properties. It contains protein, fibre, vitamin C, niacin, potassium, iron and alkaloids. It also contains a compound diosgenin which has oestrogen-like properties, as well as steroidal saponins. These components impart many benefits to methi. Read more about them below.

  • Helps reduce cholesterol
  • Helps reduce risk of heart disease
  • Helps control blood sugar levels in diabetics
  • Aids digestion
  • Helps counter acid reflux or heartburn
  • Helps you lose weight
  • Remedy for fever and sore throat
  • Increases breast milk production in lactating women
  • Induces and eases child birth
  • Helps reduce menstrual discomfort
  • Helps slightly increase breast size
  • Helps prevent colon cancer
  • Helps soothe skin inflammation and reduces scars
  • Helps treat skin problems
  • Can help resolve hair problems

Arabic Gum
Gum arabic, also known as acacia gum, chaar gund, char goond, or meska, is a natural gum made of hardened sap taken from two species of the acacia tree;Senegalia and Vachellia. The gum is harvested commercially from wild trees mostly in Sudan (80%) and throughout the Sahel from Senegal to Somalia, although it has been historically cultivated in Arabia and West Asia.

Gum arabic is a complex mixture of glycoproteins and polysaccharides. It was historically the source of the sugars arabinose and ribose, both of which were first discovered and isolated from it, and are named after it.

Gum arabic is used primarily in the food industry as a stabilizer. It is edible and has E number E414. Gum arabic is a key ingredient in traditional lithography and is used in printing, paint production, glue, cosmetics and various industrial applications, including viscosite control in inks and in textile industries, although less expensive materials compete with it for many of these roles.

While gum arabic is now produced mostly throughout the African Sahel, it is still harvested and used in the Middle East. For example, Arab populations use the natural gum to make a chilled, sweetened, and flavored geleto -like dessert.

Dry Ginger
Ginger refers to the underground bulb belonging to the plant. Its flesh can be white, yellow or even red and is covered by a thick brownish skin. It has been used for centuries as a condiment in many Asian cultures, imparting a tangy and pungent taste to food. The mature root is dried and powdered and used in traditional medicine to treat a variety of ailments. Studies have shown that dried ginger possesses many therapeutic properties. It has a potent antioxidant effect as well as an anti-inflammatory effect.

Nutritional Information and Properties of Dried Ginger,Ginger has high mineral content, being a good source of potassium, magnesium, copper, manganese and vitamin B6. They also contain certain compounds like gingerols, shogaols and zingerone, volatile oils that give it its characteristic odor and flavor. These oils have been known to increase gastrointestinal tract motility in laboratory animals and also have antibacterial, antipyretic, analgesic and sedative properties. Studies have also shown that gingerols can kill ovarian cancer cells. When ginger is dried or cooked, shogaols and zingerone are produced from the gingerols, which give it its pungent taste.Health Benefits and Therapeutic Uses of Dried Ginger

  • Dried ginger has been used in traditional medicine to relieve gastrointestinal distress. It is known to be effective in eliminating gas in the intestines as well as acts in a way to help in the relaxation of the tract.
  • Recent studies have also shown that ginger also is very beneficial in the prevention of the symptoms related to motion sickness, being even more effective than other medications purchased from medical stores.
  • It reduces symptoms closely related to motion sickness which includes nausea and cold sweats, dizziness and vomiting. This action has proven very beneficial in treating ‘morning sickness’ in pregnant women. Unlike anti-emetic drugs which may cause birth defects, the use of ginger is considered very safe and the dosage too needs to be very small.
  • Gingerols in dried ginger have very powerful anti-inflammatory properties. Clinical studies have shown that many people suffering from osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis experienced decrease in their level of pain after consuming ginger regularly. They also experience improved joint mobility in affected areas. A recent study over a twelve month period found that in cases of arthritis of the knee, people who consumed ginger also experienced significantly lesser pain than the others on movement. A measurement of the knee circumference showed a decrease of almost 10% by the twelfth week due to its anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Gingerols may also prevent the growth and spread of colorectal cancer cells. Experiments have shown that they may also kill ovarian cancer cells by inducing apoptosis (programmed cell death) and auto phagocytosis (self-digestion).
  • Ginger can promote sweating which can help lower body temperature, helpful when treating colds and flus. This process also helps the body get rid of toxins. It has such a rich concentration of active compounds that very little is required to receive its beneficial effects.
  • Ginger tea can be made by adding a pinch of dried ginger to a cup of boiling water. This will help treat digestive disorders. Alternatively, the powder can be added to a cup of tea to make it more palatable.

star anise
Star anise is the star-shaped fruit of an evergreen plant known scientifically as Illicium verum. Originating in southern China, star anise has a licorice- or anise-like flavor, although it is not related to the true anise plants native to the Mediterranean basin and Middle East. Traditionally used as a spice and also as a healing herb, star anise appears to have medicinal properties that endow it with significant health benefits.

