Origins and Health benefits of Spices

cinnamonsticksCinnamon

Origin

Sri Lanka is the only country to produce in the form of Quills from the inner bark of the tree. Graded according to the finest diameter the finer the more prized

Health benefits

Cassia (sold as Cinnamon in the USA) contains Coumarin which is far less sweet and can cause liver damage Coumarin is 1250 times more prevalent in Cassia than Sri Lankan Cinnamon

Regulation of Blood sugar ; its antioxidant qualities can be more beneficial than insulin whish has oxidising skin damaging characteristics

Arthritis can be alleviated especially if taken with honey

Can reduce the proliferation of leukemia and lymphoma cancer cells

Has an anti-clotting effect on the blood

Smelling cinnamon boosts cognitive function and memory

When added to food, it inhibits bacterial growth and food spoilage, making it a natural food preservative

  • Fights the E coli bacteria in unpasteurized juices
  • Great source of manganese, fiber, iron, and calcium

Used for digestive ailments such as indigestion, gas and bloating, stomach upset, and diarrhea

  • Has a mild anti-inflammatory effect
  • Helps boost brain power
  • Helps to keep blood less sticky
  • Has calcium and fiber which can help protect the colon as well as the heart
  • Helps cure urinary tract infections as well as fight tooth decay and gum disease
  • Has powerful anti-microbial properties that can kill bacteria

 

med_pepperBlack Pepper

Origin

In Sri Lankan ancient Sanskrit language it was named ‘Marich’ one name for the sun as it was thought to contain solar energy. Native to India and Sri Lanka. Black peppercorns are the dried fruit of the plant whereas white peppercorns, which have a milder flavour, are it’s seed.

Health Benefits

Stimulating to the digestion, pepper is seen primarily as a remedy for indigestion, bloating, gas and malabsorption. Studies have shown that it not only increases the appetite and production of hydrochloric acid but improves digestion of many key nutrients such as the B vitamins, beta-carotene and selenium and various phytochemicals from other spices and green tea. This is primarily due to the piperine content which is also anti-carcinogenic, due both to this ability to increase absorption of other beneficial compounds and partly in its own right as it’s anti-oxidant and inhibits pro-inflammatory cytokines that are produced by tumour cells.

it’s been used for treating colds and flus either as a decoction or as a powder mixed with a bit of honey or ghee. It is mucolytic and expectorant so helps break up congestion in the chest and sinuses.  It boosts circulation throughout the system but is especially nice for people with cold hands and feet. It’s also thermogenic, increasing fat metabolism and helping weight loss.

Pepper is analgesic and has a history of traditional use for toothache where the powder is applied to the sore tooth. I sometimes like to add a little of the tincture to mouthwashes for its antibacterial effects and its ability to protect against tooth decay.

Black Pepper, ginger and cardamon are all lovely in salves and baths and pepper is especially nice for sore muscles, aches and pains, arthritis and pre or post sports rubs.  It can be used with cardamon and chamomile diluted in a carrier oil to make a lovely stomach rub for indigestion, gas and bloating and to improve peristalsis. It’s also a lovely detoxing oil due to its stimulating and metabolism boosting properties, it can be used with juniper and grapefruit oils for a detoxifying bath mixed with some epsom salts and a little carrier oil before being added to the water.

some other ways to use black pepper:

  • Decoctions and Infusions-  Add some peppercorns to chai spices either in decoction or infusion.. grind them up in a pestle and mortar first to release the volatile oils and aid extraction of the other medicinal compounds.
  • Vinegars – A few peppercorns make a luscious addition to a fruit vinegar such as blackberry, raspberry, rosehip or hawthorn berry lending it just a little pungent kick.
  • Elixirs and Syrups- Again adding a few peppercorns to a winter elixir such as elderberry, hawthorn or sloe gives it a lovely warming boost and pepper in elderberry syrup is a wonderful combination
  • Infused oil- Pepper infused oil is gentler than the essential oil so is lovely used liberally over large areas such as in a sports massage oil or salve.
  • Tincture- Using the folk method of infusing the peppercorns in vodka, its an effective mouthwash. It also makes a lovely liniment for achy muscles mixed with some rosemary infused oil and rubbed vigorously over the body. Perfect for grey January days when you feel a bit under the weather.

 

med_cloveCloves

Origin

Sri Lanka India and Indonesia.  Cloves are the dried buds of the Myrtaceae tree. They have great health benefits in folk remedies worldwide

Health Benefits

This incredible spice has an ORAC value Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity) that is through the roof – of over 290,000. That’s a lot of antioxidants.  This herb is also abundant in manganese, more than almost any other food. Manganese is an important trace mineral for the body. it activates multiple enzymes, particularly anginas which help in the formation of urea. Manganese also form the enzyme peptides which are responsible for the hydrolosis of proteins in the intestines. This mineral helps with lipid metabolism (getting rid of fat) and keeping the nervous system stable (reducing irritability).

Cloves also have anti-viral and anti-bacterial qualities, and can even prevent adult onset diabetes by stabilizing blood sugar levels.

Additionally it is able to prevent various allergic conditions and toothaches – just one of many home remedies for toothache.

  • Cloves have been used to treat asthma and as an anesthetic.
  • Clove oil is even better at repelling mosquitoes than citronella.
  • Clove oil can help relieve muscle spasms, as well, so it was used as a natural way to aid in childbirth for centuries.
  • Due to its antimicrobial properties, clove oil can treat skin problems like acne and warts.
  • Clove oil or clove tea can also help treat insomnia.

This powerful plant can be used in myriad ways to heal the body. Along with other vitamins and minerals like vitamins C, K, and calcium, cloves can treat multiple diseases which are caused by a deficiency in nutrient dense foods – from cardiovascular problems, depression, and even cancer.

If you can obtain clove whole and grind them yourself, you will be consuming more of the antioxidants and healthful constituents. A hot tea prepared with cloves, cinnamon and bay leaves is incredibly tasty and full of health-restoring properties.

 

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