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Indian Spices

Our product range includes a wide range of Rosemary, Asafoetida, Small Cardamom, Aniseed, Large Cardamom and Pepper.
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Rosemary
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Rosemary

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Rosemary of commerce comprises dried leaves of evergreen shrub of Rosmarinus Officinalis. This is a dense, evergreen, hardy, perennial, aromatic herb, 90 cm high with small (2-4 cm) pointed, sticky, hairy leaves. The upper surface of the leaf is dark green whereas it is white on the lower side. The leaves are resinous. Branches are rigid with fissured bark and stem is square, woody and brown. Pale blue small flowers appear in cymose inflorescence. It can be grown either as a field crop or as an indoor plant.

Origin and Distribution

Rosemary is the native of Mediterranean region and is cultivated in Europe and California in US. It is also grown in Algeria, China, Middle East, Morocco, Russia, Romania, Serbia, Tunisia, Turkey, and to a limited extent in India. Temperate climate is suitable for the cultivation of Rosemary. The soil properties influence the yield and the composition of rosemary oil.

Uses

Rosemary has wide range of uses in food processing. Fresh tender tops are used for garnishing and flavouring of cold drinks, pickles, soups etc. Dried and powdered leaves are used as condiment. In medicine rosemary is credited as carminative, anti-depressant, anti-spasmodic, anti-microbial, anti-inflammatory, carcinogen blocker, liver-detoxifier and anti-rheumatic.

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Asafoetida
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Asafoetida

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Asafoetida is the dried latex (gum oleoresin) exuded from the living underground rhizome or tap root of several species of Ferula (three of which grow in India), which is a perennial herb (1 to 1.5 mtr. High).

The species are distributed from the Mediterranean region to Central Asia. In India it is grown in Kashmir and in some parts of Punjab. The major supply of asafoetida to India is from Afghanistan and Iran. There are two main varieties of asafoetida ie. Hing Kabuli Sufaid (Milky white asafoetida) and Hing Lal (Red asafoetida). Asafoetida is acrid and bitter in taste and emits a strong disagreeable pungent odour due to the presence of sulphur compounds therein. The white or pale variety is water soluble, whereas the dark or black variety is oil soluble. Since pure asafoetida is not preferred due to its strong flavour, it is mixed with starch and gum and sold as compounded asafoetida mostly in bricket form. It is also available in free flowing (Powder form) or in tablet forms.

Uses

Asafoetida is extensively used for flavouring curries, sauces, and pickles. It is also used in medicines because of its antibiotic properties.

Indian Name of Spices

Hindi : Hing Bengali : Hing Gujarati : Hing Kannada : Hinger,Ingu Kashmiri : Yang, Sap Malayalam : Kayam Marathi : Hing Oriya : Hengu Punjabi : Hing Sanskrit : Badhika, Agudagandhu??? Tamil : Perungayam Telugu : Inguva, Ingumo Urdu : Hing

Foreign Name of Spices

English : Devil's dung Persian : Angustha-Gandha French : Ferule Asafoetida German : Stinkendes steckenkraut Arabic : Tyib, Haltheeth Sinhalese : Perumkayam

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Small Cardamom
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Small Cardamom

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Cardamom of commerce is the dried ripe fruit (capsules of cardamom plant) often referred as the “Queen of Spices” because of its very pleasant aroma and taste. Cardamom is a perennial, herbaceous, rhizomatous plant. Based on the nature of panicles, three varieties are recognized viz. Malabar with prostrate panicle, Mysore with erect panicle, and Vazhukka with semi erect panicle. Plants are of medium size (2 to 3 mtr height) with pubescent leaves (on the dorsal side) and fruits globose in the case of Malabar, whereas plant robust (3 to 4 mtr height) with leaves glabrous on both sides with ovoid capsules in the case of Mysore. Vazhukka variety is a mix of both the above in physical characteristics.

Indian cardamom is offered to the international markets in different grades: 'Alleppey Green Extra Bold' (AGEB), 'Alleppey Green Bold' (AGB) and 'Alleppey Green Superior' (AGS) are names that register instant appeal worldwide. Cardamom oil is a precious ingredient in food preparations, perfumery, health foods medicines and beverages. India, a traditional exporter of cardamom to the Middle East countries where it goes mostly into the preparation of 'Gahwa' - a strong cardamom - coffee concoction without which no day is complete or no hospitality hearty for an Arab. Indian cardamom enjoys a premium preference in the Middle East, Japanese and Russians who relish it for its distinct enriching properties.

