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Five Spices For Digestion

November 14, 2017

By Joan McDaniel                        November 14, 2017

There is a world of herbs and spices. There is a large list of spices that aid digestion and many natural remedies.  Dr. John Douillard has recommended a helpful starting point to beneficial digestive spices which he calls “The Five Spices”.

These five are used by Dr. John Douillard in his Kitchari dish see previous my article Digestion and Cleansing Kitchari. This article talks about how I used these spices.  Dr. John Douillard in the article Five Spices to Rock your World and his Book Eat Wheat talks further  about what he calles the Five Spices.



There is a confusing array of natural spices and remedies for indigestion or digestion difficulties available. Dr. John Douillard has many also but he has selected these five as a good starting place for help with upper digestive support.

Since, I had major difficulties with digestion, I have, over time used the many helpful remedies but decided to focus of just using these 5 spices for a little while. I have found not only do these spices make things taste good they do just as he suggest.  They are be extremely gentle even to a toughest digestive system but powerful.  For more information please read his book Eat Wheat

and go to his website lifespa

Candida Yeast Overrun

I was basically sick from Candida Yeast overrun and was bloated up like a big balloon. Since I got out of the hospital over 5 years ago, I have tried just about everything and boy am I glad I finally found John’s book’s and writings.


Candida Yeast isn’t easy to Control

Candida Yeast isn’t easy to control.  Once it has embedded itself in your sinuses, you’ll spend some time getting your sinuses back.  By the way your digestive system is lined with mucus from your head to your rear end.

I had at least 8 of the above thirteen shown systems of indigestion. I had done pretty well on my own but haven’t run into anyone who seemed to focus deeply on digestion before. It has certainly helped me fill in the blanks.

Indigestion is very Common

According to the article by John Douillard, “Up to 74% of Americans (according to a Fox News survey) suffer digestive discomfort, in fact many people have more a pain then just discomfort many times a week.

Common symptoms are abdominal pain, bloating, diarrhea, gas, indigestion, and general discomfort.  Many people go untreated and dismiss the symptoms or cover them up with anti-gas over the counter medications. Early detection is critical, not sweeping such symptoms under the rug. These symptoms are listed in my article Are You Fermenting?

Note: “Please check with your doctor, if you have any chronic digestive concerns of any kind,” John Douillard. After a doctors consult, John recommends using his five digestive spices to assist in resetting your digestive systems strength and efficiency.

These spices are from the Indian Ayurveda Traditional system. The system has been around for over 5,000 years and these spices have been used to assist digestive discomfort for thousand of years.

The Spices are Cardamom, Coriander, Cumin, Ginger and Fennel. 

It is important to note; these spices are powerful yet gentle.  He has found folks with the most sensitive digestive systems can do well using these five spices. In India you often hear of people chewing a handful of the spices and you’ll often find a bowl of fennel seeds awaiting you as you exit your favorite Indian Restaurant.

According to his advice, when I have a lot of gas and bloating, I suck on a slice of peeled fresh ginger root.

He sells these spices in his new digestive formula called Gentle Digest.  

Powdered Seed Is Easier to Digest

Using the powder form is easier to digest than the actual seeds, for those with very sensitive digestive systems. You can get the capsules. Or get the powder form mix the spices together and sprinkle them on you food.

Being a lone flyer and not trusting most supplements available on the market, I buy the real thing as individual spices (seeds) from my local Indian Grocery Store. I am very involved with spices and a large collection.  I make my own capsules from the powdered herb or grind the seed myself.   Whenever I can, I buy the real thing and grind it down.

Now that the market has some reputable sellers, I may not have to go to all the trouble.

Use The Five Spices Instead of Antacids

Use these Digestive Spices instead of things like anti-acids, bile salts, digestive enzymes supplements, HCI supplements or pain pills.

Digestive Spices help rebuild digestive self-sufficiency in these ways:

  • Increase Bile Flow
  • Increase pancreatic enzyme activity
  • Increase small intestine enzyme activity
  • Decrease boating and gas
  • Increase fat and sugar metabolism
  • Antioxidant free radical scavengers
  • Support gut health
  • Support the growth of good bacteria
  • Decrease H. pylori from adhering to stomach (H. Pylori is a bacterium that causes gastritis and pyloric ulcers)
  • Are digestive stimulants
  • Help transit time in intestines – supporting better elimination.
  • Help reset digestion instead of brewing dependency like anti-acids or pain meds.

What is fascinating about these five spices is they seem to support the body’s natural ability to digest, rather than covering up or treating symptoms of indigestion.  I also have had great results, from my indigestion and gas by sucking on some raw ginger.

Resetting the Digestive Fire in the Stomach

These spices are part of what he calls, “resetting digestion” rather than brewing dependency.  He also recommends these spices to restart the digestive fire in the stomach.

The Five Spices of Digestion:


Coriander Seed (Coriandrum sativum)  

The leaves are known as cilantro.  The plant and especially the seeds are commonly used in herbal medicine and best known for their digestive properties.  Coriander effective cools excess pitta (heat) in the intestinal tract. Coriander is perhaps the most cooling of the five digestive spices.  The leaves are slightly less cooling than the seeds. Used for occasion gas, and heart burn.  It is a natural carminative, which means it prevents or relieves gas from the intestinal tract, and is beneficial for numerous heat-related pitta conditions. Note: As is most things good for you, it has a bitter, pungent taste.

Cardamom Seed 


Member of the ginger family, it make foods easier to digest and enhance the taste. In Tea (Indian chai tea) it neutralizes the stimulating effects of caffeine. It boost the digestive process without taxing the nervous system.  It reduces the extreme acidity of many foods including caffeine.  When cooked into food, it reduces excess bloating, gas and mucus. I normally grind it up in a coffee grinder just before use. Note: It has a Pungent sweet taste.



Cumin has a strong taste and is perhaps the most powerful of the five spices of digestion. It like coriander, cools the digestive system while boosting digestive strength. It supports healthy absorption, the proliferation of good microbes, as well as the detoxification of the intestinal tract. Note: it has a pungent bitter taste.

Fennel Seed (Foeniculum vulgare) 


Fennel is best known as the tri-doshic digestive spice. Fennel combats bloating and gas but it is one of Ayurveda’s favorite lymph movers. Fennel seeds are considered the most sattvic (promoting purity and balance) of the spices, because of its very balancing effect on vata, kapha and pitta. It is one of the best herbs for digestion, as it strengthens the digestive fire without aggravating pitta, and is beneficial for intestinal cramping, nausea, and dispelling flatulence. Note: Bitter, pungent, sweet taste

Ginger Root (Zingiber officinale)  


In Ayurveda, ginger is called the universal spice because of its many health benefits. It has a pungent taste. I suck on a slice of ginger for digestive upset like gas and bloating.  It is heating for the upper digestion with its pungent taste, but cooling and soothing for the lower digestion as a result of its sweet after taste. It is considered a balancing herb (tri-doshic). It is the best herb to start the digestive fire in the stomach. Scientific studies have shown that it supports healthy microbes, a healthy intestinal wall, and acts as a digestive stimulant for nutrient assimilation.

I go to my local Indian Store and get individual bags of these spices. I then mix an equal amount into a small mason jar. I keep the jar in a dark cupboard or refrigerate.

Label it “5 Spices” and use a  handful or two whenever I cooking something like rice or soup.  I keep the ginger separate and peal, cut and add.

I keep powdered forms of these spices only to use in making capsules or to sprinkle on the finished cooked dish.  It is most useful in spices like ginger.  I will take a capsule of ginger as a digestive aid.

I mostly use the whole seed or a piece of the root.

Till next time

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