Clove Shadrasa kashaya 6rasa.com

Clove

Cloves are unopened dried bud of the syzygium aromaticum tree. The name originates from the Latin word ‘clavus’ that means nail, because this spice has a close resemblance to one.

Native to the Maluku Island of Indonesia, clove was one of the expensive spices during the 13th and 14th century. During the establishment of trade route, clove, pepper, cinnamon and hazelnut were the most sought after and were known as the ‘Big Four’ because of their rarity and value.

Clove is indigenous to Asian countries and is grown mainly in Indonesia, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and also in East Africa. In fact Tanzania currently produces about 80% of the world’s clove supply. It is currently the fourth most expensive spice in the world preceded by Saffron, Vanilla and Cardamom.

Growing and Cultivating Cloves

Clove is an evergreen plant that grows in tropical and subtropical conditions. The plant grows from 8 – 12 metres in height. The flowers buds grow in pale colored clusters that become green. These flower buds are harvested before they mature and dried.

Cloves need a wet tropical climate with rich loamy soil and semi shade exposure. They are normally intercropped with coconut, coffee or areca nuts.

Cloves can be grown from plant cuttings or recently harvested seeds. The seeds need to be planted immediately by placing them on top of the soil and covering the area with plastic sheet to increase humidity.

It takes about four years for the plant to start flowering. These flowers, the unopened clove buds are harvested when they start to turn pink. These buds need to be harvested gently without damaging the branches of the tree.

Post harvesting, the bud clusters are separated by hand. Once the stem of the bud starts to look a darker hue of brown in comparison to the rest of the bud they are spread out to dry. Well-dried cloves weigh only one-thirds of the original clove bud.

The Intense Spice

Cloves have a very strong, pungent flavor and aroma thanks to the compound eugenol present in it. They form a base for many Asian cuisines.

They can be used whole or powdered. They form a primary component in garam masala a primary ingredient in Indian cuisine. They are used whole to flavor sauces, soups and in desserts even. 

Cloves can also be used as food preservatives. The dried bud, stems and leaves are used to make medicines.

Cloves are low in calories and rich in proteins, energy, carbohydrates, calcium, potassium, magnesium, vitamin E, folate, iron, zinc, vitamin C, thiamin, riboflavin, vitamin A, vitamin K and more.

Clove helps improve secretion of digestive enzymes in turn helping improve digestion. Its extracts have proven to be potent enough to kill bacteria that cause cholera.  Thanks to its antiseptic and anesthetic properties cloves and clove oil are used to get relief from tooth pain and gum issues.

Eugenol in cloves has both anti-inflammatory and antiviral properties, helping your body fight infections and inflammation. Rich in antioxidants, cloves also helps boost the immune system.

Whole cloves when stored in an airtight glass jar away from direct light or intense heat and moisture will ensure that its aroma and flavor last long.

Ayurveda and Cloves

Clove has a pungent and astringent rasa. It helps pacify Vata and Kapha and increases Pitta.

In Ayurveda, cloves are primarily used to improve digestion, metabolism and blood circulation.

The combination of clove, ginger and lemon grass is very soothing if you have common cold or the flu. Placing a cotton swab dipped in clove oil over an aching tooth provides immediate relief from the pain.

Clove oil is also provides immediate relief from any pains of neurological origin or caused due to muscle cramps. It is also very useful to counteract the itching in severe Urticaria (hives).

A brew made from cloves and cinnamon is good to get rid of intestinal worms and get relief from gas.

Overall, since they are rich in Vitamin A and C, they are believed to be very effective in protecting and developing the immune system.

We have used Cloves in:

Quick Facts

Name: Clove
Scientific Name: Syzygium aromaticum
Cultivated in: Tanzania, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka
Other names: Laung
Habitat Wet tropics
Soil Rich Loamy
Plant Size Upto 30 feet
Aroma Sweet-spicy
Plant parts used Flower buds, stems and leaves
Major Nutrients Potassium
Calcium
Sodium
Magnesium
Vitamin E
Vitamin C
Vitamin A
Vitamin K
Folate
Niacin
Thiamin
Riboflavin
Iron
Zic
Phosporous
Manganese

Known as in:

Hindi Lavang
Marathi Luvanga
Gujrati Laving
Telugu Lavangam
Malayalam Grambu
Bengali Labango
Tamil Kiraambu
Kannada Lavanga

Ayurvedic Facts:

Sanskrit Name: Lavanga
Taste: Pungent,Bitter, Astringent
Energitics: Warming
Effect on Doshas: Pacify Vatta and Kapha, Increases {Pitta
Used for Treating: Gum infection, Tooth Pain, Colds, Stomach issues, Flatulence,Headaches, Inflammation, Headaches, Liver Infections

Cinnamon Shadrasa kashaya 6rasa.com

Cinnamon

Sweet and spice and loaded with everything nice, cinnamon is definitely one of the most recognized and used spices. Known for its sweet taste and aroma, cinnamon is used in both savory and sweet dishes.

