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Spice Up Your Health: Part 2 - Cloves

Posted by SpiceNirvana 28/09/2017 0 Comment(s) Healthy Eating,

 

A journey through the pantry of Indian culinary experts, one spice at a time...

 

Welcome back to the Nirvana Blog.

 

We hope you liked our previous post on the health benefits of turmeric. For this article we have chosen a another simple spice - cloves. Though many of us probably already have cloves their pantries in either whole or in powdered form or even mixed with some other spice blend, most of us are probably not aware of the health benefits and medicinal use of this little dried flower bud!

 

Cloves have long been used in ancient Indian Ayurvedic medicine, most notable one is where the essential oil from it is used to relieve toothaches. Clove oil is hence used in preparation of some toothpastes and Clovacaine solution, which is a local anesthetic used in oral ulceration and inflammation. Clove oil is also mixed with zinc oxide to form a temporary tooth cavity filling. They are used as a carminative (to prevent flatulence) and are also said to be a natural anthelmintic (to get rid of parasites within the body). The essential oil is also used in aromatherapy when stimulation and warming are needed, especially for digestive problems. Topical application over the stomach or abdomen are said to warm the digestive tract. Applied to a cavity in a decayed tooth, it also relieves toothache.

 

Cloves are an essential ingredient in most Indian cooking. It is a part of the 'Garam Masala', where whole spices in perfect proportions are roasted (releasing their essential oils) and ground into a fine powder, and used as a taste/aroma/flavour enhancer in many Indian dishes.

 

Indians just can't seem to get enough spices in their meals, they add them to almost all their beverages too! India is also a tea loving nation that produces some of the world's finest teas like the Darjeeling and Assam varieties. It was pretty obvious that Indians came up with a concoction that combines both. Masala Tea or 'Chai' as the modern world knows it, is normally how tea is had in India.

 

Chai is traditionally prepared by cooking the tea leaves in milk (with little or no water added) along with crushed spices. Modern Indian households generally cook their tea with just ginger and green cardamom, but the blend of spices used can vary. Chai Masala is a spice mix that makes it easy to come up with this aromatic and healthy beverage quickly by just adding it in while cooking or sprinkling it on your cuppa. Though the recipe can vary regionally, it is generally a blend of cloves, green cardamoms, star anise, nutmeg, cinnamon, all spice and fresh ginger that is ground into a fine powder.

 

Next time you feel like having a 'Chai-Latte' try making the original version at home with Chai Masala, you will not be disappointed. You can make it with or without milk, and skip the sugar or substitute it with honey.

 

We will be back again next time with a lesser know exotic spice.

 

Spice Nirvana

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