Stories and Natural Remedies from India

spice farm

Natural Remedies from India

With all the coughs and colds around at the moment, I was reminded of what I had learned on my trip to a spice farm in India and all the natural ways that we can improve our health and balance by living in harmony with our planet's natural resources.

The 200 year old family home on the Tanshikar Spice Farm is a traditional mud house.  The tiles on the roof are made of baked mud and the walls and the floor are also made from mud.   Sound primitive?  It really isn't.  The materials of their house, how it is laid out, what they eat everyday and some of their religious traditions are all bound in living in harmony with nature and earth's natural resources.  

Food Allergies and the Healing Power of Spices

whole spices

Did you know that food intolerances in rural India are almost completely non-existent?   

I learned that a garam masala can have between 7 and 40 spices! On the day I visited the spice farm, the grandmother of the house was making a fresh batch of garam masala and the smell was incredible - their family recipe included almost 20 spices. They are eating a tiny bit of this everyday, for their whole lives, usually with simple vegetables and pulses. This daily ingestion means that they are benefiting, every day, from the healing benefits of multiple spices. This is not a quick cure but a lifestyle, which naturally prevents a whole host of health issues (including allergies) associated with inflammation.

Black Pepper Natural Remedy

pepper growing on tree

The healing benefits of back pepper and its main compound piperine, are also widely documented.  But the ancestors of the Tanshikar family knew this long before a quick search on the internet - the whole family chew one peppercorn, daily, on an empty stomach to detoxify the body.  Again, this is not a quick fix, it’s a lifestyle.  They also use black pepper to ease a cough, sore throat or joint pain and to reduce a fever. 

Holy Basil

The house was in the typical Indian style of a rural house - there is an open court yard in the middle where traditionally, a holy basil plant is planted. This basil plant absorbs the carbon monoxide produced from cooking on an open fire as well as releasing oxygen for around 20 hours a day. The lady of the house (the cook) would have a bath and then sit next to the oxygen producing holy basil plant to breathe, spend some time there, hanging out, praying and having some time before the cooking and chores started.  This practical solution is interwoven with holiness and a daily ritual, all based around health.   Another example of how living with their natural resources is made wholly practical and easy.
This is a different plant from the sweet basil that we use in cooking here in the UK.  The health benefits of the Holy Basil plant are extensive!  

Mud Floors, Grounding and a Surprising Natural Antiseptic

grounding feet on grass


In India, when you enter someone’s house, you take your shoes off. I always assumed that this was a hygiene thing but no! It’s all about grounding and connecting to the earth. Whilst at home in bare feet on the mud floor, you have a natural electrical connection to the earth  - a massive reservoir or free electrons. The benefits of this connection and grounding are many!  We all know about the benefits to our health of sunlight but somewhere along the way, we have forgotten the importance of the earth's healing energy on our health.   
We used to be connected to the earth for many hours a day and now many of us don’t have this connection at all.  
And another amazing fact!  They clean their mud floors with the dung of local cows to keep away mosquitoes and other insects.  Sounds gross? It isn't.  As the cows are fed on grass and plants, there is no smell.  Cow dung as natural dettol - genius and free! 

Natural Air Conditioning and Heating

mud house mud walls

The walls of their mud house were precisely 2.5 feet thick.   The thickness of the walls directly impacts how long the walls absorb either heat or the cool night air.  The walls effectively acts as a timer -  adjusting the thickness of the walls adjusts this 'timer'.  It takes around 12 hours for the walls to absorb the heat from the day and at night, the cool night air 'pushes' the heat into the house. During the day, the cool air absorbed by the walls over night cools down the internal temperature.  It's a simple but genius natural air conditioning system which requires no maintenance - in fact, the older the mud house, the stronger it is!   

How can this information help us?

For me, the key takeaways from this are that the increase in both physical and mental health problems in our society are due to the distance that we have put between the earth's natural resources and our lives, on a day to day basis.   We can't all live in a mud house but there are things that you can do every day to improve your overall health.

  1. Eat freshly prepared food as often as you can and use a wide range of herbs and spices.  
  2. How could you connect yourself to the earth every day with your hands or feet? Walking barefoot, sitting in the park with your shoes off, getting your hands into the soil in the garden, going for a swim in a natural body of water.  
  3. Eat a black peppercorn every day on an empty stomach!
  4. What daily ritual would give you some headspace?  A walk, having a Epsom salt bath, meditation, potter in the garden. Be! Don’t do! Get out of your head and into your body.  Nobody will give you this time, you have to take it for yourself.

 Just a last little point: 

There was a large Signature spider living in it's web in the house.  We asked if there was some significance to the spider.  I loved his answer: 'No!  It's not doing us any harm, so leave it be.' 


More health related blogs: Are spices good for gut health?


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