Rich in Shikimic Acid

Star anise is the primary source of shikimic acid, a plant-based compound that is the precursor to oseltamivir, an antiviral medication that is marketed as Tamiflu, according to an article in a 2011 issue of “Alternative Medicine Studies.” Although shikimic acid also occurs naturally in ginkgo and sweetgum fruit, star anise has far greater concentrations. Italian researchers tested shikimic acid alone and in combination with quercetin, an antioxidant-rich plant-based nutrient, to see if they could bolster immune function to help fight off flu or other viral infections. Although shikimic acid on its own had little or no effect on immune function, its combination with quercetin, even at low doses, appeared to help ramp up immune function to better resist viral infection. Researchers published their findings in the April 2008 issue of “Journal of Medical Virology.”

Antifungal Properties

Candida albicans is a yeast — a form of fungi — that occurs naturally in the human mouth, throat, intestines and genitourinary tract. However, when your body’s delicate balance of microbes is disturbed or your immune system is somehow weakened, this yeast can grow unhindered and lead to serious infection, known as candidiasis. South Korean researchers found that extracts and essential oils of star anise exhibited strong antifungal properties when tested against Candida albicans. In the Dec. 10, 2010, issue of “Korean Journal of Medical Mycology,” they said their findings confirm that extracts from Illicium verum are promising candidates for use as antifungal agents.

Antibacterial Properties

The upsurge in bacterial infections that exhibit resistance to existing antibiotics has intensified the search for new agents that may prove more effective against these resistant strains of bacteria. Researchers in Taiwan tested four new antimicrobial compounds from star anise and found that they were effective against 67 strains of drug-resistant bacteria. Chronicling their study in the October 2010 issue of “Journal of Medicinal Food,” the researchers reported that their findings pave the way for the development of new antibiotic medicines from the star anise compounds they studied.

Antioxidant Properties

Antioxidants target free radicals – atoms or molecules with unpaired electrons – that can cause disease and cellular damage. Free radicals can damage cellular DNA and initiate carcinogenesis – the beginnings of cancer. You can’t really avoid free radicals, which are byproducts of your body’s metabolic processes, but you can neutralize them by eating a diet rich in antioxidants. Indian researchers conducted an animal study to determine whether star anise’s antioxidant properties helped protect lab rats from artificially induced liver cancer. In a 2007 issue of “Chemico-Biological Interactions,” researchers reported animals that were fed star anise after the induction of carcinogenesis exhibited significantly less evidence of cancer development than those that did not receive star anise.

Mustard
Mustard seeds are widely used in Indian households and are an integral part of Indian cooking as they impart a very rich taste to food. Various forms of the sees like oil is used for cooking whereas, whole seeds are used as tadka, powdered seeds are widely used in various dips and garnishings and mustard oil is widely used for cooking. The underlying reason for using mustard seeds is the huge number of medicinal properties they have:

