Thursday, October 8, 2009

Receipe for Pumpkin Pie

Halloween is right here and pumpkins are every where. Try a recipe of my favorite pumpkin pie. I use a 9 inch pie crust shell from local super market. I don't know how to make a shell from flour !. I use the following to make the pie.

1) 1 1/2 cup of evaporate milk
2) 1 tsp unflavored gelatin
3) 1/2 tsp Indus Organics clove powder
4) 1/2 tsp Indus organics ginger powder
5) 1 tsp Indus Organics Ceylon Cinnamon powder (If you use cinnamon from super market grocery store, it will be spicy, Ceylon cinnamon will provide sweet taste)
6) 3/4 cup sugar
7) 2 cup Pumpkin puree
(link to make puree
8) 3 eggs
9) 1/4 tsp salt

1) 1 cup finely chopped walnuts
2) 2/3 cup brown sugar
3) pinch of salt
4) 3 tsp melted unsalted butter

Work you have to do:

1) Pre-heat the oven
2) Roll out the dough in the pan
3) Bake the shell as per instruction by manufacturer
4) Cool completely before filling
5) Mix the gelatin and evaporated milk together
6) Add Ceylon cinnamon, ginger, cloves and salt and whisk until blended.
7) Add the eggs and sugar and whisk again until blended and smooth.
8) cook over moderate heat, whisking constantly for 10 minutes until mixture thickens slightly
9) Remove from the heat and add the pumpkin and whisk until smooth
10) Pour the filling in to the prepared pie shell and refrigerate for at least 4 hrs.

Let us make the topping now:

1)Combine the ingredients of topping and spread over the cooled pie
2)Broil for 2 min until topping turns light brown, (don't burn the topping !)

Sit down, relax and enjoy the Halloween pumpkin pie with a cup of tea or coffee.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Hot Spice Blend - Garam Masala

Cumin Cardamom Clove Fennel Black Pepper Coriander Ceylon Cinnamon

We have been selling spices for some time. People often ask me, do you have Organic Garam Masala and Organic Curry Powder. when we say no, they look at us strangely. I have grown up eating Indian food that is made with curry powder or Garam masala. Then why don't we sell it ?. Good question !. You can find these blends almost at any gourmet store and others who claim to know about Indian/Asian cooking. I am not fully convinced about offering the product. May be I am ......

My mom has a different recipe than my sister and grand mother !. Hmm, which one we should choose. Blend varies from family to family and region to region !. How do you select a blend ?. I thought it will be a good start to start discussing the recipes. People can then change the ratio and ingredient as per choice. My thinking comes from buying computer from DELL that is designed for my requirement. These spice blends are good for short period of time and after a while they loose the aroma. Here is one of my Mama's recipe that is liked by many people. I am going to work in small quantities so that people can change as per taste.

Spices used in the blend use best of the best ingredients and you won't find this high quality hot blend anywhere !

Key Ingredients: (makes 1/4 cup)
1) Organic Cumin Seeds - 1 teaspoon
2) Organic Coriander Seeds 1 teaspoon
3) Organic Tellichery or Malabar Black Peppercorns 1 teaspoon
4) Organic Cardamom Seeds (removed from pods) 1 teaspoon
5) Organic Fennel Seeds 1/2 teaspoon
6) Organic Clove Buds 15
7) Organic Real Ceylon Cinnamon Sticks 3 (3 inches each)


1) In a small pan, roast all the spices over medium heat for 2-3 minutes, stirring constantly, until shades turn slightly darker, start to crack, and become fragrant.

2) Transfer the spices into another bowl and let them cool for 5 minutes.

3) Grind in a spice grinder until mixture has the texture of finely ground black pepper.

4) Store in an airtight container in a cool dark place.

After few trials, one can adjust the ratios as per the taste.

Thursday, April 30, 2009


Garlic has a long history of usage around the world for its medicinal and culinary usage. Garlic is used not only as a spice when dehydrated but also a vegetable. A real garlic has a strong aroma that can last for hours. Generally people use a mouth freshener like fennel seeds or other products to reduce the smell.
Garlic is used in making Indian curries, pasta sauce, garlic bread etc. It is also used as a garnish in salads.

Medicinal properties of garlic have been known since ancient times.

