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Nutritional & medicinal properties of important seed spices
Monday, 28 February, 2022, 12 : 00 PM [IST]
Ranjeetha. R, Veeresh, Nagendraprasad. H & Nadeem Pasha
A spice is a dried seed or fruit or root or bark or vegetative substance used in nutritionally insignificant quantities as food additives for flavouring. Many spices have other uses such as food preservation, medicine, religious rituals, cosmetics, perfumery or used as vegetables. The spices are being utilised globally by the consumers as they are completely natural, rather than artificial additives used for flavouring and seasoning of foods. India is rightly called ‘the land of spices' as it is the largest producer, consumer and exporter of spices in the world.

The total area under spices in India is about 39.6 lakh hectares with a production of 84.1 lakh metric tonnes and productivity of 2.1 metric tonnes per hectare. About 70% spices in the world is produced by India. Seed spices own a remarkable place in total basket of spices of the country. There are 10 important seed spices, they are cumin, coriander, celery, caraway, dill, fennel, fenugreek, ajwain, anise, nigella. Cumin occupies largest area followed by coriander. There is great demand for seed spices both in domestic and international trade.

Spices have numerous health benefits; in fact, it is the addition of a bouquet of spices to traditional Indian home-cooked food that makes it one of the healthiest meals consumed worldwide. Spices have a lot of nutritional content and offer a lot of health benefits.

Coriander: Carminative, diuretic, tonic, stimulant, stomachic, refrigerant, aphrodisiac, analgesic, anti-inflammatory, anti-hyperglycemic, anti-oxidant, anti-hyperlipidemic and hypotensive.
    • Coriander tea: Add one table spoon of coriander seeds to one glass of water and boil. Allow it to cool, strain and add milk and sugar. Drinking this tea relieves viral fever.

Cumin (jeera): Digestive, carminative, astringent, anti-inflammatory, constipating, diuretic, revulsive, galactogogue, uterine & nerve stimulant, anti-microbial, anti-oxidant and chemoprotective activity.
    • Add 1 table spoon of cumin seeds in one glass of water and boil properly. Strain and drink twice or thrice a day, this will relive from cold.

Fennel: Stimulant, carminative, stomachic, emmenagogue, refrigerant, cardiac stimulant, antiemetic, aphrodisiac, anthelmintic, anti-oxidant, hepatoprotective, anticancer, anti-microbial,  ant-viral, anti-inflammatory, antipyretic, antispasmodic, antithrombotic, cardiovascular, antitumor, hepatoprotective, hypoglycemic, hypolipidemic and memory enhancing property.
    • Boil fennel seeds in water and drink. It relieves from cough and cold.

Fenugreek: Carminative, tonic, aphrodisiac, emollient, anti-bacterial, used in vomiting, fever, anorexia, colonitis, antidiabetic, anti-carcinogenic, hypocholesterolemic, anti-oxidant, immunological activities and lung infections.
    • Soak one table spoon of fenugreek seeds in half cup of water overnight. Strain the solution and sip at regular intervals to treat viral fever.

Ajwain: Anti-fungal, anti-oxidant, anti-microbial, cytotoxic, hypolipidemic, anti-hypertensive, anti-spasmodic, broncho-dilating actions, anti-lithiasis, diuretic, abortifacient, anti-tussive, nematicidal, anthelmintic, anti-filarial, antiplatelet-aggregatory and hepatoprotective activity.
    • Add ajwain in boiling water and allow it to cool.  Sip the water twice or thrice for three days to fight cold.

Dill: Carminative, stomachic, antipyretic, treatment of cold, cough, bronchitis, ulcers, sleep disorders, infections and menstrual cramps.
    • Dill seed decoction: Roast a table spoon of dill, peppercorns and kalonji. Add this mixture to a cup of boiling water and boil for 10 minutes. Strain the contents, add a pinch of cinnamon powder and drink warm to relieve fever.

Black cumin: Bronchitis, asthma, diarrhea, rheumatism, skin disorders, anti-diarrheal, appetite, stimulant, diuretic, antihypertensive, antidiabetic, anti-cancerous, emmenagogue, to increase milk production in nursing mothers, fight parasitic infections, support immune system, anti-viral and anti-bacterial activity.
    • Black cumin oil, honey and warm water together helps to strengthen immunity and ease cough and cold when consumed daily.

Celery: Stimulant, tonic, diuretic, carminative, emmenagogue, anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant and anti-bacterial.
    • Celery juice helps in boosting immune system and relieves from cold.

Caraway: Stomachic, carminative, anthemintic, lactagogue, adjuvant/ corrective for nauseating & griping effects of medicines.
    • kala jeera pani: Boil half teaspoon of kala jeera and 5-6 leaves of tulsi in a glass of water till the mixture becomes half the quantity. Drinking this potion (1 teaspoon) twice a day will cure fever and boosts immunity.

Anise: Mild expectorant, stimulating, carminative, diuretic, diaphoretic, in asthma powders, in veterinary medicine, anti-microbial, anti-bacterial and anti-fungal activity.
    • Add two anise pods in boiling water and boil for 15 min. Strain and add few drops of honey. Drinking this tea thrice daily boosts immunity by acting against cough and cold.

Benefits of seed spices
    • Steam inhalation with ajwain seeds once in a day relieves dry cough and sore throat.
    • Steep few coriander seeds in half litre of water. Drinking this several times a day instantly boosts immune system.
    • Spice tea: Grind seeds of coriander, fennel and fenugreek together and add it to a boiling water along with rock candy. After sometime, add milk and heat. This drink will relieve cold.
    • Add 1 tsp of fennel seeds in a cup of hot water and steep for 10-15 minutes. Strain the water and add raw honey (if needed). Drink this fennel tea 2-3 times a day. Alternatively, simply chewing some of the dry roasted fennel seeds prevents breathing problems.
    • Kashayam: roast coriander, cumin and fennel seeds. Cool and grind with ginger powder and boil the mixture in water, add jaggery and milk. It is a perfect home remedy for the treatment of cold, cough, throat pain, fever and boost immunity.

Seed spices have been discovered to offer tremendous health advantages, and their ability to impart biological activity is progressively resurfacing as a topic of study for human health.

(Ranjeetha. R is horticulture scientist, KVK, Magadi Taluk, Ramanagara, Karnataka; Veeresh has M.Sc. in agricultural economics, UAS Raichur;
Nagendraprasad. H has M.Sc. Ag. horticulture (floriculture and landscape architecture), Rajmata Vijayaraje Scindia Krishi Vishwa Vidyalaya Gwalior, Madhya Pradesh; Nadeem Pasha has M.Sc. (Agri) in Horticulture, UAS GKVK, Bengaluru. They can be reached at

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