SPICES FOR HEALTH

Spices have been used throughout history for their medicinal and health-enhancing benefits. Researchers now have determined that many spices are antioxidant powerhouses, providing as many disease-fighting health benefits as a full serving of many fruits and vegetables. In addition to their antioxidant power, some spices also have antibiotic properties, and they can reduce inflammation in the body.

Allspice

Allspice offers robust antioxidant and detoxifying benefits. Researchers identified eugenol as the main active compound in allspice, noting that it exhibited significant ability to neutralize free radicals — reactive molecules that cause cell damage. The compound also showed strong metal-binding ability, indicating that it may be useful for removing toxic metals, such as mercury and lead, from the body.

Anise

In ancient Rome, at the end of an indulgent feast, people would serve cakes made with anise to calm digestion and freshen the breath. In the 1930s, Margaret Grieve—in her highly influential book “A Modern Herbal” – said the “stimulant and carminative properties of anise make it useful in flatulency and colic”.

Like ginger, anise has several uses. It’s still used as an aromatic digestive, a group of remedies that calms digestive problems, and reduces nausea, gas and bloating. Anise can also be used as an expectorant and can be used for coughs and colds.

Annatto/Achiote

The seeds are anti-bacterial. But that’s not where it ends! These seeds are a treasure trove of health benefits:

  • Lowers cholesterol levels
  • Boosts liver function and detoxification
  • Works as an effective expectorant – to remove mucus – therefore effectve if you have cough, asthma and bronchitis.
  • Keeps blood pressure in check
  • Helps digestion and controls diarrhea
  • Reduces edema

Basil

Basil also is considered one of the healthiest herbs. It’s best when fresh, exuding a sweet, earthy aroma that indicates not only the promise of pleasantly pungent flavor, but an impressive list of nutrients. Vitamin K, essential for blood clotting, is one of them. Just two tablespoons of basil provides 29 percent of the daily recommended value.

Basil also provides vitamin A, which contains  beta-carotenes, powerful antioxidants that protect the cells lining a number of numerous body structures, including the blood vessels, from free radical damage. This helps prevent cholesterol in  blood from oxidizing, helping to prevent atherosclerosis, heart attacks, and stroke.

Other vitamins and minerals in basil include iron, calcium, manganese, magnesium, vitamin C and potassium. Not surprisingly, basil also has antibacterial properties and contains DNA-protecting flavonoids.
It’s the flavonoids and volatile oils in basil that give it the most health benefits, the former protecting on the cellular level, with antibacterial properties related to its volatile oils. Among these are estragole, linalool, cineole, eugenol, sabinene, myrcene, and limonene, all capable of restricting the growth of numerous harmful bacteria, including listeria, staphylococcus, E. coli, yersinia enterocolitica, and pseudomonas aeruginosa.

Some antibiotic medications which have been found to be resistant to some of these strains have been inhibited by basil extracts. One of those oils – eugenol – can block the activity of the harmful enzyme cyclooxygenase (COX). This same effect puts basil in the “anti-inflammatory” category because it provides relief from related problems, such as rheumatoid arthritis.

Black Pepper

A little pepper may go a long way with your health—it might even help ward off breast cancer. A chemical compound in peppercorns called piperine may be able to help prevent a breast cancer tumor from developing, a University of Michigan Cancer Center study suggests. Pepper’s potential cancer-preventing properties are heightened when it’s paired with turmeric! The health benefits of black pepper include relief from respiratory disorders, coughs, the common cold, constipation, indigestion, anemia, impotency, muscular strains, dental disease, pyorrhea, diarrhea, and heart disease.

Cacao Powder

Cacao is a top source of antioxidants, and it is a Great source of magnesium, calcium, zinc, iron, copper and potassium. Cacao also contains more antioxidant flavonoids than red wine, green tea and blueberries.

