In general, all spices support Kapha dosha , which is more dominant during Springtime, but here is a short list of the ones that you definitely need to have on hand this season especially:
Turmeric will always be THE central spice in every kitchen. It has great cleansing properties, strengthens the ligaments and is proved to be one of the most effective anti inflammatory spices.
In the case of sprains or spasms, turmeric can be very useful. It is a natural anti biotic and also improves our digestion and the assimilation of proteins.
Turmeric can be quite heating and drying, so in order to balance it out, combine it with cooling spices such as coriander or fennel.
Ginger is one of my favourite spices. It stimulates the digestive system and is a great spice to use to ignite your Agni, or digestive fire. It breaks down fat int he stomach, relieves constipation and works really well in the respiratory system. it melts away mucus and congestion, reduces inflammation and is acts as a powerful antiviral spice.
A very important property of ginger is that it is sattvic, promotes calm mental states and clear vision. In Ayurveda its use is universal as it appears in most preparations.
Black pepper is quite a potent digestive stimulant, as it burns Ama (toxins) and cleanses the entire digestive tract. Combining it with other herbs and winter spices in infusion helps us clear the sinuses of nasal congestion, as it liquifies heavy mucus. It also enhances oxygenation in the channels of the brain.
One must be slightly careful though, as it can cause inflammation and, if you have to much “Pitta” in your system, it could cause major imbalance.
Asafoetida, also known as “hing”,is the dried sap obtained from the roots of Ferula plants.
While it’s native to Afghanistan and Iraq, asafoetida is commonly used in Indian cuisine where it’s dried and ground into a spice. It is available in the market as a solid brick or smaller pieces, as well as in tablet or powder form.
Along with its culinary uses, asafoetida has a prominent place in Ayurvedic medicine, particularly for its role in supporting healthy digestion. Its health benefits come from its carminative, antiviral, antibacterial, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. It is also used as a substitute for onion and garlic in cooking.
Onion and garlic contain high amounts of fructans — indigestible, fermentable carbs that can cause GI distress in some individuals with IBS
As asafoetida provides a flavor similar to onions and garlic, it could be a good option for those who need to avoid or limit their consumption of these high fructan foods.
According to Ayurvedic medicine, consuming cayenne pepper increases the secretion of hydrochloric acid that helps digest food and benefits your digestive system. The capsaicin in hot peppers may also help prevent ulcers by killing bacteria and stimulating your stomach lining to secrete juices that prevent ulcers. Cayenne is also shown to improve the elimination of waste products. (www.vedichealth.org).
Studies have shown that regular consumption of cayenne reduces the rate of heart attacks.
Cayenne and other red chili peppers have been shown to have even more benefits for your circulatory system. It has also been shown to be an effective treatment for getting relief from chronic pain caused by arthritis and also headaches.
Mustard seed is used in Ayurveda for both external application and oral use.
Mustard is a well known culinary substance appreciated due to its specific odour and carminative effect.This is a compulsory item in almost all spice powder mixes and traditional indian pickles.
Mustard is pungent in taste and hot in potency. It is great for treating wounds and skin diseases and reducing muscle and joint pain.
Mostly used in the form of a powder of the bark or leaves or as oil, cinnamon is an extensively prized ingredient in the holistic treatments of Ayurveda.
Cinnamon improves circulation, relieves coughs and colds and aids in reducing blood sugar levels.
A natural digestive with hot potency, powdered bark of cinnamon boosts digestion, relieves flatulence and abdominal pain.
These are the most pungent and heating spices that will help stimulate digestion and ease any feelings of sluggish digestion you may be experiencing.
Spring tea perfect for stimulating the digestive system:
- 3 cups Water
- 1 tbsp Ginger Grated
- 1 stick Cinnamon
- 1 tsp Ground Turmeric
- 1/4 cup Lemon Juice
- Honey (Optional)
- Add water in a pot and bring it to a boil.
- Add the grated ginger, cinnamon and ground turmeric and simmer for 5 minutes.
- Turn off the heat and add the lemon juice.
- Sieve the tea if you wish. Add a little honey if you want a hint of sweetness.
- Sip hot.
Thanks for this great overview of the spices!