Spices enhance the taste of the food and add a refreshing smell to it. With the basic attribute of adding flavor to the food, spices also have medicinal value. They do medical wonders for problems that cannot be treated by medicines (in fact, most medicines contain some amount of them). If used in appropriate amounts, they act as essential nutrient suppliers. Here is a description of some of the most popular and commonly used spices in our food.
Black pepper is a flowering vine whose dried fruit is used as spice. It is added to make the food spicy giving a heated effect. It is popular for both its flavor and medicinal value. In medical aspect, black pepper proves extremely beneficial in curing illness like constipation, diarrhea, heart problems, indigestion, sunburn, toothache, etc. It is the worldâs most traded spice. Black pepper can be coupled with any type of food like eggs, vegetables, or salads. It enhances the taste of both vegetarian and non-vegetarian cuisine.
Adding a unique flavor and refreshing smell to the food, cinnamon is one of the most popular spices in the world. Being a native spice of South East Asia, it is used extensively in Indian and Pakistani spicy cuisines. Cinnamon is obtained from the inner bark of tree. It can be used in both sweet and savory dishes alike. The unique flavor of cinnamon comes from its aromatic essential oils. High in medicinal value, cinnamon proves very effective for diabetic patients. It also helps in curing cold and digestive problems. However, it is extremely important that it must be used in moderate amounts. Consuming large amounts may increase heart rate, breathing, and perspiration. This may be followed by a state of sleepiness or depression.
Used particularly in Mexican and Indian dishes, cumin adds a smoky flavor to the food. Being the second most popular spice in the world, cumin is used extensively all over the world. It can be used both in grounded or whole seed form. It is known for its unique aroma. Cumin makes the food staple adding a feeling of warmth to it. It is extremely rich in iron and hence has high medicinal value. It has been proven effective in treatment of digestive disorders, pile, common cold, and amnesia.
Coriander is one of the unique spices of the world as the fruit of the planted seeds result in another spice referred to as cilantro. It adds a bright, warm, and citrus flavor to the food. The taste of the coriander seeds and leaves is synonymous. It is best used in contrast to the smoky flavor of cumin or as a compliment to tangy flavors of orange and lemon. In medicinal terms, coriander can be used for the treatment of diabetes, acne, and lowering the levels of cholesterol.
Cloves are the major ingredient in Indian traditional dishes, which bring out the distinctive aroma of the food. The spice is highly aromatic and a little sweet in taste. It is used both in whole and crushed form. Cloves are extremely high in taste and must be used in small amounts only. It is also added to beverages to get a good flavor. Cloves prove extremely effective in curing toothaches, reduction of blood sugar levels, and fever. The spice is an excellent painkiller.
When you want an intense spicy flavor in your food, cayenne pepper is the best choice. Also referred a Guinea spice, it is a red and hot chili pepper. Only a small amount is enough to transform the taste of a dish. It is used both as a spice in food and for medicinal purposes. It is also added to sweet chocolate recipes to couple the sweetness with a little bit of spice.
Turmeric is one of the widely used spices for adding color and taste to food, especially in Indian cuisines. It is a perennial plant of ginger family. It imparts a bright yellow color to curries, soups, or rice. Being anti-inflammatory in nature, the spice ranks high in terms of medicinal value. Turmeric has proven itself effective in the treatment of cancer, Alzheimerâs disease, and arthritis. It is also an antioxidant, an anti-ageing agent and has skin lightening properties. Turmeric is known to have anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties and is used extensively for beautification purposes.