  • Lowers insulin resistance
  • Protects your nervous system: Cacao is high in resveratrol, a potent antioxidant also found in red wine, known for its ability to cross your blood-brain barrier to help protect your nervous system
  • Shields nerve cells from damage
  • Reduces your risk of cardiovascular disease
  • Reduces your risk of stroke
  • Reduces blood pressure
  • Reduces your risk of cardiovascular disease: The antioxidants found in cacao help to maintain healthy levels of Nitric Oxide (NO) in the body. Although NO has heart benefiting qualities, such as relaxing blood vessels and reducing blood pressure, it also produces toxins. The antioxidants in cacao neutralizes these toxins, protecting your heart and preventing against disease.
  • Guards against toxins: as a potent antioxidant, cacao can repair the damage caused by free radicals and may reduce the risk of certain cancers. In fact cacao contains far more antioxidants per 100g than acai, goji berries and blueberries. Antioxidants are responsible for 10% of the weight of raw cacao.
  • Boosts your mood: cacao can increase levels of certain neurotransmitters that promote a sense of well-being. And the same brain chemical that is released when we experience deep feelings of love – phenylethylamine – is found in chocolate.

Cardamom

This is a popular spice used in Indian cuisine, and can go a long way if you’re trying to detox the body. Cardamom goes to work on harmful bacteria in the body, without destroying the beneficial bacteria that you want in there. When used in conjunction with other spices that help the digestion you’ve got a powerful one-two punch that can kill off these bacteria, and then whisk them out of the body. One side benefit of using more cardamom is that it acts as a natural antidepressant. Even if you’re not depressed it will help boost your mood, making it a great spice to introduce into your diet.

Chile Pepper (see varieties at bottom)

Chiles, which create sensations of heat, from mild to fiery, are especially prized in hot climates since, ironically, the spice helps trigger the body’s natural cooling systems. Studies show that capsaicin—a pungent compound in hot chiles—revs up the body’s metabolism and may boost fat burning. In the early 1800s it was used in massive doses to heat up the body and purge it of disease. We take a more gentle approach now, using much lower quantities to improve the circulation, and help clear out mucous and phlegm from the sinuses and nasal passages.

Capsaicin is the substance that makes chillies hot and this is currently being researched for a range of health benefits, including possible anticancer effects.

Recent research found that capsinoids, similar but gentler chemicals found in milder chile hybrids, have the same effects—so even tamer sweet paprika packs a healthy punch. Capsaicin may also lower risk of ulcers by boosting the ability of stomach cells to resist infection by ulcer-causing bacteria and help the heart by keeping “bad” LDL cholesterol from turning into a more lethal, artery-clogging form.

Cinnamon

Cinnamon is one of the oldest spices— it was used for embalming in Egypt 2500 years ago. Most spices are the seed of a plant, but cinnamon is the inner layer of bark from a tree, which is dried and rolled.

Traditionally, cinnamon is regarded as a warming expectorant, used to gently reduce congestion and phlegm in the lungs, and dry up runny noses.

Cinnamon was prized by the ancient Greeks and Romans to boost appetite and relieve indigestion. Cinnamon comes from the bark of a tropical evergreen tree and has one of the highest antioxidant values of any spice. The spice has been shown to reduce inflammation, lower blood sugar and blood triglyceride levels, alleviate nausea and increase sensitivity to insulin as an aid in fat burning. It’s also a good source of manganese, iron and calcium.

Cloves

Among more than a thousand foods studied at the University of Oslo cloves contained the most antioxidants per gram, with as little as 1g (about ½ teaspoon) of cloves containing about the same antioxidants as ½ cup of berries. Eugenol, the active component of cloves, offers a range of potential health benefits, including antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer effects. Researchers have noted that the clove extract has shown inhibitory effects against skin, bone, blood and stomach cancers.

Coffee

Coffee is actually very healthy. It is loaded with antioxidants and beneficial nutrients that can improve your health. Studies show that coffee drinkers have a much lower risk of several serious diseases.

