Tuesday, 30 June 2009


English Name : Cloves
Common Indian Name (Hindi): Laung / Lavang
  • Cloves are the unopened flower bud of the evergreen clove tree in the family Myrtaceae. The word Clove is derived from the word clou, which means nail.
  • It is used as spice in cuisine all over the world. It originates from India.
  • When they are first handpicked, they are pink in color. They are then dried till they turn dark brown. They loose their moisture and become hard and reddish-brown in color.
  • Cloves have an extremely strong and pungent aroma, with notes of pepper and camphor. The taste is rich and warm, aromatic and fruity but also sharp, hot and bitter, creating a numbing sensation on the tongue.
  • Cloves contain volatile oils whose main component is Eugenol, which has anti-inflammatory properties. The flavonoids in cloves also have anti-inflammatory, antioxidant properties.
  • Cloves are traditionally used in India as a mouth freshener. Clove oil is an important component of many types of toothpaste.
  • Cloves are frequently used in dishes to impart its distinctive flavor. Since the aroma is strong hence only little is required to be used.
  • Cloves are an excellent source of manganese. They are also a very good source of dietary fiber, vitamin C and omega-3 fatty acids and a good source of magnesium and calcium.
  • According to Ayurveda, cloves improve circulation, digestion and metabolism.
  • They are also used to prevent and treat stomach disorders like distention, nausea, and diarrhea.
  • It is helpful in insomnia and Curbs the desire for alcohol.
  • It is used to treat Hernia, Ringworm, Athlete's foot and other fungal infections.

Monday, 29 June 2009


English Name: Cumin
Common Indian Name (Hindi): Jeera

  • Cumin is the dried seed of the herb Cuminum cyminum, a member of the parsley family.
    Cumin seeds resemble caraway seeds, being oblong in shape, longitudinally ridged, and yellow-brown in color, like other members of the Umbelliferae family such as caraway, parsley and dill.
  • Cumin is an annual herbaceous plant native to Eastern Mediterranean region and is popularly used for food flavoring, aroma. The seeds of the plant are used in whole or powdered form in food processing industry.
  • It is also used for flavoring dishes, biscuits, confectionery and other spicy products.
  • It is also used in different industries for its essential oil.
  • Cumin is stomachic, diuretic, carminative, stimulant, astringent, emmenagogic and antispasmodic.
  • It is valuable in dyspepsia diarrhea and hoarseness, and may relieve flatulence and colic. In the West, it is now used mainly in veterinary medicine, as a carminative, but it remains a traditional herbal remedy in the East.
  • It is supposed to increase lactation and reduce nausea in pregnancy.
  • It has been shown to be effective in treating carpal tunnel syndrome, as well as diarrhea, indigestion, and morning sickness.

