Any aromatic vegetable substance used as a condiment and flavoring food is called spice. Spices are mostly obtained from tropical plants, and include pepper, nutmeg, cloves, cinnamon and many more. They have little food value but increase the appetite and may help in digestion.
Some Common Spices In the kitchen, spices are distinguished from herbs, which are leafy, green plant parts used for flavoring purposes. Herbs, such as basil or oregano, may be used fresh, and are commonly chopped into smaller pieces. Spices, however, are dried and often ground or grated into a powder. Small seeds, such as fennel and mustard seeds, are used both whole and in powder form. Some of the common spices used in our kitchen are chilies, cardamom (elaichee), ginger, pepper, nutmeg (jaiphhal), cloves (laung), turmeric (haldi), cumin seeds and many more.
Benefits of Some Spices Chilies: Chilies are added to food for flavoring, it spices up the food. It contains a lot of Vitamin C in it. Black Pepper: Black pepper is mostly used in foods for flavoring. It is also turned into oil which is used in different kinds of massages. Cloves: Cloves are not just used in foods but they are also used in dentistry. Cloves are used both as a flavoring food and as a medicine.
Turmeric: This yellow powder is one of the best healers, it is used in many sorts of medicines. It helps digestion and it helps to loose weight. Cumin seeds: There not just seeds but they help treating kidney and liver disorders. Black cumin seeds are used in treating asthma and arthritis. They also helps in digestion. Cardamom: Cardamom comes in into colors green and black, they both are used in food for flavoring, cardamom has a lovely odour. Some people may use it as a mouth freshener. It is also used to make tea.
The First Usage of Spice The earliest evidence of the use of spice by man was around 50,000 BC. The spice trade developed throughout the Middle East in around 2000 BC with cinnamon, Indonesian cinnamon and pepper. The Egyptians used herbs for embalming and their need for exotic herbs helped stimulate world trade. In fact, the word spice comes from the same root as species, meaning kinds of goods. By 1000 BC China and India had a medical system based upon herbs. Early uses were connected with magic, medicine, religion, tradition and preservation.
Classification of Spices The basic classification of spices is as following: Leaves or branches of aromatic plants; all parts of the plant can be used. For example basil, bay leaf, parsley, coriander, tarragon and thyme. Ripened fruits or seeds of plants. Examples include dill, fennel, mustard, and black pepper. Roots or bulbs of certain plants. Such as garlic and ginger.
Gram Masala The word Gram Masala comes from the Urdu word Garam Masala, garam meaning "hot" and masala means "paste". It is a basic blend of ground spices to be used alone or with other seasonings. It is common in Pakistani, Bangladeshi and Indian cuisines. It is usually added in food to make it hot and spicy.
Ingredients in Gram Masala Usually gram masala differs according to region. There are a variety of gram masalas. Some common ingredients are black and white peppercorns, cloves, bay leaves, Varying combinations of these and other spices are used in regional variants of gram masala. long pepper, black cumin, cumin seeds, cinnamon, black and green cardamom, nutmeg, mace, star anise and coriander seeds.
Chilies Chili peppers can provide pain relief for migraine headaches and sinus infections. The heat of the pepper helps to stimulate secretions that aid in clearing mucus from your nose and combating nasal congestion. Theres a research saying that Chili Peppers Fight Cancer. It contains a lot of vitamin C. They also help burn fat and lose weight, chilies also protects your heart in many ways.
Black pepper Black peppers are not only used in foods but they have many health benefits too. It can be also used in massage to relax tired muscles. Its penetrating oil has a warm, stimulating effect. It is used to treat aching muscles arthritis, chilblains, constipation, muscle cramps, poor circulation and sluggish digestion.
Ginger Ginger is a spice which is used for cooking and is also consumed whole as a delicacy or medicine. It is the underground stem of the ginger plant. There is a wide range of benefits of ginger such as nausea, digestive problems, circulation and arthritis. Ginger is also known to have the ability to calm an upset stomach and to promote the flow of bile. Stomach cramps can be eased and circulation can also be improved.
Ginger supports a healthy cardiovascular system by making platelets less sticky which in turn reduces circulatory problems. Ginger oil used for massage can help relieve painful arthritis due to its anti-inflammatory properties. Ginger is often included in many herbal decongestants and can help to minimize the symptoms of respiratory conditions, colds and allergies.
Turmeric Turmeric is one of nature's most powerful healers. It has shown promise in treating cancer, obesity, arthritis, Alzheimer's disease, psoriasis and melanoma. Turmeric reduces fats. It also aids blood circulation and purifies it. Turmeric also helps digestion and is believed to help the body against germs (bacteria).
Cardamom Black and green, both forms of cardamom are used as flavorings in both food and drink, as cooking spices and as a medicine. The usual type of cardamom is used as a spice, a masticator and in medicine. It is also smoked sometimes, cardamom cigarettes are very popular at some places. It is used as a food plant by the larva.
Nutmeg Nutmeg is a very popular spice used for flavoring food and beverages and also is known for many health benefits. Nutmeg is usually associated with sweet, spicy dishes pies, custards, puddings, cookies and spice cakes. It combines well with many kinds of cheeses.
Cloves The health benefits of cloves include the prevention of toxicity from contaminants such as tetra chloromethane, cancers related to the digestive tract, and joint inflammation. In a number of medical studies, the essential oils of cloves are used in dentistry in coincidence with root canal treatment, short-term cavity fillings, and common gum ache. Clove tea is really healthy, it has antifungal benefits and its a really good, medical tea.
The chemical compounds in clove join to make clove a soft anesthetic in addition to an anti- bacterial agent.
Cinnamon Cinnamon does not only tastes good, it also contains many health benefits such as, Anti-Clotting and Anti- Microbial actions, Blood Sugar Control, it boosts Brain Function. It's Calcium and Fiber protect against Heart Disease and improve Colon Health. Cinnamon is also used for colds, flatulence, nausea, diarrhea and painful menstrual periods.
It's also believed to improve energy, vitality, and circulation and be particularly useful for people who tend to feel hot in their upper body but have cold feet. Its oil is obtained from waste bark and is used as flavoring in food and medicine.
Cumin Seeds Cumin seeds are added in foods, it's not just a flavoring food but it has many medical benefits. Cumin seeds are known to be really powerful in treating kidney and liver disorders and some studies reveal the potency of black cumin seeds in treating asthma and arthritis. Cumin seeds possess an aromatic chemical organic compound known as Cumin aldehyde, which is an integral constituent of its essential oil that is responsible for its healing properties.
This volatile oil in cumin seeds helps in activating the salivary glands and facilitates the digestion of food. The cumin seeds are also rich in dietary fiber and are believed to be an effective remedy against piles.
Pakistans Major Production of Spices Pakistan produces a variety of spices. The major spices produced in our country are red chilies, black pepper, garlic, coriander, cloves, cumin seeds, fenugreek seeds and turmeric. Early records say that in 1995 Pakistan produced about 94,8704 of chili peppers and 382,6725 of garlic in one year. Pakistan not only produces spices but it exports them to. We might import some spices from India, Sri Lanka and some other countries.
In all over Asia, we might be called a minor producer of spices but still the quality of our spices is one of the best.
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