I really do love curry, and have been using it to flavor my rice, eggs, and sometimes on my sandwich. My husband makes a killer squash bisque with curry.
So, what exactly is curry powder? Curry powder is a blend of Indian spices. The three main spices are Coriander Seed, Turmeric, and Cumin. There are many variations of curry that may also include: black pepper, cayenne, fenugreek, mustard, and sometimes cinnamon and cloves.
Not only is curry an incredibly aromatic and delicious spice blend, it also carries many health benefits.
Turmeric (Curcuma longa) has been said to be “Nature’s Crusader Against Disease”, and “Medicine Cabinet in a Curry Bowl” by different herbalists. The parts used are the rhizome and the tuber. It is warming and drying and spicy. It has been used for thousands of years for many ailments. It is anti-inflammatory, and used for arthritis and has been used by some as a replacement for celebrex and inbuprofin. It has been used as an antacid, headache reliever. It promotes digestive secretions and has been helpful for diverticulitis, colitis and irritable bowel syndrome. It has been known to help with cholesterol levels. There have been studies that have shown turmeric helps prevent cancer, and helps stop some cancers from metastasizing. It can help externally with sprains and bruising, but it does stain anything it comes in contact with, including the skin. There are many other said benefits including, helping nervous system disorders, type 2 diabetes, menstrual pain… and, I hear it helps get rid of ants! I will have to try that this coming spring. Turmeric does need to be buffered somehow, whether it is in food, in olive oil or ghee or in a capsule. Please research contraindications before using, as it is known to be a blood thinner, and not for pregnant or lactating mothers. It is fine as a flavoring in food, though.
Coriander Seed (Coriandrum sativum) comes from the same plant as cilantro. Did you know that? The taste is pungent, and it is aromatic. Coriander is a wonderful carminative, meaning that it helps with digestion. It is a cooling herb. It helps neutralize heat. The seeds have been used for gas and constipation and has a ‘descending’ action making it helpful for GERD. It is anti-spasmodic and can help with diarrhea and IBS. Promising results have been shown for preventing colon cancer. There are certain considerations, as it is safe for most people, but some have been severely allergic. People who are on blood-regulating medication or using insulin should have their blood sugar levels monitored if they are regularly taking coriander as it could lower their blood sugar levels. As always, research for yourself to make sure it is a good choice if using in larger amounts for longer periods of time.
Cumin (Cuminum cyminum) is a good source of iron, manganese, and other nutrients. It is an antioxidant, and some research shows better activity than vitamin C. It has been known to help with diabetes. It contains phyoestrogens, and is good at preventing osteoporosis. It has shown to lessen the bone mass loss in post-menopausal women, and has been used to assist in food poisoning.
Black Pepper (Piper nigrum) is most likely in your curry blend. Black pepper can help with digestion, arthritis, depression, flatulence, blood pressure. One really neat thing about black pepper is that it increases the bio availability of other herbs in a formula. It helps assimilate so more of the herbs get into your system and work better.
Cayenne (Capsicum anuum, Capsicum frutescens, and several other species) is one red hot healer! Among its many benefits include: boosting metabolism, the cardiovascular system, blocks pain, generally stimulating, thins mucus, activates pain sensors, releases endorphins, reduces platelet aggregation, and lowers fat levels. The hot ‘bite’ of this herb is caused by the constituent capsaicin. Cayenne can also stimulate hair growth when used on the scalp.
Again, please do your own research to see for yourself the wonderful benefits/contraindications of these herbs.
Here is a nourishing recipe from Learning Herbs for you to try:
Kitchari: The Chicken Soup of India