Several studies have shown that garlic and onion consumption can reduce various type of Cancers. For detail information, please visit US National Cancer Institute. Garlic has been shown to interfere with several prescription drugs, especially the HIV medication saquinavir (brand names Invirase® and Fortovase®). Garlic can lower the serum levels of saquinavir by as much as 50 percent. Garlic also acts as a natural blood thinner and, thus, should be avoided by pregnant women, people about to undergo surgery, and people taking blood thinners, such as warfarin (brand name Coumadin®).

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Fenugreek seeds - For Diabetes & Nursing Mothers

Fenugreek seeds have been used extensively in Asia, Middle East, Africa and Bulgaria for culinary and medicinal purposes. Fenugreek has been used as a medicine for several centuries.
In India, fenugreek seeds are one of the ingredient of panch phoran, Idli & dosa, Khakhra and other culinary preparations. In Persia, it is one of the ingredient of Iranian recipe Gormeh Sabzi. In Egypt, it is used for making Tea. Jews customarily eat fenugreek during meal of first and/or second night of Rosh Hashana

Fenugreek seeds and powder has been used by nursing mothers to increase inadequate breast milk supply. Studies have shown that fenugreek is a potent stimulator of breast milk production and its use was associated with increases in milk production of as much as 900%. More information is available at the following link about the precautions and usage.

Several human intervention trials demonstrated that the anti diabetic effects of fenugreek seeds ameliorate most metabolic symptoms associated with Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes in both humans and relevant animal models by reducing serum glucose and improving glucose tolerance.
Studies on fenugreek has shown that it reduces the blood glucose and serum lipids in Type 1 Diabetes.

Fenugreek is currently available commercially in encapsulated forms and is being prescribed as dietary supplements for the control of hypercholesterolemia and diabetes by practitioners of complementary and alternative medicine. Please visit the site of National center of Complementary and Alternative medicine.

Please consult your natural medicine practitioner before making any decision about your medical condition. Fenugreek has not been approved as medicine by USFDA.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Why Hot Masala Chai is So COOL !

Masala Chai :
A beverage from the Indian subcontinent made by brewing with a mixture of aromatic Indian spices and herbs. By itself,Chai is merely a generic word for Tea in much of the world, but for many English speakers outside those regions, "Chai" is always construed as "masala chai".Gourmet grade Masala Chai is easy to make at home without spending a fortune. One can add the ingredients as per the taste and can make a mixture for storage or when in hurry.
I am a Masala Chai drinker and drink every day without fail. It has become very trendy to drink a masala chai. However, masala chai has lot of health benefits due to its ingredients. Tea leaves, main ingredient, has lot of antioxidants. Spice mixture/blend has medicinal properties of digestion, reduced blood sugar level, vitality, stimulation and carmanative.

The traditional masala chai is a bracing, strongly spiced beverage brewed with so-called "warm" spices. Most masala chai incorporates one or more of the following: cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, fennel seeds, nutmeg, peppercorn, and cloves. Traditionally, cardamom ( Queen of Spices) is a dominant and gives the flavor. Indian masala mixture and cuisine also commonly use other spices such as cloves, ginger, or black pepper; the latter two add a pleasantly piquant flavor. In India, for example, fresh ginger is usually used.  The Kashmir version of chai is brewed with green tea instead of black tea and has a more subtle blend of flavorings: almonds, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves and sometimes saffron.

Normal Method of Preparation:

The simplest traditional method of preparing masala chai is to actively simmer or boil a mixture of milk and water with loose leaf tea, sweeteners, and whole spices. Indian markets all over the world sell various brands of "chai masala," (Hindi चाय मसाला [chāy masālā], "tea spice" ) for this purpose, though many households blend their own. The solid tea and spice residues are strained off from masala chai before serving.

The method may vary according to taste or local custom: for example, some households may combine all of the ingredients together at the start, bring the mixture to a boil, then immediately strain and serve; others may leave the mixture simmering for a longer amount of time, or begin by bringing the tea leaves to a boil and only add the spices toward the end (or vice-versa).

There is no fixed recipe or preparation method for masala chai and many families have their own versions of the tea. The tea leaves (or tea dust) steep in the hot water long enough to extract intense flavor, ideally without releasing the bitter tannins. Because of the large range of possible variations, masala chai can be considered a class of tea rather than a specific kind. However, all masala chai has the following four basic components: Tea leaves, Sugar, Milk and Spices.

