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The exotic colours and heady aromas of spices can elevate an ordinary dish into a sublime feast for the senses of sight, smell and taste. What’s more, most spices also come with therapeutic properties, so every meal that includes spices can become an experience in enhancing health and well-being. Ayurveda, the ancient system of healing from India, has been singing the praises of spices as “wonder-foods” for thousands of years.
Spices are ingredients in many synergistic ayurvedic herbal formulations, and an ayurvedic expert, when giving you advice, is as likely to recommend specific spices to include in your diet as to suggest herbal supplements for you to take.
Ashwagandha has many significant benefits, but is best known for its powerful adaptogenic properties, meaning that it helps mind and body adapt better to stress. It nourishes the nerves and improves nerve function to help you maintain calm during stressful situations.
Cardamom is tridoshic (good for balancing all three doshas), but people trying to keep Pitta in balance should eat it in smaller amounts.
Pepper is considered an important healing spice in ayurveda. It has cleansing and antioxidant properties, and it is a bioavailability enhancer — it helps transport the benefits of other herbs to the different parts of the body. It helps the free flow of oxygen to the brain.
In ayurveda, cloves are considered to enhance circulation, digestion and metabolism.
Because it increases the ability to solve problems effectively, bacopa (brahmi) is often used in formulas to help relieve and prevent stress.
Arjuna is helpful in balancing the emotions (Sadhaka Pitta).