Mar 042011


Most people in India are aware of the healing effects of the spices they use. Or they are just very accustomed to their use in everyday cooking and take for granted the additional health benefits they receive. It has been an interesting observation that the incidence of Alzheimer’s in India has not been very common. This phenomenon has been attributed to the widespread use of turmeric, a key ingredient in curry powder and mustard.

The author of Healing Spices, Bharat B. Aggarwal, states that there are 50 spices that may help prevent or heal particular diseases or conditions. For instance, cooked bay leaf releases antioxidants and is a natural medicine for arthritis, cancer, ulcer, mosquito bites and wounds. He points out to look for whole, dark, and larger leaves.

Cumin has been considered to “be as effective as an anti-diabetes drug in controlling diabetes in lab rats.” It can also protect bones and prevent food poisoning. “Agarwal recommends buying cumin as whole seeds rather than ground.”

Ginger and garlic is normally found in most Indian dishes and also has medicinal properties such as enhancing our immune system. Other uncommon beneficial spices include lemongrass, nutmeg and thyme.

It’s good to know that in addition to enhancing the flavor of our foods, spices can be a natural source of healing.

Source: USA Weekend, my column

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