Indian spices list, Indian spices benefits

Indian Spices List, Health Benefits, Masala + More

India is the world’s seventh largest country in terms of landmass and the second largest in terms of population. With such colossal statistics come huge variations in climate, culture, language and cuisine. The Indian spices list we created here includes masala, Indian spices health benefits as well as their uses in Ayurvedic medicine, the holistic medical system of India.

Indian Spices List + Indian Spices Health Benefits

Cuisines across India employ different combinations of herbs and spices. Not only do these common spices have unique flavors and colors, but they also come with many health benefits. Here we take a look at some of the spices and herbs found in Indian kitchens and their Ayurvedic uses and properties.

Read More: The Top 5 Healing Spices, Ayurvedic Superfoods

1. Coriander 1

Both fresh and dried coriander leaves are used extensively in India. Coriander is called dhania in Hindi.

Indian Spices Health Benefits: Coriander

Fresh cilantro or hara dhania and coriander seeds are used for various preparations. The botanical name of coriander is Coriandrum sativum. Ayurvedic properties and uses of coriander are the following.

  • It is laghu or light and snigdha or oily.
  • It has kashaya rasa or astringent taste, tikta rasa or bitter taste, katu rasa or pungent taste, and madhura rasa or sweet taste.
  • Its vipaka (taste conversion after digestion) is madhura or sweet.
  • It is ushna virya or hot in potency.
  • Coriander seeds are tridosha hara (they bring all three doshas into equilibrium).
  • Coriander seeds are helpful in imparting taste to food, increasing digestive strength, aiding digestion, and quenching excessive thirst.
  • Seeds are also useful for diarrhea, worm infestation, loss of taste, nausea, abdominal cramps and piles.
  • It has anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties.
  • It improves cognition.
  • It has diuretic properties and is helpful for urinary problems.
  • It is helpful in fevers and headaches.
  • It is useful in erysipelas, cervical lymphadenitis, mouth ulcers, nasal bleeding, memory loss, cough, and other chronic respiratory problems.

Read More: Coriander Uses, Coriander Benefits, Coriander Vs Cilantro, How To Grow Cilantro

2. Cumin or Jeera 2

Cumin seeds are used in various Indian recipes. The botanical name for cumin is Cuminum cyminum. The Ayurvedic properties and uses of cumin seeds are the following.

Indian Spices Health Benefits: Cumin

  • Cumin is laghu or light and rooksha or dry in nature.
  • It has katu rasa or pungent taste.
  • Its vipaka (taste conversion after digestion) is katu or pungent.
  • It is ushna virya or hot in potency.
  • Cumin seeds pacify Kapha and Vata dosha and increase Pitta dosha.
  • It is helpful for all kinds of digestive issues like bloating, indigestion, abdominal cramps, worm infestation, IBS, piles, and more.
  • It has anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties.
  • It is helpful for blood-related disorders.
  • It is a natural diuretic and helpful for urinary tract related problems.
  • It is a galactagogue.
  • Cumin acts as an aphrodisiac.
  • It strengthens the body.
  • It is helpful for various skin problems like itching.
  • It is helpful for eye problems.
  • It helps with cardiac ailments.
  • It is useful for fevers and leucorrhea.

3. Long Pepper or Pippali 3

Long pepper or pippali is used extensively in Indian cuisines albeit in small quantities. The botanical name of long pepper is Piper longum. The Ayurvedic properties and uses of long pepper according to Ayurveda are as follows.