  • Coffee Can Improve Energy Levels and Make You Smarter. …
  • Coffee Can Help You Burn Fat. …
  • The Caffeine Can Drastically Improve Physical Performance. …
  • There Are Essential Nutrients in Coffee. …
  • Coffee May Lower Your Risk of Type II Diabetes. …
  • Coffee May Protect You From Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia

Coriander

The health benefits of coriander include its use in the treatment of skin inflammation , high cholesterol levels, diarrhea, mouth ulcers, anemia, indigestion, menstrual disorders, smallpox, conjunctivitis, skin disorders, and blood sugar disorders, while also benefiting eye care.

Many of the above healing properties of coriander can be attributed to its exceptional phytonutrient content. Coriander’s volatile oil is rich in beneficial phytonutrients, including carvonegeraniol,limoneneborneolcamphorelemol, and linalool. Coriander’s flavonoids include quercitinkaempferol,rhamnetin, and epigenin. Plus, coridander contains active phenolic acid compounds, including caffeic andchlorogenic acid.

Cumin

Cumin is a potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant that may help stop tumor growth. Cumin has a detoxifying effect. Cumin helps the digestion, which is the cornerstone to any detox strategy.  That’s why it’s good to use spices like cumin so that your digestion can be running on all cylinders and you’ll be able to expel toxins more easily.

Fennel Seeds

  • Fennel symbolizes longevity, courage, and strength. In addition to its use as medicinal values, fennel has many health benefiting nutrients, essential compounds, anti-oxidants, dietary fiber, minerals, and vitamins.
  • Fennel seeds indeed contain numerous flavonoid anti-oxidants like kaempferol and quercetin. These compounds function as powerful anti-oxidants by removing harmful free radicals from the body thus offer protection from cancers, infection, aging and degenerative neurological diseases.
  • Like in caraway, fennel seeds too are rich source of dietary fiber. 100 g seeds provide 39.8 g of fiber. Much of this roughage is metabolically inert insoluble fiber, which helps increase bulk of the food by absorbing water throughout the digestive system and easing constipation condition.
  • In addition, dietary fibers bind to bile salts (produced from cholesterol) and decrease their re-absorption in colon. It thus helps lower serum LDL cholesterol levels. Together with flavonoid anti-oxidants, fiber composition of fennel helps protect the colon mucus membrane from cancers.
  • Fennel seeds compose of health benefiting volatile essential oil compounds such as anethole, limonene, anisic aldehyde, pinene, myrcene, fenchone, chavicol, and cineole. These active principles in the fennel are known to have antioxidant, digestive, carminative, and anti-flatulent properties.
  • Fennel seeds are concentrated source of minerals like copper, iron, calcium, potassium, manganese, selenium, zinc, and magnesium. Copper is required in the production of red blood cells. Iron is required for red blood cell formation. Zinc is a co-factor in many enzymes that regulate growth and development, sperm generation, digestion and nucleic acid synthesis. Potassium is an important component of cell and body fluids that helps controlling heart rate and blood pressure. Manganese is used by the body as a co-factor for the powerful anti-oxidant enzyme, superoxide dismutase.
  • Furthermore, the seeds indeed are the storehouse for many vital vitamins. Vitamin A, vitamin E, vitamin C as well as many B-complex vitamins like thiamin, pyridoxine, riboflavin and niacin particularly are concentrated in these seeds.

File Powder (Sassafras leaves)

It helps in detoxification of blood and regulates the blood pressure. It has diuretic effects.
 It is also effective in cases of arthritis and rheumatic conditions. It provides relief to patients having bronchitis.
 It is also effective against kidney problems, gastrointestinal ailments and skin eruptions.

Garlic

Garlic contains a compound called Allicin, which has a potent medicinal properties.

It is a popular ingredient in cooking due to its strong smell and delicious taste.

However, throughout ancient history, the main use of garlic was for its health and medicinal properties.

Its use was well documented by all the major civilizations… including the Egyptians, Babylonians, Greeks, Romans and the Chinese.

Garlic is known to boost the function of the immune system.

Human studies have found garlic supplementation to have a significant impact on reducing blood pressure in people with high blood pressure

Garlic contains antioxidants that protect against cell damage and ageing. It may reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.

