I love eating and I love the idea of healing with foods. It's medicine we can enjoy! Ayurveda, Indian medicine, would have us reaching for the spice rack for all sorts of common discomforts. Here are five spices to get you started.
Cumin kindles the gastric fire thereby improving appetite, reducing gas and aiding digestion of minerals in the intestines. It supports lactation and gently balances the hormones and restores the body’s tissues. Cumin is very popular in North Indian food, and more surprisingly, Italian food too.
Fennel is sweet, unctuous and warming. It is particularly valuable, in combination with fenugreek, for boosting your milk supply. It calms the nervous system and promotes mental clarity. It can aid with digestive difficulties including abdominal pain and cramping. Fennel can be added to sweets such as rice pudding or biscuits. It adds a lovely liquorice flavour to Chinese food.
Fenugreek is known around the world for supporting breastfeeding. You may be advised to take fenugreek capsules, but Ayurveda recommends taking fenugreek as a tea, which is more balancing. Mix one-part fenugreek seeds with two-parts fennel seeds, add one teaspoon of this mixture to one litre of boiling water. Fenugreek is also useful for expelling the placenta and for the health of the reproductive organs.
Coriander can help with excessive thirst and digestive acid. Add fresh or seeds to stir fries, coconut curry and dhal.
Dill is a wonderful herb for colic. Taken by the mother the baby can reap the benefits including reducing hiccoughs, gas and cramps. Dill is sweet and warm and can be used in Mediterranean food or added the stews.