From Celebrity Chef-Maria Liberat iauthor ofthe best selling book series The Basic Art of Italian Cooking. Spices,besides making foods tastier also have healing properties find out about the top eight spices that heal.
Aroma therapy anyone..What could be more inviting than the aromatic scent of spices? Whether you are baking or making mulled wine or ciders- cinnamon,cardamom, ginger, cloves are spices that add flavor and aroma.
How could you even think of making chili without cayenne and curry without turmeric? But these and other spices, in addition to adding their characteristic tastes, are also rich in anti-inflammatory,antioxidant and other health benefits.
The plants known as spices, are grown in equatorial regions and traditionally were used as preservatives to discourage bacteria on and in foods. Cardamom, cinnamon and cloves have anti-bacterial properties.
Irradiation (exposure to low dose ionizing radiation) is a process used to sterilize foods in many countries and is often used on conventional spices. However ,organic production prohibits irradiation and certified organic spices and herbs are becoming more easily available.
Whether conventional or organic, spices should be stored in airtight containers away from high heat and humidity or bright light. To test for freshness rub a little spice between your fingers. If the aroma is strong and pleasing it is still fresh. But if it is musty smelling, kind of like old grass clippings-toss it.
The best rule of thumb with spices is to throw them out after a year.
Here are some of the best healing spices:
*Cardamom- is the best source of cineole-an antiseptic that kills bacteria that causes bad breath, breaks up chest congestion and fights bronchitis and sore throat. When choosing -select whole-not broken pods. Take 15 crushed seeds (mixed in a cup of hot water) up to 5 times a day.
*Cayenne-applied topically blocks pain transmission in arthritis, cluster headaches and shingles. It also lowers cholesterol. Mix ¼ t o1/2 tsp cayenne powder in a cup of water and drink after meals
*Cinnamon- eases allergies ,relieves pain, fights bacteria,reduces gas and helps relax muscles.. Sprinkle on food. Mix ½ tsp in a cup of hot water 2 to 3 times a day with meals.
*Cloves-contains eugenol, a powerful phytochemical that kills bacteria and fungi and also helps thin blood. Sprinkle a little over cuts to prevent infection.
*Fennel-excellent for digestion, helps bronchitis, and mucous membrane inflammation. Take 1-2 tsps of mashed fennel seeds in a cup of hot water.
*Fenugreek- great source of mucilage,a soluble fiber. Also helps control blood sugar. It’s safe to eat ¼ to ½ cup seeds daily.
*Ginger-Digestive aid but also contains anti-inflammatory and other compounds useful in preventing arterial plaque. Mix 2 tsps of powdered roots in a cup of hot water daily.
*Turmeric- Great anti-inflammatory for arthritis and liver support and also helps protect against cancer. Take a teaspoon dried powder in a cup of warm milk daily 3 times a day.