Monday, 20. July 2015

Medicinal Herbs and Spices

In Ayurvedic teachings, medicinal spices play a very special role. They are not only used in the preparation of food but also possess beneficial effects. They are valued for their healing powers and used to balance the doshas.

In Ayurveda, humans are viewed as a whole being. There are three vital energies (doshas) - vata, pitta and kapha. Most people are dominated by a dosha, but that is not ideal. The optimal condition would be if all the three doshas are in equilibrium with one another. To better achieve this state, spices can be used for their balancing effect. 

In addition, spices are used to eliminate disturbances that would otherwise lead to disease. Pepper is used in Ayurvedic cuisine, for example as an appetizer, however, it is also known to help against nausea, dizziness, constipation, fevers and colds.

The right spices for

Vata Type

Vata types should consume warm food or food with warming effects. Also, spices with a soothing effect and sweet spices are ideal. These spice include vanilla, rose hip, oregano, lavender, cinnamon, thyme, cardamom, juniper, ginger, liquorice, nutmeg, dill and anise. Sweet paprika is also recommended. 

Pitta Type

According to Ayurvedic recommendations, pitta types should be sparing with spices. When spices are used, opted for those with refreshing, harmonizing and cooling effects, such as parsley, liquorice, turmeric, coriander, mint, cumin, lemon balm, lemon, tarragon, sage and saffron.

Kapha Type

Kapha types require stimulating spices. Spicy, bitter and herbaceous spices keep the body in shape, warding off any signs of fatigue. These spices include pepper, chilli, ginger, cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, rosemary, mustard seeds, sage, mint, garlic and juniper.

Ayurveda Cooking Preparation

In Ayurveda, spices should be stored as a whole, as far as possible. As a result, both flavour and the valuable ingredients are preserved. The spices are ground just before preparation. Thereafter, the ingredients are heated using ghee, a clarified butter. The flavours blend into the ghee and unfold to their full effect. The "hard" spices (pepper, mustard seeds, coriander, caraway, etc.) are heated first. Shortly before the end of the cooking time, the "soft" spices (sage, basil, etc.) are added. Subsequently, hot water is added and blended with the hot mixture. Thanks to the ghee, all flavours and ingredients are optimally freed and the benefits are absorbed. 

What are you waiting for? Convert your spice rack into your personal medicine cabinet and prepare wholesome meals with great flavour.