My Gourmet Method : For two cups or small tea pot
Boil the water in a tea pot and drop a tea spoon of Tea leaves (don't use tea bag cut or powdered tea) for smooth taste. Add the following spices:
1) Real Ceylon Cinnamon bristles from the stick or use 1/4 tbsn of powder. Ceylon cinnamon sticks are easy to break with hand. I use Ceylon cinnamon because it gives the sweet taste. Regular Cinnamon (called cassia ) sold in most grocery stores gives you spicy taste. Cassia Cinnamon is hard and no one can peel it (method of distinction between real Ceylon & Cassia)

2) If you have fresh ginger, put small quantity by grating it. One can use Ginger powder for everyday usage. 

3) Add 1/4 tbsn of fennel seeds. fennel seeds also add soft and sweet taste. 

4) Add 2 clove buds or a pinch of clove powder. 

5) Add two Green cardamom pod for the smooth taste. I use Indian green cardamom due to its flavor. Most of the cardamom sold in grocery store is from Guatemala. I prefer Indian cardamom for its taste. Indian cardamom is harvested once a year where as Guatemala cardamom is harvested atleast twice in a year.

Leave all the mixture in the tea pot. Keep the leaves & mixture in hot water for 2-3 minutes. You can see the opening of leaves in the. water. Tea is now ready for filtration. I add 1 tbsn of milk and sugar (as per the taste) in the cup along with tea mixture.It is essential to add only small amount of milk otherwise it looses the tea flavor.

Note: You can customize the Chai flavor by doing few trials of spice mixture. You can use powder spices if you don't have time.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Wonder Seeds - Black Seed (Nigella Sativa)

Black Seed, Kalonji (Botanical name - Nigella Sativa) are often confused with black cumin. Some people also call it Black Cumin Seed. Nigella is the dried seed like fruit of a small herb about 2 ft high. Plant has graceful flowers which ripen into seeds. It is grown in Middle East, Southern Europe, and most extensively in India. Seeds have faint nutty but bitter taste due to presence of Nigellin.

Natural practitioners use Nigella for its carminative, stimulative and diuretic properties. It is also used as a natural insect repellent !. Black seed has been used for building immune system, respiratory ailments, toxin cleansing and fighting the allergies. lists several other medical benefits :Cough & Asthma, Diabetes, Hypertension, Enhancing milk supply in nursing mothers, Eye infection, Nasal Congestion, Kidney Stones

Nigella is delightful with fish, in nan breads and salads. In West Bengal, India, it is used in spice blend 'panch phoran' and it gives a distinctive taste regional taste.

The first book to fully explore the extraordinary effectiveness of black cumin against immune-system disorders, allergies, asthma, and skin problems. * Written by the world's foremost experts on black cumin. * Includes precise directions for preparation and specific recipes for treating a variety of ailments.

Usage of Black seeds is not approved by US FDA for curing any disease or preventing any illness. Information is provided here for general education purpose. Consult your natural health professional for your specific condition.


These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA and are for educational purposes only. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any illness, disease, or condition.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Black Peppercorn - King of Spices

Pepper is one of the most important of all the spices. It is also knows as "King of Spices". India provides one of the finest Black pepper in the world. Indian black pepper, "Tellicherry" and "Malabar" has history of several hundred years. These peppers are most widely used by gourmet chefs around the world.

Black pepper is the whole dried fruit that grows on a vine. Green peppercorns are picked from the vine and then dried to make black peppercorns. Black peppers are grown in Vietnam, Indonesia, Brazil, Sri Lanka and other countries. However, all peppers are not same. Tellicherry pepper is the best and most expensive pepper. One can see the comparison of different peppers here. White pepper is made by soaking the black pepper in water for few weeks and removing the outer skin. White pepper is more pungent than black pepper since it is the solid core of the fruit.

Black & White Pepper are the most widley used spices. One can find their usage in almost every cuisine, starting from salad, meat dishes, Indian curries to Italian pasta. It is used in pickles, ketchup, sausages and many blends of seasoning. It is also one of the key ingredient of Indian curry masala and Garam masala.

