Tamba, Pital, Kansa Utensils: The Difference And Health Benefits
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Every Indian, no matter what their region, religion or mother tongue, is familiar with the basics of Indian food and culinary traditions. But while most of us today focus on age-old recipes that are representations of our heritage, many of us have forgotten all about the use of traditional Indian metal utensils. Even as we discuss the value of millets and rare or lost recipes—and their attendant health benefits—most of us remain unaware of heritage kitchenware, especially those made of metals like Tamba, Pital and Kansa

Now, you have the opportunity to change all of that. Here is everything you need to know about Tamba, Pital and Kansa utensils, how they form a part of Indian culinary heritage, and how each of these vessels can benefit your health. 

Tamba: Throwback To The Chalcolithic Age 

Tamba is the Indian term for copper, and this is a metal known for its excellent heat conductivity and antimicrobial properties. Copper utensils have been used in Indian households for centuries due to their ability to evenly distribute heat, making them ideal for cooking. The history of copper vessels in India dates back to the Indus Valley Civilization, which thrived around 3300 BCE to 1300 BCE. Excavations at various Indus Valley sites, such as Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro, have revealed the presence of copper artifacts, including utensils and tools. 

Over the centuries, the use of copper utensils continued in various cultures and civilizations that emerged in the Indian subcontinent. The metal's excellent heat conductivity and antimicrobial properties made it a practical choice for cooking and storing food, even in traditional Ayurvedic practices. So, the health benefits of cooking and eating in Tamba vessels are many, and some are noted below. 

1. When food is cooked in copper utensils, it is heated evenly, which helps preserve the nutritional content and enhances the flavors of the dishes. 

2. Copper has been traditionally believed to aid digestion by stimulating the production of digestive enzymes in the stomach. So, using copper utensils may help improve overall digestion and nutrient absorption.  

3. Copper possesses natural antimicrobial properties, which can help inhibit the growth of harmful bacteria and other microorganisms that may contaminate food. This makes copper utensils hygienic for storing and cooking food. 

4. Copper is essential for the proper functioning of the immune system as well as for brain health, joint health and skin health. So, eating out of copper vessels can be beneficial. 

However, it is essential to note that excessive consumption of copper can be harmful to health, so modern usage of copper utensils is often lined with other metals or coated to prevent excessive leaching. 

Kansa: Enter The Bronze Age Of India 

Kansa, also known as bronze and bell metal, is an alloy of copper and tin. It is another traditional metal used in Indian utensils. The art of metalworking and alloying metals has a long history in India, dating back to the Indus Valley Civilization. Kansa utensils are highly prized for their unique properties and find special mention in ancient Ayurvedic texts.  

The use of Kansa vessels continued through various historical periods and dynastic reigns in India. Even today, Kansa utensils continue to be highly valued in Indian culture, especially during religious and ritual feasts in Hinduism. Here are some health benefits you can get from eating out of bronze vessels. 

1. Kansa utensils are believed to interact with acidic foods, such as tomatoes and curd, resulting in a chemical reaction that imparts a unique flavor to the dishes. This is thought to aid digestion and promote better assimilation of nutrients. 

2. According to Ayurveda, Kansa possesses a unique property of balancing the body's three doshas - vata, pitta, and kapha. By using Kansa utensils, it is believed that the imbalances in the body can be corrected, leading to overall well-being. 

3. Kansa has natural alkaline properties, which are thought to help balance the body's pH levels, promoting a more alkaline environment that supports overall health. 

4. Kansa utensils have low reactivity to heat, which means they are less likely to release harmful substances when exposed to high temperatures during cooking. 

Pital: The Follow-Up To The Bronze Age 

Pital refers to brass, an alloy made by combining copper and zinc. Brass utensils are popular in Indian households due to their durability and aesthetic appeal since ancient times. Brass has a lower thermal conductivity compared to copper, so it may not heat as evenly, but it still provides satisfactory cooking results. Brass utensils are often used for serving purposes, as they retain heat well and keep the food warm.  

Today, brass utensils continue to hold cultural significance and are used for various purposes, including cooking, serving, and religious rituals. Cooking and eating from Pital utensils may also offer several potential health benefits, although it is essential to use them responsibly and with proper care. Here are some of the potential health benefits associated with cooking and eating from Pital utensils. 

1. Brass contains trace amounts of zinc, an essential mineral that plays a crucial role in supporting the immune system. Adequate zinc intake may help strengthen the body's defense against infections and promote overall immune function. 

2. Like copper, brass also possesses natural antimicrobial properties. Using brass utensils for food storage and cooking may help inhibit the growth of harmful bacteria and other microorganisms, promoting food hygiene. 

3. Brass is a good conductor of heat, which allows for even distribution of heat during cooking. This can help maintain the nutritional integrity of the food and enhance its flavors. 

4. Some studies suggest that cooking in brass utensils can make the food more alkaline. An alkaline diet may help balance the body's pH levels and support overall health.