Coriander Seeds

English Name: Coriander Seeds
Common Indian Name (Hindi): Dhania Seeds

  • Coriander is both an annual and a perennial herb and is rich in various food elements. Dried coriander seeds are used in food preparation as spices. They grow abundantly in black soil and arid regions.
  • The ripe dried coriander seeds have an aromatic smell and well blending spice taste. Unripe seeds are said to have an offensive smell. Coriander is available both whole and ground.
  • The commonest use of coriander seed is in curry powders, where it is the bulkiest constituent. It is an ingredient of garam masala, pickling spices and pudding spices and is used in cakes, breads and other baked foods.
  • Coriander is a characteristic of Arab cookery, being common with lamb and meat stuffing. Taklia, a popular Arab spice mixture, is coriander and garlic crushed and fried.
  • Coriander seeds reduce fever and promote a feeling of coolness.
  • Coriander juice is highly beneficial in beneficial in deficiencies of vitamin A, B, B2, C and iron.
  • Seeds are known to possess antibacterial properties and have been used in traditional medicine to relieve anxiety and insomnia.
  • Coriander seeds (Dhania) powder also helps to clear the body of lead, mercury and aluminum.
  • Powder is used as a flavoring agent in a number of pharmaceutical preparations, especially the digestive medicines.
  • Coriander seeds are also used in traditional Indian medicine as a diuretic by boiling equal amounts of coriander seeds and cumin seeds, then cooling and consuming the resulting liquid.
  • Coriander seed oil is an aromatic stimulant, a carminative (remedial in flatulence), an appetizer and a digestant, stimulating the stomach and intestines. It is generally beneficial to the nervous system. Its main use is in masking foul medicines, especially purgatives, where it has anti-griping qualities. Coriander cakes were once taken against ‘St. Anthony’s fire’, or ‘Rose’ a severe streptococcal skin infection called ‘erysipelas”, which caused many deaths before the advent of antibiotics.
  • In Asia the seeds are in colic, piles and conjunctivitis; the essential oil in colic, rheumatism and neuralgia; the seeds as a paste for mouth ulceration and a poultice for other ulcers.
  • Coriander contains an antioxidant that helps prevent animal fats from turning rancid. It also contains substances that kill meat-spoiling bacteria and fungi

Sunday, 28 June 2009

Curry Leaves

English Name: Curry Leaves or Sweet Neem Leaves
Common Indian Name (Hindi): Meetha Neem or Curry Patta
  • Curry leaves (Murraya koenigii )are highly aromatic and are used as a herb. Their form is small and narrow and they somewhat resemble the leaves of the Neem tree.
  • The plant is widely used in South Indian States and in Srilanka. The leaves can be taken raw or sautéed. The leaves are used in fresh or dried form for flavoring curries, vegetable, fish and meat dishes, soups pickles, buttermilk preparations, chutneys.
  • The spice is said to have many medicinal properties. It is used in the traditional medicinal system for improving the digestive system, skin conditions and as a treatment for diabetes.
  • Various biological activities of curry leave include antimicrobial, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, hepatoprotective, anti-hypercholesterolemic etc.
  • Liberal intake of curry leaves is useful in preventing premature graying of hair. These leaves have the property of nourish the hair roots. New hair roots that grow are healthier with normal pigment.
  • Tender curry leaves are valuable remedy for treating diarrhea, dysentery and piles.
  • Curry leaves can be used with good results to treat burns, bruises and skin eruptions.
  • The root of the curry plant also has medicinal properties. The juice of the root can be taken to relieve pain associated with the kidneys.
  • In Kannada language it is called as Kari Baavu (translated to Black Neem), in Telugu it is called as Karivepaku, in Tamil and Malayalam it is known as Karuveppilai, in Oriya Bhursunga Patra, in Marathi Kadhi Limb, and in Gujarati it is called as Kadhi Limdo.

Saturday, 27 June 2009

Cashew Nuts

English Name: Cashew Nuts
Common Indian Name (Hindi): Kaju

  • The Cashew (Anacardium occidentale) belongs to family Anacardiacea.
  • The true fruit of the cashew tree is a kidney shaped drupe that grows at the end of the pseudofruit, which is a modified peduncle. Within the true fruit is a single seed, the cashew nut.
  • The seed is surrounded by a double shell, which contains a dermatogenic phenolic resin, anacardic acid, which irritates skin when touched.
  • The cashew nut is a popular snack, and often eaten on its own, lightly salted or sugared. Cashew nuts are used in Thai cuisine and Chinese cuisine. In Indian cuisine it is often ground into sauces such as shahi korma. It is also used to garnish Indian sweets and desserts.
  • Cashew nuts are said to be effective for improving vitality and are believed to be good for promoting healthy teeth and gums. They are enriched in calcium, believed to help in promoting strong and healthy bones. They have magnesium, which is known to promote the absorption of calcium.
  • Cashew nuts also contain iron, magnesium, zinc and folic acid, reported to be vital for pregnant women.