In India, it is used not only in kicthen but also in medicine cabinet. People use black pepper for digestive properties, Amnesia, Coughs, Impotency, Teeth Disorder and many other problems. I use the pepper with almonds when I have cough & cold. Ask your natural health practioner for any specific condition before you use it.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Turmeric - A magical spice

Turmeric is one of the most important spice for its culinary usage and medicinal properties. It is an indispensable culinary ingredient and imparts a musky flavor with yellow color. It is used extensively in Asian cooking for making any type of curry. It is also used as a coloring matter in pharmacy, confectionery and food industry.

Turmeric is widely used as antiseptic for healing wounds inside and outside the body. It is used as an intestinal antiseptic, expelling worms, anemia, and treatment of measles. Due to its antiseptic properties, it is used as an effective remedy for chronic cough and throat irritations. It is very effective in treatment of skin diseases like ring worm and scabies. Turmeric is also used extensively in beauty care industry. Turmeric has an active ingredient called Curcumin that is responsible for the curative properties.

MD Anderson cancer center at University of Texas has been studying curcumin for cancer treatment, Cholesterol, HIV, Inflammation, Osteoarthritis, Stomach ulcer, and many other diseases. Please visit the site UT MD Anderson school website for more information. Prof. BB Aggarwal and other people are studying Curcumin and its implications at Anderson medical center.
Mayo clinic is also studying the use of Turmeric for cancer treatment. Timothy Moynihan, MD at mayo clinic says: 

1. Curcumin is thought to have antioxidant properties, which means it may decrease swelling and inflammation. It's being explored as a cancer treatment because inflammation appears to play a role in cancer.

2. Lab research suggests that curcumin may slow the spread of cancer and the growth of new tumor blood vessels. It may also cause cancer cells to die. In the lab, curcumin has been studied for use in treating or preventing colon, skin and breast cancers.

At this time, there isn't enough evidence to recommend curcumin for preventing or treating cancer, but research is ongoing.

This blog should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. You should consult with a qualified healthcare provider before making decisions about therapies and/or health conditions.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Cardamom - Queen of Spices

Cardamom(Elettaria) is the "queen of spices", second only to black pepper, the "king of spices". It is one of the most valued spice in the world. Cardamom belongs to the same family as ginger and turmeric. Cardamom pods are the fruits of the plant that has large lush green leaves and has beautiful white flowers. Cardamom fruits are harvested and then dried. Indus Cardamom is green in color since it is not dried in sun. Cardamom is native to India and it is grown in Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Sumatra & Guatemala. In India, it is harvested once a year where as in Guatemala it is harvested at least twice in the year. Taste and aroma of Indian cardamom is very different from Guatemala counterpart. Cardamom is grown in regions of heavy rain fall . It can not be grown in Europe, Africa or US.

Cardamom has pleasant aroma and slightly pungent taste. It is used as a breath freshener in India and other countries. It is used as a key ingredient in masala Chai and has gained more market in the US. Cardamom is used in curries, cakes, bread, flavored rice and confectionery.

Cardamom is essential oil is used in pharmaceuticals, perfumes, flavoring liqueurs, and as a stimulant. Cardamom is used to reduce the impotency and pre-mature ejaculation by many people. A pinch of cardamom boiled in milk and sweetened with honey every night would result excellent results. In India, green cardamom is broadly used to treat infections in teeth and Gum, to prevent and treat throat troubles, congestion of the lungs and pulmonary tuberculosis, inflammation of eyelids and also digestive disorders. It is also reportedly used as an antidote for both snake and scorpion venom.

Product usage are not tested and approved by USFDA. Products are suggestions by natural health practitioner, please consult your doctor.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Why Spices Should be Organic ?

Lot of people ask me about spices and herbs. Main question they ask, I use small amount of spices - why do I care about organic?. It seems right at first glance. However, there is a main reason that people often forget. For example, 1 lb of organic garlic powder is produced from 10 lbs of raw garlic bulbs. Similarly, 1 lb of organic cayenne pepper is produced from 8-10 lbs of fresh cayenne pepper. Therefore, potency of spices are much higher than fresh product. If we are using several spices, amount of chemical intake is substantial in our food. Dried spices and herbs have different drying & processing ratio associated with fresh products. There is an additional purity factor that is associated with stems and outer skin of the product.

