Healing Ayurvedic Spices for Every Home | Ayurveda

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As a student and practitioner of Ayurveda, using these few spices regularly has contributed to making my kitchen a magical medicine clinic, in which I feel inspired and empowered to create health and healing with my very own two hands.

1. Ajwain Seeds (Bishop's Weed)

Nowadays, anytime I experience physical pain I reach for Ajwain. This Ayurvedic herb is a potent painkiller. I feel great relief from aches and soreness when I consume these seeds. This herb is also incredibly helpful for bloating, gas, and constipation.

Ways to use:

  • Ajwain seed tea: boil Ajwain seeds in water. Allow the Ajwain tea to cool to a temperature at which you can drink, then enjoy.
  • Cook with ajwain: This is especially helpful to do if you are experiencing chronic gas, bloating and constipation. This spice can be added to almost every savory dish, in its seed form, dry roasted, or as a powder (just blend the seeds in a blender or Magic Bullet).

2. Saffron

Many aspects of Indian culture and spirituality have practical, as well as sublime, purpose. In Hindu spiritual rituals, a red dot is often symbolically placed on a person's forehead ('third eye') as a blessing to awaken one's inner wisdom. The practical reason for this placement of saffron, however, is actually to act on the blood tissue of the body (called rakta dhatu) in a way that prevents and treat headaches.

Saffron is additionally utilized to help with reducing vomiting. It also benefits the skin, improving the complexion, and serving as a key ingredient in many all-natural Ayurvedic beauty regimens.

Ways to use:

  • Saffron milk: boil milk with sugar, and add a few strands of saffron to it for a delicious and beautifying recipe to enjoy in the morning or at night (at least three hours after dinner).
  • Saffron paste: rub saffron strands with milk and apply the resultant paste to reduce dark circles around your eyes.
  • Saffron rice: cook rice with a few strands of saffron in it for a delicious accompaniment to your favorite savory dishes.

3. Turmeric

This herb has an amazing list of benefits. It helps boost immunity, which makes it a powerful health prevention tool, found in every Indian household. Turmeric also benefits the digestive system and purifies blood. Turmeric improves complexion and is another ingredient often found in Ayurvedic beauty recipes and home remedies. This herb helps with itching, swelling, diabetes, obesity, rheumatoid arthritis, and post-trauma healing.

Ways to use:

  • Cook with turmeric: Turmeric can be used as a healing spice in almost any recipe — from poultry to vegetables to soup. A small amount of turmeric can also be added to saffron rice for added benefit.
  • Turmeric mask: Mix turmeric with either milk or water and apply on the face prior to showering in the morning. This external application of turmeric is traditionally used to beautify Indian brides-to-be prior to their marriage ceremonies.
  • Turmeric milk: boil milk and add ½ tsp. of turmeric powder, along with raw honey, for a delicious wound-healing antidote to swelling and other post-injury physical trauma symptoms.

4. Ginger

Many respiratory conditions are caused by digestive imbalances. Fresh ginger is a fantastic herb to prevent and treat many digestive conditions, including gas, indigestion, constipation, and bloating, and also greatly aids respiratory conditions like colds, coughs, bronchitis, and pneumonia.

Ways to use:

  • Fresh ginger appetizer: Have a very small piece of ginger with salt prior to meals to really benefit your digestion.
  • Cook with fresh ginger: This will not only benefit your digestion, but also prevent respiratory conditions like the common cold, coughing, bronchitis, etc.
  • Ginger juice: Ginger can be mixed with honey for a great digestion-boosting and cold-reducing recipe for kids.

Try adding these spices to your kitchen and you, too, can begin to experience the magic and empowerment of taking health into your own hands with Ayurveda.

Sachi Doctor

Elemental Alchemy, 90 Rio Vista Avenue, Oakland, CA, 94611

Sachi Doctor is an Ayurvedic practitioner and holistic health coach who founded Elemental Alchemy with the mission to provide a resource for those navigating their way towards optimal mind-body health.

Diagnosed with an autoimmune disease at a young age, Sachi has spent over twenty years exploring different health modalities, treatment plans, diets and mindfulness practices to help alleviate chronic pain and restore balance.

After years of looking to others for a model of health with no relief, Sachi realized that the answers she sought were not hidden in someone else’s prescription for wellness but unique to her, and that the first step towards discovery was actually tuning out what was right for others and tuning into herself.

As she tapped into the wisdom of her own body, she discovered that the elements foundational for health  — the blueprint she so fervently sought — was within her, within each of us. Since then Sachi has been passionate about helping others also cultivate clarity and inner wisdom for vibrant health.

In addition to her Ayurvedic and nutrition education, Sachi has completed over 800 hours of yoga teacher training and continues to study with her mother, her first yoga teacher, for whom these practices are a way of life.

Sachi is a board member of the Prison Yoga Project at San Quentin State Prison and serves as an ambassador for Yoga Gives Back, a non-profit that raises funds within the US yoga community to support microcredit programs for women in India. She holds a Msc in Development from the London School of Economics.