Panch Phoran (Bengali Five Spice)
Bengali cuisine is unique due to the aroma and flavor of the blend of spices known as "panch phoran". "Panch" means "five" and "phoran" is "flavor" or "spice", hence the common translation Bengali Five-Spice. It is a colorful blend of flavorful seeds, including, but not limited to the green of fennel seeds, black of mustard and nigella seeds, golden of fenugreek and buff-colored of cumin seeds.
The blend of spices is usually fried in oil or ghee before adding anything else to the pot, flavoring the oil and releasing the aroma of the oils of the seeds and causing them to pop in the pan. Other ingredients are added at this point, the mixture adding sweetness and bringing forward the flavors of vegetables, beef, fish or lentils.
Some medicinal effects of the spices include:
They contain anethole and its polymers act as phytoestrogens.
- Intestinal tract- used medicinally with purgatives to relieve their side effects, and for this purpose forms one of the ingredients of the well-known compound liquorice powder.
Fennel water has properties similar to those of anise and dill water: mixed with sodium bicarbonate and syrup, these waters constitute the domestic 'gripe water', used to ease flatulence in infants; it also can be made into a syrup to treat babies with colic or painful teething.
Fennel tea, also employed as a carminative, is made by pouring boiling water on a teaspoonful of bruised fennel seeds.
- Eyes- In the Indian subcontinent, fennel seeds are consumed raw, sometimes with some sweetener, as it is said to improve eyesight. Ancient Romans regarded fennel as the herb of sight. Root extracts were often used in tonics to clear cloudy eyes. Extracts of fennel seed have been shown in animal studies to have a potential use in the treatment of glaucoma.
- Blood and urine- Some people use fennel as a diuretic and maybe a potential drug for treatment of hypertension.
- Breastmilk-Known to improving the milk supply of a breastfeeding mother. Due to being a good source of phytoestrogens.
- Other uses- useful for chronic coughs.
- Helps Balance Cholesterol
- Treat Diabetes and Lower Blood Sugar Levels
- Herbal Cure for Skin Inflammation
- Natural Cure for Heartburn and Acid Reflux
- For Fever- known to reduce fever when taken with lemon and honey,
- Ease Child Birth for Pregnant Women- It stimulates uterine contractions and can be helpful to induce childbirth. However, pregnant women should only use Fenugreek for inducing labor after consulting with their doctor.
- Aid Milk Production among Lactating Women- Research has revealed that milk production can increase milk production by over 500 percent within 24 to 72 hours after consuming fenugreek.
- Dyspepsia, diarrhea, flatulence and colic.
- To increase lactation and reduce nausea in pregnancy.
- Effective in treating carpal tunnel syndrome.
- Help to increase the breast size.
- Cumin poultice is use to relieve swelling of the breast or the testicles.
- Stimulates the appetite.
- Help boost the liver's ability to detoxify the body.
- Help relieve symptoms of cold due to it's antiseptic properties.
- Increase the heat in the body thus making metabolism more efficient.
- Cumin paste is use as treatment for boils.
- Cumin strengthens the functions of stomach and arrests any bleeding.
- Relieve insomnia.