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THE SECRET OF SPICES IN COOKING Spices used in small to moderate proportions according to the food being prepared and

the person's constitution will stimulate all the digestive organs to produce the enzymes required for total absorption and assimilation. Thus cooked food and spices are better for the poor digestion of Kaphas and Vatas. Pittas should use only mild spicing, as their "fire of digestion" is generally strong. Ajwain seed: (Bishop's weed) A close relative of the caraway and cumin seed, ajwain resembles the minute celery seeds, and has the flavor of thyme. It is to be used mostly by vata and Kapha types. Amchoor: A powder made from sun-dried slices of unripe mango. It has a pungent flavor and is often used like pomegranate seeds or lime Juice. It is to be used mostly by Vata type. Asafoetida: Known as hing, asafoetida is a highly pungent dried gum resin obtained from the ferula plant. It is used in Ayurvedic medicines as well as in South Indian cuisine. Ayurvedic pharmacologists give it to breast-feeding mothers to cleanse and increase milk. This resin is used sparingly in foods for Vata and Kapha types. Bala: The Sanskrit name for an Avurvedic herb that is cooling and sweet in nature. It is used mainly as rejuvenating tonic for nervous conditions by both Vata and Pitta types. Bay Leaves: (Sweet Laurel). This leaf resembles the cassia leaf. Bay leaves are highly aromatic and pungent, and should be used sparingly. This leaf is for Vata and Kapha use. Bhringaraja: The Sanskrit name for an Ayurvedic herb that is bitter, astringent, sweet, and cooling in nature. It is used as a rejuvenating tonic by all body types. Bibhitaki: The Sanskrit name for an Avurvedic herb that is astringent, sweet, and heating in nature. It is used as a mild laxative and rejuvenating tonic for Kapha and Pitta types. Black Cumin: Shah jeera or royal cumin. Often called kala jeera. Black cumin grows abundantly as a wild annual of the Himalayas. The seed is black, slender, and is closely related to the common cumin seed. This glorious seed may be used by all three doshas. Black Salt: Kala namak. This is a dark crimson-grey salt that has a strong and pungent flavor, It is high in trace minerals and iron and is found almost exclusively in India. This salt is to be used mostly by Vata types and occasionally by Kapha types. Camphor: (Kacha karpoor). This edible crystalline compound is obtained by distillation of the fragrant leaves of the Indian and Chinese evergreen. Very tiny pieces of this raw and natural camphor are used to flavor milk beverages, puddings, and sweets. This crystal is also used in Ayurvedic medicine in Kapha remedies. Caraway: This aromatic seed grows on the wild carum carvi plant in the foothills of the Himalayas. While best for Vata and Kapha use, it may be used occasionally by Pitta. Cardamom: (Elaichi). The cardamom plant is native to South India. The black seeds are encased in either small green pods or large black pods. The green pods are high in volatile oils, with a taste that resembles eucalyptus. The seeds of the green pods are mostly used in beverages, sweets, and pulaos. Cardamom has been used for centuries in Avurvedic medicine. This seed is best for Vata and Kapha, but may be used occasionally by Pitta due to its aromatic flavor. Cassia Leaves: (Tejpatta). Native to Sri Lanka and South India, Iong sun-dried leaves are olive green color. They are pungent in nature and are used as a fried seasoning in cooking. They may be used by Vata and Kapha types. Cayenne Peppers: (Lal mirch). These are red hot chilis sun dried and ground into a highly potent powder.It is used in Ayurvedic medicines to reduce phlegm and inflamation in the kapha dosha. Charoli Seed: (Chironji). These large seeds, which have an almond flavor, are toasted and frequently substituted for almonds in many Indian desserts. These are best for Vata and, on occasion, for Kapha types. Chili Peppers: There are hundreds of varieties of red and green chili peppers from various capsicum plants. The heat and intense taste are mostly held in the seeds. The smaller the chili, the hotter it is; the large peppers are not very pungent. Chilis have been used even before the Vedic period in India. India has a large number of Kapha and Vata-type People, which explains in part the use of so many heating and stimulating spices by this culture. Cinnamon: (Dalcllini). Cinnamon, the dried bark of the cinnamomum cassia tree, is native to South India. Both the bark and the cassia leaves are used extensively Indian cooking. The cassia cinnamon is more pungent with a thicker stick than the thinner bark found in the West. Cinnamon is another essential ingredient in Ayurvedic remedy. It is good for Kapha and Vata because of its heating energy. Pitta may use it occasionally. Cloves: (Laung). Cloves are the small pointed dried buds of the evergreen tree. They contain the antiseptic volatile oil and are used in small amount as a ground spice in masala. Cloves are used extensively Ayurvedic pharmacology. They are good for Vata and Kapha types. Colocasia Leaf: (Elephant ear or arbi patta). These plant leaves are blanched and used to wrap various kinds of stuffing. They are excellent for all three doshas.

