Have a rummage in your spice cupboard and what do you see? An ancient stale packet of mixed herbs or maybe some non-descript curry powder. Chances are you aren’t doing your spice rack justice. The exotic history of spices shines a light on some of our oldest holistic medicine. For centuries, spices were highly coveted, not just to bring a dash of fire, sweetness or earthly delight to our dishes, but for keeping our immune systems strong and our minds mapped out with clarity. For those who want to blend healing power with fabulous flavor, a pinch of these herbs and spices could change your life…
Known as one of nature’s most powerful healers, Turmeric with its sunny glow and fragrant earthy feel holds incredible anti-inflammatory properties. Covering everything from cystic fibrosis to cancer, and even your everyday cardiovascular health - a pinch of turmeric in your cooking can help keep your health in the clear. Use in soups and stews, Indian inspired cooking, and to make a soft morning drink by blending with almond milk.
Whether you use it for tea, to spice up a simple dish, or to bring a hint of fiery spice to a smoothie, ginger is a must for any health-conscious pantry or cupboard. It’s common knowledge that ginger is a good go-to when it comes to keeping nausea at bay. A potent antioxidant, Ginger helps heal digestion, keeps the blood flowing strong, and can even lend a hand in reducing pain. Use in tropical recipes, noodle dishes, soul-warming teas, and smoothies.
Also known as the Royal Herb thanks to its long history as a sacred healing herb, pretty basil with its delectable dreamy fragrance brings plenty of the table. In Ancient Greece, Basil was commonly used to help heal mind fatigue and restore memory. But beyond the mind, basil is also known for its high anti-inflammatory properties and its ability to help reduce harmful bacteria in the body. Use in your favorite Italian and Mediterranean dishes, sprinkle onto soups and salads, use as a base for pesto, and even add a pinch to your favorite cocktail.
While we are on our Mediterranean inspired kick, let us move on to the Joy of the Mountain. Of all the herbs, Oregano is a heavyweight when it comes to antioxidant properties and the hands of healing. Oregano oil is commonly used for everything from yeast infections to good gut flora, cancer-fighting properties and even helping to tackle the common cold. Not only is Oregano a healing wonder, but it also brings the taste of balmy bright nights and wild meadows to any dish it graces. Use in salads, soups, sandwiches, fish dishes, and on just about any Mediterranean morsel you can magic.
Sweet to the taste with just a hint of spice, just a pinch of cinnamon comes with plenty of heart-warming wonders. Bursting with antimicrobial goodness, cinnamon is also loaded high with antioxidants, anti-inflammatory properties, and a whole host of other benefits. Known for its ability to lower cholesterol, help lower blood sugar, and for being a dab hand at fighting fungal infections, this prized spice is a must for any pantry with a penchant for healing. Use in sweet treats, baking, and to bring earthly delight to soups and stews.
One of the worlds most valuable spices, saffron always seems something of a mystery with her delicate strands of red and gold. While used sparingly thanks to her pricey weight and fabled wonder (it takes a staggering 80 thousand blue saffron crocus flowers to produce just a pound of saffron), saffron delivers a direct dopamine hit to your brain. Saffron raises serotonin levels making it a supercharged spice for helping people deal with the symptoms of depression. It is also known to help symptoms of PMS, Alzheimer’s, anxiety, and insomnia. Use in paella, fish stews, rich risottos, and any dish that requires a rare and regal hand.
Which herbs and spices are making your next shopping list? Share with us in the comments.