Origin and Distribution

Cultivation of cardamom is mostly concentrated in the ever green forests of Western Ghats in South India. Besides India, cardamom is grown as a commercial crop in Guatemala and on small scale in Tanzania, Sri Lanka, El Salvador, Vietnam, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia, Honduras, and Papua & New Guinea. The optimum altitudinal range on growing cardamom is 600 to 1500 mtr above MsL. The cardamom growing regions of South India lies within 8 - 30 degree N latitudes and 75-78 degree longitudes.

Uses

The major use is for the preparation of ‘gahwa’ – a strong cardamom coffee concoction which is a symbol for hospitality among Arabs. Apart from this cardamom is widely used as a flavouring material in whole and ground form. In Asia, it can add a lingering sparkle to every kind of dishes both traditional and modern. In Scandinavian countries it is used in baked goods and confectionaries. In Europe and North America it is an ingredient in curry powder and in some sausages products. Cardamom oil and oleoresin has applications in flavouring processed foods, cordials, and liquors and in perfumery and in Ayurvedic medicines.

Indian Name of Spices

Hindi : Chhoti elaichi Bengali : Chhoti elachi Gujarati : Elaychi Kannada : Yelakki Kashmiri : Aa???lbuduaa???l Malayalam : Elathari Marathi : Velchil Oriya : Alaichi Punjabi : Elaychi Sanskrit : Ela Tamil : Yelakkai or Elakkai Telugu : Yealak-Kayulu or Elakkayi Urdu : Ilaychi

Foreign Name of Spices

Spanish : Cardamomo French : Cardamome German : Kardamom Swedish : Kardemumma Arabic : Hal Dutch : Kardemom Italian : Cardamomo Portuguese : Cardamomo Russian : Kardamon Japanese : Karudamon Chinese : Pai-tou-k'ou

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Aniseed
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Aniseed

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Aniseed is an annual plant with an average height of 30 to 50 cm. The plant is completely covered with fine hairs. Aniseed is ground-grey to greyish brown in colour,3 to 5mm in length, oval in shape with short stalk attached. Five longitudinal ridges are visible on each pericarp. Vittae (oil ducts) are almost always present embedded in the fruit wall beneath the ridges. It has a characteristic agreeable odour and a pleasant aromatic taste.

Origin and Distribution

It is a native of East Mediterranean Region. It is widely cultivated in Bulgaria, Cyprus, France, Germany, Italy, Mexico, South America, Syria, Turkey, Spain, UK and USSR. In India, it is grown to a small extent as a culinary herb or as a garden plant. The major products are anis oil and oleoresin anis.

Uses

It is used mainly as a flavourant, culinary, household, cosmetic and medicinal. The fruit of anis, commercially called aniseed is widely used for flavouring curries, bread, soups, baked goods, dried figs, deserts, cream cheese, pickles, egg dishes, non-alcoholic and alcoholic beverages. The essential oil is valuable in perfumery. The oil is used for production of anethole and sometimes as sensitizer for bleaching colours in photography. The other functional properties are anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-oxidant, stimulant, carminative and expectorant.

Indian Name of Spices

Hindi : Valaiti saunf or aawonf Bengali : Muhuri, Mitha jira Gujarati : Anisi, Sowa Kannada :sompu Malayalam:Shombu Marathi :Somp, Badishop Oriya :Sop Punjabi :Valaiti sounf Sanskrit :Shatapusapa Tamil :Shombu Telugu :Kuppi soptu

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Large Cardamom
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Large Cardamom

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Large Cardamom is a perennial herb with subterranean rhizomes and 50-140 aerial leafy shoots. Each shoot has height of 1.7 to 2.6 mtr and possess 9 to 13 leaves in each tiller. Leaves are glabrous on both sides with a prominent mid-rib. Inflorescence is a condensed spike with yellowish perianth. Each spike has 10-15 fruits. Fruit is round or oval shape, capsule with reddish brown colour. Each capsule is trilocular with many seeds. 

