Top 10 spices in India

What are the Spices
Aromatic food substances which enhance flavour are called spices, herbs, and seasonings. Spices add flavour and colour to food and make the food palatable and hence add variety in the diet.

Benefits of spices

  1. Spices are used for digestion and to reduce flatulence.
  2. Some spices have anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and antioxidant properties.
  3. Some spices help in improving the impaired blood glucose levels in the body and help diabetics.
  4. Some spices reduce cholesterol levels and may be useful in preventing heart diseases.
Let’s see the 10 spices which we used regularly in our kitchen with their health benefits.

Top 10 spices and their health benefits

  • Ajwain: With its characteristics, aromatic smell and pungent taste ajwain widely used as a spice in curries. The essential oil present is a natural source of thymol. It is used in biscuits, namkeen, ompodi, rusks, pickles, beverages, etc.
    Medicinal values of Ajwain:
    It is a household remedy for indigestion. Ajwain is also helped in curing a common cold. Ajwain oil gives relief from ear and toothache. Ajwain also gives relief from arthritis pain. Just apply ajwain paste on to joints. If you have excessive pain or irregular periods than just sip ajwain water during that time and it gives you relief from pain.

    Fennel Seed/Saunf
    Fennel Seed/Saunf
  • Fennel Seed or saunf: It is a small dried food of an annual herb. The flavouring principle of it is a volatile oil. It also is known as sweet cumin and has the flavour of liquorice. It is chewed after meals and used as a mouth freshener. It is used in cakes, bread, cookies and candies, kurma, non-vegetarian dishes, biryani, kachori and in pickles.
    Medicinal values of saunf
    Fennel seeds or saunf help to improves digestion. It also helps to treat asthma and other respiratory ailments. Fennel seed or saunf contain a compound called Anatole which is very helpful for lactating women. Saunf is also helping with diabetes and help in lower cholesterol levels. Saunf is also regulated blood pressure and enhances liver health. It also helps to reduce weight loss.
Asafoetida Or Hing  
  • Asafoetida(Hing): It is an oleo gum resin exuded from the rhizome or root of Ferula asafoetida. The odour components consist of volatile oil. Asafoetida or Hing is easily available in the market mixed with starch to dilute the strong flavour. It is used in seasonings of rasam, sambhar etc.
    Medicinal values of Hing:
    Asafoetida or Hing is used as an antimicrobial agent. It is also used in treating chronic bronchitis or respiratory disorders or a whooping cough. It increases the levels of detoxification enzymes in the body. Asafoetida or Hing also help to cures stomach problem like indigestion or in case of gas bloating. It also gives relief in menstrual issues and also helps to soothe a headache and earache. Asafoetida or Hing also help to prevent cancer and treats colic pain. It also helps to heal insect bites and stings.
Cinnamon Or Dalchini
  • Cinnamon or Dalchini: It is a thin inner bark of the cinnamon tree. It is used in stick form in fruit preserves. It is used in the ground form in cakes, cookies and puddings, sauces and pickles. It is also used in pulav, biryani, kurma and most of the non-vegetarian dishes. Cinnamon also goes very well with any apple dishes.
    Medicinal values of Dalchini:
    Cinnamon or dalchini is the powerhouse of antioxidants. It also gives relief in a toothache. It also controls your blood sugar and cholesterol level. It is also effective against arthritis or osteoporosis. Cinnamon also helps to cure a cold, sore throat and cough. It also helps in weight loss and improves digestion. Cinnamon also helps to build strong bones as it contains manganese, fibre, iron and calcium.


  • Cloves or Laung: It is the dried flower bud of the clove tree. It contains about 15% of essential oil. Cloves or laung is used whole in meats, pickles, fish and many vegetarian dishes. It also used in cookies, cakes and puddings. It also used as a flavouring agent in pulav, fruit cake etc.

