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Culinary Herbs and Spices

Culinary herbs and spices are chosen for their flavors to delight the palate. To me, they also represent fun, color, and health. They are masters at dancing with our taste buds. They are nature’s aid to the relaxation of stomach muscles. They also encourage better production of balanced and sufficient gastric juices. They contain elements that help counteract toxic foods. Some contain antifungal, antibacterial, and antiviral ingredients, giving some help to harmonize food combinations that might otherwise fight it out and cause indigestion and gas; still, others help the liver with its job of constantly negating and purifying. You can grow fresh herbs and spices and use dried or freshly imported ones. The spice and herb section of any kitchen is one of the major medicine cupboards for any household. This section should be used for everyday eating and staying healthy.

The whole kitchen should be full of living, healing, and tasty foods, but herbs and spices have a special gift. Remember that by adding these to all meals and rotating their use, you are bringing a diversity of healing chemistry into your diet, thus reducing the likelihood of disease in general. Aniseed (Pimpinella anisum) is a sweet spice. It is excellent for breaking up mucus in the body and for the relief of cramping in the bowels, as well as colic and flatulence. It is also very calming, soothing the nervous system and alleviating sleeplessness. Caraway (Carum carvi) is an excellent aid to digestion and relieves indigestion. Cardamom (Elettaria cardamomum) is the king of spices; it warms the body and soothes indigestion and gas. Cayenne (Capsicum annuum) is a medicinal and nutritional herb.

It is the purest and best stimulant. It is an excellent food for the circulatory system, as it feeds the necessary elements into the cell structure of arteries, veins, and capillaries so that they regain elasticity. It also regulates blood pressure. Used most beneficially raw, it rebuilds the tissue in the stomach and heals stomach and intestinal ulcers (the opposite is true of cooked chiles). It also produces natural warmth and, in stimulating the peristaltic motion of the intestines, aids in assimilation and elimination. Cayenne peppers have white seeds, which are the hottest part; they are good for colds and flu. Cinnamon (Cinnamomum zeylanicum) is available as bark, shoots, and sticks.
The bark is mainly sweet, but also slightly hot and bitter; the shoots have a very different taste and are not so sweet. Both are warming and tonic. Cinnamon and whole barley soup are good for all kidney problems, balancing water volume, general tone, and function and helping to cleanse the system. Cinnamon and cloves complement each other in cooking, warming and speeding digestion. Nausea, flatulence, and diarrhea can be helped with them. Cloves (Syzygium aromaticum) are a stimulant and are effective for warming the body, increasing circulation, improving digestion, alleviating nausea and vomiting, and clearing phlegm. They are also capable of inhibiting viruses and fungi as well as parasitic eggs. Use sparingly, as the flavor is strong. Coriander (Coriandrum sativum) is the queen of spices and an antiviral herb. As a seed, it is a good thickening agent. It is stimulative, digestive, and considered universally useful and healing.