Spices for Health and Healing
April 2, 2016
by Stephanie Taylor MD PhD
Definition of a spice: A spice is “edible, aromatic and dried”
Our second Mini-Medical School focused on another aspect of healing with whole foods, namely Spices! These rare and tasty items were revered as medicines in the not too distant past. Recent research has identified spices as concentrated sources of many healthful compounds. Dr. Taylor discussed many common spices and their uncommon health benefits. A few are listed below. For more specific and detailed information, see the book “Healing Spices” listed below.
Adding more spices to your daily life the Easy Way.
Almonds: Have 1-2 oz per day.
Black Cumin: Add the seeds to more foods, but you may need the oil to get therapeutic levels. Buy this in capsules, as the oil is not very palatable.
Black pepper: make it fun with a lovely pepper grinder in the table.
Cardamom: Put a slightly bruised pod in the bottom of your coffee cup.
Cinnamon: Well, you can add this to about everything!
Cocoa: There are two kinds of cocoa-Dutch and natural. Dutch processed is darker and has been treated with alkali to make it less acidic. Dutch process is lower in the beneficial flavanols. Heavy metal contamination, especially cadmium, is common in cocoa powder, and less so in dark chocolate. Consumerlab.com has a complete report of best brands (including concentration of heavy metals) on their website which can be accessed for a modest annual fee.
Get a cookbook that focuses on Spices. Here are some recommendations:
Claiborne, Craig. An Herb and Spice Cookbook, 1963. An old favorite of mine and available as a used book.
Lawson, Jane. The Spice Bible, 2008. New interpretation with recipes by spice.
Aggarwal, Bharat. Healing Spices, 2011. A n entertaining list of recent research studies on a large number of spices familiar and strange.
And for historical inspiration, try: Nabhan, Gary. Cumin, Camels and Caravans: A Spice Odyssey, 2014. A personal journey into the heart of the Silk Road and the spice trade.
The Spice House, www.TheSpiceHouse.com. Great variety and grind their own spices weekly.
Penn Herb Co. www.pennherb.com Also great variety and has black cumin oil in capsules.