Spice Up Your Diet
Spices and herbs are concentrated forms of Nature's healing intelligence. They are particularly revered in ayurveda for their ability to enhance digestion and assimilation, help cleanse ama (toxins) from the body and their yogavahi property--their ability to transport the healing and nutritive value of other components of the diet to the cells, tissues and organs.
Spices, in ayurveda, are generally eaten cooked. Sauté spices in a little olive oil or ghee (clarified butter) and pour the mixture over cooked foods, or simmer spices with foods like beans or grains as they cook. Fresh herbs such as cilantro or mint are generally added at the end of the cooking process, just before serving.
Ayurveda recommends spices/herbs to stimulate the digestion before a meal, during a meal and after a meal. Eating a bit of fresh ginger and lemon about 30 minutes before a main meal helps kick-start the digestion. Eating dishes cooked with a variety of spices and herbs helps the process of digestion--absorption--assimilation--elimination. Chewing fennel seeds after a meal helps digestion and freshens the breath naturally as well.
Ayurvedic rasayanas such as Amalaki and Triphala offer additional ways to help nourish and cleanse the digestive system. Amalaki Rasayana helps enhance digestion, helps balance the production of stomach acid and nourishes the body tissues. Triphala Rasayana helps tone and cleanse the digestive tract and helps nourish the different tissues.