English Name: Mango
Common Indian Name (Hindi): Aam

  • Mangoes belong to the genus Mangifera, family Anacardiaceae. The mango is indigenous to the Indian Subcontinent.
  • A ripe mango is sweet, with a unique taste that nevertheless varies from variety to variety. The texture of the flesh varies, some having a soft, pulpy texture, while others have firmer flesh. In some cultivars, the flesh has a fibrous texture.
  • Mango contains essential vitamins and dietary minerals. It contains antioxidant vitamins A, C and E, vitamin B6, vitamin K. Mangos are thought to feature vast amounts of Vitamin B3 (niacin), iron and potassium. It has been reported that the high amounts of beta-carotene featured in mangoes may help in aiding good vision.
  • Mango peel contains pigments that may have antioxidant properties, including carotenoids, polyphenols and the unique mango xanthone, mangiferin, any of which may counteract free radicals in various disease mechanisms as revealed in preliminary research.
  • Mango is thought to bring about a reduced risk of colon and cervical cancer.

Friday, 26 June 2009


English Name: Arrowroot
Common Indian Name (Hindi): Arrowroot

  • Arrowroot is the name of the edible starch from the rhizomes (rootstock) of West Indian arrowroot.
  • Like other pure starches, arrowroot is almost pure carbohydrates and devoid of protein.
  • Arrowroot is used in the form of biscuits, puddings, jellies, cakes, hot sauces, etc..
  • Arrowroot has a neutral taste and thickens at a lower temperature than corn starch, and hence can be used to thicken delicate egg-based soups and sauces. It also imparts an eye-pleasing glossy look to the sauce.
  • The lack of gluten in arrowroot flour makes it useful as a replacement for wheat flour in baking.
  • Arrowroot is very light on the stomach and in Victorian times used to be concocted into a drink and given to convalescing patients, or as a jelly to babies being weaned.
  • It has been established that its calorie content is low. Due to this fact, nowadays arrowroot enjoys great popularity among calorie-conscious dieters.

Thursday, 25 June 2009


English Name : Asafetida
Common Indian Name (Hindi): Hing

  • Asafetida (Ferula assafoetida) is the resinous gum of a giant fennel plant, which grows in Afghanistan and Iran. The milky sap from the roots and stem hardens into a resin like substance. This resin darkens with age to a deep brown.
  • Asafetida is also known as devil’s dung, stinking gum, or Food of the God. The Persians considered it was food for the Gods.
  • It has got a very disgusting smell. It has a foul smell when raw, but in cooked dishes, it delivers a smooth flavor, reminiscent of leeks.
  • It is available in blocks, of wax-like texture, pieces, or powdered. The blocks are the purest, but powder is the most convenient to avoid its distasteful smell. It is used in very small quantity.
  • It can be used to enhance the flavor of fish and vegetable dishes. In India it is added to soups, sauces, dals, chickpeas, split peas or spicy potato dishes.
  • As a carminative and reliever of flatulence, it is invaluable in lentil dishes.
  • It is also used to treat nervous conditions, bronchitis and asthma, and is being researched as an anti-coagulant and treatment for blood pressure.
  • Asafetida oleo-gum-resin has been reported to be antiepileptic in classical Unani as well as ethnobotanical literature.

Wednesday, 24 June 2009

Puffed rice

English Name : Puffed rice
Common Indian Name (Hindi) : Murmure / Muri

  • Murmura or Puffed rice is a type of puffed grain made from rice.
  • Commercially prepared puffed rice is produced with a process that places the rice grains under high temperatures and extreme pressure in the presence of steam. When the pressure is quickly reduced, the grains expand to a volume that is several times larger than their original size.
  • Puffed rice is most often used for ready-to-eat cereals and commercially prepared rice cakes. It is also a popular street food in some parts of the world.
  • A traditional puffed rice called muri or murmure. It is a staple food in many parts of India and Bangladesh. It is an ingredient of bhel puri, a popular Indian Chat item.