Indian Spices Health Benefits: Long Pepper or Pippali

  • It is laghu or light, snigdha or oily, and teekshana or sharp or piercing in nature. Its wet variety is guru or heavy in nature.
  • Long pepper has katu rasa or pungent taste. However, the wet variety has madhura rasa or sweet taste.
  • Its vipaka (taste conversion after digestion) is madhura or sweet.
  • Long pepper is anushnasheeta in virya which means it is neither hot nor cold in potency. However, wet long pepper is sheeta virya or cold in potency.
  • It pacifies Kapha and Vata doshas.
  • Wet long pepper lowers Pitta dosha and increases Vata and Kapha doshas.
  • It is helpful for indigestion, loss of taste, excessive gas, colic pain, constipation, and splenomegaly.
  • It has antimicrobial properties.
  • It improves cognition and is used in Ayurvedic brain tonics.
  • Helpful for Vata disorders.
  • It purifies the blood and is helpful for blood-related disorders.
  • It is helpful in anemia.
  • It is a natural diuretic.
  • It is useful for cold, cough, asthma, and other respiratory problems.
  • It acts as a cardiac tonic.
  • It is used for various menstrual problems.
  • It is helpful in various skin disorders.
  • It is helpful in fevers especially in recurring and chronic fevers.
  • It has anti-aging and rejuvenating properties.
  • It improves the body’s strength.
  • It relieves pain associated with cold and swelling.

4. Red Chili or Laal Mirch 4

Red chili is extensively used in many Indian dishes. Its botanical name is Capsicum annuum.  The Ayurvedic properties and uses of red chili are the following.

Indian spices list, Indian spices health benefits

Indian Spices Health Benefits: Red Chili

  • It is laghu or light, ruksha or dry, and teekshana or sharp or piercing in nature.
  • It has katu rasa or pungent taste.
  • Its vipaka is katu or pungent
  • It is ushna virya or hot in potency
  • It pacifies Kapha and Vata dosha and increases Pitta dosha.
  • It increases saliva production, aids digestion, increases digestive strength, and helps with abdominal cramps.
  • It acts as a mild laxative.
  • Red chili has scraping properties.
  • It might be helpful in inducing sleep.
  • It has diuretic properties.
  • It acts as an aphrodisiac.
  • It is useful in fevers, particularly in recurrent fever.
  • It is useful in relieving headaches caused by Kapha dosha disorders.
  • It may be helpful in rheumatoid arthritis, joint pain, backache, and sciatica.
  • It is useful in various skin problems.
  • It is helpful in throat related problems.
  • It can be applied topically for dog bites as it might help with pain relief and may help in keeping the wound area clean.
  • It may be useful for cardiac problems.
  • It may be useful for depression.
  • It is helpful in obesity and problems related to excess fat accumulation.

5. Green Chili or Hari Mirch 5

Green chili is also as popular as red chili in Indian kitchens. This common Indian spice has many health benefits. It is basically the raw fruit of Capsicum annum. On maturing, this fruit turns red and is called red chili. 

However, after maturation, the fruit can also turn yellow or black. Although it generally turns red after maturation. Green chili is also spicy but lesser than red chilies.

Indian Spices Health Benefits: Green Chili

The Ayurvedic properties of both red and green chilies are similar.

Raw green chilies contain more moisture and antioxidants than red chilies. Furthermore, red chili powder is said to be usually adulterated with artificial dyes and colors. Green chilis are always used fresh.

6. Black pepper or Black Peppercorns or Kali Mirch 6

Black pepper is a very common Indian spice used in various dishes. Black pepper enhances the flavor of food due to its unique flavor profile. It is also known as the ‘King of Spices’.  The botanical name of black pepper is Piper nigrum.

black pepper indian spices health benefits indian spices list

Indian Spices Health Benefits: Black Pepper

The Ayurvedic properties and uses of black pepper are the following.

  • It is laghu or light and teekshana or sharp or piercing in nature.
  • It has katu rasa or pungent taste.
  • Its vipaka (taste conversion after digestion) is katu or pungent.
  • It is ushna virya or hot in potency.
  • Its fresh fruit is guru or heavy in nature and has a madhura (sweet) vipaka.
  • Fresh fruits are anushanasheeta which means they are neither hot nor cold in potency.
  • Black pepper brings Vata and Kapha doshas into equilibrium.
  • Black pepper helps with digestion, increases saliva production, relieves abdominal cramps and bloating.
  • It acts as a nerve tonic.
  • It lowers excessive phlegm or sputum production.
  • It increases sweating.
  • It is helpful for a variety of skin disorders.
  • It helps with menstruation and urinary problems.
  • It is helpful for toothache and dental cavities or caries.
  • It has an antipyretic effect and is helpful for relieving fevers.
  • It is mentioned as a pramathi dravya. This means it clears the body’s channels by flushing out excess waste.
  • It acts as a cardiac tonic.
  • It is helpful for colds, coughs, and other respiratory problems.
  • It is also an aphrodisiac.

