Ceylon Spices – The flavour and the good both in one!

Sri Lanka, as a tropical island, allows a range of valuable spices to thrive. Spices have always had an influence on our cuisines. These spices also serve various medicinal purposes.

Ceylon Cinnamon; all you need is just a pinch!

One of the prominent spices of Ceylon is Cinnamon. Ceylon cinnamon is famous for its distinct flavour, fragrance, and hue. It is taken from the bark of the cinnamon tree and used mainly as powder or sticks. 

This valuable spice provides some significant health benefits. 

It reduces inflammation. Cinnamaldehyde present in Ceylon cinnamon has anti-inflammatory properties that reduce the symptoms related to diseases like heart diseases, diabetics, and arthritis. 

Consumption of cinnamon helps detoxify enzymes and destroy cancer cells. Ceylon Cinnamon lowers LDL and overall cholesterol levels without affecting HDL. 

Regular consumption of this spice moderates the blood sugar levels of a person and reduces the risk of hyperglycemia. Cinnamon which is rich in antibacterial properties prevents bad breath and gum diseases. 

Ceylon Cinnamon affects neurogenerative diseases as there are two compounds that are found in it that block the buildup of tau, a stimulant for Alzheimer’s disease. Manganese in this spice boosts brain function and enhances the general health of the brain by increasing memory and focus. 

Cinnamon tea or cinnamon mixed especially with honey can be a powerful remedy for colds and sore throats.

Two different types of cinnamon can be found. 

One is Ceylon Cinnamon or true cinnamon, and the second type of cinnamon is called Cassia cinnamon which is commonly found in shops and restaurants. Ceylon cinnamon is better than Cassia cinnamon because of the better quality and safety even when consumed in large quantities. Ceylon cinnamon is the healthiest variety of cinnamon since it has all the health-promoting components of cinnamon but with none of the toxic properties. Ceylon cinnamon is also delicate and less pungent than Cassia cinnamon. Cassia cinnamon is cheaper in price and tastes stronger, and has a pungent smell. It is also not safe to consume in large quantities because of the high coumarin content. 

Black pepper; a little sprinkle goes a long way

Another commonly found spice in Ceylon is black pepper. Black pepper has a mild yet spicy flavour. Aside from being a kitchen staple, it is famous for its medicinal properties.

Piperine is the major chemical compound that is pretty much higher in black pepper. When considering piperine, it possesses powerful antioxidant effects. It aids in preventing chronic diseases such as atherosclerosis, cardiovascular disease, and neurological disorders. Piperine also improves the absorption of nutrients into our bloodstream. 

Black pepper increase the production of hydrochloric acid in the stomach, allowing it to digest food more effectively. Moreover, black pepper serves to relieve gas buildup and discomfort in the intestines. It also helps in immunity as white blood cells, which our body employs to fight against invading germs and viruses, are boosted by its active components.  

Black pepper contributes to helping quit smoking. Early researches show that puffing on a vapour device using black pepper oil over 3 hours may reduce cigarette cravings and anxiety in men who smoke. Black pepper, mixed with turmeric and served in the form of milk, is given to patients suffering from colds in some countries as it consists of antioxidants, vitamin A and carotenoids. 

Chewing raw black pepper releases mood-inducing chemicals and helps to keep the mind calm and soothed. Black pepper is used as a home remedy for toothache and tooth decay too. The antimicrobial characteristics of black pepper play a huge role in minimizing inflammation in dental caries. This amazing spice also helps to prevent tooth decay by preventing the loss of mineralized tissue in the teeth.

The missing ingredients you needed; Nutmeg and Mace

Both nutmeg and mace are taken from the plant Myristica fragrans. Nutmeg is the dried seed of the plant, while mace is the lacy red membrane that surrounds the seed. The taste of mace is softer and fruitier than that of nutmeg.

Myristicin, elemicin, eugenol, and safrole are a few of the essential volatile oils found in nutmeg, which have anti-inflammatory properties that make it useful for treating joint and muscle pain. Just a few drops of the essential oil on the affected area can treat inflammation, swelling, joint pain, muscle pain, and sores. Nutmeg helps treat insomnia. 