Cinnamon has been around since the Biblical times. It is even mentioned in the Bible as one of the ingredients used in the preparation of the holy anointing oil. During the Middle Ages in Europe cinnamon was imported from Ceylon (now Sri Lanka). It definitely has been one of the most sought-after spices in the world.

Types of Cinnamon

There are close to 250 varieties of cinnamon growing all across the world but the two main varieties are – Cinnamon Casia and Cinnamon Verum

Cinnamomum Verum:

Also known as Ceylon Cinnamon, Sri Lankan Cinnamon or The True Cinnamon, the cinnamon verum is more widely available and commonly used. This type of cinnamon is carefully peeled off cut branches, rolled and then cut to familiar sized ‘quills’ of about 8cms in length. Light brown or tan in color, these quills have a sweet perfumed fragrance and are used to delicately flavor savory dishes. Powdered Ceylon cinnamons are considered to be more potent.

Cinnamomum Cassia:

Also known as the Dutch Cinnamon and the Batavia Cinnamon, cassia is the most common type of cinnamon with strong sweet aroma and an almost spicy after taste. This is the entire bark of the cinnamon tree that is stripped off and dried. The size and texture of the cinnamon depends on what part of the tree it’s been peeled off from. Highly perfumed, cassia is used in sweet dishes.

Both these varieties have their individual taste, aroma and uses. But cassia contains high levels of coumarin, which is a naturally occurring blood thinner and shouldn’t be consumed in excess.

In addition to these, the other well-known varieties of cinnamon that are available are –

  • Indonesian cinnamon
  • Indian Cinnamon
  • Malabar Cinnamon
  • Vietnamese Cinnamon

Harvesting and Prepping Cinnamon

The entire process of harvesting and prepping cinnamon is long and labor intensive. Once sown, the cinnamon seeds usually take about three years to grow into a tree and can be harvested for three barks a year for up to six years.

Once the tree is ready to be harvested the outer layer of the cinnamon bark is gently and efficiently scraped off preventing any kind of damage to the inner layer. The scraped skin is recycled into compost.

Next, the inner layer of the bark is the cinnamon that we know and use. This layer is gently peeled off from the inner wood. This is then rolled and combined to create quills. These quills are dried for at least 10 days before packing.

The dried cinnamon quills are then categorized into four main groups depending on their size. After this, the quills are packed, ready for export.

Cinnamon oil is created from the inner wood and dried leaves of the cinnamon tree. These two are heated in an oven to extract the oil.

Multifaceted Magnificent Spice

Cinnamon is known for its distinct aroma and taste that h is due to the presence of compounds like beta-caryophyllene, linalool and more. In the East, cinnamon is most commonly used to flavor savory dishes especially curries and flavored rice, In the west cinnamon is typically used in desserts like pies, buns and in beverages like hot chocolate and teas.

Cinnamon sticks can stay fresh for close to a year if stored in an airtight glass container. Ground cinnamon loses its potency quickly.

Cinnamon is high in antioxidants that reduce damages caused by free radicals, in turn slowing the aging process. It also helps give relief from inflammations, thus lowering the risks of heart diseases, cancer and also reducing pain and muscle soreness. Cinnamon is one of the best spices for a diabetic; it helps lower blood sugar levels and improves sensitivity to insulin.

The antimicrobial, antibiotic and antifungal properties help fight infections, both bacterial and viral. Research also shows that cinnamon is highly beneficial in maintaining oral health and hygiene.

Though highly beneficial cinnamon should be consumed in moderation. Excess consumption will damage the liver.

Cinnamon and Ayurveda

Cinnamon was once considered to be more valuable than gold. It has been used in both Ayurvedic and Chinese medicines for thousands of years.

Cinnamon pacifies vata and kapha doshas, it may aggravate pitta dosha if taken in excess. It’s a warming spice that has a sweet, pungent rasa. Other than detoxifying the body and helping reduce blood sugar levels, cinnamon is used as a quick remedy for many minor ailments too.

Combining cinnamon powder with honey, inhaling the vapors of water boiled with cinnamon and making a paste of cinnamon and applying on your forehead gives a three-fold relief to that pesky cold and sinus headaches.

