What would you do if you have a headache, cold or cough? Chances are that you will rush to your doctor or a pharmacist who would prescribe some painkillers or antibiotics to make you feel better. But do you know that even doctors agree that frequent consumption of pain killers and antibiotics can lead to severe side effects such as liver and kidney damage, and also increase the risk of stroke?
In some cases, it is best to turn to natural remedies to cure minor ailments. Ayurveda has solely been using plants and herbs since ages to cure all kinds of ailments. But our generation isn't as patient as our ancestors were and we prefer pills that give instant relief over natural remedies. It's time to go back to our roots and make use of some magical spices that have amazing healing properties and that provide relief in a healthier way. So, the next time instead of reaching out to your medicine cabinet, take a trip to your kitchen, and make use of some of these spices.
Cloves are one of the most widely used whole spices in our day to day cooking. But we tend to underestimate them in terms of their medicinal properties. Apart from adding a distinct aroma and flavor to our food, cloves are a rich source of manganese and also have strong anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties. Clove oil is rich in Eugenol, a component that fights infections and also helps in suppressing pain. Simply dab some clove oil over an infected tooth and gums to help ease the pain and also cure infection. Got athlete's foot? Just add some clove oil in a foot bath to get relief from the itching. The strong anti-fungal properties of clove will also help clear off the infection faster. Including cloves in our daily diet can also boost immunity, improve digestion and help fight cold and cough.
(Also read: The Many Health Benefits of Cloves)
The spice that is used in every Indian household- turmeric is not only renowned for its pungent flavor but also for its extremely useful medicinal properties. It has been used in Indian and Chinese medicine for many years. Turmeric is rich in curcumin - a compound that is a powerful anti-inflammatory and a very strong antioxidant. Turmeric may help relieve arthritis-related symptoms as curcumin present in turmeric blocks all the enzymes causing pain and inflammation in the body. Curcumin also plays a vital role in fighting against auto-immune induced diseases and helps delay the ageing of cells.
(Also read: 5 Amazing Turmeric Milk Benefits)
3. Black Pepper
Black pepper or kali mirch is also known as the "king of spices". But little do we know that our favorite seasoning black pepper also performs many other beneficial tasks in our body than just pleasing our taste buds. Black pepper is rich in micro-nutrients such as magnesium, vitamin K, iron and vitamin C. Due to its high vitamin C content, black pepper is a very effective antibiotic. Its antibiotic properties work wonders against tonsillitis. Mix some lemon juice, salt and black pepper powder in a glass of warm water and drink it to get instant relief from throat pain. Black pepper is also high in piperine. Piperine helps in better bowel movements and also helps prevent digestive and excretory system infections.
The queen of spices, cardamom has an array of health benefits and is more than just a flavor enhancing spice. Cardamom is one of the best cures for urinary tract infections. Cardamom is rich in manganese and other nutrients that help prevent against heart diseases and improve body's blood circulation.
The distinct sweetness and warm taste aren't the only things that cinnamon offers. The true magic lies in bark of the cinnamon tree which provides innumerable health benefits. According to various scientific studies, cinnamon has the highest antioxidant content amongst all other spices. Antioxidants help protect body against radical damage and prevents ageing. Cinnamon also helps lower blood sugar levels and bad cholesterol levels in the body. Cinnamaldehyde - the main ingredient in cinnamon has strong anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties. Cinnamon oil has anti microbial properties also helps prevent tooth decay and reduces bad breath.
(Also read: How Cinnamon Can Help in Losing Weight)
The bitter and pungent ajwain seeds used in every Indian household are a miraculous remedy for several common ailments. Ajwain seeds are an excellent source of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants Take a little ajwain mixed with some salt and swallow it with some warm water to get instant relief from a stomach ache. Ajwain is very effective in treating gas, flatulence and acidity when taken after meals with warm water and salt. One of the other amazing health benefits that this spice offers is treating common cold. Thymol, an ingredient present in Ajwain, gives it antimicrobial properties hence, making it effective against cold and congestion. To reap maximum benefits, inhale the steam of ajwain infused in hot water, it will ease congestion and provide relief.
The pungent spice asafoetida, also known as hing in India, is actually native to Afghanistan. Hing is one of the chief ingredients used in tadka or tempering to flavor the Indian dishes, especially like dal.
This strong spice provides numerous health benefits from improving digestion to preventing and treating acne and making your skin glow. Not only this, asafoetida has also proven to restrict the growth of harmful viruses in the body. Hing is also a very effective remedy for dry or whooping cough or even for bronchitis. Prepare a paste by grinding asafoetida in water. Apply this on your chest to get relief from any kind of cough.
Cumin or jeera is used in almost every traditional Indian dish. It has a strong flavor and any Indian dal is incomplete without a jeera tadka to it. Cumin seeds are rich in fiber, hence they help improve the activity of the gastrointestinal tract and act as a natural laxative. Just take some roasted jeera powder and mix it with honey. Take this mixture on an empty stomach to get rid of constipation. Cumin is also a great source of melatonin - an enzyme that induces sleep and helps beat insomnia. A little bit of jeera powder taken with raw banana pulp may also help you get good sleep.
Many the most of the abundance of local spices that are available and are known for providing so many health benefits.