Origin and Distribution

Large Cardamom is cultivated in the Sub-Himalayan region of North Eastern India, Nepal and Bhutan. It is grown in cold humid conditions under shade of trees at an altitude between 800-2000 meters above MSL., with an average precipitation of 3000-3500 mm spread over about 200 days and with temperature ranging from 6-30 degree C.

Uses

It is used as a flavourant in dishes like Pulavu, Biriyani and meat preparations. It is an ingredient in curry powder and spice masala mixtures and is also used in Ayurvedic and Unani medicines. It has applications in flavouring cola, biscuits, liquors.

Indian Name of Spices

Hindi : Bara Elaichi Bengali : Bara Elaichi Malayalam : Perelam Punjabi : Bara Elaichi Sanskrit : Brihadaela Tamil : Periya yalam Telugu : Peddayelaki Urdu : Bara Elaichi

Foreign Name of Spices

English : Black Cardamom,Nepal Cardamom French : Cardamome noir German : Nepal Cardamom Chinese : Xiang Doukou Nepalese : Elaa

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Pepper
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Pepper

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Pepper long is the dried fruit of Piper longum which is a slender, aromatic plant with creeping jointed stems and perennial woody roots. The leaves are 5-9 cm long, 3-5 cm wide, ovate, cordate with broad rounded lobes at the base. Female spikes are cylindrical, male spikes are larger and slender. Female spikes are 1.3-2.5 cm long, 4.5 mm diameter, fruits ovoid, yellowish orange, minute, drupe and are sunk in the fleshy spike. The spike are red when ripe. 

Origin and Distribution

The plant is distributed from Central Himalayas to Assam, Lower hills of Bengal, evergreen forests of Western Ghats, Nicobar Islands, Uttar Pradesh and Nepal. The Indonesian or Malaysian long pepper is from Piper retrofractum. Pepper long is cultivated on a large scale in lime stone soil and in heavy rainfall areas where relative humidity is high.

Uses

It is used as a spice and also in pickles and preserves. The fruits and roots are used as medicine for respiratory disease and as counter irritant and analgesic for muscular pains and inflammation. It has carminative, haematinic and anti-helminhic properties.

Indian Name of Spices

Assamese : Piplu, Pipal Hindi : Pipli Bengali : Piplamore (root), Pipli Gujarati : Pipli Kannada : Hippali, Hippalibali, Kuna Sindhii : Pippli Malayalam : Tippali Marathi : Pimpli Oriya : Pippoli Punjabi : Piplamul (root) Sanskrit : Pippali Tamil : Tippili, Sirimulam Telugu : Tippili, Pippuloo Urdu : Pipul

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Red Chilli
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Red Chilli

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Chilli is the dried ripe fruit of the genus Capsicum. Capsicum annuum is an annual sub –shrub, the flowers of which are borne singly and fruits usually pendent, which provide red peppers, cayenne, paprika and chillies and sweet pepper (bell pepper) a mild form with large inflated fruits.

Capsicum frutescence is a perennial chilly with small sized pods which are highly pungent. It is commonly known as ‘bird chilly’ and ‘Tabasco’.

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Cumin
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Cumin

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Cumin is the dried, white fruit with greyish brown colour of a small slender annual herb. The surface of the fruit has 5 primary ridges, alternatively has 4 less distinct secondary ridges bearing numerous short hairs. The plant is 15 to 50 cm high. The aromatic seed like fruit is elongated, ovoid, 3 to 6 mm long, slightly bitter and has a warm flavour. The flowers are white or rose coloured in small umbels.

Origin and Distribution

Cumin is the dried, white fruit with greyish brown colour of a small slender annual herb. The surface of the fruit has 5 primary ridges, alternatively has 4 less distinct secondary ridges bearing numerous short hairs. The plant is 15 to 50 cm high. The aromatic seed like fruit is elongated, ovoid, 3 to 6 mm long, slightly bitter and has a warm flavour. The flowers are white or rose coloured in small umbels.

Uses

Cumin seed have an aromatic odour and bitter taste. It is used as a condiment, and is an ingredient in curry powders, seasonings of breads, cakes and cheese. It is employed in native dishes of Central and South America. In medicine, it is used as a stimulant, carminative, stomachic and astringent. Cumin seed oil is used in perfumery and for flavouring liqueurs and cordials.

