Kripalu Recipe: Sweet Spice Blend

A beautiful marriage of three potent culinary spices, the Sweet Spice Blend is bound to become a household staple. Consisting of cinnamon, cardamom, and ginger, this trifecta is a perfect accompaniment to any sweet dish. Add it to your favorite hot breakfast cereals, apple crisps, cobblers, or stewed fruit. Sprinkle it on buttered toast, granola, or a bowl of ice cream—the sky’s the limit.

Not only will these spices make your tastes buds sing, they are also powerful medicines. With a range of health benefits from stimulating sluggish digestion to aiding in the relief of gas and bloating, what’s not to love?

Cinnamon is loaded with medicinal properties. Along with ginger, cinnamon is often referred to as a universal medicine. This sweet, heating bark has gained popularity recently due to its ability to reduce the glycemic index of sugar, so it can be an especially useful spice when dealing with diabetes. Cinnamon helps crank up the digestive fire, or agni, and decreases the presence of undigested food in the stool. As it is antifungal, cinnamon has proven successful in fighting the symptoms of candida. It helps to stimulate circulation and is a beautiful addition during the cold and flu season, as it is an expectorant (clears mucus from the airways) and diaphoretic (increases perspiration). This spice relieves muscle tension, say after a day of hard exercise or bumper-to-bumper traffic. According to Ayurveda, cinnamon is energizing, and strengthens the heart and the intestines. Finally, despite being heating, cinnamon is tridoshic—in other words, good for all constitutions and body types.

Cardamom is one of the safest digestive stimulants. These delicious pods are full of sweet and cooling seeds that kindle the digestive fire, combat indigestion, and alleviate gas and bloating. It can stimulate the mind and ease depression. Cardamom is a wonderful spice to use if you have an upset stomach, especially morning sickness or hyper-acidity. When chewed, these pods freshen the breath and serve as an antidote to the mucus-generating properties of dairy.  In addition, cardamom can remove excess heaviness (or kapha) from the lungs and stomach.

The lovely rhizome ginger is the final addition to complete the blend. Ginger is phenomenal for warding off cold and flus. It is often used for indigestion as well as nausea; many pregnant women resort to this gem to combat morning sickness. In addition, ginger can help relieve gas and cramps, including menstrual cramps. Ginger may also be powerful medicine for heart disease. And, because of its stimulating action, you may find that ginger helps relieve headaches. Like the other two spices, ginger is also considered by Ayurveda to stimulate digestion and increase the digestive fire.

Make a batch, and have it on hand in a small spice shaker for when the mood strikes. Here’s how to make it.

¼ cup cinnamon powder
¼ cup ginger powder
2 tablespoons ground cardamom

Combine ingredients in a small bowl until well blended. Pour contents into a small glass container or spice jar.

Explore programs on Ayurveda and nutrition at Kripalu.

Lauren Gernady is an Ayurvedic Health Counselor, a 500-hour Ayurvedic Yoga Teacher, a graduate of the Kripalu School of Ayurvedic (KSA), and a former intern and Academic Coordinator of KSA.

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