The Indian culinary practice is quite different from the rest of the world. With its ideal mix of taste and advantages, the spices and herbs allow you to experience the best of both worlds. 

Cumin (Jira)
Jira or cumin seeds are a traditional Indian spice. They are generally fried in oil before preparing the dish and are consumed whole or powdered. They are used in most Indian dishes like potato curries, chicken curries, mutton curries, and paneer, among others.

Advantages of Jira

The anti-cancer properties of cumin prevent cancer cells from increasing, and in one study, basil and cumin were found to be among the most powerful herbs and spices to fight cancer.
Luteolin and apigenin in cumin seeds are antioxidant substances that keep tiny free radicals from attacking healthy cells. People feel energetic, healthy, and young.
It is believed that cumin oil has hypoglycemia properties that lower glucose levels in the blood. Cumin is used in herbal drugs to fight diabetes.
Traditionally, diarrhea patients were treated with cumin and in modern times.
Cumin oil is a powerful agent for killing larvae and is also used as an antiseptic. Bacteria variants that many other antiseptics cannot control are also killed by this spice. It is used as a food preservative as people trust its ability to kill immunity damaging bacteria.
Disadvantages of Jira

Men who consume more than adequate agents of cumin may suffer from low fertility as it may reduce testosterone levels.
In some cultures, cumin was a conventional mode for aiding miscarriage. So, pregnant women or those women who are planning to conceive should be mindful of this.
While cumin seeds help in relieving gas, they also lead to heartburn by releasing more gas into the gastrointestinal tract.
The narcotic features of cumin should be kept in mind while consuming the spice as it may cause drowsiness, mental clouding, and nausea. So, one should never overconsume it.
If you are scheduled to have surgery, talk to the doctor before consuming large amounts of cumin seeds as they may lead to reduced levels of blood sugar. He/she may recommend against having the seeds a couple of weeks prior to the surgery for maintaining the blood sugar levels at the time and after the surgery.
Recommended Daily Quantity

One can have 3 grams of cumin powder daily.

2. Turmeric (Haldi)

One cannot prepare Indian food without turmeric as it is the most essential ingredient in curries. A spoon of powdered turmeric not only adds a dash of color to the dish but is also a great anti-inflammatory agent. Have it with some black pepper powder or whole black pepper to understand its full worth.

Advantages of Turmeric

If you are suffering from inflammation or joint ache due to rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis, you should positively have turmeric as the anti-oxidants in the spice destroys cell-damaging free radicals in the body. However, do not try to substitute the root for medicines.
Consume raw turmeric if you are encountering any digestive issues. The prime components help to produce bile smoothening the digestive system. Gas and bloating are also treated with turmeric.
Consuming turmeric helps in maintaining the health of brain cells and keeping Alzheimer’s and stroke at bay.
Eat turmeric and the chemical curcumin will reduce depression provided you have already started taking antidepressants.
Recover from hay fever symptoms like itching, sneezing, congestion, and runny nose by consuming turmeric.
Disadvantages of Turmeric

Turmeric should be avoided if you are suffering from bile duct obstruction, gallstones, or liver disease.
The most common side effects of turmeric are diarrhea, constipation, gastroesophageal reflux, distension, vomiting, and nausea.
If you are ingesting immunosuppressant or anti-cancer agents, opt for turmeric with caution.
Recommended Daily Quantity

Having 500 to 2000 of turmeric daily is beneficial.

3. Cloves

Add warmth to your meat rubs and curries with this flavourful and aromatic spice. Masala tea, stewed pears, and pumpkin pie are some of the dishes where it is used.

Advantages of Cloves

Antioxidants present in cloves decrease the chances of diabetes, heart disease, and some cancers by fighting free radicals that ruin cells.
Eugenol, the inflammatory compound in cloves, checks the body’s inflammatory response and brings down chances of suffering from arthritis.
If you are encountering liver issues, cloves can help you from fatty liver diseases and liver cirrhosis.
Stomach ulcers are the result of thinned mucus layers. Mucus protects the stomach lining and cloves can thicken this lining and reduce the chances of ulcers.
Besides adding flavor to your fare, it is also rich in nutrients like manganese, carbohydrates, Vitamin K and more.
Disadvantages of Cloves

Too much clove may cause hypoglycemia, leading to low blood sugar levels.
Are you on blood-thinning drugs? In that case, do not have clove tea or clove oil.
Recommended Daily Quantity

Apply half a teaspoon of clove powder with honey or five drops of oil with water to your face to ward off pimples.