Indian Name of Spices

Hindi : Jira, Jeera, Zira or Safaid jeera Or Zeera Bengali : Safaid jira or Zeera Gujarati : Jiru or Jeeru Kannada : Jeeriege Kashmiri : Zyur Malayalam : Jeerakam Marathi : Jeregire Oriya : Jira, Jeera Sindhi : Zero Sanskrit : Jiraka, Jira Tamil : Ziragum or Jeeragam Telugu : Jidakara, Jikaka

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Turmeric
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Turmeric

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Turmeric is the boiled, dried, cleaned and polished rhizomes of Curcuma longa. The plant is a herbaceous perennial, 60-90 cm high, with a short stem and tufted leaf. There are 7 to 12 leaves, the leaf sheaths forms the pseudo stem. The lamina is green above and pale green below and has a length of 30-40 cm and width 8-12 cm. Inflorescence is a central spike of 10-15 cm length. 1-4 flowers are born in axil of the bract opening one at a time. About 30 flowers are produced in a spike. Seeds are produced in capsules and there will be one to numerous sunken capsules in an inflorescence. 

Origin and Distribution

Turmeric is the boiled, dried, cleaned and polished rhizomes of Curcuma longa. The plant is a herbaceous perennial, 60-90 cm high, with a short stem and tufted leaf. There are 7 to 12 leaves, the leaf sheaths forms the pseudo stem. The lamina is green above and pale green below and has a length of 30-40 cm and width 8-12 cm. Inflorescence is a central spike of 10-15 cm length. 1-4 flowers are born in axil of the bract opening one at a time. About 30 flowers are produced in a spike. Seeds are produced in capsules and there will be one to numerous sunken capsules in an inflorescence. Turmeric is a tropical crop cultivated from sea level to 1200 meter MSL. It grows in light black, black clayey loams and red soils in irrigated and rainfed conditions. The crop cannot stand water logging or alkalinity.

Uses

Turmeric is used to flavour and to colour foodstuffs. It is a principal ingredient in curry powder. Turmeric oleoresin is used in brine pickles and to some extent in mayonnaise and relish formulations, non-alcoholic beverages, gelatins, butter and cheese etc. The colour curcumin extracted from turmeric is used as a colourant. Turmeric is also used as a dye in textile industry. It is used in the preparation of medicinal oils, ointments and poultice. It is stomachic, carminative, tonic, blood purifier and an antiseptic. It is used in cosmetics. The aqueous extracts has biopesticidal properties.

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Ginger
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Ginger

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Ginger of commerce is the dried underground stem of the herbaceous tropical plant grown as an annual. The whole plant is refreshingly aromatic and the underground rhizome, raw or processed, is valued as spice. Ginger is a slender perennial herb, 30-50 cm tall with palmately branched rhizome bearing leafy shoots. The leafy shoot is a pseudostem formed by leaf sheath and bears 8 to 12 distichous leaves.

Origin and Distribution

It is a tropical plant with the centre of origin in India and Malaysia. Now it is widely cultivated in India, Jamaica, Sierra Leone, Nigeria, Malaysia, Southern China and Japan. Ginger requires warm and humid climate and thrives well from sea level to an altitude of 1500 mtrs above MSL. A well distributed rainfall (150 to 300cm) during growing season and dry spells during land preparation and harvesting are required for the crop. Though grows on a wide range of soils, lateritic loams are preferred for higher yields.

Uses

Fresh ginger, dry ginger powder, oleoresin and oil are used in food processing. It is indispensable in the manufacture of ginger bread, confectionary, ginger ale, curry powders, certain curried meats, table sauces, in pickling and in the manufacture of certain cordials, ginger cocktail, carbonate drinks, liquors etc. In medicine, it is used as carminative and stimulant. It has wider applications in indigenous medicines. The ginger oil is used as food flavourant in soft drinks.

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Vanilla
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Vanilla

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Vanilla, a member of the orchid family is a climbing monocot possessing a stout, succulent stem; short petioled, oblong leaves; about 20 cm long. The inflorescence is a raceme with 20 or more flowers. Flowers are 6 cm long, 2.5 cm wide, either yellowish green or white. Fruit popularly known as ‘beans’ or ‘pod’ is a capsule, nearly cylindrical and about 20 cm long.

