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The 6 Dream Team Spices

Knowing how to creatively combine and cook with spices in the kitchen is one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself. Not only do spices make your food taste amazing, but they are also so medicinal that they can treat and prevent more than 150 health problems!



At first, It was scary using a lot of exotic spices. Now that I've been playing around with spices other than salt, pepper, and oregano... I've entered a whole new world of flavors! Don't be intimidated by spices that are unfamiliar to you, just because the recipe calls for a lot of spices doesn't mean its hard to make! It's time to be frisky in the kitchen and Emril dash some coriander or cardamom in your stew!

"Spices, the friend of physicians and the pride of cooks."

A few years ago I received my Ayurvedic Cooking Certification at the Svinanda Yoga Farm. I learned the in's and outs of Ayurvedic cooking and how to use the main ingredients. The spices and herbs were the bulk of the class. In order to start cooking Ayurvedic, please add these to your pantry to begin your journey of Ayurveda in the kitchen.


1. TURMERIC Health Benefits- Powerful in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory actions that has been shown to protect and improve the health of virtually every organ. - Proved to be more effective at reducing inflammation than pain-killing medications and cancer drugs. - Inhibits the genes that trigger cancer and inhibits the transformation of a normal cell into a cancer cell. This root is the secret to smooth and radiant skin!

Ayurvedic components

Taste- Pungent, bitter

Energy- Heating

Dosha- K- V- P +

Actions- Stimulant, alterative, antibacterial, vulnerary

In the Kitchen Turmeric pairs well with these spices:

Pepper, fennel, caraway, garlic, galangal, cardamom, ginger, mustard seed, cinnamon, onion, coconut, coriander, cumin and sun dried tomato

Compliments recipes featuring:

Curries, lentils, rice, soups, tomato sauces, vegetables; espeicially cauliflower and onions

2. CUMIN

Health Benefits- Reduces levels of cholesterol and triclycerides, and heart-damaging blood fats common in people with diabetes. A bone protector because it's so rich in phytoestrogens. Prevents the formation of colon tumors, cervical, stomach, and liver cancer. Suppresses convulsions in epileptics.

Ayurvedic Components

Taste- pungent, bitter

Energy- cooling

Dosha- PKV=

Actions- carminative, alterative, stimulant

In the Kitchen

Pairs well with these spices:

Ajowan, fenugreek, garlic, mustard, pepper, caraway, chile, cinnamon, cocoa, coriander, fennel, onion, oregano, saffron, tamarind, turmeric, pumpkin seed

Compliments recipes featuring:

Black beans, potatoes, chile con carne, tomatoes, mexican food, curries


3. CORIANDER

Health Benefits- Soothes irritable bowel syndrome, eases chronic constipation, eases indigestion and gas. Helps lower blood pressure. Reduces the redness in inflammatory skin diseseases (eczema, psoriasis, rosacea).

Ayurvedic Components

Taste- bitter, pungent

Energy- cooling

Dosha- VKP=

Actions- alterative, diaphoretic, diuretic, carminative

In the Kitchen-

Pairs well with this spices:

Allspice, cumin, sun-dried tomatoes, cardamom, fennel seed, garlic, ginger, clove, tomato, turmeric, and coconut

Complements these recipes:

Beans, lentils, poultry, potatoes, mushrooms, cakes, fish, pastries, spice mixes and vegetables



4. HING- ASAFOTIDA

Health Benefits- A powerful digestive agent that removes food stagnation from the g.i. tract. The spice is known for breaking up impacted fecal matter, and accumulations from excessive eating of meat or junk food. Hing cleanses the intestinal flora while strengthening the digestive fire. It dispels intestinal gas, relieves cramping and pain.

Ayurvedic Components-

Taste- pungent

Energy- heating

Dosha- V- K- P+

Actions- stimulant, carminative, antispasmodic, anthelmintic

In the Kitchen-

Pairs well with these spices:

Ginger, cardamom, rock salt, pepper and ceyenne

Complements these recipes:

Kitchari, curry, masalas, and carrot/ginger soup


5. GINGER

Health Benefits- The best all natural nausea reducer. It can ease motion sickness, morning sickness, medication induced nausea, and even nausea from food poisoning. Phytonutrients called gingerols, are anti-inflammatories that reduce arthritis, cancer cells, migraine pain, and asthma coughs. Ginger can decrease clumping of blood that can trigger artery clogging that causes heart attacks and strokes.

Ayurvedic Components

Taste- pungent and sweet

Energy- heating

Dosha- V-K-P+

Actions- stimulant, diaphoretic, expectorant, carminative

In the kitchen-

Pairs well with these spices:

Allspice, cardamom, cumin, sesame seed, star anise, tamarind, turmeric, curry, cumin, fennel, garlic, mustard seed, onion, parsley, coriander, coconut, clove, and cinnamon

Complements recipes featuring:

Ale or beer, pumpkin, squash, chicken, shellfish, sushi, sweet potatoes, winter squash, chutney, duck, oranges, and pork.


6. FENUGREEK

Health Benefits- Balances and regulates daily blood sugar levels while reducing insulin resistance and treats type 2 diabetes. Promotes hair growth and encourages milk flow for breastfeeding. Fenugreek stops kidney stones, aids in weight loss, and controls fatty liver disease.

Ayurvedic Components

Taste- bitter, sweet, and pungent

Energy- heating

Dosha- K-V-P+

Actions- Tonic, anti-diabetic, increases milk production

In the Kitchen

Pairs well with these spices: Coriander, cumin, paprika, squeezes of line and lemon

Complements these foods and recipes:

Dark leafy bitter greens, tomato sauces and stews, curries, kabobs, kibbeh, and pickle brines.


So, how to cook with these dream team spices? Try Laura Plumbs book, Ayurveda Cooking for Beginners. Laura has some wonderful recipes that will allow you to use all the spices! I personally add all these spices in my famous kitchari cleanses!


If you buy a kitchari cleanse (3 or 5 day) after you read this, please reply to this blog post to let me know and I'll send you a special Ayurvedic Spice mixture!


The cleanses are really life changing and reset the body and mind in so many ways.


Be Well.

- Jenny




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