Adding a little quantity of cinnamon in your diet is beneficial for our overall health.

We have used Cinnamon in:

Ayurvedic Facts:

Sanskrit Name: Twak
Taste: Sweet, Pungent
Energitics: Hot
Effect on Doshas: Pacifies Kapha and Vata, Increases Pitta
Used for Treating: Stomach ailments, flu, fever, cough, cold, asthma, erinary issues, delayed periods, nausea, vomiting, tooth ache, hyper pigmentation
Scientific Name: Cinnamomum zeylanicum
Cultivated in: Ceylon, South India
Other names: True cinnamon
Habitat Hot and humid
Soil Organic rich loamy
Plant Size 20-30 feet
Aroma Sweet
Plant parts used Bark, leaves
Major Nutrients Carbohydrate
Protein
Fat
Dietary Fiber
Manganese
Calcium
Iron
Vitamin K
Vitamin E
Vitamin B6
Niacin
Magnesium
Potassium
Zinc
Copper

Known as in

Hindi Dalchini
Marathi Dalchini
Gujrati Taj
Telugu Dalchina Chekka
Malayalam Karuva patta
Bengali Darchini
Tamil Lavanga Pattai
Kannada Chakke

Cardamom Shadrasa kashaya 6rasa.com

Cardamom

With an enigmatic aroma and a distinct flavor, Cardamom is definitely one of the most valued spices in the world. It has been used to bring out the best in both sweet and savory cuisines.

Cardamom is in fact the third most expensive spice in the world, preceded by Vanilla and Saffron. The tropical forests of the Western Ghats in India known as the birthplace of this aromatic spice is known as the ‘Cardamom Hills’

Commonly known as Elaichi in India, it is believed that this spice has the power to calm the busy mind and help us think more clearly.

Growing Cardamom

Native to India, cardamom continues to be cultivated here along with Sri Lanka and Gautemela. It’s a large leafy perennial plant with tiny beautiful flowers that are usually white with red lines.

Cardamom is a difficult plant to grow. It requires a hot and humid climate and a rich sandy, loamy soil. They grow to about 5 – 20 feet in height.

After three years of planting, cardamom tree starts bearing pod shaped fruits called capsules. These green three-sided pods are about one cm big and contain 15 – 20 dark angular seeds.

Once they are big enough with, the pods are manually harvested from the plants, while it is still green and then dried for about 6-7 days.

When stored in an airtight container, cardamom will retain its flavor and freshness for a longer time

Green Cardamom vs Black Cardamom

There are two types of cardamoms, Green and Black, also known as Chotti and Badi Elaichi.

Cultivated in India, they belong to two different plant species and have different processing methods. Green cardamom pods are harvested before the plant reaches full maturity whereas black cardamoms are harvested later and are dried by exposing to intense heat over fire pits.

Green cardamoms have a delicate aroma with an intense flavor. The seeds are best left in the pods to retain its signature flavor. Though these can be used as is, sometimes the seeds are removed from the pods and powdered right before use.

Black cardamoms are much larger in size; they have strong smoky camphor like flavor due to their method of preparation. In these only the seeds are used

Green cardamoms are more expensive and pairs well with almost any spice. The seeds can be overpowering in flavor at times and will have to be used sparingly. They are used for both sweet and savory dishes.

Black cardamoms are at least three times bigger than the green ones. Thanks to its unique taste they have limited flavor pairing. They are mostly used in savory dishes.

Both types are bought as pods and retain freshness and flavor when stored in airtight jars.

The Queen of Goodness

In India, cardamoms are used to enhance both deserts and savory dishes. It’s also a popular baking spice in some European countries.

The spice is rich in iron, magnesium, potassium and Vitamin C even.  It is a great diuretic and works effectively helping the kidneys clear out uric acid and other toxins from the body.

Chewing cardamom counteracts the harmful bacteria in the mouth, preventing staleness and in turn bad breath. Cardamom also has antimicrobial properties and powerful antiseptic that kills harmful infection causing bacteria.

Cardamom is also a powerful antioxidant and helps give relief from congestion and of fungus, bacteria and virus in your body.

Ayurveda and Cardamom

Cardamom is used in Ayurveda for its warming effects on the body. It’s a tridoshic spice that helps balance Vata, Pita and Kapha doshas.

It’s a powerful digestive aid; it helps reduce bloating, acidity, heartburn and constipation. It also helps improve metabolism and settle the stomach during any discomfort caused due to stress.