Garlic destroys cancer cells and may disrupt the metabolism of tumor cells, says Karen Collins, RD, nutrition advisor to the American Institute for Cancer Research. “Studies suggest that one or two cloves weekly provide cancer-protective benefits.”

Garlic was shown to significantly reduce lead toxicity and related symptoms in one study.

Ginger

Traditionally used to relieve colds and stomach troubles, ginger is rich in inflammation-fighting compounds, such as gingerols, which some experts believe may hold promise in fighting some cancers and reducing arthritis pain. In a recent study, people who took ginger capsules daily for 11 days reported 25 percent less muscle pain when they performed exercises designed to strain their muscles (compared with a similar group taking placebo capsules). Another study found that ginger extract injections helped relieve osteoarthritis pain of the knee. And ginger’s reputation as a stomach soother seems deserved: studies show ginger extracts can help reduce nausea caused by morning sickness or following surgery or chemotherapy, though it’s less effective for motion sickness.

Nutmeg

Nutmeg contains antibacterial compounds that may help fight listeria, E. coli, and salmonella, according to research. Anti-aging benefits of nutmeg were demonstrated in a tissue culture study of human skin cells published in a 2012 issue of “Biological and Pharmaceutical Bulletin.” A nutmeg compound called macelignan protected the cells against damage from ultraviolet radiation by inhibiting activity of tissue-damaging enzymes and promoting increased collagen production.

Marjoram

Marjoram (Marjoram (Origanum majorana)is an aromatic herb in the mint family which originated in Egypt and Arabia. It is also widely referred to as Oregano. Today, it is commonly found in the Mediterranean region or grown in gardens around the world. In its varied forms of: Marjoram essential oil, fresh or dried Marjoram leaves, or Marjoram powder (ground up Marjoram), it has many uses. As a culinary additive, it is commonly used to flavor soups, sauces, salads, and meat dishes. Cosmetically, Marjoram is used in skin cream, body lotion, shaving gel, and bath soaps. Whether used as an essential oil, powder, fresh leaves, or dried leaves, Marjoram has many uses with numerous health benefits.ntial oil, fresh or dried Marjoram leaves, or Marjoram powder (ground up Marjoram), it has many uses. As a culinary additive, it is commonly used to flavor soups, sauces, salads, and meat dishes. Cosmetically, Marjoram is used in skin cream, body lotion, shaving gel, and bath soaps. Whether used as an essential oil, powder, fresh leaves, or dried leaves, Marjoram has many uses with numerous health benefits.

Marjoram is a great antiseptic, antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral agent. Another benefit of Marjoram is the enhancement of the cardiovascular and circulatory system. Marjoram is also an anti-inflammatory herb and enhances the digestive system’s performance

There are a variety of other health benefits as well, such as:

  • Reduction of phlegm
  • Warding off fungal infections
  • Regulating the menstrual cycle in women
  • Relieving premenstrual syndrome (PMS)
  • Lessening bruising.

Mint

Mint, also known as mentha, is actually a genus or group of around 15-20 types of plants including peppermint and spearmint.

Possible health benefits of consuming mint
Mint, also known as mentha, is actually a genus or group of around 15-20 types of plants including peppermint and spearmint.
Allergies: Mint plants contain an antioxidant known as rosmarinic acid, which has been studied for its effectiveness in relieving seasonal allergy symptoms. Because of rosmarinic acid’s anti-inflammatory properties, rosmarinic acid has been shown to be a promising treatment.4

Common cold: Mint contains menthol, which is a natural decongestant that helps to break up phlegm and mucus. Mint can also be effective, especially when combined with tea for relieving sore throats.

Indigestion: Mint is a calming and soothing herb that has been used for thousands of years to aid with upset stomach or indigestion. Mint is thought to improve the flow of bile through the stomach, which helps to speed and ease digestion.

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS): The use peppermint oil has been found to be an effective and safe treatment for those suffering from abdominal pain or discomfort associated with IBS.2,5

Skin: When applied topically in oil, ointment or lotion, mint has the effect of calming and cooling skin affected by insect bites, rash or other reactions.

