Do you have a spice deficiency?
Updated: Jun 19
When you are cooking from scratch how often do you use herbs and spices? I am better about using herbs in summer but I do get in a rut using just salt and pepper. So what’s the difference between an herb and a spice? Herbs are the leaves of the plant such as rosemary, basil, sage, thyme, oregano, cilantro and parsley. Spices come from the non-leafy parts of the plant including roots, bark, berries, flowers and seeds. Sometimes a plant can produce both an herb and a spice for example, cilantro leaves are an herb and cilantro seeds (coriander) are a spice.
Herbs and spices have so many health benefits so let’s use them more often in our everyday cooking. Here are some spices and ways to use them.
Black Pepper was once considered more valuable than gold and called the “king” of spices. Black pepper is warming, energizing and stimulating to the body. It is good for coughs and colds, it aids poor digestion, improves brain function and memory and is an anti-inflammatory. If you are a tea lover an easy way to use this spice is to add it to your tea with a little bit of honey.
Cardamom in whole or powder form relaxes the airways and is great for asthma. It has properties that quicken the mind and senses. Other benefits: good for gas and bloating, is considered an anti-spasmodic, balances stomach acid, and freshens breath. You can use it in hot water as a tea to help lung congestion and bronchitis. Recipe: Maple Glazed Cardamom Salmon
Cinnamon is a familiar spice that has warming properties and therefore is considered a comforting spice. Some if its many benefits include boosts immune system function, is an anti-viral and anti-bacterial, it stabilizes blood sugar. Do not take this is huge quantities and do not use if you are pregnant. It can literally be sprinkled on all different kinds of foods.
Cloves have a stimulating, warming and uplifting affect on the body. It is considered an analgesic helping to dull pain. Some of its other properties are that it is an anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, and it boosts circulation. If you have gum disease take powdered cloves and rub on your gums. Video: Let’s talk about cloves with Jamie Oliver
Fennel is considered a spice, an herb and a vegetable. It has a block licorice flavor. This spice is great for gas, bloating and colic. It freshens breath and its seeds are considered a phytoestrogen. It is a great spice or vegetable to use when experiencing PMS or cramping due to is anti-inflammatory properties. This spice is used often in sausages. It is great for adding to vegetable, rice, and lentil dishes.
Cayenne is high in vitamin A, C, potassium and magnesium. It is a great heart tonic and it regulates cholesterol. It will increase circulation to hands and feet. It also opens pores during a fever. It also decreases appetite and increases metabolism.
Hot Cocoa + Cayenne recipe…
· 1 cup water
· 2 squares dark chocolate
· Cayenne to taste
You can also use cayenne topically in oil form for pain from shingles, bursitis and sore muscles. Here is the recipe…
· ¼ cup olive oil
· 2 tsp cayenne
Shake and it can sit a couple of weeks. If you use it right away heat on low for 30 min.
Garlic is the greatest healing medicinal plant with other 3200 studies. This should be your first go to for colds and flu due to its anti-microbial, anti-viral, antiseptic, anti-inflammatory and anti-fungal properties. It also thins the blood and lowers blood sugar levels. You can apply it directly to skin. Create a great marinade for steak, chicken or shrimp by combining Italian dressing, Worcestershire sauce, minced garlic and olive oil.
Coriander lowers LDL and boosts HDL cholesterol. It also aids digestive and liver function. It also has anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties. Recipe: Crispy Coriander Potatoes
Cumin has an earthy mellow flavor that is perfect for basics like rice and quinoa. I love it on roasted cauliflower. This spice may help with diabetes, improve cholesterol and promote weight loss and fat reduction.
Ginger aids in digestion and cardiovascular health. It also treats nausea and morning sickness. Ginger is considered and anti-inflammatory and may reduce muscle pain and soreness. Ginger also contains a substance that may help prevent cancer. 51 surprising ways to use ginger at home.
Turmeric is an exceptional anti-inflammatory that also promotes circulation. This amazing spice also improves brain function, lowers your risk of heart disease, prevents cancer, useful in treating Alzheimer’s disease, and has promise in treating depression. Ideas: add 1-2 tsp to any soup recipe, add ½ tsp to pancake mix, and add freshly grated turmeric root to smoothies, marinades and salad dressings.