Area and Production

The area of vanilla cultivation in the world recorded during 1999 was 37,525 ha. with production 4403 tonnes. The major vanilla producing countries are Madagascar, Indonesia, Mexico. Comoros and Reunion.

In India, vanilla cultivation is gaining in Kerala, Karnataka and Tamilnadu since early 1990s. The area under cultivation at present is about 1000 ha, of which about 30% has started giving yield. The present production of processed vanilla is estimated to be around 6-8 tonnes annually in India.
Market

The aggregate global demand for vanilla is estimated at about 4500 mts a year. The countries, USA, France, UK and Germany account for 60% of world imports, the USA absorbing more than 30%, France, UK and Germany around 10%. These 3 countries are also major re-exporters of both vanilla beans and processed vanilla products.

Quality Product

Four major types of vanilla beans are distinguished in the world market.

  • The Bourbon Vanilla (grown in Madagascar, Camoros and Reunion).
  • The Java Vanilla (grown in the island Java in Indonesia).
  • The Bourbon-like Vanilla (grown in the island Bali in Indonesia).
  • Mexican Vanilla (grown mainly in Mexico).

They differ in flavour and organoleptic properties as a result of growing conditions, harvesting and curing process. The Bourbon vanilla ranks tops in quality terms with following specifications :
Colour : Dark Brown to Black shining Red/Brownish to dark Brawn.

Colour : Dark Brown to Black shining Red/Brownish to dark Brawn.
Quality: Whole, Split
Aspect : Oily, Sapple
Length :

  • 10cm upto 12 cms: low grade
  • 13 cms upto 22 cms: Standard
  • Above 22 cms : Top grade
  • Cuts - Chopped according to buyer demand.

Vanillin Content : 1.8% to 2.4%
Moisture Content : 16% to 28%

In India Vanilla is predominantly grown by small and marginal growers in their fields interplanting with other crops. It is grown largely in organic situations though not certified.

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Thyme
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Thyme

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Thyme is a hardy perennial shrub, 20-40 cm high, the dried leaves are curled, brownish green colour, 6.7 mm long, marketed in whole or ground form. The flavour is aromatic, warm and pungent. Flowers are light violet, two lipid, 5mm long, with hairy glandular calyx. The major types of thyme available in the international market are French Thyme, Spanish Thyme and American Thyme.

Origin and Distribution

Thyme is a native to Southern Europe from Spain to Italy. Apart from Europe it is grown in Australia, North Asia, North Africa, Canada and USA. In India, it is cultivated in the Western temperate Himalayas and Nilgiris. Thyme prefers a mild climate, a mallow upland soil and grows best in the hills.

Uses

Thyme is used to season, tomato soups, fish and meat dishes, liver and pork sausages, headcheese, cottage and cream cheese. Thyme oil is used in treatment of bronchitis. It has anti-spasmodic and carminative properties. It possesses anti-oxidant and anti-microbial properties.

Indian Name of Spices

Hindi : Banajwain Malayalam : Thottathulasi Punjabi : Marizha, Masho, Rangsbur Urdu : Hasha

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Tejpat
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Tejpat

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Indian Cassia also known as Tejpat (Cinnamomum Tamala) is a small to moderately sized ever green tree. The leaves of this tree is the spice having clove like taste and a faintly pepper like odour. The tree has height up to 7.5 mtr with zigzag branching, trunk up to 95 cm girth, bark rough, dark grey to reddish brown in colour.

Origin and Distribution

Cinnamomoum tamala is mostly occurring in the tropical and sub-tropical Himalayas extending to North East India up to an altitude of 2000 meters MSL. It also grows in Nepal, Bangladesh and Myanmar. The leaves are harvested when the tree attains an age of 10 years which continue for a century. Mature leaves are collected during October to March.

Uses

The leaf is mainly used for flavouring food. It is widely used in pharmaceutical preparations because of its hypoglycemic, stimulant and carminative properties. It is also used in Indian system of traditional medicines.

