The most vivid memory of lock down and getting stuck at home is waking up every morning to the strong smell of amma’s kashayam brewing in the kitchen. Kashayam can be considered as a herbal tea or medicinal tea that helps you manage the symptoms of various diseases. My brother and I call it the magic potion because it is believed to boost one's immunity and prevent all kinds of virus and bacteria including the CORONA VIRUS! Yes, we too laughed at the thought initially. But as we started drinking the kashayam we realized it is indeed a magical drink.
After reading and doing a thorough research about the ingredients added in the drink, I was astonished at the fact that the spice box sitting in the cupboard of our kitchen is the ultimate pharmacy store and how it can be used to boost our health and immunity. Come let us take a small tour to the kitchen, open the spice box and observe the ingredients. You will find turmeric, cumin seeds, pepper, clove, cardamom, cinnamon, coriander seeds, fennel seeds, sonti ( dry ginger) and many more wonderful things which can be used to improve and maintain the health of a human. Each ingredient has its own purpose and can be used for several problems.
Amma’s recipe of the kashayam:
Sonthi/ Dry Ginger
Saunf/ Fennel seeds
Take appropriate amounts of coriander seeds, pepper, clove, fennel seeds, cardamom and cinnamon in a pan and toast them on the stove over a medium-high heat until the color turns dark. Now add some sonti to it and grind the mix to form a fine powder. Store the powder in an air-tight container. For brewing, add a few tablespoons of this powder to water, add a few tulsi leaves to the same pot and let it boil and sit for some time. Voila! Your kashayam is all ready to drink after filtering it using a strainer. We can also add some honey or jaggery to the drink to balance the strong flavors of the spices.
This Kashayam recipe has been used since many generations in the family. Thanks to the corona virus, now it is an everyday ritual in the house and we drink it first thing in the morning to boost our immunity and flush out the toxins from our bodies. Kashayams are usually consumed to help with common health ailments like indigestion, cough, common cold, fever, sore throat, stomach issues and many more. It is one of the most effective and simple remedies of Ayurveda. The realization of how food can be used as a primary medicine and how we all have our personal pharmaceutical stores and hospitals in the kitchen has changed my entire perspective towards food and life.