3 Ways to Use Your Spices as Medicine

I just started reading a new book - Healing Spices by Bharat B. Aggarwal, PhD. Much of the content, though familiar to me, is written in a very digestible manner. Aggarwal does a fine job of describing not only the healing properties of the spice, but how/where to buy it, how to cook with it and the history of the spice. Today I am going to highlight three ways you can use your own spice rack as medicine!

                                       Star anise, cinnamon, cloves and cardamom are pictured above

                                      Star anise, cinnamon, cloves and cardamom are pictured above

(1) Cooking

Probably one of the most stealth ways to consume spices is to add them to the meals you prepare on a daily basis. How you cook with spices really impacts its flavor. Clove is one such spice whose flavor is enhanced when it is first fried in a little oil. 

Tip: If you want to increase the flavor and shelf life of your spices store them in a dark, cool place and store the whole spice (seed, pod, leaf etc.) versus storing it ground. 

(2) Topical Application

Topical application of a spice can be beneficial for reducing inflammation and speeding up healing. Ajowan & black mustard seeds are two spices used commonly in Gujarati Indian cooking that can be used topically to decrease respiratory congestion, decrease bronchial airway inflammation and act as bronchodilators (opening up breathing airways). Another spice that comes to mind as a common topical application is turmeric. Did you know that turmeric can applied as a paste to sprains or wounds to help speed up healing?

(3) Supplementation

Supplementation of spices has become the most common way in which many people today consume them. However, supplementation hasn't always meant a spice packaged in a cellulose capsule. In fact, supplementation of a spice can be as a paste, as a drink, a dry mixture meant to be swallowed whole etc. 

So next time you are looking at your medicine cabinet for a cough/cold/injury don't forget to look at your spice rack as well!

Be Radiant,

~Dr. Dimpi