Indian cuisine. It’s colorful, flavorful, and the spices are not only tasty—they come with a plethora of health benefits. These spices can be used in either sweet or savory dishes and they will leave your taste buds asking for more. Take a look at our list below for some common Indian spices and the medicinal benefits that each one provides.

1. Turmeric

This bright orange spice is not only great for adding color to your dish, but the health benefits are immense. A member of the ginger family, this spice is harvested from the root of a curcuma longa plant. For thousands of years, Ayurvedic medicine has used turmeric for a variety of health reasons. The National Institute of Health has found that turmeric aids in helping to treat arthritis, heartburn, stomach pain, diarrhea, intestinal gas, stomach bloating, and loss of appetite. Turmeric is also used as a topical treatment for issues like skin inflammation, infected wounds, and ringworm.

2. Black Pepper

Black pepper is not a spice that many people associate with Indian cooking. However, these little peppercorns have their most ancient roots in India. By now, they are one of the most traded spices in the world and are commonly found in many European dishes, often paired with salt. Black pepper aids in digestion, congestion, an upset stomach and can also help to stop the bleeding on a cut when applied topically.

3. Cardamom

Native to the forests in India, these green pods are commonly used not only in Indian cooking, but also in Chai—also known as Indian tea. In order to get the full benefits of this spice, the outer shell needs to be broken to expose the tiny pods inside. It can be used to counteract a number of digestive problems including, bloating, gas, heartburn and loss of appetite—it can even treat bad breath and is commonly used as an after-meal breath freshener. In preliminary studies it has also been shown to have cancer fighting effects against non-melanoma skin cancer. However, more research is needed before cardamom can be recommended for cancer prevention.    

4. Clove

The little bud resembles a tiny flower used not only in Indian cuisines, but in African and Middle Eastern as well. In cosmetic uses, close is found in toothpastes, soaps, and perfumes. Indian healers have used the oils, flower buds,and stems from the plant in an array of medicine. For example, clove is possibly effective in helping with premature ejaculation when applied directly to the penis. Clove oil can also help with pain when applied topically, and can help with stomach issues like gas, diarrhea, nausea and upset stomach.

5. Cinnamon

This bark-like spice originates from Sri Lanka, and was originally harvested by Arabian traders from a tall tree and ground to create the powder form of cinnamon. According to the Mayo Clinic, research suggest that cinnamon might help to regulate treatment for people with type 2 diabetes. The theory is that cinnamon increases insulin action.

If you have never tried any of these before, please make sure to check with your doctor before enjoying any of these spices especially if you are taking any medicines. Any information presented here is not intended to cure, aid, or prevent any disease.