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Spices, what would we do without them? Whether for cooking, coloring, flavoring, religious rituals, or medicine, the truth is that we depend on them, and cannot imagine our everyday lives without them.
The fact that the spices were used in 50,000 BCE is amazing. Some of them, such as cinnamon and pepper, were precious in South Africa and the Middle East. Archeologists confirmed that people in Mesopotamia used clove 1700 BCE. Moreover, spices were mentioned in Indian epic Ramayana, in scientific books of Pliny the Elder, and the Bible.
The word nutmeg is of Sanskrit origin, and this should shed some light on its history and importance. Merchants from all over the world traveled for years in search of new and exotic spices. Medical systems in China, Korea, and India that used herbs as a remedy were organized by 1000 BCE. These systems included many spices in treatments and therapies.
In Europe, in the Middle Ages, spices were highly respected and expensive. The most common of them were cinnamon, cumin, nutmeg, ginger, cloves, and black pepper. Some researches showed that 1,000 tons of pepper and 1,000 tons of other common spices were imported in Europe each year at that time. Moreover, Vasco de Gama sailed to India in a search for the new spices.
Not many of us know that all of the basic spices we use have antimicrobial properties. On the other hand, they are a necessary part of cosmetic and perfume production.
Then, what are they? They are dried seeds, fruit, roots, barks, or vegetative substance, and we cannot live without them.
In this article, we will cover the basic species that can help us treat indigestion and some of the problems of the digestive tract.
Treat Indigestion With Spices
An uncomfortable feeling that happens right after the meal, characterized by the feeling of fullness, is dyspepsia or indigestion.
There are many causes of dyspepsia, and usually, those are spicy food, carbonated drinks, caffeine, chocolate, fatty food, alcohol and overeating.
The problem with indigestion is that it can cause belching, bloating, gases, heartburn, and nausea. One can also experience painful stomach acid that can be a serious threat to esophagus and throat.
Modern medicine indeed offers a solution to this problem, but the fact that we can treat ourselves with the spices in our kitchen is almost unbelievable.
How Can Spices Help With Indigestion?
Black pepper, the “King of Spice”. Today is used all over the world and is a very lucrative spice. Native to South India, peppercorn or the pepper fruit is a berry obtained from this plant that belongs to the family of Piperaceae. Piper nigrum is perennial vine (drupe) that grows in height. Pepper fruit can have different colors according to the time of harvest.
The most important compound in pepper is volatile oil called piperine that is amine alkaloid, and the one responsible for the strong taste. This oil contains numerous hydrocarbons such as sabinene, pinene, terpinene, limonene, and mercene that give the pepper aromatic properties. This oil and these hydrocarbons increase the gut motility and digestion by increasing gastrointestinal enzyme secretion. It also increases the absorption of selenium, and beta – carotene and it will stimulate the metabolism and break down fat cells.
Black pepper is rich with minerals such as potassium, zinc, calcium, manganese, magnesium, and iron. Vitamin A and vitamin C are also present in black pepper. Due to all these compounds, black pepper is known to have excellent anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and anti-flatulent properties.
Including black pepper in nutrition is one of the ways to cure and prevent indigestion. For instance, radish with salt and black pepper will help cure it. On the other hand, black pepper powder with hot water and lemon juice is excellent refreshing drink that will reduce indigestion.
Coriandrum sativum is a stemmed plant from the Apiaceae family. Since ancient times seeds of this plant were used as a remedy in traditional medicine. Coriander grows all over the world, extensively in Europe, the Middle East, China, India, and Turkey.
This is an herbaceous plant with branching stems and deep green leaves. It can grow up to 2 feet in height. When the plant matures, it bears small light pink flowers that turn into oval fruit, that is, seeds. Seeds are ready for harvest when the plant turns brown and leaves begin to dry and fall. If you harvest immature seeds, they will taste bitter instead of the sweet aroma of the mature ones. The fruit is dried for several days on the sunlight before usage.
In general, coriander seeds and leaves have many benefits due to their anti-oxidant properties. Coriander is rich in dietary fiber that helps increase the bulk of the food. They absorb water and help ease constipation. These compounds also help lower the LDL cholesterol level.
Important compounds are also fatty acids and essential volatile oils. The acid in coriander is petroselinic acid, linoleic acid (omega 6), oleic acid, and palmitic acid. As for the essential oils, they are linalool (68%), a-pinene (10%), geraniol, camphene, and terpene. These active compounds are responsible for digestion.
Calcium, potassium, iron, magnesium, manganese and zinc are present in coriander. Moreover, the most important antioxidant, vitamin C, is also a part of coriander’s beneficial properties.
One should boil water and two teaspoons of coriander seeds to prepare a tea for indigestion. Pour the seeds in hot water and leave it for 10 minutes. Add honey to sweeten it.
Used in traditional medicinal systems of ancient civilizations, cinnamon is truly one of a kind. It has remarkable antioxidant, anti-septic, anti-diabetic and anti-inflammatory properties.
Together with honey, cinnamon will do wonders for stomach cramps, constipation and indigestion. Cinnamon will relive indigestion by blocking the production of a body chemical that causes inflammation. It will move things along the digestive tract smoothly and faster.
A quarter of a teaspoon of cinnamon and a cup of boiling water would relive boating and cramps. You can also add honey in the tea.
Please continue reading about more Spices For Indigestion by moving to the second part of this article HERE.
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Last article update: 6/11/2019