4. Coriander (Dhania)

One of the most essential Indian spices, coriander is the seed of the cilantro. Almost every savory Indian dish uses coriander in its powder or herb form. Be it soup, curry, drink, pickle, or chutney, the herb or spice is a must ingredient. If you like South Indian food, you have surely tasted coriander in rasam and sambhar,

Advantages of Coriander

The antioxidants in coriander prevent free radicals from damaging the cells in your body. They protect the immunity of your body and also help it fight cancer.
It helps to reduce blood sugar levels.
The diuretic nature of coriander extract aids in flushing out additional water and sodium from the body resulting in low blood pressure.
For healthy digestion, it is good to have oil derived from coriander. Its extract is utilized as a means to stimulate appetite.
Coriander is rich in anti-inflammatory properties that protect from diseases like multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

Disadvantages of Coriander

In some people, coriander can cause allergic reactions like hives, asthma or swelling in the mouth.
Liver problems may ail you if you consume coriander seeds for a long time.
Recommended Daily Quantity

It is suggested to have 1/4th to half a spoon of coriander powder on a regular basis.

5. Green Cardamom

The flavor of cardamom is noteworthy in most Indian dishes. You should add whole, cracked pods to the heated up oil before cooking to get that distinct flavor. Biryani, Dal Makhani, mutton and chicken curries as well as jalebi and malai kulfi among others use this spice.

Advantages of Green Cardamon

Consuming cardamom can assist in fighting cancer.
If you are dealing with high blood pressure, green cardamom may help you keep the issue at bay. This is because of the high amounts of antioxidants in the spice. According to some studies, the spice is diuretic in nature which means that it causes urination for removing water in different parts of the body including the region surrounding the heart.
Indians have been using cardamom for thousands of years to aid people in digesting. You can combine it with other spices containing medicinal qualities and ward off vomiting, discomfort, nausea, and stomach ulcers.
Abundantly found antioxidants in cardamom prevent cell damage and inflammation.
Antibacterial effects of cardamom are visible even outside the mouth and it is used for infections.
Disadvantages of Green Cardamon

Prolonged use of cardamom in huge amounts may cause unexplained allergic reactions on the skin or respiratory issues.
Certain drugs like Aspirin, HIV medicines, antidepressants, and more may react with cardamom to create a negative impact.
Recommended Daily Quantity

Take a couple of green cardamoms every day for good digestion and fresh breath.

6. Cinnamon

Cinnamon is widely grown in the Western Ghats and is a favorite Indian spice. With its woody aroma, this sweet spice is added to everything from savory to sweet. Whether it is a sweet dessert, baked item, or a curry where the spice is used as a ‘garam masala’, it never fails to make an impact.

Advantages of Cinnamon

Polyphenol, a powerful antioxidant, is present in cinnamon and, it fights cell-damaging free radicals.
The most common cause of death in the world is heart disease and cinnamon can reduce the chances of risk of this ailment.
It also helps diabetes patients.
The spice stabilizes good HDL cholesterol, it decreases triglycerides and LDL cholesterol.
If you wish to recover from tissue damage and infections in the body, cinnamon is what you need.
Disadvantages of Cinnamon

Cinnamaldehyde in cinnamon can lead to allergic reactions like itching sensations and swollen gum when ingested in large amounts.
Having excessive cinnamon can drastically decrease blood sugar levels, leading to dizziness, tiredness, and fainting.
Recommended Daily Quantity

You should not have 2 to 4 grams of cinnamon powder daily.

7. Mustard Seeds

Mustard seeds are a common additive to Indian recipes and are often fried whole to add flavor to the oil. They are mostly used in Bengali and South Indian dishes.