Cardamom Brown

English Name: Cardamom Brown
Common Indian Name (Hindi): Badi Ilaichi

  • Black cardamom, also known as brown cardamom, is a plant in the family Zingiberaceae. The pods are used as a spice, in a manner similar to the green Indian cardamom pods. Its seed pods have a strong, smoky, camphor-like flavor.
  • Unlike green cardamom, this spice is rarely used in sweet dishes. Its smoky flavor and aroma derive from traditional methods of drying over open flames.
  • In India and Pakistan, black cardamom seeds are often an important component of the Indo-Pak spice mixture garam masala.
  • Black cardamom is also commonly used in savory dal and rice dishes.
  • In Chinese medicines, tsao-ko is used to treat stomach disorders and malaria.
  • It is a common ingredient in Indian cooking, and is often used in baking in Nordic countries.

Tuesday, 23 June 2009

Flattened rice

English Name: Flattened Rice
Common Indian Name (Hindi): Poha / Chiura

  • Flattened rice or beaten rice is a dehusked rice which is flattened into flat light dry flakes. These flakes of rice swell when added to liquid, as they absorb water, milk or any other liquids.
  • The thicknesses of these flakes vary between almost translucently thin to nearly four times thicker than a normal rice grain.
  • This easily digestible form of raw rice is very popular across India and Bangladesh and is normally used to prepare snacks or light and easy fast food.
  • Flattened rice can be eaten raw by immersing it in plain water or milk. It can also be lightly fried in oil with nuts, raisins, and other spices.
  • In villages, particularly in Chattisgarh, India, Poha or Chiura is eaten raw by mixing with jaggery.

Monday, 22 June 2009

Semolina / Farina / Cream of Wheat

English Name: Semolina / Farina / Cream of Wheat
Common Indian Name (Hindi): Suji/Rava
  • Semolina is the endosperm or heart of the durum wheat kernel - a hard wheat variety with very high gluten content and high protein to carbohydrate ratio. Durum wheat is more coarsely ground than other flours. The milling process separates the endosperm from the rest of the grain.
  • Semolina made from durum wheat is yellow in color. In the United States, flour coming from softer types of wheat is known also as farina or by the trade name Cream of Wheat.
  • Semolina can also be used to make pizza, bread, pasta and gnocchi and is added to biscuits to give a lovely texture.

Sunday, 21 June 2009

Carom Seeds

English Name: Carom Seeds
Common Indian Name (Hindi): Ajwain

  • Ajwain (also known as carom seeds or bishop's weed), is an uncommon spice except in certain areas of Asia.
  • It is the small seed-like fruit of the Bishop's Weed plant, (Trachyspermum ammi syn. Carum copticum), egg-shaped and grayish in color. The plant has a similarity to parsley because of the same family (Umbelliferae).
  • Raw ajwain smells almost exactly like thyme because it also contains thymol, but is more aromatic and less subtle in taste, as well as slightly bitter and pungent. Even a small amount of raw ajwain will completely dominate the flavor of a dish.
  • Ajwain originated in the Middle East, possibly in Egypt. It is now primarily grown and used in the Indian Subcontinent, but also in Iran, Egypt and Afghanistan.
  • Thymol of Ajwain is a germicide and antiseptic, and is prescribed for diarrhea, colic and other bowel problems, helping expel wind and mucus. It is also traditionally known as a digestive aid and an antiemetic. Anti-emetics are typically used to treat motion sickness and the side effects of opioid analgesics, general anesthetics and chemotherapy directed against cancer.

Cornstarch / Corn flour

English Name: Cornstarch or Corn flour
Common Indian Name (Hindi): Cornstarch or Corn flour

  • Cornstarch, or corn flour, is the starch of the corn or maize (Zea mays) grain.
  • It is grown from the endosperm of the corn kernel.
  • It has a distinctive appearance and feel when mixed raw with water or milk.
  • It is used as a thickening agent in soups and liquids.
  • Cornstarch is also converted to High Fructose Syrups (HFS).

