Herbs And Spices Used In Indian Cooking

Not only does Indian food taste amazing and have vibrant colors but there are also many health benefits of all the Herbs And Spices Used In Indian Cooking

Indian spices do not only add exotic and bold flavors, but they are also known to have anti-bacterial & anti-inflammatory properties, and some are even high in antioxidants.

The spices used in Indian cooking can help maintain a healthier lifestyle.  You would be surprised by the never-ending list of the ways they help.

Different herbs and spices including turmeric and red chili powder

Like any other healthy food, eating too many spices can have the opposite effect.  When eaten in moderation you will benefit from all their goodness.

Disclaimer: I am not a healthcare expert in any way, always seek advice from your doctor.

From my research, I have found the following benefits of the spices used in Indian cooking.

Cumin (Jeera)

Cumin is used in many popular Indian dishes including curries, rice, samosas to name a few.  It is usually fried in hot oil so it can release its flavors and health benefits.

It is known to boost the immune system and helps fight against the common cold during the winter months due to its antiseptic properties.

Iron is needed to transport oxygen around your body.  Cumin contains large amounts of iron, which is great not only for your immune system but also to give your metabolism a boost.


  • High in iron.
  • Antiseptic properties.
  • Boosting the immune system.
  • Good for metabolism.

Source: Healthline – Health Benefits Of Cumin Seeds

Turmeric (Haldi)

Turmeric is part of the ginger family and we all know how good ginger is for us.  Its roots are dried and ground into a fine yellow powder, which is used in most Indian curries.

Have you ever noticed that a lot of Indian curries have a yellowish color to them, this is because turmeric has been added?  It gives the dish a yellow color and plays a part to the aroma of Indian food.

Turmeric has been used as a remedy in India for 6000 years and continues to be used.

In India, it is common to see it being used to treat cuts, burns, sore throats, and even for cosmetic benefits.

It’s believed turmeric was introduced to Indian food because of its anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. 


  • Antibacterial properties.
  • Anti-inflammatory.
  • Treating cuts and burns.
  • Good for skin

Source: Healthline – Health Benefits Of Turmeric

Cilantro (Dhaniya)

Cilantro takes any dish to the next level with its lemony/lime-like flavor.

Leaves, seeds, and stems are used in Indian cooking usually in curries and rice dishes.  However, it’s not only good for its flavors but also its health benefits.

Cilantro is considered to be a superfood as it is said that it contains anti-microbial and anti-fungal properties.  Not only this, it is claimed that cilantro can lower blood levels, sugar levels, and  cholesterol levels


  • Anti-microbial.
  • Anti-fungal.
  • Helps lower blood pressure.
  • Helps lower blood sugar levels.
  • Lower cholesterol levels.

Source: Medical News Today – Health Benefits Of Cilantro

Ginger (Adrak)

When people think of ginger, they usually associate it with ginger ale or gingerbread cookies but there is more to ginger than that.  Researchers tell us there are many health benefits.

Ginger is one of the key ingredients for making gravy (masala) for curries.   Fresh ginger is always used in Indian cooking but in some circumstances, you can get away by using ground ginger.

Let’s look at some of these health benefits.

Ginger helps manage blood sugar levels.  Researchers have found that ginger helps maintain the level of glucose in our bodies which is important for weight loss.  It also speeds up your metabolism by burning off those extra calories.

Adding ginger to your meals gives your body strength for staying alert.  No more need for any energy drinks which are full of chemicals and who knows what else. 

Ginger tea is drunk in many cultures during the cold months as it helps them to keep warm, this is because ginger thins the blood which is good for circulation and in return also warms up the body.

Health benefits also include reducing dizziness, nausea, and vomiting.  For this reason, it is popular with pregnant women who suffer from morning sickness.


  • Better blood circulation.
  • Reduces morning sickness.
  • Helps manage blood sugar levels.
  • Help stay focused.

Source: WebMD – Health Benefits Of Ginger

Garlic (Lahasun)

Not only does garlic keep Dracula away, but it’s also full of medicinal properties.

This is another key ingredient in making the gravy (masala) in curries.

Including garlic in your daily food intake can help fight against the common cold.  It contains antioxidants that could help prevent Alzheimer’s disease. 

The compounds found in garlic can also reduce blood pressure.  Having high blood pressure can lead to diseases such as strokes and heart attacks.

Cholesterol is needed by the body to build healthy cells, but having too much cholesterol (high cholesterol) it can lead to heart disease.  Garlic is known to improve the levels of cholesterol in your body.


  • Tastes amazing.
  • Reduces blood pressure.
  • Helps to maintain a healthy cholesterol level.
  • Fights the common cold.

Source: Healthline – Health Benefits Of Garlic

Cloves (Laung)

Cloves are usually used in Indian meat curries and rice dishes.  This strange-looking spice not only holds a strong punch of aroma and flavor but can also reduce pain from toothaches. 