Cardamom is also commonly used in Ayurveda to fight depression. It has a special way of calming ones nerves.

If you don’t find the flavor too overwhelming you can chew on the pods, if not powder the seeds and add them to your tea or coffee or warm water with honey.

We have used Cardamom in:

Quick Facts

Name: Cardamom
Scientific Name: Elettaria cardamomum
Cultivated in: Western Ghats, Kerala, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu
Other names: Elaichi
Habitat Hot, with heavy rainfall
Soil Rich well drained loamy soil
Plant Size Upto 20 ft
Aroma Nutty, a little woody and sweet
Plant parts used Pods
Major Nutrients Iron
Magnesium
Potassium
Vitamin C

Known as in :

Hindi Elaichi
Marathi Eachi/Masala Welchi/Velchi
Gujrati Aleicha/Alaichi
Telugu Yalakulu/Yaalakkaya
Malayalam Elakkaya/Elakka
Bengali Elach/Garate
Tamil Elakkai
Kannada Yalakki/Yelachi

Ayurvedic Facts :

Sanskrit Name: Ela
Taste: Sweet, Pungent
Energitics: Warming
Effect on Doshas: Balances Pita, Kapha and Vata
Used for Treating: Bad Breath, Mouth bacteria, High Uric Acid levels, Congestion

pepper

Black peppercorn

Also known as ‘black gold’ and ‘ the king of spices’, black peppercorns have been popular since thousands of years. The fruit obtained from the pepper plant, peppercorns were once so valuable that they were counted individually and used as currency.

Native to Kerala in South India, peppercorn is one of the world’s most traded spices even today.

Growing and Harvesting Peppercorns

Peppercorns grow on perennial vines that grow to heights of over 30 feet in hot and humid tropical climate. They thrive in fertile soil that retain slight moisture.

Peppercorn vines have large, heart shaped leaves, they start flowering after 3-4 years. The spiky white cluster flowers called ‘catkins’ develop into berries we call peppercorns. 

Variety of Peppercorns

There are five different variations of peppercorns commonly known:

  • Black Peppercorns: These are the most common variety of peppercorns; they are harvested just before they turn red and cooked in hot water. After they are cooked they are dried till they turn dark and wrinkly. Since they are allowed to grow till just before they ripen, black peppercorns have a robust strong flavor.
  • Green Peppercorns: These are basically young unripe peppercorns that are treated or freeze dried to retain their color. They are slightly spicy but very aromatic and are used to enhance the flavor of curries.
  • White Peppercorns: These are black peppercorns with their skin removed. They are fiery and less pungent and are used commonly for light colored sauces and food.
  • Red Peppercorns: If the peppercorns are left on the vines to ripen fully they turn in to a brilliant red color. These are very rare since peppercorns are usually harvested while green and unripe.
  • Pink Peppercorns: These are not true peppercorns. They are dried berries from a South American shrub. They have a peppery bite with fruity and floral notes.

Peppered Marvels

Black pepper has a sharp mildly pungent flavor that matches many dishes. They contain piperine, which gives its characteristic spicy pungent taste.

Peppercorns are also rich in antioxidants that prevent or repair any damages caused due to free radical. Peppercorns are carminative in nature and it helps improve digestion. It also helps give relief from peptic ulcers.

Topical application of piperine combined with UV light therapy may also help in treating vitilgo. Black pepper oil has enzymes that help break down start into glucose; this helps in regulating blood glucose and delaying its absorption.

Peppercorns also help increase metabolism, in turn helping you lose weight.

Pepper and Ayurveda

Pepper is a primary component in many ayurvedic concoctions, be it teas, kashayas or powders. In fact, Ayurvedic tea made with black pepper is one of the highly recommended teas for weight loss.

Pepper concoctions have been age-old home remedies for sinusitis and nasal congestions; it helps break down the mucus from the respiratory tract.  It’s also used for treating earaches and any dental issues like tooth decay and aches.

Pepper in fact is enhances the qualities of other spices and herbs; ensuring they get absorbed into the body. Piperine in pepper enhances the absorption of curcumin in turmeric, making it more beneficial for the body.

