Herbs for Medicinal / Nutraceutical / Cosmetic / Oleoresins / Culinary / Natural Colors / applications
|Medicinal / Nutraceutical uses of Herbs||Herbs used as Natural Colors and Vegetable dyes|
|Herbs used in Topical / Cosmetic applications||Phytochemicals derived from herbs and their uses|
|Herbs used in Oleoresins/Culinary purposes.|
In India the use of Medicinal herbs is as old as 1500 BC. Underlying the medical culture of India both folk traditions as well as codified knowledge systems is a deep understanding of the medicinal value of the plants starting with the references in the Atharva veda, we have textual evidence of a tradition of use of medicinal plants that is more than three thousand years old.
It is estimated that about 80,000 species of plants are utilized by the different system of Indian medicine. The indigenous knowledge about plants and plant products is rather detailed and sophisticated and has evolved into a separate shashtra (branch of learning) itself, called Dravya Guna Shashtra. The codified traditions have about 25,000 plant drugs formulations that have emerged from such studies. In addition to this over 50,000 formulations are believed to be existing in the folk and tribal traditions. All these point to the deep passion for and exhaustive knowledge about medicinal plants that have existed in the land from time immemorial. The Vedas, epic poems contain rich material on the Herbal lore of that time.
Around 1500 B.C., Ayurveda was delineated into eight specific branches of medicine. There were two main schools of Ayurveda at that time, Atreya- the school of physicians; and Dhanvantari- the school of surgeons. These two schools made Ayurveda a more scientifically verifiable and classifiable medical system. Through research and testing, they dispelled the doubts of the more practical and scientific minded, removing the aura of mystery that surrounded the concept of Divine revelation. Consequently Ayurveda grew into a respected and widely used system of healing in India. People from numerous countries came to Indian Ayurvedic schools to learn about this world medicine in its completeness. Chinese, Tibetans, Greeks, Romans, Egyptians, Afghanistanis, Persians, and more traveled to learn the complete wisdom and bring it back to their own countries.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO) more than 1 billion people rely on herbal medicines to some extent. The WHO has listed 21,000 plants have reported medicinal uses around the world. India has a rich medicinal plant flora of some 2500 species, of these, 2000 to 3000 at least 150 species are used commercially on a fairly large scale. Foreign researchers have always appreciated the traditional Indian healers.
Medicinal / Nutraceutical uses of Herbs :
Description : A Spice is a seed, fruit, root, bark, berry, bud or vegetable substance primarily used for flavoring, coloring or preserving food. Spices are distinguished from herbs, which are parts of leafy green plants used for flavoring or as a garnish.
The health benefits of spices are legendary. Spices and herbs are highly valued for their prolific medicinal properties since ancient times. They are considered rich sources of Calcium, Iron, Vitamin B, C, Carotene and other antioxidants and can also moderate dietary levels of fat, sugar and sodium when consumed in small proportions.
Several metabolic diseases and ageing related degenerative problems closely associated with oxidative processes in the body can be combated by spices rich in anti-oxidants.
The Capsaicin in Paprika has anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties. Ginger can relieve pain and swelling associated with arthritis. Curcumin in Turmeric can inhibit the growth of cancer cells. Spices act as stimuli to the digestive system.
Indian Spices : Indian Spices are known the world-over for their taste and strong aromatic flavour. India, the ‘home of spices’ produces about 5 million metric tons of spices every year. Out of the listed 86 Spices in the world, India grows 52 of them. India consumes 90% of its spice production and the balance is exported. Kerala is the richest Indian State producing a number of spices. In almost all the 28 States and 7 Union Territories, atleast one Spice is grown in profusion.
Indian spices are known the world over for their aroma, texture and taste. The country produces 65 varieties of spices of the 109 varieties listed by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). .The varying climatic conditions in India provide ample scope for the cultivation of a variety of spices. Almost all Indian states produce spices, with the total area under spice cultivation to be 3.21 million hectares.Over the years, the Indian spice community has evolved and matured as a technology-based, quality-conscious, customer-centric, market-driven industry. This has led to it commanding a formidable position in world spice trade with significant additions in the manufacture of value added products. Also, great emphasis has been given to organic farming.
India commands a formidable position in world spice trade. A total of 508555 tonnes of spices and spice products valued at US$1396.51 million were exported during April-November 2013. The spice export basket consists of whole spices, organic, spice mixes, spice blends, freeze dried,curry powders/mixtures, oleoresins,extracts, essential oils,de-hydrated, spice in brine and other value added products. Quality adherence has assumed great importance in recent times.There have been stringent quality control measures in place, with pre-shipment inspection, validation of quality checks, mandatory inspection by the Spices Board. There are strict checks on physical, chemical, microbial parameters including pesticide residues, aflatoxin, heavy metals and other contaminants/adulterants
Spices are flavoured-aromatic substances used commonly as condiments and sometimes as preservatives.
Incidently, Cochin emerged as a historic port town just because it was the house of many and different spices. The first Europeans to claim Cochin as their own were the Portuguese, who landed at the Cochin harbor in 1500. The interest of all the colonial conquerors was the same – Spices.