    1. Protects you from gastrointestinal cancer: Packed with phytonutrients, mustard seeds are a great way to prevent and slow the progress of cancers of the gastrointestinal tract. Studies have shown that mustard seeds have properties that can restrict the growth of already present cancer cells and prevent the formation of new cancers.
    2. Can help control symptoms of asthma: Mustard seeds are high in selenium and magnesium. Both the components give it a unique anti inflammatory property. Consumed regularly, it is known to control and keep the symptoms of asthma, cold and chest congestion at bay.
    3. Can help you lose weight: The wonder seeds are packed with B-complex vitamins like folates, niacin, thiamine, riboflavin etc. Apart from all the individual merits of these components, they are great in speeding up one’s metabolism leading to weight loss .
    4. Can slow ageing: Mustard is a great source of carotenes, zeaxanthins and lutein (also called flavonoid and caretonoid antioxidants) vitamin A,C and K. All these components put together make it rich in antioxidants which in turn slows the ageing process
    5. Relieves rheumatoid, arthritic and muscle pain: The selenium and magnesium content of mustard lend it anti inflammatory and heat producing properties. When applied to the body, the paste heats up the area and helps loosen muscles, leading to relief from pain. Read about six yoga asanas to beat arthritis. Tip: To ease pain make a small bundle of the seeds in a muslin cloth, and add it to warm bath water. Either have a long relaxing bath, or soak your tired and aching feet for instant relief. Another great way is to apply the paste of the seed on the area for a few minutes.
    6. Lowers cholesterol: Mustard contains high levels of niacin or vitamin B3. Niacin has properties that help lower one’s cholesterol levels and protects the arteries from atherosclerosis (plaque build-up). It also helps to regulate blood flow and protects the body from hypertension.
    7. Stimulates hair growth : For centuries mustard oil has been known to stimulate hair growth. It is known to be packed with vitamins and minerals, but what makes the difference is the high amount of beta carotene it contains. During oil production, beta carotene gets converted to vitamin A, which is excellent for hair growth. Apart from this, it also contains iron, fatty acids, calcium and magnesium, all of which promote hair growth.
    8. Helps reduce constipation and may relieve symptoms of piles and fissures : The seeds contain a unique substance called mucilage which is a thick slimy substance that is the key to relieving constipation. Apart from that, it is also high in fibre. In addition, mustard seeds are known to increase the production of saliva, leading to better digestion.
    9. Fights skin infections: Packed with sulphur, mustard seeds are a great way to curb skin infections. Sulphur gives the seed anti fungal and anti bacterial properties that help fight common skin ailments.
    10. Improves immunity: Because mustard has a large number of elemental minerals like iron, manganese, copper etc., it helps improve the body’s ability to fight disease.

Red-Chilli
Chili peppers, despite their fiery “hotness”, are one of very popular spices known for their medicinal and health benefiting properties. The chili, actually, is a fruit pod from the plant belonging to the nightshade family (Solanaceae), within the genus, capsicum.

Scientific name: Capsicum annum. Some of other common members in the Solanaceae family are tomato, aubergine , potato , etc.

The chili plant is native to Central American region where it was employed as one the chief spice ingredients in Mexican cuisine for centuries. It was later introduced to the rest of the world by Spanish and Portuguese explorers during 16th and 17th centuries, and today grown widely in many parts of the world as an important commercial crop.

Several cultivars of chili peppers are grown all around the world. Chili plant is a small, perennial shrub with woody stem, growing up to a meter in height. It bears white flowers which subsequently develop into fruit pods of variable size, shape, color, and pungency. Depending on the cultivar type, their hotness ranges from mild, fleshy (Mexican bell peppers) to fiery, tiny, Nag Jalokiya chili peppers of Indian subcontinent. The hotness of chili is measured in “Scoville heat units” (SHU). On the Scoville scale, a sweet bell pepper scores 0, a jalapeño pepper around 2,500-4,000 units, and a Mexican habañeros may have 200,000 to 500,000 units.

Inside, each fruit features numerous tiny, white, or cream colored, circular, flat seeds which clinging around the central white-placenta.

To harvest, chilies can be picked up while they are green, or when they reach complete maturity and dry on the plant itself. In general, the fruits are ready for harvesting once they mature and turn red. They are then left to dry under sun and srink in size.

Chilies have a strong spicy taste that comes to them from the active alkaloid compounds: capsaicin, capsanthin and capsorubin.Health benefits of chili peppers

  • Chili pepper contains an impressive list of plant derived chemical compounds that are known to have disease preventing and health promoting properties.
  • Chilies contain health benefiting an alkaloid compound in them, capsaicin, which gives them strong spicy pungent character.
  • Fresh chili peppers, red and green, are rich source of vitamin-C. 100 g fresh chilies provide about 7 µg or about 240% of RDA.
  • They are also good in other antioxidants such as vitamin-A, and flavonoids like ß-carotene, α-carotene, lutein, zea-xanthin, and cryptoxanthin.
  • Chilies contain a good amount of minerals like potassium, manganese, iron, and magnesium.
  • Chilies are also good in B-complex group of vitamins such as niacin, pyridoxine (vitamin B-6), riboflavin and thiamin (vitamin B-1). These vitamins are essential in the sense that human body requires them from external sources to replenish.

birds-eye-chilli
Don’t let their size mislead you. They may be tiny, but they do pack a mean spicy punch that belies their size. They may be small but these small, tapered red or green chillies are very pungent and extremely hot! Though they are sometimes called Thai chillies but actually are Mexican in origin. They are also often used in Chinese and South East Asian cooking.