Chewing on one of these can reduce toothache until you visit the dentist.

This little spice is full of nutrients including iron, calcium, B vitamins, and magnesium.

It is known to help fight infections by increasing the white cells in the blood.  As they are high in Vitamin C which helps strengthen the immune system.

The list goes on, they also help your body fight against digestion issues.


  • Strengthen the immune system.
  • Reduces toothache pain.
  • Helps against digestion issues.

Source: Verywell Health – Health Benefits Of Cloves

Cardamom (Ilaayachee)

Cardamoms are small pods that are filled with small seeds, they come in 3 colors green, black, and white.

Green and black cardamoms are used in many sweet and savory Indian dishes.  They enhance the flavors of any dish they are used in and at the same time bringing some great medicinal benefits to the table.

They contain anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties.  It is said that cardamom could fight against bacteria.

Some studies have even shown that cardamoms could help with some metabolic syndrome that can lead to diabetes (type 2) and heart disease. 

The health benefits of these pods are endless and research suggests they may help against many known issues such as high cholesterol, obesity, and high blood sugar, etc.


  • Anti-inflammatory & antibacterial properties.
  • May help fight against metabolic syndrome.
  • May help with high cholesterol.
  • May help with high blood sugar.

Source: Healthline – Health Benefits Of Cardamoms

Cinnamon (Daalacheenee)

Who doesn’t like a little bit of cinnamon in their coffee served with some warm cinnamon rolls?  I sure do lol.

Cinnamon isn’t only good for its unique bold flavors, but it also contains some health benefits that can help the human body stay strong and healthy.

So, let’s look at some of the health benefits.

It contains antioxidants that protect the body from oxidative damage.  It also has anti-inflammatory properties that support your body’s fight against infections by repairing any damaged tissue.

It is also known to lower blood sugar levels by reducing the amount of glucose that enters your body after a meal. 

And guess what it is also a natural food preservative.


  • Contains antioxidants.
  • Lowers blood sugar levels.
  • Contains anti-inflammatory properties.

Source: BBC Good Food – Health Benefits Of Cinnamon

Saffron (Kesar)

Saffron spice comes from a flower of the Crocus sativus plant.  We hear that saffron is more expensive in weight compared to gold.

So, is it worth paying the price for this expensive spice?

This is another spice that contains antioxidants.  It’s said that it may help fight against cancer-fighting properties.

While saffron has a florally sweet taste, it also gives a yellowish red color to any dish that it is used in. 

It is used in Indian curries as well as desserts such as kheer and shrikhand.

It is said that it may help with weight loss by reducing your appetite.  In this case, I will definitely give it a run for its money. lol.


  • Contains antioxidants.
  • May fight against cancer properties.
  • May help with weight loss.

Source: Healthline – Health Benefits Of Saffron

Nutmeg (Jaayaphal)

Another favorite for coffee lovers.  A little sprinkle of ground nutmeg makes any coffee even more awesome.

Nutmeg is a seed from the nutmeg tree which has quite a few health benefits associated with it.

So, let’s have a look at a few of them.

It contains antioxidants that protect the cells from damage caused by free radicals, oxidative stress occurs when free radical levels become too high.

Antibacterial properties can also be found in nutmeg which is great to fight against bad bacteria.

It is also said it may help with improving blood sugar levels.

Anti-inflammatory properties can also be found in nutmegs.  Inflammation can lead to heart problems, arthritis, and even diabetes.  It contains rich anti-inflammatory compounds called monoterpenes that could help reduce inflammation.


  • Contains antioxidants.
  • Contains antibacterial properties.
  • May help with blood sugar levels.
  • Tastes amazing in coffee.

Source: Healthline – Health Benefits Of Nutmeg

Black Pepper (Kaalee Mirch)

Black pepper is everyone’s best friend.  It can make a blend meal taste amazing.  Not only does it have a hot kick to it, but it contains some important health benefits too.

Black pepper contains antioxidants, like I said early, it is needed to fight against free radicals that cause cellular damage.  Free radicals are formed by many variables such as sun exposure, smoking, and poor diet to name a few.

It is said that it may even lower cholesterol levels and improve blood sugar control.


  • Contains antioxidants.
  • May lower cholesterol levels.
  • May improve blood sugar control.

Source: WebMD – Health Benefits Of Black Pepper

Final Thoughts

Even though there are many health benefits to these spices, We need to consume them moderately.  Like I said before I’m not a healthcare expert in any way, so please always seek advice from your doctor.

These are just some of the common spices used in Indian cooking.  Not only do they add some amazing flavors but they also contain some of the basic properties that our bodies need to stay healthy.

I hope this list of herbs and spices used in Indian cooking has given you a better insight into Indian cooking.

If you use any other spices or herbs or have any questions let us know in the comments.

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