Mustard Seed

Like other Brassicas, mustard seeds contain plentiful amounts of phytonutrients called glucosinolates. The seeds also contain myrosinase enzymes that can break apart the glucosinolates into other phytonutrients called isothiocyanates. The isothiocyanates in mustard seed (and other Brassicas) have been repeatedly studied for their anti-cancer effects. In animal studies—and particularly in studies involving the gastrointestinal tract and colorectal cancer—intake of isothiocyanates has been shown to inhibit growth of existing cancer cells and to be protective against the formation of such cells.

Mustard seeds emerged from our food ranking system as an excellent source of selenium, a nutrient which that has been shown to help reduce the severity of asthma, decrease some of the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, and help prevent cancer. They also qualified as a good source of magnesium. Like selenium, magnesium has been shown to help reduce the severity of asthma, to lower high blood pressure, to restore normal sleep patterns in women having difficulty with the symptoms of menopause, to reduce the frequency of migraine attacks, and to prevent heart attack in patients suffering from atherosclerosis or diabetic heart disease.

Mustard seeds also qualified as a very good source of omega-3 fatty acids and manganese as well as a good source of phosphorus, copper, and vitamin B1.

Oregano

The herb is used to treat respiratory tract disorders, gastrointestinal (GI) disorders, menstrual cramps, and urinary tract disorders.

The herb is used to treat respiratory tract disorders, gastrointestinal (GI) disorders, menstrual cramps, and urinary tract disorders.

The herb is also applied topically to help treat a number of skin conditions, such as acne and dandruff.

Oregano contains: fiber, iron, manganese, vitamin E, iron, calcium, omega fatty acids, manganese, and typtophan.

Oregano is also a rich source of:

Vitamin K – an important vitamin which promotes bone growth, the maintenance of bone density, and the production of blood clotting proteins.
Dietary antioxidants – a report published in the Journal of Nutrition revealed that oregano contains very high concentrations of antioxidants1 (i.e., >75 mmol/100 g).
Antioxidants help protect your cells against the effects of free radicals and improve your ability to fight infection.

Antibacterial properties and Anti-inflammatory properties

Paprika

The paprika plant is from the same family as chilli. Originally found in Mexico, Christopher Columbus took the plants back to Spain, where they were powdered and became a staple in Spanish cooking.

Paprika comes in several varieties: sweet, hot, mild and smoked, and they each have their own distinctive flavour. Be careful when buying “smoked” paprika that you get the genuine article, as some manufacturers just add smoke flavour and MSG to sweet paprika.

Like chili, paprika is high in antioxidants, including betacarotene, capsanthin, quercetin and luteolin.

Rosemary

Rosemary contains substances that are useful for stimulating the immune system, increasing circulation, and improving digestion. Rosemary also contains anti-inflammatory compounds that may make it useful for reducing the severity of asthma attacks. In addition, rosemary has been shown to increase the blood flow to the head and brain, improving concentration.

Saffron

Saffron belongs to the iris family, and has had a plethora of uses throughout millennia. As far back as the writings of Galen and Hippocrates, saffron was mentioned as a medical treatment for coughs, colds, stomach ailments, insomnia, uterine bleeding, scarlet fever, heart trouble, and flatulence.

Beyond that, saffron contains more than 150 volatile compounds, among others. Picrocrocin, for instance, is the main substance responsible for the strong taste. Safranal brings saffron its characteristic odor and fragrance. Crocin, which delivers the intense orange color, is an indication of this spice’s medicinal qualities, i.e. its powerful carotenoids and antioxidants that can protect your body from free radical damage.

Sage

Sage is an herb. The leaf is used to make medicine.

Sage is used for digestive problems, including loss of appetite, gas (flatulence), stomach pain (gastritis), diarrhea, bloating, and heartburn. It is also used for reducing overproduction of perspiration and saliva; and for depression, memory loss, and Alzheimer’s disease.