Indian Name of Spices

Hindi : Tejpat Bengali : Tejpata Gujarati : Tamalapatra Kashmiri : Tejpata Malayalam : Tamalapatram Marathi : Darchini Punjabi : Tejpat Sanskrit : Tamalaka (Tejpatra) Tamil : Talishappattiri Telugu : Talisapatri Urdu : Tejpat

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Tarragon
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Tarragon

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It is a perennial herb. The dried leaves and flowering tops are known for its flavour. It grows to a height of 2 ft. The aroma is warm. Two varieties available in the international market are French Tarragon and Russian Tarragon.

Origin and Distribution

Tarragon is cultivated in Southern Europe (France, Spain), temperate zones of USA, Afghanistan, West Asia, and Russia. In India, it is grown in Jammu, Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh. Soil with a pH of 6.2 is found to be preferred for better yield of herb material and essential oil.

Uses

It is used for flavouring vinegar, pickles, prepared mustard and to a limited extent in soups, salads, meat dishes, salad dressings and liquo.r. The aromatic leaves are stomachic, stimulant. It is also used in perfumes.

Indian Name of Spices

Arabic : Tarkhun Chinese : Long hao Czech : Estragon Dutch : Dragon French : Estragon German : Estragon Greek : Tarchon Italian : Estragon Russian : Estragon Swedish : Dragon Spanish : Estragon Thai : Taeragon

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Tamarind
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Tamarind

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The ripe fruit of tamarind tree is used as a condiment. It is a moderate size to large, evergreen tree, up to 24 mtr in high and 7 mtr in girth. Bark is brown or dark gray, longitudinally and horizontally fissured. Leaves are paripinnate up to 15 cm long, leaflets are 10-20 pairs, oblong, 8-30 mm. Flowers are small, yellowish with pink stripes, pods are 7.5-20 cm long, 2.5 cm broad, 1 cm thick, more or less constricted between seeds, slightly curved, brownish coloured. Seeds are 3-12 oblong compressed, 1.5 cm, dark brown shining. Endocarp is light brownish, sweetish or acidic, edible pulp, traversed by branched ligneous strands. The outer cover of the pod is fragile and easily separable.                                        

Origin and Distribution

Tamarind is originated in Madagascar and is now extensively cultivated in India, Myanmar, Bangladesh, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Thailand, several African, Central American and South American countries. In India, it is chiefly grown in Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. The tree is not exacting as regards to soil but thrives best in deep alluvium. The tree prefers warm climate but sensitive to frost. Tamarind is suited to semi-tropical region with low rainfall. It can come up even in saline, alkaline and gravelly soils, and soils prone to erosion.

Uses

Tamarind pulp is used in numerous culinary preparations. It is also a raw material for the preparation of wine like beverages. The tamarind kernel powder is found to be extensively used for its sizing properties, in textile, confectionary, cosmetics and pharmaceutical industries. The testa is used in dyeing and tanning industry. The tender leaves and flowers are used as vegetables. In medicine, it is used as appetizing, laxative, healing and anti-helmintic. It is also used against fluorosis.

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Sweet Flag
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Sweet Flag

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Sweet Flag is a perennial herb, semi aquatic, marshy plant with a creeping and much branched, aromatic rhizome. The rhizome is cylindrical about 19-25 mm in diameter and 10 cm long. It is light brown outside, white and spongy inside. The leaves are thick, erect and sword shape, when bruised emits strong scent. Sweet flag produces small yellow flowers on a spike. Plants rarely flower or set seed.

Origin and Distribution

Sweet flag is a native to most Northern latitude countries around the world, widely dispersed around the USA. It is found wild or cultivated in India and Sri Lanka up to 1800 meters. Sweet flag thrives best in marshy and moist places under variable climates. The plant is grown in clayey loams and light alluvial soils of the riverbanks.

Uses

Sweet flag is mainly used in medicine. The oil is used to cure gastritis. In the form of infusion it is carminative and possesses emetic and anti-spasmodic properties. It is used in perfumery industry. It also has insecticidal properties. The water-ethanolic extract of sweet flag exhibit anti-oxidant property.

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Star Anise
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Star Anise

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Star anise is the dried, star shaped fruit of Illicium verum. It is an evergreen tree attaining a height of 8-15 meters and a diameter of 25 cm. The leaves are entire, 10-15 cm long, 2.5 – 5 cm broad, elliptic, flowers are solitary, white to red in colour. Fruits are star shaped, reddish brown consisting of 6-8 carpels arranged in a whorl. Each carpel is 10 mm long, boat shaped, hard and wrinkled containing a seed. Seeds are brown, compressed, ovoid, smooth, shiny and brittle. 

