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These cookies do not store any personal information. Kunnumakkara Bharat B. Molecular Targets and Therapeutic Uses of Spices quantity. To browse Academia. Skip to main content. You're using an out-of-date version of Internet Explorer. By using our site, you agree to our collection of information through the use of cookies.

Molecular Targets And Therapeutic Uses Of Spices: Modern Uses For Ancient Medicine

To learn more, view our Privacy Policy. Log In Sign Up. Ajaikumar Kunnumakkara. Bharat Aggarwal. Sanjit Dey. Prashasnika Gehlot. Traditional Uses of Spices: An Overview. They have served numerous roles through history, including as coloring agents, flavoring agents, preserv- atives, food additives and medicine. The active phytochemicals derived from these spices have provided the molecular basis for these actions. This chapter reviews the traditional uses of selected spices.

✅10 Indian Spices & their Health Benefits

Many of these substances are also used in traditional medicines. Globalization has made these spices easily available, and increasing their popularity. Kunnumakkara et al. Sanskrit pippali, the word for long pepper, via the Latin piper, which was used by the Romans to refer both to pepper and long pepper as the Romans erroneously believed that both of these spices were derived from the same plant.

Pepper is a perennial vine and a native of South India.

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In its dried form, the fruit is often referred to as peppercorns. The sole use of black pepper is in the seasoning of food owing to its aroma and pungency.


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In tradi- tional medicines, this spice is also reported to have digestive power, to improve appetite, and to cure cold, cough, dyspnea, diseases of the throat, intermittent fever, colic, dysentery, worms and piles Fig. Traditional uses of black pepper.

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Pepper root, in the form of ghees, powders, enemas and balms, is a folk remedy for abdominal tumors. Chinese use the spice for urinary calculus. An electuary prepared from the seed is said to help hard tumors, while a salve prepared from the seed is said to help eye indurations and internal tumors. It is called elakkaay in Telugu and elam in Tamil. All these cardamom species are used as cooking spices. Medically, cardamom is used for flatulent indigestion and to stimulate the appetite in people with anorexia Fig. Moreover, in Ayurvedic medi- cine it is used as a carminative, diuretic, stomachic and digestive, and for cough, colds and cardiac stimulation.

Cardamom has been used in tradi- tional medicine against kidney and urinary disorders,6 and as a gastrointestinal protective. When mixed with neem and camphor, cardamom is used as a nasal prepa- ration to treat colds.

An infusion of cardamom can be used as a gargle to relieve sore throats, which has led to its use in cough sweets. Cardamom is also reportedly used as an antidote for both snake and scorpion venom and for food poisoning. In traditional Chinese medicine it is used to treat stomachache, constipation, dysentery, and other digestion problems. Cardamom pods, fried and mixed with mastic and milk, are used for blad- der problems. The seeds are popularly believed to be an aphrodisiac. Traditional uses of cardamom. In sinhala Sri Lanka , it is known as kurundu, Sanskrit as tvak or da-rusita-, Hindi as dalchini, and in Gujarati as taj.

In Malayalam cinnamon is called karuva or elavarngam. This spice is regarded as antipyretic, antiseptic, astringent, balsamic, carminative, diaphoretic, fungicidal, stimulant, and stomachic Fig. The powdered bark of this spice in water is applied to alleviate headaches and neuralgia. Cinnamon is often combined with ginger to stimulate cir- culation and digestion. In addition, among people of Kashmiri origin, cinnamon is used to treat infectious diseases.

Traditional uses of cinnamon. Cloves are native to Indonesia and are used as a spice in cuisine all over the world. The spice is used in Ayurveda, Chinese medicine and Western herbalism and dentistry, where the essential oil is used as an anodyne painkiller for dental emer- gencies Fig. It has been reported as analgesic, anesthetic, antibacterial, antiparasitic, antidotal, antioxidant, antiperspirant, antiseptic, carminative, deodorant, digestive, rubefacient, stimulant, stomachic, tonic and ver- mifugal. Traditional uses of cloves.