Savory

  • Savory leaves and tender shoots carry incredibly high-quality chemical compounds that are known to have been anti-oxidant, disease preventing and health promoting properties. In addition, dietary fiber in this herb helps reduce LDL or bad cholesterol while increasing HDL or good cholesterol levels.
  • Savory leaves contain many essential volatile-oil phenols such as thymol and carvacrol, as well aslinalool, camphene, caryophyllene, terpineol, myrcene, and other terpenoids.
  • Thymol, one of the important essential oils, has scientifically been found to have antiseptic, anti-fungal characteristics.
  • In addition, another phenolic compound, carvacrol in savory inhibits the growth of several bacteria strains like E. coli, and Bacillus cereus. Carvacrol, therefore, has been used as healthy food additive for its anti-bacterial properties. It also gives pleasant tangy taste and marjoram like flavor to the food.
  • Savory herb is an excellent source of minerals and vitamins that are essential for optimum health. Its leaves and tender shoots are one of the richest sources of potassium, iron, calcium, magnesium, manganese, zinc, and selenium. Potassium is an important component of cell and body fluids that helps controlling heart rate and blood pressure. Manganese is used by the body as a co-factor for the antioxidant enzyme, superoxide dismutase. Iron is required for red blood cell formation.
  • The herb is also a rich source of many important vitamins such as B-complex group vitamins, vitamin-A, vitamin-C, niacin, thiamin and pyridoxine.

Dry savory herb has amazingly high levels of vitamins and minerals. Just 100 g of ground dry herb provides (% of Recommended daily allowance):-

120% of dietary fiber,
25% of niacin,
130% of vitamin B-6 (pyridoxine),
83% of vitamin C,
177% of vitamin A,
474% of iron,
210% of calcium,
94% of magnesium, and
265% of manganese

Sesame

Not only are sesame seeds an excellent source of copper and a very good source of manganese, but they are also a good source of calciummagnesium, iron, phosphorus, vitamin B1, zinc, molybdenum, selenium, and dietary fiber. Sesame seeds contain two unique substances: sesamin and sesamolin. Both of these substances belong to a group of special beneficial fibers called lignans, and have been shown to have a cholesterol-lowering effect in humans, and to prevent high blood pressure and increase vitamin E supplies in animals. Sesamin has also been found to protect the liver from oxidative damage.

Star Anise

People try taking star anise for respiratory tract infections, lung swelling (inflammation), cough, bronchitis, the flu (influenza), swine flu, and bird flu. They also use it for digestive tract problems including upset stomach, gas, loss of appetite, and colic in babies. Some women use star anise for increasing the flow of breast milk, promoting menstruation, and easing childbirth. Star anise is also used for increasing sexual drive (libido) and treating symptoms of “male menopause.” Some people inhale star anise to treat respiratory tract congestion. Star anise seeds contain ingredients that might have activity against bacteria, yeast, and fungi. People try star anise for treating flu because it is a good source of shikimic acid, which is used in the manufacture of oseltamivir (Tamiflu), a flu treatment.

Sumac

Sumac has been used as cure of various ailments in medieval medicine. Potential finding of sumac drupes in an 11th-century shipwreck off the coast of Rhodes, suggests its use as medicine, culinary spice or as a dye. Some of the health benefits of sumac are given below:

Sumac health benefits – Diuretic
Sumac berries have diuretic properties and are used in bowel complaints. In Middle East, sour Sumac juice is used to relieve stomach upset.

Anti inflammatory properties of Sumac
Sumac helps in reducing fever. Sumac works great for arthritis, skin inflammation, and respiratory problems such as bronchitis, colds, and flues.

Sumac benefits: Anti microbial
Sumac has anti microbial properties. A study published in International Journal of Food Microbiology suggested sumac’s antimicrobial activity that can combat Salmonella bacteria. Water mixed with sumac extract can be used to treating vegetables and fruits and get rid of bacteria on them. [1] . Anti microbial properties of sumac were attributed to presence of methyl gallic acid, gallic acid and other compounds in a study published in Journal of Ethnopharmacology.