Origin and Distribution

Star Anise is indigenous to South Eastern China. Commercial production is limited to China and Vietnam. In India, it is produced to a small extent in Arunachal Pradesh. The crop requires specific agro climatic conditions available only in the traditional growing areas, which has prevented repeated attempts of other countries to grow star anise. However it prefers woodlands, sunny edges, and dappled shade. The plant grows well in humus rich, mildly acidic to neutral soils, which are light to medium and having good drainage. It tolerates temperatures down to –10 degree C.

Uses

Star anise is one of the signature flavours of Chinese savory cooking. The five-spice powder mix common in China contains star anise. It is used to flavour vegetables, meat, and to marinate meat. It is used as a condiment for flavouring curries, confectionaries, spirits, and for pickling. It is also used in perfumery. The essential oil of star anise is used to flavour soft drinks, bakery products and liquors. The fruit is anti-bacterial, carminative, diuretic and stomachic. It is considered useful in flatulence and spasmodic.

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Saffron
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Saffron

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Saffron, the most expensive spice in the world is derived from the dry stigmata of the plant Crocus Sativus. The plant is a bulbous, perennial with globular corms, 15-20 cm high. It has 6 to 10 leaves present at anthesis, one to two flowers with a lilac-purple colour with perianth segments of 3.5 – 5 cm and style branches of 2.5 – 3.2 cm. The yellow style is deeply divided into three branches and the stigmata are bright red. Flowers are arising directly from the corms. Flowers have tri-lobed stigma, which along with the style tops yield the saffron of commerce.

Origin and Distribution

Saffron is a native of Southern Europe and cultivated in Mediterranean countries, particularly in Spain, Austria, France, Greece, England, Turkey, Iran. In India, it is cultivated in Jammu & Kashmir and in Himachal Pradesh. Saffron thrives best in warm sub-tropical climate. In Spain, it is grown in dry temperate conditions with an annual rainfall below 40 cm. It grows at an elevation of 2000 mtrs MSL. Photoperiod exerts a considerable influence in the flowering of saffron. An optimum period of 11 hours illumination is desirable. Unusually low temperature coupled with high humidity during flowering season affects flowering of the crop. Spring rains boost production of new corms. Slightly acidic to neutral, gravelly, loamy, sandy soils are suitable for saffron cultivation.

Uses

Saffron is used as a culinary seasoning and to colour, cottage cheese, chicken and meat, rise, mayonnaise, liquors and cordials. It is also used in speciality breads, cakes, confectionaries, Mughlai dishes. Saffron is also used as a perfume in cosmetics. In medicine saffron is used in fevers, melancholia, and enlargement of liver and spleen. In Ayurvedic medicine it is used to heal arthritis, impotence and infertility. It has wide range of uses in Chinese and Tibetan medicines.

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Sage
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Sage

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Sage is the dried leaf of Salv.ia officinalis. It is a hardy sub-shrub. Stems are white, wooly, 32-60 cm tall, leaves are greyish green, aromatic, petiolate, oblong, 7-8 cm long. On drying, leaves turns silvery grey with soft velvety texture. The flowers are blue, purple, or white in simple racemes.

Origin and Distribution

Sage is a native of Mediterranean area. It grows wild in the Dalmatian region of Yugoslavia. It is cultivated in Yugoslavia, Italy, Albania, Turkey, Portugal, Spain, Cyprus, England, Canada and USA. In India, it is sparingly cultivated in Jammu. Sage thrives well in rich clayey and loamy soil. A hot and dry climate is not suitable for its cultivation

Uses

Sage is used in the culinary preparation in the West. The taste is fragrant, spicy, warm, astringent and a little bitter. It is used for flavouring meat and fish dishes and for poultry stuffing. Fresh sage leaves are used in salads and sandwiches. Sage is used as a mild tonic, astringent and carminative. It is diaphoretic and anti-pyretic. Sage oil is used in perfumes as a deodorant. Sage and sage oil exhibit anti-oxidant properties.

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