Saturday, 20 June 2009

Black Peppercorn

English Name: Peppercorn
Common Indian Name (Hindi): Kaali Mirch

  • Peppercorn is a single seeded fruit of a flowering vine called Black pepper (Piper nigrum) from the family Piperaceae. It is used as a spice and seasoning after drying.
  • Black pepper is produced from the still-green unripe berries of the pepper plant. The berries are cooked briefly in hot water. They are dried in the sun or by machine for several days, during which the pepper around the seed shrinks and darkens into a thin, wrinkled black layer. Once dried, the spice is called black peppercorn.
  • Pepper gets its spicy heat mostly from the piperine compound, which is found both in the outer fruit and in the seed.
  • The outer fruit layer, left on black pepper, contains important odor-contributing terpenes including pinene, sabinene, limonene etc, which give citrusy, woody, and floral notes. These scents are mostly missing in white pepper, which is stripped of the fruit layer.
  • Pepper can also lose flavor when exposed to light, which can transform piperine into nearly tasteless isochavicine. Once ground, pepper's aromatics can evaporate quickly. Most culinary sources recommend grinding whole peppercorns immediately before use for this reason.
  • Black Pepper is widely used in traditional medicinal systems including Ayurveda, Siddha and Unani medicine in India. It is used for manufacturing medicines curing illnesses and diseases like heart disease, indigestion, constipation, insomnia, joint pains, liver problems, sneezing etc

Pearl Sago

English Name: Pearl Sago
Common Indian Name (Hindi): Sabudana

  • Pearl Sago is a commercial product, prepared from the starch, extracted from the pith of the sago palm tree, Metaxylem sagu.
  • Pearls are typically small (about 2 mm diameter), dry, opaque and white (if very pure) or colored naturally grey, brown or black, or artificially pink, yellow, green, etc.
  • When soaked and cooked, they become much larger, translucent, soft and spongy.
  • Pearl sago is a major staple food for the lowland peoples of Papua New Guinea and the Moluccas where it is traditionally cooked and eaten in the form of a pancake and served with fish. In India, pearl sago is used in a variety of dishes on occasion of religious fasts. In Indonesia and Malaysia, sago is used in making noodles and white bread.
  • Sago flour is nearly pure carbohydrate and has very little protein, vitamins, or minerals.

Friday, 19 June 2009

Caraway Seeds

English Name: Caraway seeds / Wild Cumin

Common Indian Name (Hindi): Persian Cumin

  • Caraway (Carum carvi) are strongly aromatic and warm. They belong to Apiaceae family (parsley family).
  • Caraway Seed, also known as the Persian cumin, is a biennial plant native to Western Asia and Europe. The plant is somewhat similar to a carrot plant and grows in a well-drained soil. The herb has fine, feathery leaves and pretty bells of lacy flowers. The 'seeds' are actually split halves of the fruit.
  • Caraway is widely used in different cuisines for food flavoring and aroma. They are steam distilled to flavor cheese, sausage and other foods.
  • The seeds of the plant are used for essential oil preparation. The oil is also used in manufacturing soaps, deodorants, perfumes and cosmetics.
  • The seeds and fruit of the plant possess carminative and stimulant properties and are used to cure hysteria and other disorders. It is also used as a stomachic.
  • As a home remedy for flatulence and colic, caraway and dill are strongly recommended.

