There are 15 common Herbs & Spices which are good for the body and soul for enhancing immunity. These are called Hitkar Ahar(Beneficial Food) as per Ayurveda. These herbs & spices are to be consumed daily irrespective of various parameters like Prakriti, dosha, kaal, etc.
Common Kitchen Herbs & Spices for Good Health
There are several common kitchen herbs and spices with multiple potential health benefits, such as those with anti-inflammatory properties, cognitive boosters, and some that may even aid in fighting cancer, to name just a few. Some of these herbs and spices we have discussed below are an essential to be part of your daily diet.
Green leaf Rama tulsi is commonly found and used in India. Methods of use can be in the form of decoction, dried powder, freshly taken(10leaves daily), swarasa(juice), seeds are used.
Indications: fever, anti-malarial properties, anti-toxic effect, purifying the blood.
It is mainly used as a green leafy vegetable and seeds are used for seasoning and preparing masalas. You can consume it either by incorporating it into your diet or by chewing its seeds(after soaking them overnight)
Indications: increasing breast milk in lactating mothers, is helpful in reducing blood sugar levels and thus helps in diabetes and lowering cholesterol.
It can be used in its dry form(fresh or powdered) in curries, smoothies, and decoction. Can be consumed as Golden milk— also known as turmeric milk —an Indian drink that has been gaining popularity in Western cultures as Turmeric Latte. This bright yellow beverage is traditionally made by warming up cows or plant-based milk with turmeric and other spices, such as black pepper, cinnamon, and ginger.
Indications: anti-inflammatory and antiseptic. Used for cuts, burns, and bruises. Raw turmeric juice is used to treat hyperacidity and indigestion, blood purifier, coping with diabetes, weight loss, immunity.
All parts of this herb are edible and can be used in recipe preparation, chutneys, etc. Coriander juice is highly beneficial in deficiencies of vitamin A, B1, B2, C, and iron. One or two teaspoons of coriander juice added to fresh buttermilk, is highly beneficial in treating digestive disorders.
Indications: relieve flatulence, digestive disorder-indigestion, nausea, dysentery, hepatitis, ulcerative colitis
Black Pepper (Kali Mirch)
Black pepper in the form of trikatu is most commonly used in treating respiratory symptoms and obesity. Eg Trikatu with honey. Used with jaggery and buttermilk for digestive-related problems. Pepper has a stimulating effect on the digestive organs and produces an increased flow of saliva and gastric juices.
Indications: flatulence, respiratory disorders, metabolism, obesity, digestive disorders.
Cardamom is used to relieve flatulence and for strengthening digestion activities. Common herbal preparation eladi Vati is widely used for cough, throat related problems. Green cardamom is broadly used to treat infections of teeth and gums. Daily gargling with an infusion of cardamom and cinnamon(dalchini) cures pharyngitis, sore throat and also protects one from the flu.
Indications: flatulence, teeth, and gums infection, throat troubles, congestion, flu, cough
Cinnamon is used for stimulating gastric and digestive juices and carminatives. It is an antiseptic that helps kill bacteria that causes tooth decay and gum disease, and that is why most toothpaste is cinnamon flavored. It also kills many fungi and viruses that cause diseases. It helps calm the stomach, clears up urinary tract infections. In diabetic patients, it helps metabolize sugar in a better way using less insulin. Along with its use in recipe formations, it is also used as a “tvak” in ayurvedic medicines.
Indications: gum disease, viruses, UTI, stomach heat, diabetes.
Cumin Seeds (Jeera)
Cumin (also known as caraway) is specially used to remove flatulence. Also, a cup of tea made from caraway seeds taken thrice a day after a meal will give relief. Fried cumin seed with salt helps in better digestion. They are a good source of iron. Used widely in Indian food preparations.
Indications: indigestion, diabetes, cholesterol, weight loss, fat reduction, neutralize unstable particles called free radicals, high blood pressure.
Carom Seeds (Ajwain)
Ajwain is a good source of soluble dietary fiber, and it is known to enhance the digestive system for stomach issues, improving intestinal health. It is antispasmodic, cardioprotective, and also a good source of iron. It is expectorant and helps in drying up the secretions. That’s why it is not advised to take for a long time as it can cause dryness. Oil with ajwain seeds fried in it and applied on pain-affected areas really helps.
