The question is, we use many varieties of masala powders on a daily basis, in cooking. Does adding Ayurvedic herbs to masala powder enhance the health benefits of the dishes?
Importance of spices in Cooking
As per Ayurveda, our food should be a healthy mixture of all six tastes – sweet, salt, sour, pungent, bitter and astringent. Pungent taste is one of the important tastes to boost up digestion and metabolism and is contributed by spices.
Read related: Pungent Taste – Qualities, Health Benefits, Side Effects
Ayurveda says that Agni – digestion strength maintenance is of utmost importance for proper health. Spices increase the Agni and hence aid in better digestion and absorption of healthy nutrients in our food.
Read: Understanding Agni: Concept, Definition, Functions, Types
Adding Ayurvedic herbs
Ayurvedic herbs – Ashwagandha, Giloy, Shatavari etc are not used on a day to day basis. Hence, they are not considered as part of diet.
But in cases of long term health issues, Doshas keep on getting aggravated repeatedly and symptoms aggravate and show up repeatedly.
So, the patient needs to take medicinal herbs for a long period of time. Hence, if your Ayurvedic doctor agrees, some of these herbs can be used as part of diet and herbs can be added to the masala powder.
Helps in elders who forget to take their medicines
Helps in children to mask the taste of medicines.
Takes away the pain of taking medicines.
Read: Ayurvedic Medicine List With Non Vegetarian Ingredient
You should get consent from your Ayurveda doctor.
Does not work in highly volatile compounds such as clove. It will evaporate when cooked.
Taste of the food can change due to the added herb. Neem can make the dish bitter and take away the enjoyment in having food.
Erratic use of Ayurvedic herbs can lead to complications.
For example, if you are diabetic and using neem powder mixed in diet and you take some other anti diabetic medicine, together, then the neem, added with your medicine may together lower your sugar level to a great extent. This can lead to very low blood sugar, hypoglycemia.
How To Do?
1. If you are perfectly healthy but want to boost health and immunity with regular consumption of Ayurvedic herbs, you have to choose very very safe herbs that have almost nil side effects.
2. If you have a disease, you can talk to doctor and add a herb to your diet. The dose and duration of usage of herbs should be decided by the doctor.
For example, to improve immunity, you can add Guduchi – Tinospora cordifolia. It is pretty harmless on the long term, if you have had a word with your Ayurvedic doctor, before starting it.
To have enhanced anti aging property, and for eye health, you can add amla powder to the masala.
For constant skin allergy complaints – turmeric, curry leaves
To improve skin health – Khadira – Acacia catechu
To improve liver health, you can add long pepper (but long term usage of long pepper is not desired).
To relieve stress – Ashwagandha, Brahmi (requires doctor’s advice)
For leucoderma – Bakuchi – Psoralea corylifolia (for short term of 2-3 months)
For obesity – Curry leaves
For people consuming regular alcohol – Bhumi Amalaki – Phyllanthus niruri
For people with memory issues – Brahmi, Gotu Kola
For people with Asthma – Vasa – Adhatoda vasica
For people with long term skin disorders – Manjishta – Rubia cordifolia
For people with urinary tract disorders – Gokshura
For gym goers – Ashwagandha, Shilajit, Gokshura (Tribulus) – for a short period of 2 months only
Read: Gym, Exercise, Fitness And Ayurvedic Bodybuilding Herbal Supplements
Quantity of herb
Your doctor will be the best judge. The dose of the herb should be kept low because we are intending to take it for a few weeks continuously. Generally, not more than 2 – 3 grams per day, or one gram per meal, could be the thumb rule.
Please consult a doctor before trying any remedies.