Thursday, 18 June 2009

Cardamom Green

English Name: Cardamom Green
Common Indian Name (Hindi): Hari Ilaichi

  • Green Cardamom is one of the world's very ancient spices Known as "the Queen of Spices". Cardamoms are available in three kinds of pods – black, green and white.
  • Green cardamom belongs to genus Elettaria of the ginger family Zingiberaceae.
  • Green cardamom is smaller and softer than black cardamom. It gives a distinct sweet, pleasing and slightly lemon like flavor.
  • Cardamom pods contain fragrant seeds, used throughout the world in both savory and sweet dish. The seeds are used as whole, ground or with pods.
  • Many Indian meat, rice and dessert dishes use cardamom as one of the main spices. Cardamoms are also essential parts of spice mixtures such as Garam Masala.
  • Beside India and south Asia, cardamom is also use in Scandinavian food such cakes, pastry, pickles and also used in Middle East.
  • It is used as a stimulant, for indigestion and flatulence. Cardamom is also believed to aid digestion and act as a breath freshener.
  • It is also sometimes considered to be an aphrodisiac in traditional systems of medicine.
  • Green cardamom in South Asia is broadly used to treat infections in teeth and gums, to prevent and treat throat troubles, congestion of the lungs and pulmonary tuberculosis, inflammation of eyelids and also digestion disorders. It also is used to break up kidney stones and gall stones,and was reportedly used as an antidote for both snake and scorpion venom bite.

Wednesday, 17 June 2009


English Name: Cinnamon
Common Indian Name (Hindi): Dalchini

  • The bark of the Cinnamon (Cinnamomum verum) tree, belonging to the Lauraceae family, is used as a spice.
  • True cinnamon, or Ceylon cinnamon is native to Sri Lanka (formerly known as Ceylon). Cassia, a related spice, is sometimes sold as cinnamon but it is not "true cinnamon." Cassia is sometimes called "Indonesian cinnamon" or "Chinese cinnamon." The bark of the cassia or Chinese cinnamon has more pungent smell as compared to true cinnamon.
  • Cinnamon gets is scent and flavor from a chemical compound called cinnamaldehyde.
  • Cinnamon was used on funeral pyres in Ancient Rome. In 65 AD, Nero burned a year's supply of cinnamon at his second wife Poppaea Sabina's funeral in order to show the depth of his grief.
  • It is used both for culinary and medicinal purpose. It has good capability to to flavor foods and confectionery items particularly liqueurs and chocolate.
  • Cinnamon has many health benefits. It has shown promise in the treatment of diabetes, arthritis, high cholesterol, memory function, and even leukemia and lymphoma. It has an anti-clotting effect on the blood.
  • When added to food, it inhibits bacterial growth and food spoilage, making it a natural food preservative.
  • It is a great source of manganese, fiber, iron, and calcium.

Tuesday, 16 June 2009

Indian Bay Leaf

English Name: Indian Bay Leaf
Common Indian Name (Hindi): Tejpatta / Tejpat
  • The leaf of the Cinnamomum tamala or sometimes called as Cinnamomum tejpata (Malabathrum) tree is often labeled as "Indian bay leaves," though the bay leaf refers to the aromatic leaf of the Bay Laurel (Laurus nobilis, Lauraceae), a tree of Mediterranean origin in a different genus but same family.
  • The aroma of the Indian bay leaf is quite similar, but milder, in fragrance and taste to cinnamon bark, which is quite different from the leaf of Bay Laurel.
  • Fresh or dried bay leaves are used for flavoring and seasoning in cooking for their distinctive flavor and fragrance. The leaves are used extensively in the cuisines of India, Nepal, and Bhutan, particularly in the Moghul cuisine of North India and Nepal and in Tsheringma herbal tea in Bhutan.
  • It is used as an insecticide to keep moths away.
  • It is used to treat physical problems like high blood sugar, migraine, headaches, bacterial and fungal infections, gastric ulcers.
  • Bay leaf essential oil is also used to relieve muscular soreness and enhance blood circulation.
  • It is also used to prevent hair loss