    Medicinal values of Cloves
    Cloves or laung helps to improve digestion. Cloves or laung is also effective for headaches, toothaches, sore muscles and arthritic pain. It also encourages healthy teeth and gums and also helps to stop bad odour. Laung also controls blood sugar levels. Cloves or laung have antibacterial properties that protect against infections and even in cancer. Laung also prevents from cold, cough and flu.
  • Turmeric: Turmeric root has been revered as a staple of Ayurveda medicine for more than 4,000 years, making it one of the oldest known medicines in human history. Turmeric or Haldi is used in all vegetarian and non-vegetarian diseases. Raw turmeric or haldi is also used to make haldi or turmeric milk which is very good for back pains or for also cold and cough. Medicinal values of Turmeric: Turmeric or haldi has an anti-inflammatory ingredient called Curcumin which gives relief from body pain or stiffness and also reduced sallow en outside and inside body parts. Turmeric or haldi is the powerhouse of antioxidants. It also controls your blood sugar and cholesterol level and keeps your heart healthy. It increases the levels of detoxification enzymes in the body. Asafoetida or Hing also help to cures stomach problem like indigestion or in case of gas. Turmeric or Haldi has antibacterial properties that protect against infections and even in cancer. Turmeric or cancer also helps cures in diabetes.
Cumin Seeds
Cumin Seeds
  • Cumin Seeds: Cumin Seed is pungent, sharp and astringent. It contains 2-4%  essential oil. There are many varieties of cumin seeds including the dark one from Kashmir. The seed is usually used in curry and seasoning. The seeds are used in soups, cheese – spreads, candies, lassi, pongal and pulav. It is also used as a part of curry powder, sambhar powder and rasam powder.
    Medicinal values of Cumin Seeds:
    Cumin seeds contains bio-active substances called phthalides which increase the levels of anticancer protective enzymes in the body. Cumin Seed also helps in lowering the blood glucose level.
    Cumin seeds help in strengthening the immunity of the body. It also helps in strengthening the bone by increasing the bone density. Oil extracted from cumin seeds when applied act as an anti-inflammatory. Cumin helps in normalizing the uric acid level in the kidney, therefore, prevents the kidney from nephrotoxicity. The extract of cumin seeds helps in preventing blood loss because of its iron abundance. Cumin seeds are rich in Thymol content, therefore, are very useful. In pregnant women on taking cumin seeds to increase lactation.
Fenugreek Seeds 
  • Fenugreek Seeds: Fenugreek seeds are dark fawn in colour and has an astringent aroma and contain 5% bitter oil. The oil has a strong celery-like odour. It is bitter in taste and used in small quantities. To reduce bitterness it is always used in cookery with sour substances. 
    Medicinal values of Fenugreek Seeds:
    Fenugreek seeds aid in maintaining the blood glucose levels in non-insulin dependent diabetics. The fibre present in the seed may responsible for this. It is also used with buttermilk in the treatment of dysentery. Fenugreek seeds can be used to reduce premature signs of ageing like wrinkles and fine lines and also effective in treating acne.  They are a good source of protein and hence promote hair health. Fenugreek seeds have anti-fungal properties that are effective in treating dandruff. It also controls your blood sugar and cholesterol level. They have anti-inflammatory properties that aid pain mitigation during menstruation.Fenugreek seeds contain phytoestrogen that seems to increase milk production in lactating mothers. Fenugreek has anti-inflammatory properties that are effective in fighting arthritis. Fenugreek seeds can be used to treat several stomach ailments and are a natural digestive tonic that aid digestion.If you include fenugreek seeds in your diet you can lose weight over time.
  • Garlic: Garlic contains an antibiotic principle “Allin” which is converted to allicin by the enzyme alliinase. Allicin further breaks down to allyl disulphide, which is responsible for characteristic flavour. When garlic is crushed the cells break and the enzyme is released and these compounds are formed. It is used in recipes like rasam, pickle, chutney, pulav, sauces, soups etc.
    Medicinal values of Garlic
    : Garlic is used to treat various digestive disorders. Garlic has antibacterial properties against that fight against bad or negative bacteria. The extracts of garlic inhibit the growth of many pathogenic fungi belonging to Aspergillus and candida. Extracts of garlic can lower cholesterol level and prevent heart diseases. If you include garlic in your diet it lowers the risk of certain cancer like colon, stomach, breast cancer etc. Garlic had active compounds which helped to reduce inflammation. It also helps to fight with the common cold.
  • Ginger: Ginger had a volatile oil called “gingerol”. It is mildly present with the lemony or camphor note. The flavouring compound has sharp burning sensory stimulation. Dry ginger is more pungent and valuable for the zest it gives to blander spices. The whole root is used for curries, pickles, chutney, preserves dried fruit. Ground ginger is used as masala, in preparations like pulav, pongal, all vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes. It is also used in beverages like tea, lime juice etc.
    Medicinal values of Ginger
    Ginger helps to reduce inflammation and pain in joints. It is also used in treating migraine headaches. Ginger is also effective in alleviating nausea. Ginger also control your blood sugar and cholesterol level. If you’re having difficulty digesting, chewing on some raw ginger can help soothe your tummy. Pregnant women the world over rely heavily on ginger when it comes to morning sickness. Its effectiveness against nausea and vomiting is thanks to the gingerol, zingerone, and shogaols that ginger contains. Ginger can be really helpful when it comes to chemotherapy. It also gives relief from cold and flu and reduces muscle pain and soreness. It also helps to detox your body.

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