The Healing Power of Spices

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Keres_Spices-Whole_Black_Pepper_-headerSpices are rich in phytonutrients and other active ingredients that protect against disease and promote healing. In worldwide studies, spices have been linked to the prevention and treatment of chronic conditions.

Indian spices were known the world over since ancient times but were mostly used as ingredients or additives in food. However, recent research has unearthed several medicinal applications of spices that could give a further boost demand for several Indian spices.

The Times of India reported that a siddha drug ‘Venthamarai choornam’, a mixture of cardamom, ginger, cumin seeds, long pepper (thippili), dill(sada kuppi), licorice (adhimadhuram) and white lotus petal can bring down blood pressure. This has been observed in in a study on rats and could well gain acceptance as treatment for human ailments too.

It has reported that capsaicin, a hot chemical found in chilli peppers can be effective in treatment of arthritic pain.

The report said that adding curry powder to food could give anti-inflammatory benefits for those facing ortho ailments. The curcumin compound in curry powder and turmeric has strong anti-inflammatory effects.

Way back in 1999, a US firm promoted by an Indian pharmacist Dr Mohammed Majeed had won a US patent for developing Curcumin C3 complex from turmeric which enhances the ability to prevent , as well as intervene in free radical activity. It is marketed at a standardised tuermic extract with 95% curcuminoids- curcumin, demethoxycurcumin, bisdemethoxycurcumin.

Spices are rich in phytonutrients and other active ingredients that protect against disease and promote healing. In worldwide studies, spices have been linked to the prevention and treatment of chronic conditions such as heart disease, cancer, Type II diabetes, and Alzheimer’s. Unlike pharmaceutical drugs, spices can be used long- term without concern for side effects, according to

-Vanilla: Vanillin, a component of vanilla has anti-carcinogenic properties capable of killing human cancer cells. It has been found effective in treatment of sickle cell anemia in mice. It is an aphrodisiac and systemic administration of vanilla essential oil has been found effective for patients with impotency, erectile dysfunction and frigidity. It’s an anti-depressant, sedative as well.

Nutmeg:is effective in pain relief, reducing cholesterol, improving memory, sexual desire, relieving anxiety, indigestion, even reducing wrinkles in skin.

Pepper: Piperine in Pepper stimulates taste buds and improves digestion. It has a pride of place in treatment of gastrointestinal disorders.Regular use of pepper inhibits growth of human colon cancer cells, piperine compounds reduce inflammation in rheumatoid arthritis, and also found to reduce Alzheimer’s disease.

International Spices Commodities Update – Cardamom

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Keres_Spices-Cardamom_Seeds-smallNEW DELHI: Cardamom prices rose further by Rs 6.90 ($0.11, €0.08, £0.06) to Rs 935 ($15.50, €11.46, £9.06) per kg in futures trade today as speculators created fresh positions, supported by rising demand in the spot markets.

At the Multi Commodity Exchange, cardamom for delivery in August rose Rs 6.90 ($0.11, €0.08, £0.06), or 0.74 per cent, to Rs 935 ($15.50, €11.46, £9.06) per kg in business turnover of 228 lots.

Similarly, the spice for delivery in September traded higher by Rs 5.60 ($0.11, €0.08, £0.06), or 0.61 per cent, to Rs 913 ($15.13, €11.18, £8.85) per kg in 39 lots.

Market analysts said fresh positions created by speculators following pick up in demand in the spot markets against restricted arrivals from producing regions mainly led to the rise in cardamom prices at futures trade.


International Spice Commodities Update – Cumin & Coriander

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cumin seedKOCHI: Robust demand from overseas and domestic markets and concern over insufficient monsoon are leading to a spurt in prices of cumin and coriander, two spices that are grown mostly in Gujarat and Rajasthan.

While the cumin production has been good in the current year, prediction of a weak monsoon in the coming weeks could affect the sowing prospects. In the case of coriander, forecast of poor rainfall, lower production and carryover stock have impacted the prices. ”  Cumin exports have been doing well and it should be above one lakh tonne (100,000 metric tons) in last year with India becoming the sole supplier in the world with supply problems in two other producers Syria and Turkey,” said Shailesh Shah, director of Jabs International, a top exporter. The cumin crop is estimated to be between 3.5 to 4 lakh tonne (350,000 – 400,000 metric tons).

India’s Peppercorn Market is Dropping Like a Rock

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Source: Business Standard

India has slipped to the fifth position in the global pepper exports market, behind Vietnam, Indonesia, Brazil and Malaysia, according to the International Pepper Community’s (IPC) estimates for this year. Last year, India was fourth on the list, according to IPC data.

For this year, estimated exports from India, the top exporter in the world two decades earlier, are only 17,500 tonnes, against 1,08,000 tonnes from Vietnam, 53,000 tonnes from Indonesia, 27,500 tonnes from Brazil and 20,000 tonnes from Malaysia. Three years earlier, pepper exports from Indonesia and Brazil lagged India’s.

In the last two-three years, prices in India were often $1000/tonne higher than in other producing countries. Also, the quality of products from nations such as Sri Lanka is better than Indian pepper. Vietnam offers the ASTA grade pepper, comparable to India’s Malabar Garbled grade, at low prices. Therefore, India fell behind in the traditional markets of the European Union and the US.

India’s pepper exports in the January-October period were just 16 per cent of the exports from Vietnam, the world’s largest producer and exporter. Vietnam exported 1,02,759 tonnes of pepper, while India’s exports stood at only 16,000 tonnes. In the year-ago period, exports from India stood at 20,000 tonnes.