Sunday, 14 June 2009

White Peppercorn

English Name: White Peppercorn
Common Indian Name (Hindi): Safed Mirch

  • Peppercorn is a single seeded fruit of a flowering vine called Black pepper (Piper nigrum) from the family Piperaceae. It is used as a spice and seasoning after drying.
  • White pepper is a variety of black pepper corn, which is essentially the seed of the plant obtained after the fruit, is removed. This is usually accomplished by process known as retting.White pepper is obtained by soaking the fully ripe berries in water for about 6-8 days. The flesh of the fruit softens and decomposes, which is further rubbed for getting the seed. The seed so obtained is dried and then used in the whole or grounded form.
  • The spice derives its flavor from piperine compound. It can gain some different odors (including musty notes) from its longer fermentation stage.
  • It is widely used for its aroma and flavor in various cuisines and also for food preservation.
  • White pepper has been used in traditional medicinal systems including Ayurveda, Siddha and Unani systems. It is used as an essential oil in aromatherapy and other methods


English Name: Ginger
Common Indian Name (Hindi): Adrak

  • Ginger is the rhizome of the perennial plant Zingiber officinale in the family Zingiberaceae. It is commonly used as a cooking spice throughout the world.
  • The pungent taste of ginger is due to nonvolatile pheylpropanoid derived compounds, particularly gingerols and shogaols. The latter are formed from the former when ginger is dried or cooked. Zingerone is also produced from gingerols during this process, and it is less pungent and has a spicy-sweet aroma.
  • There is less convincing evidence to support claims that ginger is an antioxidant, with cancer preventing properties, or that it has anti-inflammatory benefits in arthritis. In large amounts, it appears to inhibit platelet aggregation.
  • Ginger has a sialagogue action, stimulating the production of saliva.
  • Fresh ginger comes in young and mature forms. Young ginger has mild flavor and has a pale, thin skin that requires no peeling. The skin of mature ginger on the other hand is tough which requires peeling to get to the fibrous flesh.
  • Ginger aids in digestion and cures digestion related problems. It is helpful in diarrhea and stomach cramping. It is effective against nausea related to both motion sickness and morning sickness.
  • Ginger helps in relieving pain and reduce inflammation. It reduces arthritis, rheumatism and muscle spasms.
  • Ginger also circulates the blood, removes toxins, cleanse the bowels and kidneys.
  • It also aids in all the skin related problems.
  • It is said that it also aid in the treatment of asthma, bronchitis and other respiratory problems.

Saturday, 13 June 2009

Fenugreek Seeds

English Name : Fenugreek Seeds
Common Indian Name (Hindi): Methi Seeds

  • Fenugreek seeds are small stony hard, yellowish brown and angular seeds from the pod of a bean-like plant, which belongs to family Fabaceae. They are powerful, aromatic and bittersweet, like burnt sugar. There is a bitter aftertaste, similar to celery or lovage.
  • The Fenugreek seeds are used as a spice for flavoring a number of cuisines The major use is in curry powders, figuring in many mixtures, especially vindaloo and the hot curries of Sri Lanka. It is an ingredient of Panch phoron, the Indian five-spice mixture and products like sauces, curry powders, pickles and other spicy dishes.
  • Fenugreek relieves congestion, reduces inflammation and fights infection.
  • Fenugreek contains natural expectorant properties ideal for treating sinus and lung congestion, and loosens & removes excess mucus and phlegm.
  • Fenugreek is also an excellent source of selenium, an anti-radiant that helps the body utilize oxygen. It is a natural source of iron, silicon, sodium and thiamine.
  • Acting as an expectorant, Fenugreek alleviates coughing, stimulates perspiration to reduce fevers, and is beneficial for treating allergies, bronchitis and congestion.
  • Fenugreek seed is widely used as a galactagogue (milk producing agent) by nursing mothers to increase inadequate breast milk supply.
  • Supplements of fenugreek seeds were shown to lower serum cholesterol, triglyceride, and low-density lipoprotein in human patients and experimental models of hypercholesterolemia and hypertriglyceridemia (Basch et al., 2003).
  • Several human intervention trials demonstrated that the antidiabetic effects of fenugreek seeds ameliorate most metabolic symptoms associated with type-1 and type-2 diabetes in both humans and relevant animal models (Basch et al., 2003; Srinivas, 2005).