Why spices are more expensive than Rice ?
Most spices are harvested once a year in a season. Amount of produce per acre is much smaller than other commodities like rice and wheat. After harvesting, post processing of cleaning, drying, powdering etc. is required. Most of spices have loss associated with drying. This ratio can be from 5 to 10, depending on the spice. Therefore, cost of spice produce is higher than other commodities.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Usage of Nutmeg

Nutmeg and mace have similar taste qualities, nutmeg having a slightly sweeter and mace a more delicate flavor. Mace is often preferred in light dishes for the bright orange, saffron-like hue it imparts. Nutmeg is a tasty addition to cheese sauce and is best grated fresh. Nutmeg is a traditional ingredient in mulled cider, mulled wine, and eggnog.

In Indian cuisine, nutmeg is used in many sweet as well as savory dishes (predominantly in Mughlai cuisine). It is known as Jaiphal in most parts of India. It is also be used in small quantities in Garam Masala. In Middle Eastern cuisine, nutmeg grounds are often used as a spice for savory dishes. In Arabic, nutmeg is called Jawzt at-Tiyb.In Greece nutmeg is used in cooking and savory dishes.European cuisine, nutmeg and mace are used especially in potato dishes and in processed meat products; they are also used in soups, sauces, and baked goods. In Dutch cuisine nutmeg is quite popular, it is added to vegetables like Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, and string beans. Japanese varieties of curry powder include nutmeg as an ingredient.

Nutmeg is an excellent seasoning for cooked vegetables, especially cauliflower, potatoes, spinach and winter squash. It is a delicious addition to creamy white sauce, pasta fillings and meat dishes. Of course, it is a familiar flavor in pumpkin pie and other baked goods, as well as in eggnog.

Nutmeg loses its flavor when heated. If possible, add nutmeg toward the end of the cooking process.The effects of alcohol are intensified by nutmeg. Limit your alcohol intake when eating foods prepared with a good amount of the spice.Nutmeg complements winter drinks, such as tea and hot apple cider. Sprinkle the spice over the hot drink, it adds flavor and helps soothe colds and bronchitis.In spice blends and flavored tea (Chai), nutmeg is used along with cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, ginger and black pepper.

In the Caribbean, nutmeg is often used in drinks such as the Bushwacker, Painkiller, and Barbados rum punch. Typically it is just a sprinkle on the top of the drink.

According to some natural practitioners, regular use of nutmeg as a seasoning stimulates the cardiovascular system, promotes concentration, acts as an expectorant, reduces joint inflammation and helps the liver remove toxins. It also has a warming effect on the digestive system, reduces indigestion, nausea and vomiting and calms diarrhea.
Careful: In large doses, the Myristicin and Elicin in nutmeg can be toxic, may produce a hallucinogenic effect or cause miscarriages. Don't use more than 2 tbsp. of ground spice or 10 drops of essential oil per day. Nutmeg is not a nut and does not pose a risk to people with nut allergies. Allergy to nutmeg does occur, but seems to be rather rare (check with your doctor).

Friday, February 6, 2009

What is Sustainable Agriculture

People often ask me, what is sustainable agriculture ?.

I summarize some basic principles for sustainable agriculture:

Every farm is different due to geographical location, weather conditions, soil, birds & animals, etc. Selection of species and product varieties should chosen so that it is well suited to the site and conditions on farm.

Diversification of Crops (including livestock) is another issue that one should consider. Diversification reduces the risk of crop failure, animal disease, usage of post harvest waste, inputs provided by livestock, etc. Most of the small farmers fail in long term due to lack of diversification. It is just like saying, don't put all your eggs in one basket.

Management of the soil to enhance and protect soil quality is the most import issue. Extensive usage of chemical fertilizer over long period of time degrades the quality of soil that can provide stable harvest. Farmer may get higher yield for few years but then yield starts decreasing. As yield decreases, farmers put more fertilizer and that leads to soil erosion and ultimately the crop failure. After some period of time, land becomes useless. In deep rural areas, where people learn from nature, usage of chemical fertilizer is very minimal.

Efficient and humane use of inputs is important for yield. Farm animals waste,crop waste, vermilion etc serves as natural input for the farm. These inputs are natural and maintains the nature's Eco-system.

Consideration of farmer’s goals and lifestyle choices are important and should be considered seriously. Each farmer is different. Farmers have varied requirements based on family, location and situation. Farmers use the methodology based on their financial requirements.

Healthy soil requires less: input, water, nutrients , pesticide to maintain yields. Less usage puts reduced stress on the Eco-system and water resources.

