Herbs play an important role in Ayurvedic medicine, and there are literally thousands of different herbs that Ayurvedic practitioners utilize in their practice.
Unfortunately, many of these herbs can be difficult to find outside of India. However, you might be surprised to learn that a lot of the herbs and spices you probably already have in your pantry are used in Ayurvedic medicine.
These common herbs and spices have amazing health-boosting qualities and are available to purchase at virtually any grocery store or online.
5 Ayurvedic Herbs You Probably Already Have in Your Pantry + How to Use Them
Native to India, turmeric is one of the most frequently used and most powerful herbal remedies in Ayurvedic medicine. Non-medicinally, turmeric is a common ingredient in various curries, soups, and sauces.
Health Benefits of Turmeric
- Has strong anti-inflammatory properties
- Increases antioxidants in the body
- Improves brain function
- Detoxifies the liver
- May help to treat depression
- Has anti-cancer properties
- Promotes gut health
- Aides in weight management by regulating the metabolism
The active medicinal substance in turmeric is curcumin, which is poorly absorbed into the blood stream, unless consumed with black pepper. Combining curcumin with black pepper increases bioavailability by up to 2000%.
A simple and delicious way to do this is by making Golden Milk.
You can also purchase curcumin supplements that contain black pepper extract.
Cardamom is one of the most expensive spices in the world, coming in third behind saffron and vanilla. Native to India, Indonesia, Bhutan, and Nepal, cardamom is a common ingredient in Indian cuisine. And due to it’s many medicinal qualities, cardamom is also utilized in Ayurvedic medicine.
As part of the ginger family, cardamom is a warming, highly aromatic spice.
Health Benefits of Cardamom
- Helps with digestive issues
- Rich in vitamins
- Extremely high in manganese
- Helps to reduce high blood pressure
- Increases antioxidants in the body
- Helps to treat urinary tract infections
- Improves blood circulation
- Has anti-carcinogenic properties
- Helps to relieve nausea
- Helps to prevent and relieve colds and flu
There are a number of easy ways to benefit from the medicinal properties of cardamom.
You can use cardamom in curries, soups, stews, and even various Indian desserts.
Masala Chai Tea contains cardamom, along with cinnamon, cloves, and black pepper, making it an amazing source of nutrients, vitamins, and antioxidants. Vahdam is an Indian company that makes an amazing Masala Chai Tea.
You can buy organic cardamom here. You should also be able to find cardamom in most grocery stores.
Cinnamon is a spice obtained from the inner layer of bark of a variety of trees belonging to the genus Cinnamomum.
Cinnamon is one of the most frequently used spices in the world, and a firm favorite in the United States. Due to it’s unique, warming, aroma and sweet, taste, cinnamon is commonly used to flavor desserts.
However, beyond it’s delicious flavor, cinnamon is absolutely packed with health benefits.
Health Benefits of Cinnamon
- Helps to control blood sugar
- Full of antioxidants
- Can help lower cholesterol
- Is anti-microbial and anti-bacterial
- Boost metabolism
- Helps to treat colds and flu
- Protects brain function
- Improves gut health
- Promotes healthy teeth and gums
- Helps with joint pain
Cinnamon is one of the most versatile, easy-to-use spices.
Cinnamon can be used to flavor a variety of desserts and savory dishes. You can also add a dash of cinnamon to your morning smoothie or oatmeal for added flavor and a nutritional boost.
Due to it’s high anti-bacterial and anti-microbial properties, cinnamon bark essential oil is an excellent essential oil to diffuse during cold and flu season.
You can also take cinnamon capsules for an added boost (find them here.)
Native to southern Asia, ginger is a warm climate plant that can be grown almost anywhere.
Ginger is an incredibly versatile plant, with a strong, pungent aroma and a slightly sweet, biting flavor.
A common ingredient in a variety of cuisines including Indian and Asian, ginger is also used to flavor various desserts and beverages, including gingerbread and ginger beer.
Ginger, in various forms, is frequently recommended to pregnant women to help relieve morning sickness.
Health Benefits of Ginger
- Helps to relieve nausea and various stomach upsets
- Can significantly reduce morning sickness in pregnant women (always check with your healthcare professional before use)
- Powerful anti-inflammatory
- Helps to relieve indigestion
- Improves digestive health
Ginger can be used fresh, ground, in capsules, or in tea.
Fresh ginger can be found at any grocery store.
Did you know that cloves are actually flowers?
That’s right – a clove is the unopened, dried flower of an Indonesian evergreen tree.
Cloves are warming and soothing, with a pungent aroma. Cloves have been used in Ayurvedic medicine for thousands of years and are also a common ingredient in Asian cooking.
Health Benefits of Cloves
- Helps to improve digestion
- Contains antibacterial properties
- Helps to preserve bone density
- Boosts the immune system
- Helps to relieve toothache
Cloves can be used to flavor both sweet and savory dishes. Because of their warm, spicy flavor, cloves are popular in fall and winter recipes, including pumpkin pie and various stews and soups.
Clove essential oil can be diffused and you can also add a dash of ground cloves into your morning smoothie.
There are thousands of herbs and spices used in Ayurvedic medicine – I’ve merely touched on five spices that you can easily find, that all contain amazing health benefits.
Do you have any other common Ayurvedic herbs that you incorporate into your daily life? Let me know in the comments!