6 Ayurvedic Spices for a Happy Gut
Ayurvedic Spices That Boost Bigestive Strength
We have a tendency to incorrectly vilify certain foods. The real culprit may not always be the foods themselves. The real culprits are:
- deficient digestion
- underlying digestive problems
In Ayurvedic medicine, a number of herbal remedies can increase the body's ability to digest food and raise the metabolic process in general. A higher metabolism produces more heat in the body, especially in the digestion process, and toxins can be burned up naturally before they start migration throughout the body. This metabolic heat or process is called Agni in Ayurvedic terms. Agni is the action of the metabolic process that actually breaks down and transforms food.
Carminative herbs and spices help rekindle Agni (or the digestive fire), cleanse the body, and enhance the flavor of the meal.
In Ayurveda there are six digestive spices that have been used for thousands of years with incredible success. They are:
How Herbs Improve Digestive Health
- Decreases bloat, relieves flatulence and other gastrointestinal woes
- Reduces cramping in the stomach, relaxes digestive system muscles
- Contains Vitamin C, an anti-inflammatory, which improves regular digestion and strengthens the immune system, which is largely located in your digestive system. Vitamin C also aids with iron absorption.
- Contains volatile oils to relieve gas, bloating, constipation, and diarrhea.
- Highly recommended for those with IBS (irritable bowel syndrome).
- Relieves anxiety.
- Relieves insomnia.
- Helps with digestion.
- Reduces acne.
- Acts as a diuretic.
- Stimulates the secretion of pancreatic enzymes vital to healthy digestion.
- Contains potent anti-oxidant properties.
- Enhances liver detoxification.
- Used to heal teeth and gum infections.
- Help resolve throat problems.
- Assist with respiratory congestion.
- Anti-inflammatory properties.
- Used for stomach aches, constipation, and dysentery.
- Traditionally used in India, China, Japan, Korea, and Vietnam.
- Contains antioxidizant polyphenol curcumin, known for its anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties
- Used as an antiseptic for cuts, burns, and bruises.
- Used for digestive health problems including irritable bowel syndrome.
- Thought to prevent UV skin damage.
- Currently under trial in four U.S. National Institutes for Health for treatment clinical trials for its benefits against Alzheimer´s disease, pancreatic cancer, multiple myeloma, and colorectal cancer.
- Aids the digestive tract by toning muscles in the intestine.
- Stimulates the breakdown of food particles.
- Promotes motility in the gastrointestinal tract and assists in transporting food and other substances out of the intestines.
- Helps soothe gas pains.
- Helps digest and metabolize fats.
- Relieves common stomach pains.
- May help relieve nausea due to pregnancy, chemotherapy, and anesthesia.
Digestion Is a Key Factor to Good Health
It is no coincidence that both Traditional Chinese medicine and Ayurveda, arguably the two oldest systems of medicine on the planet, consider digestion to be one of the key factors influencing our health. These forerunners of modern medicine discovered—through thousands of years of clinical practice and observation—that there is a very direct link exists between a person’s digestive health and their physical and mental well-being.
What Is Ayurveda?
The healing tradition of Ayurveda teaches that health and wellbeing depends upon our ability to digest everything we take in from the environment. This includes not only tangible substances like food and drink, but also our experiences, emotions, and the impressions we take in through our senses and skin. Agni is the Sanskrit term for the “digestive fire” that breaks down the food and other things we ingest from the environment, assimilating what is useful, and eliminating the rest.
This holistic system of natural healing sees food and medicine as complementary rather than separate, allowing us to harness the benefits of the food we eat every day to help keep us balanced, grounded, and happy.
Heal the Gut to Heal the Body
"All dis-ease begins in the gut."
Hippocrates said this more than 2,000 years ago, but we’re only now coming to understand just how right he was.
Research over the past two decades has revealed that gut health is critical to overall health, and that an unhealthy gut contributes to a wide range of diseases including:
- rheumatoid arthritis and other autoimmune diseases
- autism spectrum disorder
- chronic fatigue syndrome, and more
How Strong Is Your Digestive Fire?