Cloves are also said to be a natural antihelmintic. Topical application of this spice over the stomach or abdomen will warm the digestive tract. In Chinese medicine cloves are considered acrid, warm and aromatic, entering the kidney, spleen and stomach meridians, and are notable in their ability to warm the middle, direct stomach qi energy flow downward, treat hiccough and fortify the kidney. As such it is used in formulas for impotence or clear vaginal discharge, for morning sickness together with ginseng and patchouli, and for vomiting and diarrhea due to spleen and stomach coldness.

Cloves are used for the treat- ment of dog and cat ear problems in British Columbia, Canada. Cloves are also employed as a fragrance in flavoring industries. Apiaceae Umbelliferae coriander, also known as cilantro, cilantrillo, Arab parsley, Chinese parsley, Mexican parsley, Dhania and Yuen sai , is native to southwestern Asia and regions west to north Africa. Coriander leaves are referred to as cilantro United States and Canada, from the Spanish name for the plant , dhania Indian subcontinent, and increasingly in Britain , kindza in Georgia , Chinese parsley or Mexican parsley.

All parts of the plant are edible, but the fresh leaves and the dried seeds are the most common parts used in cooking. In Indian traditional medicine, coriander is used in the disorders of digestive, respiratory and urinary systems as it has diaphoretic, diuretic, carminative and stimulant activities Fig.


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  • The plant is recommended for relief of anxiety and insomnia in Iranian folk medicine,22 and it is a common plant included in the Mexican diet, usually consumed uncooked, the oil being used as an antimicrobial agent and as a natural fragrance. Traditional uses of corriander. An infusion of the leaves is used as a gargle for recurrent mouth ulcers. As an emollient it is used in poultices for boils, cysts and other complaints. Traditional uses of fenugreek.

    Fenugreek has been demonstrated to relieve conges- tion, reduce inflammation and fight infection. Fenugreek is used for treating sinus and lung congestion, and loosens and removes excess mucus and phlegm. The Chinese use the seed for abdominal pain, chilblains, cholecy- tosis, fever, hernia, impotence, hypogastrosis, nephrosis, and rheumatism. One of the oldest dietary vegetables, it has been used as early as BC for the treatment of intestinal disorders and is now known for its fibrinolytic activ- ity and its possible role in lowering blood cholesterol. Traditional uses of garlic. In Ayurvedic and Siddha med- icine garlic juice has been used to alleviate sinus problems.

    In Unani medicine, an extract prepared from the dried bulb is inhaled to promote abor- tion or taken to regulate menstruation. Unani physicians also use garlic to treat paralysis, forgetfulness, tremor, colic pains, internal ulcers and fevers. The rhi- zome of ginger has long been used in Ayurvedic and traditional Chinese medicine to treat a wide range of ailments including gastrointestinal dis- orders, mainly nausea and vomiting associated with motion sickness and pregnancy, abdominal spasm, as well as respiratory and rheumatic disorders Fig.

    As a home remedy, ginger is widely used for dyspepsia, flatulence, abdominal discomfort and nausea. It has been recommended by herbalists for use as a carminative an agent that reduces flatulence and expels gas from the intestines , diaphoretic an agent that produces or increases per- spiration , antispasmodic, expectorant, peripheral circulatory stimulant, and astringent an agent that causes shrinkage of mucous membranes or exposed tissues and that is often used internally to check discharge of blood serum or mucous secretions.

    Traditional uses of ginger. In traditional medicine, ginger has been used to treat a wide array of ailments including sore throats, stom- achaches, diarrhea, toothache, gingivitis, arthritis inflammation of the joints , bronchitis an acute inflammation of the air passages within the lungs , muscle pains, sprains, constipation dermatitis, hypertension, dementia, fever, infectious diseases, helminthiasis, stroke, constipation, diabetes and asthmatic respiratory disorders. It is regarded as an aromatic, carminative, diaphoretic, digestive, diuretic, emmenagogue, excitant, lactagogue, laxative, expectorant, antipyretic, antihelminthic, resolvent, stimulant, sudorific, parasiticide, stomachic, tonic, and vermifuge Fig.

    The herb may be more important to Muslims than to Christians and Jews. Prophet Muhammad SAW once stated that the black seed can heal every disease — except death.