Advantages of Mustard Seeds

Myrosinase and glucosinolates present in mustard seeds check the growth of cancer cells in the body.
Mustard seeds are helpful for people who suffer from digestion-related issues. The fiber in the seeds facilitates easy bowel movement, thus getting rid of indigestion.
Do you have migraines and headache problems? If yes, these seeds are precisely what you need. They have magnesium to relieve your body of pain and strain.
Selenium in mustard seeds re good for bones, hair, nails, and teeth. Also, the anti-inflammatory properties and antioxidants in the seeds check bone, teeth and gum pain.
For people having cardiovascular problems, mustard oil is a must. In Indian households, the oil is used to control cholesterol levels and decrease the blood’s bad cholesterol level.
Disadvantages of Mustard Seeds

Applying mustard on the skin for a long time can lead to blisters and burns.
Eating a huge amount of black mustard can cause issues like breathing problems, diarrhea, heart problems, or drowsiness.
Recommended Daily Quantity

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8. Cayenne Pepper

Add half a spoon of cayenne pepper to introduce heat to your taste buds. It is also beneficial as a medicine.

Advantages of Cayenne Pepper

Capsaicin present in cayenne pepper offers health benefits like better athletic performance, relief from pain and reduced blood sugar levels.
Being a great source of several nutrients, they provide protein, calories, Vitamin C, Provitamin and more.
Capsaicin also protects from certain heart ailments and reduces inflammation.
If you add cayenne pepper to your food, the tendency to add salt will reduce.
Capsaicin is shown to slow down the growth of cancer cells or even kill cancer cells for a specific cancer types like skin, prostate, and pancreatic.
Disadvantages of Cayenne Pepper

Intestinal and stomach linings may get inflamed due to overconsumption of cayenne. If you are already encountering from the inflamed digestive tract or other digestive issues, it is better to have the spice in its minimum amount.
If taken in excess, the acid-secretion of the pepper may lead to heartburn.
Recommended Daily Quantity

You can have 30 mg to 130 mg of cayenne pepper once or thrice daily.

9. Ginger

Ginger is an essential component for most Indian curries no matter in which part of the country you live. It is mainly used as ginger garlic paste or ginger paste and consumed raw to ward off cough.

Advantages of Ginger

Ginger is a great recommendation if you are suffering from morning sickness or any type of nausea.
Ginger is helpful to relieve joint pain and stiffness.
Ginger supplements helped reduce body weight and weight hip ratio in people with overweight.
Ginger may be helpful for people suffering from diabetes.
Women with menstrual pain will do good by consuming ginger.
Disadvantages of Ginger

Overuse of ginger may cause CNS depression.
Overdose of ginger may cause cardiac arrhythmia.
Recommended Daily Quantity

Daily dosage may vary from 250 gm to 1 gram.

10. Fenugreek (Methi)

Fenugreek seeds are bitter with several health benefits. The leaves are often used in curries for their less bitter taste and a maple-like smell.

Advantages of Fenugreek

Some compounds in fenugreek have anti-diabetic features.
It helps in producing breast milk and its easy flow.
If anyone has low testosterone and sperm levels, fenugreek helps increase them.
If you wish to lose weight, consuming fenugreek can lead to controlled appetite and reduced eating.
It assists in monitoring cholesterol levels that in turn improve heart conditions.
Disadvantages of Fenugreek

People with hormone-sensitive cancer should avoid this spice as it acts like estrogen.
Pregnant women should not consume fenugreek much if possible as some of its compounds may lead to abnormalities in the newborn.
Recommended Daily Quantity

There is no specific dosage for fenugreek and the quantity varies according to your condition. For instance, if you are a diabetic, 1 gram of fenugreek daily is okay, but if you are having menstrual pain, 1800-2700 mg of fenugreek powder thrice a day for the initial three days of menstruation is a healthy habit.

These are ten well-known and commonly used spices in the Indian kitchen. Get them and add them to your preparations to get a depth in taste and make the most of their health benefits.

About Author

Abhi Chauhan

The Restaurant Academy Professor. My studies in hospitality and experience of working in locations such as the USA, Switzerland, India and Iceland has equipped me with extensive knowledge concerning the restaurant industry and provision of the very best customer service. I have over 12 years of experience in the restaurant industry.

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