Churan or churna is an Ayurvedic spice mix known for healing the whole body by harnessing the power of RAW spices. Find out how to make churan.
Churan (pronounced as 'chew-run') or churna (pronounced as 'chew-r-nah') is a centuries old traditional remedy used in India to heal and keep the whole body fit by harnessing the power of spices. In this article, we discuss everything about churan so that you can get clear answers on its benefits, usage, recipe, etc and start incorporating this powerful healing remedy in your daily health ritual.
So, let's start right away! Why wait for such a tasty blend?!
What is churan or churna?
Churan/churna is made with RAW spices - it is a blend of whole spices that are great for digestion, immunity and detoxification, thus helping the whole body heal overtime. The spices are slightly roasted, if needed, to remove any moisture and then blended in spice grinder. Churna is an Ayurvedic remedy that has been used by every Indian by now - it has been passed from generation to generation.
Indians born, raised or living in India have at least taken churan at certain age or time in their life - make NO doubt about it. The beauty of churan is that anyone can make it and families usually make their own mix - thus collectively creating zillion different churan recipes up till now from the beginning of time.
This also highlights another very important aspect of this beautiful remedy - you are not subject to commercial choices only. One can ditch the commercial blends and opt for higher quality, pure, organic blends made at home. Unlike chyawanprash, which you CANNOT make at home, churan has a unique advantage of ease in every way - from effort required to time to ingredients to number of ingredients and finally, to its very affordable nature.
Because of its proven efficacy, its availability and its affordability factor, it spans through all socioeconomic groups in India, thus making it a very popular and powerful recipe in holistic arena. Due to all these factors, it only means 2 things - that a high percentage of population in India uses this remedy (thus leading to many variations) and that churan is highly revered and is here to stay - from generation to generation, from one Indian household to another.
But now, hopefully with an introduction to churan via this article, I hope to pass its healing benefits to you - to bring this recipe out to the Western world so that you too (and your loved ones) can get the benefits from this ancient healer.
What is churan made with?
Churan is made with raw, whole spices and some powdered ones as well. To make it easy for you, I have categorized the spices in the form they are generally used and also, you will notice each spice has an English name followed by its Hindi name in the bracket (the reason explained later). The spices include:-
Used in whole form first (seeds) -
Cumin seeds (zeera), coriander seeds (sabut dhania), caraway seeds (ajwain), fennel (saunf), fenugreek seeds (methi), mustard seeds (rye), black seeds (kalongi), dried pomegranate seeds (anardana), dill seeds (soyo).
As whole (as is) -
Black cardamom (badi elaichi), green cardamom (chotti elaichi), cinnamon (dal chini), saffron (kesar), Indian long pepper (pippali), black pepper (kali mirch), cloves (laung), mace (javitri), star anise (chakri fool), rock sugar (mishri), jaggery (gur), Indian gooseberry (amla fruit), Terminalia Chebula (harad/haritaki), Terminalia belerica (bibhitaki).
Black salt (kala namak), rock salt (sendha namak).
Used in powder form directly -
Indian gooseberry (amla), haritaki/harad, bibhitaki, dry mango powder (amchur), turmeric, asafoetida (hing), ginger, nutmeg (jaiphal).
Method of preparation?
Choose the spices and then dry roast the seeds and the whole ones on a dry skillet on LOW for few mins - until the aroma starts coming out. Some people do 1 spice at a time on the skillet and some do all together - no big deal and no big difference; your choice. Once the spices have cooled down, grind them into powder form. Mix your other spices that are already in powder form like turmeric, etc. This is it.
How to store?
Store in a glass or steel jar in a cool, dry place. Most Indian homes have it on the dining table for ease of use. DO NOT store it in refrigerator.
How to take?
Churan is taken AFTER MEALS with either lukewarm water or room temperature water - NEVER with cold water. This is because according to Ayurveda, warm water helps the spices move and build the digestive juices whereas cold water creates more rigidity and thus leads to constipation. Take 1 full teaspoon after meals and slowly increase (1st week, 2nd week..and so on) depending on your condition and how much you feel will create the desired results.
What is the science behind churan?
Churan uses spices because spices help our body in many ways -
And this is how and why churan came to be.
So many spices! What is the recipe?
The good part about churan is that there is no recipe and the bad part is also the same - no recipe. You can pick and choose what spices you need for your condition and prepare your churan. To further help you and ease the preparation, I have categorized spices according to their main dominant properties (meaning the main reason they are revered).
Digestive Cleansing Immunity Analgesic Anti-Diabetic
Amla Amla Amla Amla Amla
Asafoetida Black seeds Black seeds Black seeds Cinnamon
Black seeds Cloves Cumin Cloves Cumin
Black pepper Cumin Coriander Cinnamon Dill seeds
Cardamom Coriander Ginger Turmeric Fennel
Cumin seeds Haritaki Fennel Ginger Ginger
Fennel Bibhitaki Black pepper Nutmeg Turmeric
Ginger Pomengranate powder Saffron Fenugreek
Now, these are the spices used in making churan so from this list, you decide which ones to pick and make first.
