Garam masala is a mixture of spices made into a fine powder. This is used in everyday cooking to add flavour to various recipes. In addition to enhancing taste, it also has various benefits of health and is used in Ayurveda cooking. These are the benefits of garam masala for overall health and well-being of the body.
Spices in Garam masala
- Black or white peppercorns
- Cardamom – green
- Cardamom – black
- Dry ginger
- Bay leaf
- Cumin seeds (Jeera)
- Coriander seeds
- Ground nutmeg mace (Jaathi pathiri)
- Star anise
Health benefits of cinnamon
- Cinnamon when used along with honey can help in weight loss.
- Cinnamon is used in oral hygiene. Herbal tooth powder can be made using activated charcoal, mint and cinnamon powder. Other than protecting teeth, it can also freshen breath naturally.
- It is an excellent source of anti-oxidants. These aromatic sticks can fight against free radicals and build immunity. It works to fight against viruses and bacteria and protects the body. Research studies also show that cinnamon can fight against HIV virus and can help in the management of HIV.
- Cinnamon increases levels of HDL cholesterol (Good cholesterol) and simultaneously reduces levels of LDL cholesterol (Bad cholesterol) in the body.
- Brain function is positively impacted by the properties present in cinnamon. It improves the motor function and helps those who suffer from Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease.
Health benefits of peppercorns
- Black pepper can improve digestion and promote metabolism.
- Pepper (both black and white) are good to cure respiratory disorders such as asthma, sinusitis condition, common cold, cough and nasal congestion. Pepper prevents mucus deposits in the respiratory tract and acts as an expectorant.
- A tea made using pepper is another mild remedy to cure nasal congestion. Here are the steps to make pepper tea:
- Boil water in a vessel.
- Add crushed fresh peppercorn or dried peppercorn to the boiling water.
- Allow the peppercorn to boil in water for a few minutes.
- Switch off.
- Add half a teaspoon of palm sugar.
- Strain the tea and drink.
- Black pepper helps to break down fat and thereby this can help in weight reduction.
- Pepper concoction (kashayam) made using black or white peppercorn, ginger and Tulsi leaves is an excellent remedy and can fight fever effectively.
- Black pepper has anti-inflammatory properties and this can be used to treat pain due to gout, rheumatism and arthritis.
Health benefits of cloves
- Cloves have anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant and anti-bacterial properties.
- Cloves can reduce problems such as flatulence, heart burn and nausea.
- It is also known to have anti-diabetic properties.
- Regular (but mild) consumption of cloves, it is good to protect the liver and can protect the body from terminal illnesses such as cancer.
Health benefits of Cardamom
Cardamom is used to cure nausea.
In addition to adding an aroma and flavour to recipes, it can also cure heartburn, flatulence and bloating.
Cardamom has aphrodisiac properties and it has been used for centuries in reducing symptoms of pregnancy and to improve sexual performance.
Health benefits of Dry ginger
Ginger contains a powerful medicinal substance called gingerol. Gingerol can cure nausea, reduce motion sickness and prevent digestion related issues.
Health benefits of Bay leaf
- Bay leaf is excellent for the treatment of diabetes.
- It can also have benefits for the heart, prevent cardiac issues and is good for digestion.
- Bay leaf also has anti-cancer properties.
- A tea made using bay leaf can cure problems relating to menstruation.
Health benefits of cumin seeds (jeera)
Cumin seeds is one of the key spices advocated by both Ayurveda and Siddha for overall well-being.
- It is a wonder spice and in addition to treating digestive disorders, it can prevent nausea, sickness and abdominal pain.
- Regular consumption of jeera can help in weight loss.
- It is beneficial to mothers and promotes lactation.
- It is an excellent source of iron and dietary fiber and can hence help in building immunity.
- Jeera is good for treating diabetes and jeera when consumed in the form a mild herbal tea is the best for treating this condition.
Health benefits of coriander seeds
Coriander seeds can reduce levels of bad cholesterol.
It is good to cure UTI (Urinary tract infection). Both coriander seeds and leaves can treat UTI effectively.
Coriander seeds help to treat inflammation and they can also improve neurological function.
Health benefits of nutmeg mace
Nutmeg mace (known as Jathipathiri in Tamil) is an aromatic spice used in Indian cooking.
It can cure gas in the intestine, diarrhea, nausea and many such digestive disorders.
Health benefits of Star anise
- Star anise is optional for the making of garam masala.
- But star anise adds excellent aroma to the masala and it also imparts a mild flavour.
- A tea made with star anise can reduce cramps in the stomach, cure nausea, work as a healing herb and make the stomach feel lighter.
The masala has various health benefits as found in multiple studies:
Garam masala can also reduce the incidence of tumours due to its chemopreventive action.
A study was conducted about the chemopreventive action of garam masala in mice. The average numbers of tumors per effective mouse reduced from the base control value of 1.43 to 0.46. This was at a lower dose and 0.25 at the higher dose of Garam masala.
Source: Chemopreventive action of oriental food‐seasoning spices mixture garam masala on DMBA‐induced transplacental and translactational carcinogenesis in mice (http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/01635589509514365)