A recent study by the University of California shows that the turmeric contained in many curries may play a role in treating Alzheimer's disease. But few people realise that nearly all the spices found in Indian food have medicinal benefits, reports the Original Text Service.
Research by London-based Indian food company Patak's has shown that when spices are cooked they release essential oils which, according topractitioners of alternative medicine, have special "Kormatherapy"effects.
"Whether you're in need of a circulation boost after too many dayscurled up indoors, your nose is streaming or your joints are achingfrom the cold, frosty weather, a good Indian meal or a "Kormatherapy" session containing the right spice fix, can help fight many common winter ailments," Patak's said.
Although we are more familiar with the benefits of the essencescommonly available in aromatherapy treatments, the essential oils contained in Indian food can have equally positive effects.
One of the creative influences in Patak's food, Meena Pathak OBE, has spent years sourcing the best spices from all over the world and believes they dohold unique medicinal properties.
"An ancient Hindu teaching called Ayurveda meaning life - ayur -and knowledge - veda - shows that eating the right food isfundamental in maintaining a state of well-being. It is believedthat the harmonious blend of herbs and spices combined with the rightbalance of foods that heat and cool our bodies is the key to goodhealth."
"In India, the instinctive knowledge of these teachings is passedfrom generation to generation and has enabled mothers to use theseskills to care for their children's health with natural remedies,"said Pathak.
The food company has now produced a guide to the health benefits of each of their products. Ginger, for example, one of the key spices in tikka dishes, was once believed to be a home remedy for the plague and was also thought to improve a poor disposition. In recent years it has been proven as a treatment for nausea.
Similarly, hot chilli peppers, the key spice in Britain's popular vindaloo curry, were once used to cure cholera, jaundice and ringworm, but we now know that they have a great effect on the relief of nasal congestion. Cumin soothes indigestion by working on the enzymes in the stomach, and coriander seeds help stimulate the digestive system.
Patak's Kormatherapy Guide is available from http://www.pataks.co.uk