What exactly is bird’s eye chilli They belong to the species Capsicum annuum, commonly found in Southeast Asia. Bird’s eye chilli can also be found in India, in Meghalaya and Kerala where it is used in traditional dishes. It is also a main ingredient in kochchisambal, a salad made using freshly scraped coconut ground with bird’s eye chillies and seasoned with salt and lemon juice. It is used extensively in Thai, Lao, Khmer, Indonesian, and Vietnamese cuisine too.

How spicy are they ?Measuring 50,000-100,000 scovilles, this tiny chilli originated in Cambodia, Vietnam, Thailand, The Philippines, and surrounding countries, but they can now be found all over the world. They are presumably called Bird’s Eye Chilli because of their small round shape and because they have been spread by birds. The Bird’s Eye is generally red at maturity, but may also be yellow, purple or black. They are very popular in cuisine from the areas mentioned above, and they add quite a punch to many types of dishes, including pastas, soups, sauces, dips, and more.

Health benefits of these chillies

  • Historically, they have been used as a natural remedy for arthritis, rheumatism, flatulence and toothache.
  • Recent studies prove that by consuming just a little chilli (fresh or dried) daily, can help get better sleep and also sleep longer. And adding a little fresh-cut chilli to your evening meal may also help you feel more awake the next day.
  • Studies also show that by regularly consuming chillies, your heart will be healthy since it helps lower cholesterol thus keeping your blood pressure in a healthy range, and allows more blood to reach the heart.

Turmeric
Turmeric is a plant. You probably know turmeric as the main spice in curry. It has a warm, bitter taste and is frequently used to flavor or color curry powders, mustards, butters, and cheeses. But the root of turmeric is also used widely to make medicine.Turmeric is used for arthritis, heartburn (dyspepsia), stomach pain, diarrhea, intestinal gas, stomachbloating, loss of appetite, jaundice, liver problems and gallbladder disorders.
It is also used for headaches, bronchitis, colds, lung infections, fibromyalgia, leprosy, fever, menstrual problems, and cancer. Other uses include depression, Alzheimer’s disease, water retention, worms, and kidney problems.
Some people apply turmeric to the skin for pain, ringworm, bruising, leech bites, eye infections, inflammatory skin conditions, soreness inside of the mouth, and infected wounds.
In food and manufacturing, the essential oil of turmeric is used in perfumes, and its resin is used as a flavor and color component in foods.Turmeric has been used to relieve everything from liver problems to depression to ringworm in folk medicine, but, like many alternative therapies, there’s not always much research to back up the ancient wisdom.

Turmeric can tame heartburn and an upset stomach.A compound in turmeric may ward off heart attacks…

Bay leaves
Pleasantly aromatic bay leaf or bay-laurel is one of the well-recognized culinary leaf-spices in use since the earliest times. In the legends, bay laurel is deemed as the tree of the Sun god, under the celestial sign of Leo.

Botanically, bay tree belongs to the family of Lauraceae, in the genus; Laurus. It is thought to have originated in Asia Minor region, from where it distributed to all over the Mediterranean region and other parts of Asia.Scientific name: Laurus nobilis.

The bay plant is a tall, conical, evergreen tree growing upto 30 feet in height. Yellow or greenish white, star-shaped flowers appear in clusters during early spring, which subsequently produce dark-green to purplish, single seeded berry. Its thick and leathery leaves feature elliptic, shiny, dark-green and measure about 3-4 inches in length.

Bay leaves give off a pleasing and sweet aroma when added to dish. Wilted and dried leaves indeed are strongly aromatic and can be stored for months. Its dried fruit (berries) can also be employed as a flavoring agent in the cuisines.

The bay plant is a tall, conical, evergreen tree growing upto 30 feet in height. Yellow or greenish white, star-shaped flowers appear in clusters during early spring, which subsequently produce dark-green to purplish, single seeded berry. Its thick and leathery leaves feature elliptic, shiny, dark-green and measure about 3-4 inches in length.

Bay leaves give off a pleasing and sweet aroma when added to dish. Wilted and dried leaves indeed are strongly aromatic and can be stored for months. Its dried fruit (berries) can also be employed as a flavoring agent in the cuisines.