Thursday, 11 June 2009

Coriander Leaves

English Name: Cilantro (Coriander Leaves)
Common Indian Name (Hindi): Hara Dhania

  • Coriander is an annual herb popularly grown and prized for its culinary and medicinal use.
  • The fresh leaves of the plant are called cilantro and are always used fresh, as they lose the flavor and aroma on drying. They are never cooked as they diminish their flavor. They are used in the end for flavoring the dish. Fresh leaves are used as a main ingredient in Vietnamese food, Asian chutney and other dishes.
  • Cilantro (Coriander leaves) is rich in the antioxidants, Vitamin A and Vitamin C.
    They feature niacin, calcium and iron, which are believed to help boost the immune system, protect against degenerative disease and slow down the ageing process.
  • Cilantro (Coriander leaves) is reported to contain excellent digestive properties.
    Leaves are reported to help protect against drowsiness, especially after consuming big meals.
  • Drinking coriander juice is thought to help soothe hot itchy rashes and is said to help combat hay fever.
  • The leaves of coriander are stimulant and tonic. They strengthen the stomach and promote its action, relieve flatulence, increase secretion and discharge of urine and reduce fever.
  • They act an aphrodisiac, help in the removal of catchall matter and phlegm from the bronchial tubes there by counteracting any spasmodic disorders.

Fennel Seeds

English Name: Fennel Seeds
Common Indian Name (Hindi): Saunf
  • Fennel yields both herb and a spice. Roots, stalks and leaves of plant are used as herbs while dried seeds are used as spice.
  • Fennel is an aromatic perennial plant and is native to the South Europe and parts of Asia. It has a sweet and strong flavor, which is somewhat similar to mild anise.
  • It is an essential ingredient in the Bengali/Oriya spice mixture Panch Phoron and in Chinese five-spice powders.
  • As an herb, fennel leaves are used in French and Italian cuisine’s in sauces for fish and in mayonnaise. The aromatic bulbous stem base can be eaten cooked or raw in salads. The greenery is often used as a garnish or as a last-minute flavor enhancer.
  • The major constituents of Fennel, which include the terpenoid, anethole, are found in the volatile oil. Anethole and other terpenoids inhibit spasms in smooth muscles, such as those in the intestinal tract, and this is thought to contribute to fennel’s use as a carminative (gas-relieving and gastrointestinal tract cramp-relieving agent).
  • Fennel is also thought to possess diuretic (increase in urine production), choleretic (increase in production of bile), and pain-reducing, fever-reducing, and anti-microbial actions.
  • The seeds and roots also help to open obstructions of the liver, spleen & gall bladder, and to ease painful swellings, in addition to helping with yellow jaundice, the gout and occasional cramps.
  • Several liquors are flavored with fennel, including fennouillette, akvavit, gin and was used in distilling absinthe.
  • It is also used as a mouth freshener.
  • The seeds are used as a flavoring agent in many herbal medicines, and to help disperse flatulence.
  • The essential oil is also used in certain personal hygiene products like soaps and perfumes.

Wednesday, 10 June 2009

Fenugreek Leaves

English Name: Fenugreek Leaves
Common Indian Name (Hindi): Methi Ke Patte
  • The leaves of the Fenugreek plant, also known as Greek Hay or Methi, are used as a culinary herb and are generally grown as a potherb.
  • Though native to Eastern Mediterranean region, the plant is grown worldwide.
    Fenugreek is a digestive aid. Reducing the sugar level of the blood, it is used in diabetes in conjunction with insulin.
  • It also lowers blood pressure. Fenugreek relieves congestion, reduces inflammation and fights infection. Fenugreek contains natural expectorant properties ideal for treating sinus and lung congestion, and loosens & removes excess mucus and phlegm.
  • Fenugreek is also an excellent source of selenium, an anti-radiant which helps the body utilize oxygen. Fenugreek is a natural source of iron, silicon, sodium and thiamine.