There are many other issues that one needs to consider when adapting to sustainable agriculture techniques.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Fight the Climate Change

Brighter Planet's 350 Challenge

Our climate on earth is changing because we are wasteful !. Especially in the land of plenty, we waste: food, gas, trees, natural resources like coal, minerals etc. Our weather pattern is changing and we have to do something to sustain the life on earth. We are wasteful, we will not be able to leave anything for future generations. Some people consider "sustainability" as buzz word or in vogue. Sustainability has a long lasting and real impact on our lives. We need sustainability in agriculture, water resources, power, fuel we use in our cars etc. It is high time that we join hands worldwide to build a sustainable world. Just sustainability in America is not sufficient since we live in a global inter connected world. Join our hands to build a world that will exist tomorrow !.

Indus Organics joins the Brighter Planet’s 350 Challenge

The 350 Challenge is a small way to show your support to fight climate change. The more bloggers that get the badge, the better. Thousands of readers will know that the climate movement is spreading far beyond the typical “environmental” realm and into the norm.

Who is Brighter Planet?

Brighter Planet is a Vermont start-up committed to fighting climate change and building a clean-energy future. Borne out of a Middlebury College classroom, we are dedicated to demonstrating how small actions can lead to meaningful change. Through our products, services and expertise, we help you to reduce greenhouse gas-emitting activities, expand your use of green technologies, and build renewable energy projects.

What affiliation do you have with

Brighter Planet's 350 Challenge is inspired by Bill McKibben’s awareness campaign about the importance of the number 350, the parts per million of CO2 in the atmosphere that we must aim for if we want to keep the planet relatively safe. Bill is on our advisory board and the 350 crew are some of our dearest friends from Middlebury College. The 350 Challenge is a way that we can help bloggers spread the word. To learn more, listen to the podcast about the 350 campaign that we did with Bill.

Why carbon offsets?

Carbon offsets play a crucial role in building a sustainable society. Many renewable energy projects are well suited to produce energy and meet stringent standards, but lack sufficient financing. Carbon offsets fill that void by investing in these projects.

What kind of offset projects are they supporting?

Our renewable energy projects in communities across the U.S. decrease our national dependence on carbon-emitting “dirty” energy sources like coal burning power plants. Some are wind power in public school districts or open lands and others are cow power on family farms. They all meet Brighter Planet’s stringent project standards. Learn more about our projects…

How exactly do I install the badge on my blog?

find out here how to upload your badge.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Ceylon Cinnamon - Chef's Choice

Ceylon Cinnamon (Cinnamon Zeylcanium) has been sought after for centuries. It has many culinary as wells as medicinal usage. It is a bakers favorite for making sweet dishes, cinnamon rolls, flavored tea etc. Recently, it has been used by diabetic patients.

How to differentiate between Ceylon Cinnamon & Cassia
Most of the cinnamon sold in US grocery stores is not Ceylon Cinnamon, it is either Cassia, Saigon Cinnamon or Indonesian Cassia. Ceylon cinnamon, using only the thin inner bark, has a finer, less dense, and more crumbly texture, and is considered to be less strong than cassia. Cassia has a much stronger (somewhat harsher) flavor than cinnamon, is generally a medium to light reddish brown, hard and woody in texture, and thicker (2–3 mm thick), as all of the layers of bark are used. Ceylon Cinnamon is shown below

Due to the presence of a moderately toxic component called Coumarin, European health agencies have recently warned against consuming high amounts of cassia. This is contained in much lower dosages in Indonesian Cinnamon due to its low essential oil content. Coumarin is known to cause liver and kidney damage in high concentrations. True Ceylon cinnamon has negligible amounts of coumarin.
Federal Institute of Risk Management in Germany advises people to stop using Casssia due to it medical impacts. See this reference for more information.
The two barks, when whole, are easily distinguished, and their microscopic characteristics are also quite distinct. Ceylon Cinnamon sticks (or quills) have many thin layers and can easily be made into powder using a coffee or spice grinder, whereas cassia sticks are much harder.

Indonesian cassia is often sold in neat quills made up of one thick layer, capable of damaging a spice or coffee grinder. Saigon cassia and Chinese cassia are always sold as broken pieces of thick bark, as the bark is not supple enough to be rolled into quills. Picture shows the Cassia that has a single curl.

