India is known as the Home of Spices because it is the largest producer of condiments and spices. The term condiments and spices can be defined as such natural plants and vegetable products or mixture thereof, in whole or ground form, as are used for improving flavour, aroma and pungency of food to improve its acceptability.
Most of the condiments and spices apart from improving the taste of food owe their importance to many other desirable characteristics, like preservative, medicinal and antimicrobial properties. Here is the list of some of the spices, which have medicinal importance:
Flowers : cloves, saffron
Fruits : coriander, cardamom, chilli (dried pod of a variety of), dill, fennel, s caraway, black pepper, Piper
Berries : Black piper
Rhizomes : Ginger, Turmeric
Kernel : Nutmeg
Bark : Cinnamon
India has been famous for ginger and turmeric, which constitute two of the most important spices. Since ancient times, these spices are the representatives of the Indian family Zingiberaceaethese. It is a family of about 49 genera and 1300 species. Volatile oils and pungent principles such as found in ginger, are the characteristic features of this family. Other constituents include the colouring matter called curcuminoids, tannins, phenolic acids, leucoanthocyanins, flavonoids, ketones and terpenes. Only a few isolated examples of alkaloids are also reported.
Ginger has been cultivated in India since ancient times. The plant is unknown in the wild state. It was widely used by the Greeks and Romans and was a common article of European commerce in the Middle Ages. It was well—known in England in the eleventh century. The Spaniards introduced ginger in Jamaica and other West Indian islands and a considerable quantity of drug was sent from the West Indies to Spain as early as sixteenth century.
Turmeric plant is the native of southern Asia, (probably India) cultivated extensively in temperate regions. It is grown on a large scale in India, Pakistan, China, East Indies and Malaya. It is believed to have been evolved in India particularly in the Himalayan region.
Besides being a medicinally important herb and a widespread spice and colouring agent of food and cloth industry, turmeric plant is also one of the most auspicious plants of India. Its powder along with kumkum is a must for all the religious and sacred functions. The powder is also indispensable for all worships, especially in Tamil Nadu, ladies exchange fresh turmeric tubers often with the leaves on the arrival of the special lady guest on the occasion of any auspicious function. Garlands containing beads of turmeric are also used to worship goddess Saraswati.
The importance of ginger and turmeric can be realised from the fact that both these rhizomes are included in Indian, British and American Pharmacopoeias.
Later on in the book a detailed account of the botanical makeup, chemical constituents, medicinal importance, uses, microscopic and macroscopic characteristics, identification tests and cultivation and collection of the two plants will be given. Preparation and use of some of the official and unofficial formulae containing these rhizomes will also be dealt with.
Back of the Book
In the East, where food is as much revered for its therapeutic properties as for its richness and flavour, no kitchen is complete without the fresh roots ginger and turmeric. What these gnarled and lumpy-looking spices lack in appearance, they make up for in properties and taste. From stomach ailments to cardiovascular problems, these two have an answer to many a medical malady.
The Secret Benefits of Ginger and Turmeric unravels the mysterious world of ginger and turmeric. It gives a detailed account of their origin, cultivation, botanical makeup, chemical composition, and medicinal and culinary uses. The book also presents various delicious and nutritious preparations with ginger as well as certain home remedies made with turmeric to cure common ailments.
So pep up your cooking and discover the health benefits of ginger and turmeric.
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