One of the simplest, yet most profound pillars of the Ayurvedic way of life is nutrition, and the use of Ayurvedic herbs and spices in cooking for the overall maintenance of health and whole-being.
Not only do Ayurvedic herbs make your food taste fantastic, but they also providently potent yet few know of the health benefits.
Ayurvedic Herbs and Health
One of the most prominent benefits being the way your positive food choices affect your digestive system.
To keep all bodily systems fully functional, we must have the healthy ability to transform the nutrients in our food into the foundations that build healthy tissues and the creation of energy.
We need the ability to properly separate and eliminate waste products.
If your digestion is unduly compromised, this elimination process is delayed, and you can begin to experience various issues, such as weariness, increased gain, and a plethora of other health conditions.
For this reason, well-maintained digestion is of the utmost importance in the practice of Ayurveda.
Aside from digestive support, Ayurvedic herbs have always been the kitchen’s magic helpers, they assist with healthy detoxification, support immunity and even maintain oral health.
Below are our favourite kitchen herbs that benefit all body types. Including tips on how to use them, plus the down-low on other benefits they produce.
Ground cumin can be added to anything ranging from soups and stews or even curry. In can be sprinkled on yoghurt, paneer or fresh grains.
Cumin is excellent for the promotion of intestinal calm and comfort and promotes the flushing of natural toxins from the lymphatic system.
Roasting whole seeds or frying them gently in a small amount of ghee is an appetizing way to release the aroma of Cumin. Prepared before adding ground spices to the cooking pan. Whole seeds are an appetizing addition to tea as a digestive tonic.
As a ground spice Coriander is highly versatile and complements other Indian spice mixes well. In Ayurveda, it is used for the support of a healthy appetite, maintaining healthy kidney functionality, and blood purification.
Whilst most often used as a ground, whole coriander seeds can also be used in a similar way to whole cumin seeds, the leaves also bring new flavour to your salads, soups and stews when chopped and served fresh.
Sweet, fragrant and cooling, fennel is one of the primary Ayurvedic herbs for improving your digestive fire (Agni), yet it doesn’t aggravate the pitta dosha. Fennel is also one of the most effective herbs for creating comfortable digestion. Chewing a few whole seeds after a meal will not only aid in digestion but also cleanses the mouth! Whole fennel seeds can be used in both cookery and tea.
Turmeric was traded for gold in the past, pound for pound. Turmeric is well known for its ability to both soothe and support enable joint pain by decreasing inflammation.
However, besides, it also supports liver detoxification, immune system boosting, and overall digestion.
Good for one’s Pitta, due to its heating quality, the spice can be found to be both astringent and bitter, which both benefit pitta. Yet Turmeric is gentle and turns wonderful food a lovely golden-yellow colour.
The stamen of the Crocus Sativus flower requires hand harvesting. This delicate herb can be expensive, but it certainly has its place in those special dishes served from time to time.
Considering its importance in Ayurveda for supporting the assimilation of nutrients and the formation of new tissue.
Used in strands, Saffron adds elegance while healing, and remember, a little goes a long way.
A sweet spice, cardamom is often used in desserts and combines well with other sweet spices, such as cinnamon and fennel.
It assist with efficient digestion, and affects both Kapha and Vata positively. Cardamom is found in various forms, from the whole pods and whole seeds to powdered versions of both.
The whole pods can be crushed just enough to open slightly and added to rice at the beginning of cooking (along with saffron.)
Cardamom also works well as a beverage or desserts. The whole seeds can be crushed and sprinkled on top of fresh fruit, or ground and used in baked goods.
While freshly ground cardamom has a fuller flavor and aroma, commercially ground cardamom is still a wonderful ingredient when added to baked goods and puddings.
Eating less meat, poultry, and fish can improve your mood according to research featured in the Nutrition Journal.
Many Ayurvedic practitioners are also vegetarian and, here at Indus Valley Ayurvedic Centre, we are always interested in the link between diet and our physical and mental state.
Ayurvedic healers believe that our levels of stress are directly connected to our diet. They hold out the promise that if we improve our diet, we can reduce our stress.
At the heart of this conviction is the critical principle of Ayurvedic medicine that many diseases can originate in the digestive system. This means that your diet is of the utmost importance to keeping you healthy.
Indeed, you may even find yourself in a double bind. Not only does the wrong diet increase your stress, but when you are stressed you are more likely to choose a poor diet.
This vicious circle develops in subtle ways that you may not even notice. For example, when you are feeling very tired and are overworked, physical stress will leave you lower in energy.
The same applies to emotional stress.
If you are going through a difficult period in your personal life, it will have an impact on you physically too, leaving you exhausted and having reduced energy.
This means you will also have less energy to digest the food you are eating.
Poor digestion can lead to several problems which can exacerbate physical and emotional stress such as indigestion, heartburn, or sluggishness, which can then lead to more serious conditions like gastric ulcers.
So, you must make the right diet choices.
If you are lacking energy, your digestive system will not be able to digest as much, and it is essential to eat lighter foods. If you are stressed out and tired, do not eat “heavy” foods, such as potatoes and others high in carbohydrates, as they will not be digested as well, and will not give you the energy boost you are looking for.
Rather eat fresh vegetables, rice, and soup rather than anything more substantial. Your health will benefit significantly from doing so and help you improve the strength required to prevent you from having more severe health problems.
In addition to changing your diet, many Ayurvedic herbs will facilitate the relief of stress.
Ayurvedic healers often recommend ashwagandha. When you take ashwagandha as a supplement to your meals, you help to calm your body and support a healthy nervous system.
Besides, ashwagandha offers other benefits such as contributing to the maintenance of a healthy immune system, fostering healthy sleep patterns, and sustaining energy levels.