Cinnamon bark is widely used as a spice for flavoring. It is principally employed in cookery as a condiment and flavoring material. It's used in the preparation of chocolate, especially in Mexico, which is the main importer of true cinnamon. It is also used in the preparation of desserts, such as apple -pie and rolls as well as spicy candies, tea, hot coca, and liqueurs . True cinnamon, rather than cassia , is more suitable for use in sweet dishes due to sweeter taste. In the Middle East, it is often used in savory dishes of chicken and lamb. In the United States, cinnamon and sugar are often used to flavor cereals, bread-based dishes, and fruits, especially apples. Cinnamon can also be used in pickling. Cinnamon bark is one of the few spices that can be consumed directly. Cinnamon powder has long been an important spice in Persian cuisine, used in a variety of thick soups, drinks, and sweets. It is often mixed with rosewater or other spices to make a cinnamon-based curry powder for stews or just sprinkled on sweet treats.

In medicine it acts like other volatile oils and once had a reputation as a cure for colds. It has also been used to treat diarrhea and other problems of the digestive system. Cinnamon is high in antioxidant activity.The essential oil of cinnamon also has antimicrobial properties, which can aid in the preservation of certain foods.

Cinnamon has been reported to have remarkable pharmacological effects in the treatment of type II diabetes and insulin resistance. Recent advancement in phytochemistry has shown that it is a Cinnamtannin B1 isolated from C. zeylanicum which is of therapeutic effect. Cinnamon has traditionally been used to treat toothache and fight bad breath and its regular use is believed to stave off common cold and aid digestion. References for medicinal usage can be found at

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Fennel - Wonder Seeds For Digestion

Fennel seeds (Botanical name - Fenniculum vulgare) are new for Americans. Fennel seeds have mild anise like flavor but is more aromatic and sweeter. It is grown in many parts of the world.

Fennel features prominently in Italian cuisine, where bulbs and fronds are used, both raw and cooked, in side dishes, salads, pastas, and risottos. Fennel seed is a common ingredient in Italian sausages and meatballs and northern European rye breads.
Many cultures in the Indian subcontinent and the Middle East use fennel seed in their cookery. It is an essential ingredient of the Bengali spice mixture panch phoran and in Chinese five spice powder. It is known as saunf in Hindi. Many egg, fish and other dishes employ fresh or dried fennel leaves. Florence fennel is a key ingredient in some Italian and German salad, often tossed with chicory and avocado, or it can be braised and served as a warm side dish. It may be blanched or marinated, or cooked in risotto.

The use of fennel is well known as a digestive aid. In many parts of India roasted fennel seeds are consumed as an after-meal digestive and as a breath freshener. It may be given in small quantities to help young children digest carbohydrates. An infusion prepared by boiling a table spoon of fennel seeds in 100 ml of water for 1/2 hour, is highly beneficial in indigestion and constipation. Chewing its seeds after meals prevent foul breath, indigestion, constipation and vomiting.

Fennel is one of the safest for colic, for helping the babies to release gas. Parents in Asia boil the fennel seeds in water for short period of time. After filtering the seeds, water is given to the infants to reduce colic. So far there is no documentary evidence of side effects by taking fennel seeds. Eating fennel seeds with figs is a good for cough and bronchitis. Fennel seeds promote mensuration and regulate monthly period. It is believed that fennel benefits the eyes. Herbalists today recommend bathing the weakened, sore or inflamed eyes with fennel tea.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Nature Cure

Our body gives the reaction if our food is un-acceptable to it. If we are watchful, we know what is the reaction. If we ignore it, reaction becomes the health issue. For example, if I eat garlic, I get body rash. This tells me that garlic is not accepted by my body. If I ignore it, this rash may become a skin disease.

If I run to a modern day medical docter, he/she will give me a medication to suppress the rash. If this rash is suppressed again and again, it will lead to other severe problems.

In my view, our body is strong enough and it can take of itself. A healthy body has sufficient capability to heal itself. In short, our body has natural healing properties.

Healthy Living

I have always wondered why do people have diseases like cancer, diabetes and TB. Why do we have millions with diseases that are not curable by modern medical system.
Why do we fall sick ?. The answer may be - We don't take care of body and keep on feeding junk. We eat un-acceptable food for the body.