Use of Spices in Ayurvedic Medicine

Spices in Europe

For their medicinal properties, spices and plants are coveted since antiquity. Several episodes of the Bible mention the importance of spices. Genesis tells the story of Joseph, son of Jacob, was sold as slave for 20 pieces of silver by his envious brothers to the Ishmaelites merchants traveling to Egypt, carrying on their camels spices, incense… The conquests made in the East by the Romans in the 1st century AD helped open land routes to India and Central Asia through Iran and Afghanistan today, and the Crusades of the eleventh to thirteenth century mark the spice trade between the East and Europe that becomes a real adventure. Later, the great discoveries made by the Portuguese, Spaniards and Dutch armadas during the fifteenth century opened a direct route to the “Spice Islands”.

In the East and West, the study and popularity of medicinal herbs and spices flourished and took an important place in the backyard gardens of monasteries and estates. Spiced wines and remedies based on medicinal herbs and spices become widely used.

Why Should we Adopt Ayurveda?

In India, Ayurveda is since ancient times a lifestyle natural that dictates how a person should eat to regain or maintain physical fitness. There are certain conditions where ayurveda is surely the best choice to treat, for example, arthritis, infertility, chronic gastrointestinal disorders like hyperacidity, impotenc … Other conditions such as diabetes, asthma, psoriasis… can be controlled and improved by Ayurveda. Ayurvedic medicines are used as prevention than cure. This is probably one of the few branches of medicine that focuses more on the preventive than curative.

How does Ayurveda Work?

We must adopt certain lifestyle and good eating habits if we wish to stay healthy. Some adjustments must be made according to the seasons. Certain alterations in lifestyle may be needed, for example, to go to bed early at night, to avoid long naps, to avoid cross ventilation or over exposure to sun. Some aliments are to be avoided: sour milk, industrial flour, too much salt, fat or sugar, consumption of meat, stale or expired food.

List of Medicinal Spices, Herbs and other Condiments

Spices and herbs with medicinal properties cleanse the body and soul. By adding spices to our dishes, we can improve our organic disorders and recreate an inner balance.


SCIENTIFIC NAME: Allium sativum

FAMILY: lilac.

Garlic has beneficial effects on:


SCIENTIFIC NAME: Carum ajwain, ajwain Ptychotis, Carum copticum

FAMILY: Umbelliferae

  • The seeds of ajwain relieves asthma and indigestion,
  • It is used to treat diarrhea and to treat gastric and bloating problems,
  • They contain thymol which is a powerful antiseptic


SCIENTIFIC NAME: Anethum graveolens

FAMILY: Umbelliferae

  • Dill is mainly used against digestive disorders
  • It soothes the hiccups
  • It promotes sleep


SCIENTIFIC NAME: Pimpinella anisum

FAMILY: Umbelliferae

  • The essence of anise promotes digestion
  • It treats gastrointestinal inflammation
  • It is used as a sedative to calm the cough

Star anise

SCIENTIFIC NAME: Illicium verum

FAMILY: Magnoliaceae

  • It purifies the breath
  • It is used to treat coughs

Asa foetida

SCIENTIFIC NAME: Ferula asafoetida

FAMILY: Umbelliferae.

  • The asa foetida stimulates appetite
  • Helps in digestion
  • Combats abdominal bloating
  • Treats infections such as bronchitis


SCIENTIFIC NAME: Cinnamomum zeylanicum

FAMILY: Lauracea

  • Cinnamon is a stimulant an astringent
  • It is a carminative
  • It is used to cure diarrhea and stomach upset
  • It is recommended to soothe the pains of childbirth


SCIENTIFIC NAME: Elettaria cardamomum.

FAMILY: Zingiberaceae.

  • Cardamom is known for its digestive properties and aphrodisiac



FAMILY: Umbelliferae

  • The essence of caraway is used to treat flatulence
  • It helps for digestion
  • Its aromatic qualities make it a constituent of toothpaste and mouthwash preparations


SCIENTIFIC NAME: Cinnamomum cassia

FAMILY: Lauraceae

  • Gasoline is used in case of inhalation
  • It is used as a tonic
  • It treats digestive discomfort and abdominal bloating


SCIENTIFIC NAME: Apium graveolens

FAMILY: Umbelliferae

  • The oil obtained from celery seeds has digestive and diuretic properties


SCIENTIFIC NAME: Cymbopogon citratus or Andropogon schoenanthus

FAMILY: Gramineae

  • The citronella oil relieves sprains and rheumatism


SCIENTIFIC NAME: Coriandrum sativum

FAMILY: Umbelliferae

  • It is an antibacterial
  • It acts against intestinal disorders, neuralgia and rheumatism
  • Pulped, the seeds are used to treat ulcers of skin and mucous membranes
  • The leaves are chewed to freshen breath