Thursday, April 6, 2017

Herbs and Spices for Vegetarian Diet 香草香料与素食

Herbs and Spices can
improve digestive functions
End of year 2016, Tzuchi of Kuala Lumpur organised an event to promote health and vegetariansm. I was requested to provide information on the roles of herbs and spices in a vegetarian diet:

In general, a vegetarian diet is inclined to dampen digestive fire (due to plant's  innate alkaloid, phytates,  oxalates and many other digestion-inhibitive phytochemicals)

Therefore,  in a vegetarian diet,  it's important to apply adequate amount of stomach-warming (digestion/apetite improving) herbs and spices.

Traditional Indian culture knows the best about herbs and spices for resolving digestive issues among the vegetarians.

Common herbs and spices for increasing digestive fire include
。姜 ginger
。小茴香 cumin
。大茴香 fennel
。豆蔻 nutmeg
。桂皮 cinnamon
。胡椒 black pepper
。九层塔 basil
。香茅 lemongrass
。芫荽籽 corriander seed
。丁香 clove
。辣椒 chilli
。酸柑 lime

Herbs and spices also contains a myriad of phytonutrients which are also capable of
~抗菌抗寄生虫 wading off fungus/germs and parasites
~防腐让食物更耐久 preserving food for shelf life extension

E.g. 如:
。紫苏 shiso
。丁香 clove
。辣椒 chilli
。蓝姜 galangal

-- however, abuse of these herbs and spices may harm the body
-- 但是过量食用也会伤害身体

Antioxidants which are abundant in herbs and spices may also neutralise free radicals, tame inflammation, reduce metabolic burden (often known as 'alkaline' effects)

E.g. 如:
。黄姜 turmeric
。班兰 pandan
。香茅 lemongrass
。艾草 mugwort
。七彩菊 ulam rajah

Herbs and spices usually have overlapped functions.

Those that are listed above are just some significant  examples.  Many of them could serve 2-3 functions at the same time.

In a nut shell, herbs and spices harbours these major functions:

(1)Improve digestion/apetite

~these herbs and spices are usually in the form of seeds and roots, and gives warming feeling after consumption

(2)Anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, anti-parasites, preservative 抗菌、寄生虫、防腐

~these herbs and spices often are hot and pungent

(3)Anti-oxidative/alkalising (reduction of metabolic burden)抗氧化/碱化血液(即是减轻新陈代谢负担)

~these herbs and spices are mostly leaves and fruits, with obvious astringency.

Kee Yew 黄其铫

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