Health benefits of bay leaf

  • Bay leaf was highly praised by the Greeks and the Romans, who deeply believed that the herb symbolizes wisdom, peace, and protection.
  • The spice contains many notable plants derived compounds, minerals and vitamins that are essential for optimum health.
  • This spice has many volatile active components such as α-pinene, β-pinene, myrcene, limonene, linalool, methyl chavicol, neral, α-terpineol, geranyl acetate, eugenol, and These compounds are known to have been antiseptic, anti-oxidant, digestive, and thought to have anti-cancer properties.
  • Fresh leaves are very rich source of vitamin-C; provide 46.5 mg or 77.5% of RDA per 100 g. Vitamin-C (ascorbic acid) is one of the powerful natural anti-oxidant that help remove harmful free radicals from the body. Ascorbic acid also has immune booster, wound healing and anti-viral effects.
  • Furthermore, its fresh leaves and herb parts are very good in folic acid; contain about 180 mg or 45% of daily-recommended values per 100 g. Folates are important in DNA synthesis and when given during the peri-conception period, they can help prevent neural tube defects in the baby.
  • Bay leaves are an excellent source of vitamin A; contain 6185 IU or 206% of recommended daily levels per 100 g. Vitamin A is a natural antioxidant and is essential for healthy visual sight. It is also required for maintaining mucus membranes and skin health. Consumption of natural foods rich in vitamin A has been found to help to protect from lung and oral cavity cancers.
  • The spice is indeed a very good source of many vitamins such as niacin, pyridoxine, pantothenic acid and riboflavin. These B-complex groups of vitamins help in enzyme synthesis, nervous system function, and regulating body metabolism.
  • This noble spice is a good source of minerals like copper, potassium, calcium, manganese, iron, selenium, zinc and magnesium. Potassium is an important component of cell and body fluids that helps control heart rate and blood pressure. Manganese and copper are used by the body as co-factors for the antioxidant enzyme, superoxide dismutase. Iron is essential for red blood cell production and as a co-factor for cytochrome-oxidase enzymes.

Dill Seeds
The health benefits of dill include its ability to boost digestive health, as well as provide relief from insomnia, hiccups, diarrhea, dysentery, menstrual disorders, respiratory disorders, and cancer. It is also good for oral care, and can be a powerful boost for your immune system and can protect you from bone degradation. It is also an anti-inflammatory substance, which means that it can protect you against arthritis. Furthermore, it can reduce excess gas, and is considered a carminative.

Dill, scientifically known as Anethum Graveolens, has been used for culinary and medicinal purposes for hundreds of years. Both the seeds and the leaves can be used. Apart from giving a strong, tangy, appetizing flavor and taste, dill has many medicinal properties, which mainly come from certain compounds called Monoterpenes, as well as flavonoids, minerals and certain amino acids.

Dill can be a perennial or annual herb, depending on where it is cultivated in the world. This herb is used in almost every continent on the planet in some capacity, and although it is called many different things, it serves similar purposes in much of the world cuisine. It can be used dry as a topping for a number of meals, but it is also used as an ingredient in many meals. For those herbalists that want to grow their own dill, it is important to cultivate this herb in warm to hot summers, with plenty of sunshine.

Nutritional Value of Dill

The health benefits of dill are derived from its organic compounds, vitamins, and minerals. These include powerful monoterpenes like limonene, carvone, and anethofuran, as well as flavonoids like vicenin and kaempferol. As for vitamins and minerals, dill has a significant amount of vitamin A and vitamin C, as well as trace amounts of folate, iron, and manganese.

allspice
Allspice, also known popularly as Jamaican pepper or pimento, is one of the widely used spice in the Mexican and other Central American cuisines. This spice corn actually is a dried “unripe” fruit obtained from an evergreen tropical shrub belonging to the Myrtaceae family, in the genus: pimento. Scientific name: Pimenta dioica.

The pimento tree is native to tropical evergreen rain forest of Central American region and Caribbean islands. Generally, the plant starts bearing fruits after about five years of implantation.

Unripe green berries, generally, picked up from the tree when they reach full size. The corns are then subjected to dry under sunlight thoroughly. Thus shriveled berries which appear similar to that of brown peppercorns, measure about 6 mm in diameter but contain two seeds unlike peppercorns, which have only one centrally placed seed.

Ground allspice has strong spicy taste and aroma that closely resemble a mixture of black-pepper, nutmeg, cloves, and cinnamon..