We have used Black Peppercorns in:

Quick Facts :

Name: Black Pepper
Scientific Name: Piper nigrum
Cultivated in: Kerala, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Vietnam, Brazil, Myanmar
Other names:  
Habitat Hot and Humid
Soil Fertile soil that retains moisture
Plant Size 30ft vine
Aroma Sharp, Penetrating aroma
Plant parts used Fruit
Major Nutrients Choline, Folic acid, Niacin, Pyridoxine, Riboflavin, Thiamin, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Vitamin K, Sodium, Potassium, Calcium, Copper, Iron, Magnesium

Known as in :

Hindi Kali Mirch
Marathi Kalmiri
Gujrati Mari
Telugu Miriyaalu
Malayalam Kuru Mulagu
Bengali Kali Mirch Dane
Tamil Milagu
Kannada Menasina Kalu

Ayurvedic Facts:

Sanskrit Name: Marichi
Taste: Pungent
Energitics: Warming
Effect on Doshas: Pacifies Kapha and Vata, Increases Pitta
Used for Treating Throat infection, Stomach ailments, Diabetes, Inflammation, Obesity, Flatulence

Ashwagandha Shadrasa kashaya 6rasa.com

Ashwagandha

Ashwagandha, Also known as ‘Indian Ginseng’ and ‘Indian Winter Cherry’, Ashwagandha is one of the most important herbs in Ayurvedic medicine history. Ashwagandha in Sanskrit means ‘smell of the horse’ which refers to both its unique smell and the ability to increase strength and immunity.
An evergreen shrub, native to India and North Africa, it was once believed that consuming this extract would make the person gain horse like strength and vitality.

Growing and Cultivating Ashwagandha

A short, tender perennial shrub, Ashwagandha grows 14 – 30m tall with branches that extend radially from the central stem. The shrub has dull green leaves about 5 inches in length and it bears fruits that are orangish red in color. Extracts from the root and leaves are used to treat a variety of conditions.
Ashwagandha prefers dry soil with sun to partial shade. It can be grown from seeds or from plant cuttings. It is a drought tolerant plant and can survive with low rainfall. For cultivation, the seeds have to be planted 2 cm deep, 10 cm apart. The seeds will germinate in two weeks and after the month they have to be transferred and replanted with a gap of about 50-60cm between them.
The plant is ready to harvest in approximately 180 days, when the leaves dry out and the flower and berries start to form. For harvesting, the plant needs to be dug out carefully with a small tool while ensuring there is in no damage to the roots. After harvesting the roots are separated, washed, cleaned and dried in sun or shade.

Revitalizing Roots

Though the leaves and fruits are rich in health benefits it is the extract of the roots that are used most commonly for most ailments.

Ashwagandha is classified as an “adaptogen”, meaning it helps the body to manage daily stress, fight symptoms of anxiety, depression and boosts the brains.  It helps improve the brains memory function and helps with the symptoms of neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson and Alzhiemer’s.
Many of its health benefits can be credited to the high concentration of withanolides, which is proven to fight tumor growth and inflammation. It also helps reduce blood sugar levels, boost immunity, give relief from joint pains and fights insomnia.
Overall ashwagandha is a rich anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory and hormone balancing herb that ensures you have vital energy during the day and peaceful sleep at night.

Ayurveda and Ashwagandha

Ashwagandha is bitter, pungent and sweet herb that pacifies kapha and vata doshas.
Ashwagandha holds a prominent place as a rasayana herb in ayurveda. It is also known as ‘Sattvic Kapha Rasayana’.  A rasayana is an herbal preparation that promotes a healthy and happy mind and body.
In Ayurveda, ashwagandha is also refered to as balya, known to improve energy, increase stamina and endurance.
It has been used to relieve stress and improve concentration and sleep for more than 3000 years. Fresh leaves are bitter and help in giving relief from fever and swellings. The flowers are astringent and are considered to be a diuretic and aphrodisiac. The paste made from the roots and water when applied on joints, gives relief from inflammation.

We have used Ashwagandha in:

Quick Facts :

Name: Ashwagandha
Scientific Name: Withania somnifera
Cultivated in: India, Nort Africa
Other names: Indian Ginseng, Winter Cherry
Habitat Semi Tropical with medium to low rainfall
Soil Loose, deep, well-drained
Plant Size 14 - 30m
Aroma smells like a horse
Plant parts used Roots, Leaves, Seeds
Major Nutrients Protein
Carbohydrate
Iron
Calcium
Vitamin C

Known as in:

Hindi Ashwagandha
Marathi Ghoda, Tilli
Gujrati Ghodaasun
Telugu Vajigandha
Malayalam Amukkuram
Tamil Amukkuram
Kannada Kanchukki

Ayurvedic Facts :

Sanskrit Name: Ashwagandha
Taste: Bitter, Pungent, Sweet
Energitics: Waming
Effect on Doshas: Pacifies kapha and vata
Used for Treating: Stress, insomnia, inflammation, joint pains, depression, anxiety