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Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Fruits & Spices in Sri lanka

Sri Lanka has a year round abundance of fresh fruits - Pineapple, papaya, banana and mango are plentiful throughout the year. Between the months of July and October, mangoosteen, passion fruit, avocado, pear, durian, rambuttan and oranges are also available.

For centuries spices have been one of Sri Lanka's most celebrated exports, among them cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, cardamom, pepper, etc. The Spice Garden at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Peradeniya has the most complete collection of spice plants and high quality fresh packeted spices are freely available for sale, especially in Kandy. There are also many private spice gardens open to the public.

Cinnamomum Zeylanicum cassia;(Kurundu in Sinhala) has been the most coveted of spices for centuries.
Cinnamon has healing uses: it removes anorexia, is useful in mucus formation, colds and bronchitis. Distilled water of cinnamon relives abdominal colic, distension, nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea.

Ellteria cardomomum (Enasal or Enasal in Sinhala) Used as a mouth freshener is light in digestion and useful in nausea and abdominal colic, it increases appetite and soothes and calms the mucus membrane. It is used to flavor curries, liqueurs, sauces, pickles and baked foods. PEPPER, Piper nigum, (Gam-miris in Sinhala) Pepper, has been used as an insect repellent in the villages, from ancient times. Pepper removes anorexia. It is believed that ten grains of pepper taken early in the morning on an empty stomach keeps the system well nourished.

Eugenia caryophyllata, (karabunati in Sinhala)
Clove oil helps to relieve toothache, is applied externally in rheumatic pains, sciatica, headache and lumbago, and also subsides gas and expels worms.

Mystica fragrans (Saadikka in Sinhala)
The nutmeg is an aromatic, stimulant, carminative and, in large doses, a narcotic. It is chiefly employed as a flavoring agent and condiment. The essential oil is administered in diarrhoea and dysentery and to relieve pain

(Vasa-vasi in Sinhala), the net-like wrapper surrounding the nutmeg inside the husk, is used in confectionery and for culinary purposes.

Corianrum sativum, (Koththamalli in Sinhala) The healing qualities of this spice in colds and fevers are only too well known among Sri Lankans in all walks of life.
This spice is soothing, calming, and acts as an appetizer and a carminative. Its decoction, when used as an eye-wash eases the burning, pain and swelling in the eyes, in conjunctivitis.

Zingiber Officinate, (Inguru in Sinhala) is used as a spice for flavoring curries, pickles and preserves. It is also used in confectionery and for making ginger beer.
It is useful in dyspepsia, flatulence and spasmodic affictions of the stomach, and is a corrective adjunct to a purgative to prevent nausea and griping.
Rubbed up with water, dried ginger is also often applied to the forehead in a headache. On the abraded skin it acts as an antiseptic.

Curcuma domestica (kaha in sinhala) is a stimulant and carminative and is employed to relieve sprains. Inhaled it is reported to be of help in providing relief to catarrh sufferers.
But more often the spice is used in almost all types of cooking as a condiment. It is also used as an antiseptic.

Mentha viridis (Minchi in Sinhala) is used for relieving gastric upsets

Ocimum sanctum (Maduru in Sinhala) is an appetizer, digestive and carminative. It subsides colic, mucus formation and feverishness.

Cuminum, cyminum (Suduru in Sinhala) acts as a digestive and is beneficial to the heart, and in women strengthens the uterus.

Allium (Sudulunu in Sinhala) is a stimulant and digestive, clears gas, anorexia and settles the nervous system, alleviates sciatica, rheumatic pains and backache.
All these spices are grown in Sri Lanka. There are many spice gardens specially around Kandy and Matale (on the kandy-Dambulla road and Kandy - Colombo road) open for visitors.

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