7 Dual-Purpose Herbs to Stock Your Pantry!
Did you know that you essentially have a medicine cabinet in your spice cabinet? This is no joke! Herbal medicine has been used throughout history and within every culture to prevent and treat disease and healthy conditions. Originally materials used were those available within a particular geographical location and addressed the health concerns in that particular area. With immigration and trade, came an exchange of cultural traditions and raw materials became readily available all over the world. Now in our modern world, spices are not an exotic representation of some faraway land, but a regular ol’ purchase at the grocery store. The power of these spices and herbs should not be discounted!
I am going to share with you 7 spices that you, more than likely, all ready have in your cabinets that have some amazing benefit. And if you don’t, you will probably want to add them to your next grocery list!
Ginger is one of my favorites, and should be in every household from both a culinary and a healing perspective. It is an essential ingredient in Asian dishes likes curry and stir-fry. And is a crucial component of every girl’s favorite fall spice blend- pumpkin spice! Are you with me ladies?
Its anti-inflammatory properties pack a powerful punch. Ginger is also a warming spice that increases circulation, reduces pain and cramping, relieves motion sickness and settles digestion. Feeling bloated after a meal? No problem, try this ginger tea!
Magic Ginger Tea: Grate ginger root into a mug, pour hot water over it and steep, then strain. Add honey if desired. If you’re super hard core, peel the ginger and slice off a chunk and chew it. This works best before meals to stimulate digestion, or to relieve bloating or nausea.
Turmeric is the main spice ingredient in the trendy Golden Milk popping up all over coffee shops and health food stores. But its vibrant yellow color is not just for looks and a good name. Curcumin, the element that gives it this pigment also lowers cholesterol and controls inflammation. This root has been confirmed to out-perform many pharmaceuticals against chronic, debilitating diseases such as Alzheimer's, arthritis and cancer.
Incorporate it into recipes or take as a tea. Not sure how to use it, but want to try? Make this simple Turmeric Ginger Dressing to top salads or a lunchtime Buddha bowl.
3 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
1 Tbsp. agave syrup or honey
2 tsp. ground turmeric
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
Mix all ingredients and viola!
Cayenne pepper is made from chili peppers and its main constituent is capsaicin. This has a thermo genic effect on the body, which causes a temporary increase in body temperature and can aid in fat burning! Capsaicin also relieves pain by blocking the chemicals that send pain messages to the brain. (I will take all my food spicy please!)
Cinnamon is a blood sugar stabilizing rockstar! Add this yummy spice to your morning oatmeal or smoothie to keep energy levels stable and prevent blood sugar swings throughout the day. Why is this good you might ask? Aside from the obvious! This means that you are less likely to store body fat and have fewer cravings. Cinnamon also helps keep triglyceride levels in check and may help lower the bad LDL Cholesterol.
One of my favorite ways to add this into my daily spice line up is by adding a teaspoon to my coffee once it is brewed or to the coffee grounds before brewing. This adds a delicious warm fall flavor! Add a splash of almond milk and your favorite sweetener and you have a much cheaper and equally delicious coffee at home!
Fennel is an aromatic herb that compliments fish, eggs, and bread and is used in many sauces. It is one of the best digestive aids for bloating, nausea or upset stomach. If you have allergies or are getting a cold, fennel helps to clear phlegm and excess mucus from the body.
This Beet and Fennel Salad is delicious way to use the whole fennel plant!
6 medium beets, peeled, and cut into chunks
1 fennel bulb, cored and thinly sliced
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
Salt and pepper
Juice of 1 lemon
1-teaspoon stone ground Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon fennel fronds, chopped + extra for garnish (these are the dill-looking ends of the fennel bulb)
1/2 cup chopped walnuts, toasted
2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint + extra for garnish
Preheat oven to 400℉. Line two large rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper. Add the beets to one sheet, and the fennel to the other. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to each pan, and season with salt and pepper. Toss to coat. Roast for 25-30 minutes or until beets are cooked through and fennel is golden. Let cool slightly. While the beets and fennel are roasting, make the dressing. Combine lemon juice, Dijon, honey, fennel fronds, and the remaining two tablespoons of olive oil in a small bowl. Whisk to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper. To assemble the salad, add the beets and fennel to a large bowl. Add the toasted walnuts and toss. Add half to three quarters of the dressing and toss to coat. Add the mint and toss again. Serve with extra dressing, and extra chopped fresh mint and fennel fronds! This salad is fantastic warm, cold, or at room temp.
Garlic. As a universal flavoring spice, it is found in most savory dishes in some form or another. And who doesn’t love garlic? Yum-o-rama!
But garlic is not just a flavor powerhouse. It has anti-microbial and anti-fungal properties that help to get rid of colds and boost the immune system. It also can aid in lowering cholesterol and boost metabolism.
The 7th and final spice is probably underrated and taken for granted. Black Pepper, a household staple, has strong medicinal qualities. It is another warming and stimulating herbs that enhances the properties of other herbs such as Turmeric. This is why black pepper is part of the spice blend in the previously mentioned turmeric Golden Milk. Black Pepper also helps with circulation, increases energy and helps the body fight off colds.
So there you have it, 7 dual-purpose herbs and spices. Which ones will you be stocking your pantry with? If you have a delicious way to use these, please share! If you try one of the suggestions, I would love to hear your thoughts!
In the mean time, stock your pantry and get spicy!