Ayurveda’s Five Spices of Digestion. The spices: ginger, cumin, fennel, coriander and cardamom have been time-tested for thousands of years and have a library of good science to support their digestion-boosting benefits.
The Five Spices in Depth:
Coriander Seed Coriander is perhaps the most cooling of the five digestive spices. It is a natural “carminative”, which means it prevents or relieves gas from the intestinal tract, and is beneficial for numerous heat-related pitta conditions.
Cardamom As a member of the ginger family, Ayurvedic texts celebrated cardamon ability to make hard foods easier to digest. It also neutralizes the stimulating effects of caffeine, boosting the digestive process without taxing the nervous system. Cardamom is known to reduce the extreme acidity of many foods and caffeinated beverages including coffee; it is the signature spice in traditional Turkish coffee. When cooked into your food, it also reduces excess mucus, gas and bloating in the stomach and small intestine. .
Cumin Seed Cumin is perhaps the most powerful digestive tonic of the five spices of digestion. It has a strong taste and while very effective alone, it blends well in both taste and effectiveness with the other four spices for boosting digestion and reducing gas and bloating. It is much like coriander in that it cools the digestive system while boosting digestive strength. It supports healthy assimilation, the proliferation of good microbes, as well as the detoxification of the intestinal tract.
Fennel Seed (Foeniculum vulgare) Fennel is best known as the tri-doshic digestive spice. Not only does it combat gas and bloating in the digestive tract, it is one of Ayurvedaâ€™s favorite lymph movers. As a lymph mover, it supports healthy lactation and radiant skin on both the inside and outside. Fennel seeds are considered the most sattvic (promoting purity and balance) of the spices, short of saffron, because of its very balancing effect on vata, kapha and pitta. It is one of the best herbs for digestion, as it strengthens the digestive fire without aggravating pitta, and is beneficial for intestinal cramping, nausea, and dispelling flatulence.
Ginger Root (Zingiber officinale) In Ayurveda, ginger is called the universal spice because of its many health benefits. It is heating for the upper digestion with its pungent taste, but cooling and soothing for the lower digestion as a result of its sweet after taste. It is therefore considered to be a tri-doshic herb, meaning it balances vata, pitta and kapha – although in excess it can be too heating to the upper digestion. It is the classic kindling to start the digestive fire in the stomach. Scientific studies have shown that it supports healthy microbes, a healthy intestinal wall, and acts as a digestive stimulant for nutrient assimilation.5