The Spice of life.

"Hai re Nanadiya laal mirchi " (Alas, the sister in law is a red hot chilli pepper!) During my brother's wedding, this was the song sung by the ladies during the wedding ceremony. Whether it was a praiseworthy appraisal of my bad temper, or a more modest statement about my feminine appeal is still being debated!
But everyone knows that it is not pepper which is the Spice of life or so precious, but Cayenne pepper which can be taken as the manifestation of all the culinary delights.
There are many different varieties of the peppers , capsicums, Bell peppers which are sweet, and the hottest is cayenne pepper. The Lal mirchi so loved by one and all.
It is a hot stimulant which radiates throughout the whole body. It equalises the body temperature from inside the body to the skin as well as the regulating of the blood flow and strengthening the heart.
It warms the cold hands and feet and relaxes muscular tension. Because of its colour and its hot qualities it was assigned to the sun. On the next end of the spectrum was the cold cucumber which was assigned to the Moon in medieval herbal astrology.
A little bit of this chilli is quite equal to lying upon a hot beach and relaxing and equalising a whole body system from head to toe!
Now people might think that the Spice of life are the precious herbs and spices, but surely Chilli the humble man's Spice which tones up the whole system is the first candidate for such a name.
We are extremely fortunate that in India nearly every recipe calls for a bit of chillies. In the West in the winter, this chilli is added to herbal salts and herbal teas to facilitate the healing powers freely throughout the body.
Its internal uses are as a stimulant, circulatory tonic, and anti spasmodic spice.
And externally, it is a circulatory stimulant as well as a rubifacient. (rub it upon the skin and make faces because of its burning warmth!).
Now we know that winter time is full of chills. The areas like the knees and finger joints are cold and stiff with arthritis. Because the body is always benefited by the sympathetic use of hot and cold, you can use this special Hot oil in the winter.
This is useful for muscle aches, cramps, chilblains and spasms in the winter. It banishes chills from the bones.
Winter hot oil
25 grams red chilli powder.
2 tbsp mustard powder
1 table spoon Saunth dried ginger.
Two tbsp powdered black pepper.
One and a quarter of Cup's of coconut oil or vegetable oil.

You can make this winter hot oil in two ways. Either put the spices in a bottle filled up with the vegetable oil, and place them in the sun for about two months for a slow infusion, shaking regularly.
On the other hand, as winter is nearly upon us, do it my way.
Put the chilly and the saunth in half of the oil in a container with a tight lid..Put the container in a pan, fill the pan up with the water up to 1 inch of the top and simmer slowly for two hours. Direct heating of the oil will spoil it so that is why this prolonged water boiling system has to be used. Allow the mixture to cool. Add the rest of the spices to the oil, and stir. Add the rest of the oil. And return to the boiling water pan. Make sure that the water does not boil away because then it will be a wastage of burnt oil. Another 2 hours of boiling water treatment and then remove the coloured oil.
Strain it carefully through muslin cloth. Sometimes, you find some watery liquid at the bottom of the oil. Throw away this liquid, because it is quite capable of spoiling the oil. If you wish, you can throw away the herbs, but I have put a little bit more of fresh oil on to them and put them out into the Sun. by next summer, I will have a little more infused oil!
This winter , do not suffer. Use this oil whenever you feel Chilly for a massage.
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