Whether we are coping with weight issues or uncomfortable GI symptoms such as bloating, gas, or indigestion, often the underlying root problem is weak agni, or poor digestion. Unfortunately, in Western medicine, we aren’t trained to ask the key question “How strong is my digestive fire?”
Ayurveda and the Five Senses
Other Great Herbs for Health and Preparation Ideas
Curry Powder and Garam Masala
Curry traditionally refers to a category of Indian and Southern Asian dishes, that incorporates meats and vegetables with certain spices. However, curry also commonly describes the spice blend, which contains turmeric, coriander, cumin and other spices in various proportions, depending on the tastes and traditions of the place where a particular curry was developed.
Besides adding zest to your diet, curry may offer some health benefits for your digestive system.
Basic Curry Recipe
To make a basic curry combine:
- 5 tablespoons ground coriander seeds
- 2 tablespoons ground cumin seeds
- 2 tablespoons ground turmeric 2 teaspoons ground ginger,
- 2 teaspoons dry mustard,
- 2 teaspoons ground fenugreek seeds,
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground black pepper,
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon,
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves,
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom,
- 1/2 teaspoon ground chili peppers or cayenne
- Makes about 3/4 cup.
Mix well and store in a shaker jar or a jar with a tight-fitting lid.
Additions and Benefits
Some other things to add to curry include:
- improves digestion by stimulating the secretion of hydrochloric acid in the stomach
- helps prevent gas
- promotes both sweating and urination which helps to detoxify
- contains both anti-bacterial and anti-oxidant properties
- contain eugenol
- is being studied for prevention of toxicity from environmental pollutants, digestive tract cancers and joint therapy.
- traditionally used for arthritis, asthma, digestion, bronchitis
- to keep a healthy metabolism and libido
- helps lower blood glucose and cholesterol levels
Cinnamon helps reduce cholesterol.
- aids in elimination and digestion
- shown to boost circulation
- relieve pain
- high in Omega3 Fatty Acids, magnesium, selenium, tryptophan, phosphorus, manganese, dietary fiber, iron, calcium and vitamin b3 (niacin)
- protect against gastrointestinal cancer
- have been shown to reduce asthma and migraine severity
- lower blood pressure
- help to relieve insomnia related to menopause
Ayurvedic Garam Masala (easy way)
- 1 tbsp cumin powder
- 1/2 tbsp coriander powder
- 1/2 tbsp fennel powder
- 1/4 tbsp black pepper powder
- 1-2 bay leaves (crushed to a fine powder)
Mix all the powders and store it in an air-tight glass container. This lasts for upto 6-8 weeks. To bring out more flavor in your dishes you could lightly dry-roast the spice-mix before adding it to your dish. This is completely optional
9 Healing Benefits of Garam Masala
- Fights disease and builds immunity
- Effective pain killer
- Slows-down aging process
- Promotes weight loss
- Increases ability to absorb vitamins, minerals, and proteins
- Relieves gas, heart burn, and soothes upset stomach
- Lowers blood-sugar levels
- Reduces bloating and aids in detoxification
- Fights bad breath
Have you tried these spice blends?
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A Surprising Discovery—Triphala
A few years ago I was looking for something that would help with my digestive issues. After doing some research I came upon an herbal blend called triphala.
Triphala is a blend of 3 Ayurvedic herbs:
- Amla – Emblica officinalis – Indian gooseberry.
- Haritaki – Terminalia chebula – Chebulic Myrobalan.
- Vibhitaki – Terminalia bellirica – Belleric Myrobalan.
Benefits of Triphala
- Assists natural internal cleansing
- Gently maintains regularity
- Nourishes and rejuvenates the tissues
- Supports healthy digestion and absorption
- Natural antioxidant
- Improves digestion,
- Reduces serum cholesterol
- Improves circulation
- improves liver function
Our digestive fire or Agni is essential to our well-being. Maintaining our digestive health or our digestive fire may just be the secret to achieving optimal health and longevity.
I hope that this resource helps with understanding just how critical our gut health is to our overall health. Our gut health directly affects how we feel emotionally and physically, so it is imperative that we work on our digestive fire....our Agni.