5 Spices for Spring

During Spring (Kapha season in Ayurveda) favor the following flavors: Pungent, Bitter and Astringent. Adding spices with these characteristics to your daily foods and cooking, will help balance the body, increasing metabolism, improving digestion and fighting allergies and excess mucus in the respiratory system.

Playing with spices is like magic! … And it brings plentiful of amazing smells and flavors to your dishes. Moreover, adding their healing properties to your meals, you are truly practicing a natural preventive medicine with simple and cheap ingredients right in your kitchen.

And here come the top 5 Stars to discover and enjoy with all your taste buds this Spring:

Turmeric (Curcuma longa)
Tasting notes: (fresh) gingery, citrus aromas, earthy – (dried) complex, rich, woody aroma with floral, citrus and ginger notes

Slightly bitter and astringent, moderately pungent, warm and musky

Properties*: high source of beta-carotene, antioxidant, antibacterial, antiarthritic, anti-inflammatory

Coriander (Coriandrum sativum)
Tasting notes: Sweet, woody, spicy fragrance with peppery and floral notes

The taste is slightly pungent, sweet, mellow and warm with a clear hint of orange peel

Properties: Diuretic, diaphoretic, aids digestion, relieves intestinal gas, pain and distention, supports peristalsis. Soothes inflammation, rheumatic pain, headaches, coughs and mental stress

Black pepper (Piper nigrum)
Tasting notes: Fruity, pungent fragrance with warm, woody and lemony notes

Hot and biting with a clean penetrating aftertaste

Properties: Aids digestion, relieves gas. liver protector against solvents, parasite inhibitor, opens pores for sweating

Ginger (Zingiber officinale)
Tasting notes: (fresh) rich and warm aroma, with refreshing, woody note and sweet, citrus undertones (dried) less aromatic than fresh, but fiery, pungent and penetrating

Hot and tangy with a bite

Properties: Warming, stimulates digestion and boosts circulation, respiration, and nervous system function. Acts as a systemic cleansing effect through skin, bowels and kidneys. Anti-inflammatory, destroys intestinal parasites. Help normalizing blood pressure, supports liver, promotes release of bile. Eases congestion in upper respiratory system. And much more!

Fenugreek (Trigonella foenum-graecum – seeds)
Tasting notes: Celery like taste for some taste buds, maple flavor for others

Bitter and floury texture

Properties: Regenerative and aphrodisiac. Warming and tonic that supports liver, lungs, spleen, kidneys and male sexual organs. Increases milk flow, stimulates uterus. Enhances digestion, helps treat allergies, antiparasitic and antitumor effects. Helps reducing cholesterol, regulating sugar levels.

Cooking tip: Lightly toast the fenugreek seeds to reduce bitterness

As for recipe ideas using those spices and following the Ayurvedic principles, you can visit:

Joyful Belly  – http://www.joyfulbelly.com/Ayurveda/recipes/dosha/Kapha

Fran’s House of Ayurveda – http://franlife.blogspot.com/

Sources: Herbs and Spices, the cook’s reference by Jill Norman, The New Whole Foods Encyclopedia by Rebecca Woods

*Any and all health statements included herein are just for information purposes, and have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These spices are not intended to treat, cure or prevent any disease.