Health benefits of Allspice

  • The active principles in the allspice have been found to have anti-inflammatory, rubefacient (warming and soothing), carminative, and anti-flatulent properties.
  • Allspice corns contains health benefiting essential oils such as eugenol, a phenylpropanoids class of chemical compound, which gives pleasant, sweet aromatic fragrances to this spice. It also contains caryophyllene, methyleugenol, glycosides, tannins, quercetin, resin, and At the processing units, these volatile essential oils are obtained through distillation process using this spice corn. The outer coat of the allspice-berries is believed to have the greatest concentration of some of the compounds of medicinal activities.
  • As in black peppercorns, the active principles in the allspice may increase the motility of the gastro-intestinal tract in addition to aid in digestion through facilitating enzyme secretions inside the stomach and intestines.
  • Eugenol, has local anesthetic and antiseptic properties. It found useful in gum and dental treatment procedures. Recent research studies have shown that the preparation made from allspice oil mixed with extractions from garlic, and oregano can work against E.coli, Salmonella and L.monocytogenes infections.
  • The spice is enriched with good amount of minerals like potassium, manganese, iron, copper, selenium, and magnesium. Iron is an important co-factor for cytochrome-oxidase enzymes during cellular metabolism. It is also required for red blood cell production inside the bone marrow. Being an important component of cell and body fluids, potassium helps control heart rate and blood pressure. Manganese is utilized inside the human body as a co-factor for the antioxidant enzyme, superoxide dismutase.
  • Further, this spice also carries a very good amount of vitamin A, vitamin B-6 (pyridoxine), riboflavin, niacin and vitamin-C. Vitamin C is a powerful natural antioxidant; regular consumption of foods rich in vitamin C helps the body develop resistance against infectious agents and scavenge harmful, pro-inflammatory free radicals.

Coriander Seeds
Coriander is native to Southeastern Europe and grown extensively all over Europe, Middle East, China, India, and Turkey. It is recognized as cilantro in the west. This herbaceous plant grows up to 2 feet in height with branching stems, featuring deep green soft, hairless, bi or tri-lobed leaves. The mature plant bears small light pink color flowers that subsequently turn into globular or oval-shaped fruits (seeds). The seeds measure about 4-6 mm in diameter with central hollow cavity containing two vertical vittae containing some important essential oils.

The seeds are ready for harvest when the plants turn brown, leaves begin to dry and fall. Immature seeds are light green and taste bitter. To harvest, the crop is cut, tied in small bundles, and dried in the sunlight for several days. Traditionally, to separate the seeds, either the sheaves are beaten with stick or a lightweight roller used to wear off the pods.

Health benefits of coriander seeds

  • Coriander seeds contain many plant-derived chemical compounds that are known to have been anti-oxidant, disease preventing, and health promoting properties.
  • The characteristic aromatic flavor of coriander seeds comes from the many fatty acids and essential volatile oils. Some important fatty acids in the dried seeds include petroselinic acid, linoleic acid (omega 6), oleic acid, and palmitic acid. In addition, the seeds contain essential oils such as linalool (68%), a-pinene (10%), geraniol, camphene, terpine etc. Together; these active principles are responsible for digestive, carminative, and anti-flatulent properties of the seeds.
  • As in other spices, coriander is also rich in of dietary fiber. 100 g seeds provide 41.9 g of fiber. Much of this fiber is metabolically inert insoluble fiber, which helps increase bulk of the food by absorbing water throughout the digestive system and help easing constipation condition.
  • In addition, dietary fibers bind to bile salts (produced from cholesterol) and decrease their re-absorption in colon, thus help lower serum LDL cholesterol levels. Together with flavonoid anti-oxidants, fiber composition of coriander helps protect the colon mucus membrane from cancers.
  • The seeds are an excellent source of minerals like iron, copper, calcium, potassium, manganese, zinc and magnesium. Copper is required in the production of red blood cells. Iron is essential for cell metabolism and red blood cell formation. Zinc is a co-factor in many enzymes that regulate growth and development, sperm generation, digestion and nucleic acid synthesis. Potassium is an important component of cell and body fluids that helps controlling heart rate and blood pressure. Manganese is used by the body as a co-factor for the powerful anti-oxidant enzyme, superoxide dismutase.
  • Unlike other dry spice seeds that lack in vitamin C, coriander seeds contain an ample amount of this anti-oxidant vitamin. 100 g of dry seeds provide 21 mg or 35% of RDI of vitamin-C.
  • Furthermore, the seeds are the storehouse of many vital B-complex vitamins like thiamin, riboflavin, and niacin.

All Spices Powder
We are exporting powder of all spices.

 

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