Exports from Vietnam include 88,435 tonnes of black pepper and 14,324 tonnes of white pepper. Though the exports were 7.4 per cent lower than in the year-ago period, their value rose 9.5 per cent to $697 million. Of this, black pepper accounted for $564.4 million, while white pepper’s share was $132.2 million.

The average export price of black pepper during the January-October period was $6,382 a tonne. For white pepper, it stood at $9,229 a tonne. Compared to the year-ago period, the price of black pepper was higher by $1,016 a tonne, while the price of white pepper was higher by $1,427 a tonne.

For Vietnam, the US was the largest import market (14,226 tonnes, 13.8 per cent). The Gulf Cooperation Council, Germany, Holland, Singapore, India and Egypt also imported major quantities of pepper from Vietnam. For white pepper, Germany was the biggest importer (3,371 tonnes), followed by Holland (2,040 tonnes) and the US (1,517 tonnes).

Next season, global production of black pepper is likely to stand at 3,16,832 tonnes according to IPC estimates. This is slightly below last year’s production of 3,27,090 tonnes. Exporters feel in the next season, production would stand at 3,59,832 tonnes.

According to IPC estimates, global exports of the commodity would stand at 2,14,541 tonnes next year. Vietnam is slated to top the table, with 85,000 tonnes of black pepper and 10,000 tonnes of the white variety. India is likely to export 25,000 tonnes. Of this, 23,200 tonnes would be black pepper. IPC says overall global exports, including 16,200 tonnes from the five non-IPC countries of China, Thailand, Madagascar, Cambodia and Ecuador, would stand at 2,30,741 tonnes.

International Spice Commodities Update – Coriander

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Coriander futures prices today fell by Rs 77 ($1.39, €1.11, £0.90) to Rs 3,469 ($62.66, €50.19, £40.46) per quintal due to poor demand from the overseas markets along with higher supply in the spot market.

At the National Commodity Exchange, coriander for July contract fell by Rs 77 ($1.39, €1.11, £0.90), or 2.17%, to Rs 3,469 ($62.66, €50.19, £40.46) per quintal, with open interest of 22,940 lots, while June delivery eased by Rs 65 ($1.17, €0.94, £0.76), or 1.91% to Rs 3,335 ($60.24, €48.25, £38.90) per quintal with open interest of 8,310 lots.

The fall in coriander was mostly due to poor demand among exporters as well as in the spot market, traders said.

Reports of arrival of new crop into the spot market also influenced the market sentiment, they added.

International Spice Commodities Update – Peppercorn

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Pepper futures prices today fell by Rs 250 ($4.52, €3.62, £2.92) to Rs 38,575 ($696.74, €558.06, £449.97) per quintal due to subdued overseas demand at prevailing higher levels.

At the National Commodity and Derivatives Exchange, pepper for delivery in July fell by Rs 250 ($4.52, €3.62, £2.92), or 0.64%, to Rs 38,575 ($696.74, €558.06, £449.97) per quintal, with an open interest of 2,985 lots.

The June contract lost Rs 230 ($4.15, €3.33, £2.68), or 0.59%, to Rs 38,550 ($696.29, €557.70, £449.68) per quintal in 2,693 lots.

Analysts said subdued overseas demand at prevailing higher levels mainly kept pressure on pepper prices at futures trade.

International Spice Commodities Update – Cardamom

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Cardamom prices today fell by Rs 10 ($0.18, €0.14, £0.12) to Rs 1,289.30 ($23.17, €18.64, £15.10) per kg, as speculators booked profits at prevailing levels amid subdued spot demand.

Adequate stocks availability in the physical market also put pressure on the cardamom prices.  However, strong export demand restricted the losses.

At the MCX, cardamom for delivery in July declined by Rs 10 ($0.18, €0.14, £0.12), or 0.76%, to Rs 1,289.30 ($23.17, €18.64, £15.10) per kg in business turnover of 112 lots.

The June contract shed Rs 9.60 ($0.17, €0.14, £0.11), or 0.71%, to Rs 1,332 ($23.94, €19.26, £15.60) per kg, with a trading volume of 430 lots.

Market analysts said besides profit-booking by speculators at prevailing higher levels, subdued demand in the spot market against adequate stocks position mainly kept pressure on cardamom futures prices.

International Spice Commodities Update – Turmeric

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Futures rose on the NCDEX on Wednesday due to short covering by the traders on rising spot demand.

On the NCDEX, the turmeric May contract in the afternoon session traded at Rs.3,748 ($69.57, €53.72, £43.24) per quintal, higher by 1.68% against the previous close. Open interest of the contract stood at 22,000 lots and volume traded is 985 lots.

As per market sources, the traders are staying away from the market because there are no fresh orders from north Indian buyers. According to government sources, exports of turmeric during April 2011- December 2011 stood at 62,000 tonnes as compared to 37,400 tonnes in 2010-11, rise of 66%.

International Spice Commodities Update – Chilli

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Chilli futures fell in NCDEX on higher stocks from the producing regions along with higher production estimates.

In NCDEX chilli May contract is trading at Rs.4868 ($90.36, €69.77 £56.16) per quintal, down by 1.09% today against the previous close. Open interest of the contract is 11270 lots and volume traded is 1425 lots for the time being.

Guntur has closed for a month-long summer break. The spot market will re-open only on 4th June 2012. According to sources, chilli stocks at cold storages in Guntur are at a record high of 10 million bags.

India’s chilli crop this year is expected to be in the range of 1.2 – 1.3 million tonnes, higher compared to last year.