Green Peppercorns or Green Pepper and White Peppercorns or Safed Mirch

Green peppercorns or green pepper is the unripe fruit of the black pepper vine. White peppercorns or safed mirch are obtained after removing the skin of ripe peppercorns. The ripe fruit of pepper is red in color which turns black after drying.

Read More: Garam Masala Benefits, Ingredients, Garam Masala vs Curry Powder

7. Kesar or Saffron 7

Saffron is used in a variety of Indian cuisines. Kesar has been used to impart flavor and color to dishes with rice like Biriyani. Saffron is also used in many Indian desserts. The botanical name of saffron is Crocus sativus. 

Indian spices health benefits, Indian spices list

Indian Spices Health Benefits: Saffron

  • It is snigdha or oily in nature.
  • It has katu rasa or pungent taste and tikta rasa or bitter taste.
  • Its vipaka (taste conversion after digestion) is katu or pungent.
  • It is ushna virya or hot in potency.
  • It brings all three doshas into equilibrium
  • It improves appetite, aids digestion, imparts taste to food, relieves diarrhea.
  • It acts as a liver tonic.
  • It has anti-emetic properties.
  • It has anti-inflammatory properties.
  • It improves skin tone and complexion.
  • It has antimicrobial properties.
  • It improves vision.
  • It acts as a brain tonic and memory booster.
  • It has analgesic properties.
  • It acts as a cardiac tonic.
  • It is a natural diuretic and helps with painful micturition.
  • It is a natural aphrodisiac and helps with impotence.
  • It is used postpartum.
  • It helps in relieving headaches.
  • It improves wound healing.
  • It is helpful in rheumatoid arthritis.
  • It is also used in blood related disorders.
  • It is helpful in premenstrual syndrome (PMS) and dysmenorrhoea.
  • It is used as rasayana because it helps in rejuvenating body and improves body’s strength and immunity

References

  1. Dravyaguna Vijnana by Aacharya Priyavrat Sharma, Volume 2, page no. 322-324, Chaukhamba Bharati Academy, 2017.
  2. Dravyaguna Vijnana by Aacharya Priyavrat Sharma, Volume 2, page no. 366,367, Chaukhamba Bharati Academy, 2017.
  3. Dravyaguna Vijnana by Aacharya Priyavrat Sharma, Volume 2, page no. 277-278, Chaukhamba Bharati Academy, 2017.
  4. Dravyaguna Vijnana by Aacharya Priyavrat Sharma, Volume 2, page no. 314-316, Chaukhamba Bharati Academy, 2017.
  5. Dravyaguna Vijnana by Aacharya Priyavrat Sharma, Volume 2, page no. 314, Chaukhamba Bharati Academy, 2017.
  6. Dravyaguna Vijnana by Aacharya Priyavrat Sharma, Volume 2, page no. 362-365, Chaukhamba Bharati Academy, 2017.
  7. Dravyaguna Vijnana by Aacharya Priyavrat Sharma, Volume 2, page no. 138-141, Chaukhamba Bharati Academy, 2017.

 

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Dr. Alka Sharma, BAMS is an Ayurvedic practitioner and an avid learner of the field. She graduated with a Bachelor of Ayurvedic Medicine and Surgery (BAMS) from Dayanand Ayurvedic College, Jalandhar, Punjab in India. She has been practicing Ayurvedic medicine and doing related work for the last six years. She works as an independent consultant in Ayurveda through online consultancy services. She has a personal app on the Google play store where she consults patients on their health problems following the Ayurveda medical sciences. She additionally has a Masters degree in Business Administration for Health Sciences from Sikkim Manipal University (SMU), India.

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