Coriander Leaves: (Cilantro or hara dhania). This fragrant and cooling herb is grown profusely in South America, India, and most tropical climates. The cooling energy Of cilantro is used to reduce high Pitta conditions, and the cilantro juice is used to neutralize the poisons of snake bites and insect stings. These leaves are good for all three doshas. Coriander Seeds: (Dhania). These round, light seeds are used extensively in Ayurvedic pharmacology and cooking. They are slowly roasted and powdered or crushed into a variety of masalas. Sweet and cooling in nature, they are the primary spice for Pitta types. Coriander seeds are good for all three doshas. Cumin: (Jeera or safed Jeera). This ancient spice is a relative of caraway. Its golden aromatic seeds are used in cooking throughout India. They are dry-roasted and either ground into powder or coarsely crushed for vegetable dishes and dhals. They are also used as an accent in kichadi, a dish that forms part of a cleansing diet in Ayurveda. Like coriander seeds, the energy of cumin is suitable to all three doshas. Curry Leaves: (Curry patta). Curry leaves have a highly fragrant scent with a slight touch of citrus. Curry leaves have been used since Vedic times and are grown profusely throughout India. They are a main ingredient in curry powders, even though many are made without them. Curry Powder or Masala: Curry powder is a truly exotic blend of some of India's finest spices. It can be either mild or hair raisingly hot. Generally, a curry masala is made from, fresh curry leaves (or dried), cumin seeds, mustard seeds, fenugreek seeds, black peppercorn, chili peppers, coriander, and turmeric. This powder is best for Kapha types; Vata types may use occasionally, and Pitta types rarely. Fennel Seed: (Saunf). The fennel plant is similar to the dill plant; both the leaves and the seeds are used in cooking. Fennel is delicate and fragrant. The bulb and the stalks are valued for their postdigestive qualities. The seeds are similar in appearance to cumin and close in taste to the anise seed. The roasted seeds are ground in masalas or used as a breath refresher after meals, and as a digesting aid. Fennel seeds are excellent for the Pitta constitution and have been used in Ayurvedic pharmacology for thousands of years. It is an excellent seed for all three doshas. Fenugreek Leaf: (Methi sag). This leaf has a strong and unusual scent, and a densely bitter and pungent taste. Its energy, when added to vegetables, dhals, and other dishes, is very pervasive. It is a good stimulant for Kapha types, but too pungent for Pitta and too bitter for Vata. These leaves are used either fresh or sun-dried. Fenugreek Seed: (Methi). This seed is more like a small bean than a seed. It has a golden yellow color and has an odd shape. Generally methi is dried and moderately roasted before use. Like the leaves, the fenugreek seeds are also bitter; they are used mainly in pickles, dhals, and masalas. The fenugreek seed is also used in Ayurvedic pharmacology to promote hair growth. For this purpose, the seeds are soaked overnight and mashed by hand into a paste. This paste is massaged into the scalp and kept on the hair for 30 to 45 minutes before rinsing. The hair is left gleaming with subtle oils. Fenugreek seed is good for Kapha types, although Vata may use occasionally. All types may use externally. Ginger Root: This rhizome has been used in both Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine for over five thousand years. Native to Asia, ginger is widely used throughout Indian cuisine. Ginger has heating, cleansing, and stimulating properties. It is used for a multitude of health purposes, such as digestive problems ,muscular pains, and constipation. Hundreds of varities from the small green type to the delicate shell pink ginger are available. It used in various curries, dhals, and is best for Vata and Kapha types,although Pitta may use occasionally. Mint Leaves: (Pudina). Mint leaves are widely used in India. There are several varieties grown worldwide. While excellent in rice, dhals, and vegetable dishes, they are superb in mint chutneys. Most mints can be used by all three doshas. Mugwort: Pungent, bitter, and heating in nature, this herb is grown domestically and used to promote the removal of bodily wastes such as sweat and menstrual fluid. it is recommended for Vata and Kapha types. Neem Leaves: Fresh neem juice, which is extremely bitter, is administered to diabetics and to persons with high Pitta conditions. It is also used for weight reduction. The neem leaf has a multitude of uses. The twigs have been used as toothbrushes to prevent tooth and gum decay. They are also used in companion planting as a natural pesticide. Nutmeg: (Jaiphal). This sleep-inducing nut is found in the center of the fruit of the evergreen tree. The nut should be grated fresh. It is used in many milk beverages and in masala in Indian cuisine. Nutmeg is excellent to induce sleep and relaxation for Vata types. It may also be used by Kapha types. Poppy Seeds: (Khas khas). These tiny, off-white seeds of the poppy plant are used ground, wetground, or whole in many vegetable dishes. They have a high oil content like most seeds and lend a nutty flavor to foods. Both the cream and blue poppy seeds are available in the United States. Poppy seeds may be used by all three doshas

Rock Salt: (Sendha namak). A salt mined in its crystalline form from the underground dry sea beds. Recommended by Ayurveda for use with cooking foods, rock salt has the highest mineral content of any salt. Cooling in energy, it has an unusual oxidizing property not present in sea salt. Even when salt is prohibited in a diet, a certain quantity of rock salt is permitted by Ayurveda. Rock salt is good for all types; it is best for Vata, and for occasional use by Pitta and Kapha types. Saffron: (Kesar). These stigmas of the saffron crocus have been cultivated in Asia Minor, India, China, and the Mediterranean. The deep carmine strands are very expensive. Saffron is used in many milky desserts to add a perfumed sweetness, and in Indian basmati rice dishes. It is excellent for Pitta, but may be used by all types. Sesame Seeds: (Til). These tiny, tear-shaped seeds come in black and ivory. Found in the pods of the sesame plant, these seeds are fragrant and rich in oil and protein. Once washed and roasted, they are ground or used whole in dhal, rice, and milk. Sesame oil is used extensively in the Ayurvedic massage therapies. These seeds are good for Vata types.