Help me out even more!?
So, for example, if one is a cancer patient, then the first choice of spices should be amla, black seeds, turmeric, fennel and then followed (in less proportion) by those that support digestion and immunity.
If, say, one is a new mother and still breastfeeding, then the first choice should be fenugreek as it aids in producing more breast milk, turmeric, fennel, cumin and then, according to your other factors (like constipation/indigestion/diarrhea, or blood sugar) a mix-and-match from all categories is best.
If, one is a arthritis sufferer or carpal tunnel or any pain issue, then the first spices should be amla, black seeds, turmeric, ginger, saffron, and then add to it spices that support digestion as once you improve the digestion, the pain WILL improve or even go away completely.
If, one is having chronic constipation or diarrhea type issues, then your first spices would be amla, bibhitaki, haritaki, fennel, cumin seeds, black seeds, ginger and add to it some asafoetida (a pinch's worth), some more digestive spices and even some dried oregano and this blend is your churan.
I hope my efforts to explain this and help you come up with your recipe have been successful! At the end, go with your intuition and make only a very small batch - this recipe takes less than 5 minutes total, including grinding and storing in jar, so why need to make a large batch? 4 oz for 1st week is good to start with.
Can I buy pre-made churan?
Yes! You can buy churan either online or from Indian stores. Instead of wasting your time and petrol, call the nearest Indian store before going there and ask them if they have churan in stock and what brand, etc. Write it down and then research on google. If you like what you read, go and get it.
You can also buy online and do remember it goes by both names - churan as well as churna. You can also buy according to your doshas (kappa/vata/pitta). However, the difference between Indian churan (as one used in India) and the Westernized version is that many companies selling here will tell you that you can add to cooking or sprinkle over food.
That is OK except for one damn thing - in India, churan is always, always, raw and taken after meals with water - just so simple. Here, in Western world, churan has been molded to new concepts and supposedly, you can now saute the 'churan' or 'churna' in ghee or some oil and cook with it! WOW! Way to go!!!
Some types of churan:-
1. Basic home recipe - Combine caraway seeds, fennel seeds, cardamom, cumin seeds, coriander seeds, ginger, fenugreek seeds, jaggery or rock sugar (optional), black salt, asafoetida.
2. Chaata churan - This is churan given to newborns to aid in colic, as an appetite stimulant, anti-parasitic help or for any indigestion issues. It is a mixture of cumin seeds, carom seeds, cardamom (both big and small), ginger, basil, and if wish to add for some sweetness, then jaggery or rock sugar is added. You can also add some crushed almonds.
3. Kayaam churan - This is a proprietary blend - not one written in Ayurvedic texts but again, neither are zillion other churan recipes. But nevertheless, it is very popular and sold everywhere in India. It is highly respected and loved pre-made product despite being a commercial one. It is made with Indian senna (great for ibs/ibd), caraway seeds, black salt, licorice, haritaki, turpeth root (nishoth). Helps in digestion, acidity, diarrhea and relieves constipation. Taken at night before bed and not recommended for long term use.
4. Triphala - This is churan for optimum digestion and to heal chronic constipation issues, acidity, indigestion, chronic pain, detoxification, immunity, and overall well being. It is made with equal parts amla, haritaki and bibhitaki.
5. Trikatu churan - This is great for children over 8 yrs and even for adults. It is very easy to make by taking equal parts ginger powder, black pepper and Indian long pepper (pippali). This churan helps in forming mucous in the gut so that the food can be digested and nutrients can be absorbed.
6. Pomegranate seeds churan - Also called 'anardana churan,' this is basically taking some pomegranate seeds, cumin seeds, caraway seeds, black peppercorns, fennel seeds, ginger, black salt, cardamom and dry mango powder and making a roasted spice blend. You can add any other spice as well along with herbs like oregano or basil.
I have SIBO/leaky gut/intestinal permeability. Can I take raw spices?
YES!! The truth is all spices are low fodmap; that is correct. But the only thing with one having sibo, or candida or any form of intestinal permeability is that the cure takes time and lots of patience. So, in that case, you introduce these spices very slowly and overtime - in minute quantities. You increase slowly and add to the raw spice mix some oregano as well. Ginger powder, cardamom, cumin, coriander are great to start with but fennel and cumin seeds are the first proportion for you in that case. When you make your churan, start by taking 1/3 to 1/2 teaspoon and see how you feel. Increase overtime. Spices are the main weapon against bacterial overgrowth or for that matter, they help fight any microbes that don't belong in our body! Take the churan!
Points to remember:-
Whew!! This is it - we are done with one more detailed but powerful article that will help you create optimum digestion and heal any chronic pain or inflammation issues. One step at a time - one remedy at a time and you are getting closer to 'effortless health' paradigm. Ref (1). Ref. (2).
This time, to spices & to colors of life! - till next article.
NOTE: In this article, both the English as well as Hindi names are written for spices. This is because if one does not speak Hindi, then when buying churan you can bookmark this article and read on labels what spices are in it - some churans don't have English names written on packet/boxes.
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