When traveling to India, one important feature you’ll find among its citizens is their love for spice. If you’re wondering why there are heaping sacks of spices everywhere in this beautiful country, it is because most of the world’s source of spices originate in this ancient country.
In fact, a lucrative spice trade brought boatloads of visitors, collectors and businessman to their shores for centuries. These people are all after one thing – the produce of the country’s rich soil. India is now the country’s primary exporter of spices.
Just imagine your food without spices, would it taste the same? It is indeed unimaginable to eat good food without these added ingredients. On top of that, the multiple health benefits of each spice are unique. This is the reason why India has the lowest rate of obese individuals – they’re simply eating really good, tasty and healthy food.
If you plan on trekking for some unique spices like most travelers, here are the different spices you’d want to buy, their uses and health benefits. Among them some are still uncommon to most people in the Western world.
Asafoetida – Natively known as “hing”, it is used to season snacks. It is also a remedy for gas pains and whooping cough.
Star Anise – This is commonly known as “chakra pool” in India. Used for adding flavor to tea and drinks mostly, its oil is beneficial for arthritis. It’s also a quick remedy for bad breath and poor digestion.
Cardamom – This is a savory and flavorful spice used in most sweet Indian dishes. It is also famous in the pharmaceutical sector in India for its benefits in controlling digestive disorders and bad breath. Traditionally, Indians used to chew an entire cardamom to help lower blood sugar and cope with diabetes. Locals call this spice “elaichi”
Turmeric – The spice commonly used in India as a beauty remedy, turmeric is added to many skin care products. Its anti-inflammatory properties are so powerful, it has been the subject to many clinical studies in recent years.
Its potent bio-compound called curcumin is popularly extracted by pharmaceutical companies to produce turmeric curcumin supplements – a natural treatment to fight chronic inflammation. According to professionals, the turmeric health benefits dosage is 1000mg and its effects on sensitizing insulin response in the body is notable.
Fenugreek – If you love eating Masalas, you’re probably in the know where the aroma comes from. It is mainly used as a vegetable but the crushed seeds are also used to season food. Fenugreek or fenugreek seeds are locally known as “Methi” and are widely used to increase breastmilk. It also helps lower cholesterol and fight prediabetes.
Cinnamon – The powder form of this spice is known for garnishing and adding flavor to certain indian dishes. Its use in the beauty sector is popular too. You will see this spice being added in perfumes, shampoos, soaps and even scented candles. It can treat asthma and other respiratory complications. It is also used in preventing diabetes, stroke and other coronary diseases.
Many of the spices such as nutmeg, cloves, cardamom and ginger are inseparable as they are essentials in making a good “Masala chai“. This only proves that the use of spices are not limited to food but are also utilized in creating good beverages.
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Though they provide immeasurable amounts of health benefits, you must also know how to use them with caution. Too much spice can cause an upset stomach and other adverse health effects. Spice-trekking in India will give you an idea how the locals have become experts in using them, not just as a food ingredient, but as natural treatments to different ailments.