Indications: indigestion, bloating, gas, cough, congestion, pain
In Ayurvedic medicine, hing is used to aid digestion and gas, as well as treat bronchitis and kidney stones. For gas and flatulence, you may add a pinch of hing to buttermilk with a pinch of salt and drink it after meals. In case of stomach ache, a pinch of hing should be dissolved in water and the paste should be applied to the navel. A piece of hing placed on an aching tooth reduces pain. It can be fried in ghee and given to patients suffering from neuro-muscular disorders such as sciatica, facial palsy, paralysis, etc. for relief from pain. In breathing disorders such as coughs and colds, it can be consumed in dosages of 12-15 gm for relief. Consume a dash of hing on a daily basis by adding it into gravies and dals.
Indications: bloating, respiratory issues, acidity, stress, menstrual cramps, kidney stones
Ashwagandha is a medicinal herb that may offer several health benefits, such as improved blood sugar, inflammation, mood, memory, stress, insomnia, and anxiety. It’s an aphrodisiac, anti-inflammatory, and used as Rasayana. Taking ashwagandha daily is safe, but people should never take it beyond the recommended doses or periods. Certain groups of people should avoid using ashwagandha, including those who are pregnant or breastfeeding and those who have medical conditions like diabetes, high or low blood pressure, stomach ulcers, autoimmune disease, or thyroid disorders.
Indications: inflammation, mood disorders, infertility, insomnia, memory loss, anxiety, stress
It is a powerful analgesic, anti-inflammatory, and anti-arthritic drug. It is used in the treatment of osteoarthritis and muscular pains. Shallaki juice is beneficial in managing rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis because of its anti-inflammatory properties. It reduces the pain and inflammation in the joints. It also helps to improve appetite.
Indications: inflammation, loss of cartilage, osteoarthritis and muscular pains, ulcers, Asthma, Dysentery
The three fruits in Triphala contain many antioxidants, such as flavonoids, polyphenols, saponins, vitamin C, and more. Antioxidants can help fight free radicals in the body, reducing inflammation along with your risk of chronic diseases like diabetes, heart disease, and others. Triphala is a natural laxative that helps in obesity, improves digestion, and has anti-inflammatory properties. It’s good for the eyes and helps in wound healing. You can take Triphala daily as it is beneficial for your health due to its Rasayana (rejuvenating) property which helps fight against all types of internal or external infections.
Indications: inflammation, free radicals, diabetes, heart disease, constipation, obesity, indigestion, eyesight, infections
“The most noteworthy benefit of Brahmi is that it improves cognitive skills, and stimulates the mind to improve memory and concentration. Researchers found that six weeks of daily treatment with bacopa, twice a day (at a dose of 300 mg per day) led to improvements in test results, relating to cognitive function. Also helps in hyperactivity and anxiety, insomnia, inflammation, acidity. As per certified Ayurvedic doctors, it is safe to consume 2 – 3 grams of Brahmi powder daily along with meals. The decoction of Brahmi powder in boiled water can be ingested at a dose of 25 – 50 ml per day for adults. Take 1-2 Brahmi tablets with milk before or after lunch and dinner.
Indications: emotional turbulence, concentration issues, insomnia, brain fog, hair issues
Giloy is a Rasayan , immunomodulatory. Used in certain arthritic conditions like gouty arthritis, fever, indigestion, respiratory disorders too. Including Giloy juice or kadha in your diet twice a day can improve your immunity, can even aid in weight loss, and help people who are suffering from high blood pressure. It is full of antioxidants and helps to release toxins from the body. Giloy juice also detoxifies your skin and improves your skin. Giloy is also used for liver diseases, urinary tract infections, and heart-related issues. you can take giloy tab daily for 3 months but the purpose of taking giloy should be valid. Self-medication may harm you. consult an ayurvedic doctor.
Giloy may cause the immune system to become more active which could further increase the symptoms of autoimmune diseases. Therefore, it is advisable to avoid Giloy if you are suffering from autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, and lupus (systemic lupus erythematosus.
Indications: gouty arthritis, fever, diabetes, infections, liver disease, toxicity in the body, fevers like dengue, swine flu, and malaria.
All these herbs & spices are available in the form of extracted capsules for various brands. You can always consume them as per your Doctor’s advice.