Spice Up Your Life!

Anyone think this post was about the Spice Girls? ;)

Carminatives (aka spices), as mentioned last week, are full of health benefits and are easy to consume as they are common culinary ingredients. Today I am taking my list of carminatives and suggesting easy ways to add these herbs into your life. Fresh herbs are available for cheap at most grocery stores in the produce aisle. Dried herbs/spices are also inexpensive and are an easy way to add healthy phytochemicals to your diet... just throw them into your dinner pot! If you can find them, organic dried herbs/spices are better as they haven't been irrigated (i.e. blasted with ionizing radiation) and thus have higher amounts of active medicinal components. Remember you need to replace your dried herbs every year they will have lost their medicinal components overtime through degradation and/or oxidation. Lastly, store dried herbs/spices in a dark cupboard to minimize light exposure.

Catnip - Awesome as a tea. Traditional Medicinals makes a yummy variety. Available at all major grocery stores in the natural foods aisle.
Caraway - An ingredient in rye bread. Add to curries and stews.
Cardamom - Use in baking for a spicier treat.
Cinnamon - Add this to everything sweet (for its glucose modulating effects)! Cinnamon goes surprisingly well with chocolate, not just spicier or fruitier desserts. Try stirring it into tea or coffee. Sprinkle on oatmeal, cereal, or pancakes. Goes well with squash and sweet potato.
Chamomile - Makes a delicious (before bedtime) tea. If you find it too flower-y, add raw honey to taste.
Coriander - Add the dried herbs to Indian cooking, soups, stir fry sauce, or stews. Cilantro is fresh coriander; use as garnish on almost any dish. It pairs well with spicier meals (Mexican, Thai?) due to its cool/clean taste.
Cumin - This is my favorite savory herb. Sprinkle on eggs or roast veggies. Add to stir fry sauce or salad dressings. Add to Creamy Peanut Kale sauce.
Fennel - Keep fennel seeds on hand to chew after dinner to help digestion. Tastes like licorice. You can buy the seeds plain or candy coated for a real after dinner dessert.
Fenugreek - Use in Indian curries and stews.
Garlic - Crush before using. Sprinkle garlic on veggies before roasting/baking. Roast the cloves whole and spread the resulting silky-smooth garlic on bread with olive oil. If adding to sauces/salad dressing, make it in the morning to allow the medicinal compounds to activate.
Ginger - Boil the root and drink after dinner when mixed with cinnamon and raw honey. Mince the root and add to stir fry. Use the fresh root in baking for a spicier taste.
(Black) Pepper - Use with conjunction with all others herbs as it helps their absorption.
Peppermint - Add pure peppermint extract to baking for a minty taste. Chew on leaves to freshen breath. Add a teabag to hot chocolate for a minty-chocolate treat.
Rosemary - Make Roasted Rosemary Nuts! Add to roasted potatoes and other roasted veggies. Add to dressing/stuffing.
Tarragon - Use to flavor meat.


  1. Thanks once again for good information. I use most of these spices regularly. In fact, we had rosemary spuds for supper last night and I thought about your deliscous nut treats.
    Question: So crushing garlic releases more flavour- but does it make a difference to the health benefits? Mama M

  2. Yes!

    When you crush garlic, you activate allicin, the medicinal component. The longer the allicin has to develop after being activated, the more beneficial the garlic, the more robust the flavor, and the less pungent the garlic "bite". So if you are making Cesar salad, per say, make the dressing in the morning and let it sit all day in the fridge, allowing both the medicine and the flavor to fully develop.

    If you need the garlic immediately, just make sure to crush it to at least activate the allicin.


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