When consumed in smaller doses, it is both calming and sleep-inducing. Adding a pinch of nutmeg to a glass of milk before going to bed helps to fall asleep fast. Adding a pinch of nutmeg to stews and soups helps in the secretion of digestive enzymes, relieving issues such as diarrhoea, constipation, and bloating. The fibre contained in nutmeg aids in bowel movement too. Nutmeg is used to ease stress, blood pressure, and fatigue. Nutmeg has the ability to be both a sedative or a stimulant according to the needs of the body. Nutmeg is also used to detoxify the body and remove bad breath.

Mace is helpful in encouraging appetite. Including mace in the diet transforms the eating routine of a person immensely. Mace possesses numerous anti-depressant effects as it activates dopamine and serotonin. Mace has a positive effect on blood circulation, which also makes the skin and hair healthy. Consumption of mace provides manganese, copper, zinc, iron, potassium, magnesium, and vitamins. 

Queen of spices for a reason; Cardamom

Cardamom is another special spice from Ceylon. Cardamom has a unique flavour and a number of health benefits. 

Cardamom is rich in antioxidant that is used to fight against cancer. Compounds of cardamom boost immunity and prevent the growth of cancer cells. Cardamom is utilized to treat hypertension, coronary artery diseases and a series of chronic illnesses. 

Green cardamom that is commonly found in Ceylon reduces blood clotting and built-up fat. The nutrients found in cardamom improve the function of the digestive system and relieves symptoms of acidity. 

Chewing cardamom seeds improves bad breath and controls bacteria that cause gum diseases. Consumption of cardamom tea reduces high blood pressure. Cardamom tea also helps prevent cold and flu as it is rich in antioxidants and vitamins. Cardamom tea is also helpful in soothing bloating and gas. Drinking cardamom tea helps prevent motion sickness too.

Tumeric -A magical spice that is a must in every meal in Ceylon!

Turmeric is a spice grown in Ceylon with a warm yet slightly bitter taste. Turmeric is famous for its healing properties and cosmetic benefits. 

Since turmeric possesses cooling properties, turmeric can reduce the redness of blemishes and soothe inflamed and irritated skin. Moreover, turmeric has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. These features may give the skin a lustrous glow. Turmeric helps in getting rid of dark spots. Many Asian women mix turmeric with milk or honey to achieve a fairer complexion. 

Curcumin that contains higher amounts in turmeric aids wound healing by reducing inflammation and oxidation. Turmeric helps lower acne and scars. Turmeric also makes a positive effect on tissue and collagen. 

In the past, people used to use a combination of turmeric along with other herbs to treat rashes like scabies effectively. 

Since turmeric is an essential spice in Ceylon cuisine, Sri Lankans and most Asians consume this spice a lot.

In other countries, people consume turmeric as tea. The potent anti-inflammatory properties of the tea ease the symptoms of arthritis. It also helps with the pain of osteoarthritis. Turmeric tea is rich in curcumin, a substance that helps to prevent cancer. Turmeric tea boosts the immune system and also lowers the levels of LDL.

That remarkable spice is clove!

Cloves famous for their aroma, medicinal properties, and flavour are found in abundance in Sri Lanka.

Cloves are rich in eugenol, which reduces food poisoning caused by salmonella etc. The polyphenol found in cloves controls blood sugar levels effectively. This also prevents liver inflammation. Clove pods are effective in treating toothaches.

Find comfort in Ginger!

Ginger produced in Sri Lanka is aromatic, spicy, and fiery, with undertones of sweetness and zest. It has numerous health advantages. Ginger helps in curing nausea and has strong anti-diabetic properties. It is also used to treat indigestion. Gingerols in Ginger prevents the formation of oral bacteria. Ginger has the effect of slowing down the growth of some cancer cells. Consuming ginger powder in small amounts helps elevate menstrual cramps’ pain. Ginger also helps in lowering the level of LDL.