Antifungal Action of Sumac
A research published in German bioscience journal, Zeitschrift Fuer Naturforschung, showed that seeds of sumac are effective against Aspergillus fungus which causes lung infection and infection to other organs. [2]

Anti oxidant properties of Sumac
Sumac is full of Vitamin C and Omega 3 fatty acids thus helping to prevent cardiovascular disease and strokes. Sumac helps get rid of free radicals in body, mainly gastro intestinal tract. Results of lab studies on strong antioxidant properties of Rhus coriaria has been published in Journal, Phytotherapy Research and Journal of Medicinal Food. [3,4]

Hypoglycemic properties of Rhus
Research further suggests that sumac is effective in case hyperglycemia, diabetes and obesity. Some research is also carried on its anti tumour properties.

Tarragon

This exquisite herb is rich in numerous health benefiting phyto-nutrients that are indispensable for optimum health.

The main essential oils in tarragon are estragole (methyl chavicol), cineol, ocimene and phellandrene.

Traditionally, tarragon has been employed as a traditional remedy to stimulate appetite and alleviate anorexic symptoms.

Scientific studies suggest that poly-phenolic compounds in this herb help lower blood-sugar levels.

Fresh tarragon herb is one of the highest antioxidant value food sources among the common herbs. Its total measured ORAC (Oxygen radical absorbance capacity) value is 15,542 trolex equivalents (TE) per 100 g.

Laboratory studies on tarragon extract shows certain compounds in them inhibit platelet activation, preventing platelet aggregation and adhesion to the blood vessel wall. It, thus, helps prevent clot formation inside tiny blood vessels of heart and brain protecting from heart attack, and stroke.

The herb is very rich source of vitamins such as vitamin-C, vitamin-A as well as B-complex group of vitamins such as folates, pyridoxine, niacin, riboflavin, etc., that function as antioxidant as well as co-factors for enzymes in the metabolism.

Tarragon is a notably excellent source of minerals like calcium, manganese, iron, magnesium, copper, potassium, and zinc. Manganese is utilized by the body as a co-factor for the antioxidant enzyme, superoxide dismutase. Iron is essential for cellular respiration (co-factors for cytochrome-oxidase enzyme) and blood cell production.

Turmeric

Turmeric is what gives common deli mustard, butters and cheeses their yellow color. Many claim that this bright orange-yellow spice provides pain relief equal or better to over-the-counter remedies such as ibuprofen. Tumeric is also being investigated for its potential benefits for those with Alzheimer’s disease, arthritis and cancer. An incredibly powerful antioxidant, turmeric contains anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties while helping to digest fats quickly. In India, turmeric paste is applied to wounds to speed healing; people sip turmeric tea to relieve colds and respiratory problems. Modern medicine confirms some solid-gold health benefits as well; most are associated with curcumin, a compound in turmeric that has potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Curcumin has been shown to help relieve pain of arthritis, injuries and dental procedures; it’s also being studied for its potential in managing heart disease, diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease.

Researcher Bharat Aggarwal is bullish on curcumin’s potential as a cancer treatment, particularly in colon, prostate and breast cancers; preliminary studies have found that curcumin can inhibit tumor cell growth and suppress enzymes that activate carcinogens.

WHY SEA SALT?

Sea salt is rapidly becoming more popular, as more and more people are learning about all the health benefits that the salt has to offer. The salt is obtained naturally from the sea, and does not go through any processing that alters the natural make-up of the salt.

Thus it contains many Essential Trace Minerals that your body needs in order to be healthy. This natural salt is healthier than the iodized salt available in the market. Ten great benefits to adding sea salt to your diet:

Strong Immune System – Sea salt naturally helps you to build up a strong immune system so that you can fight off the cold virus, the fever and flu, allergies and other autoimmune disorders.

Alkalizing – Sea salt is alkalizing to the body, as it has not been exposed to high heat and stripped of its minerals, nor does it have any harmful man-made ingredients added to it. Thus it can help you to prevent and reverse high levels of acids in the body, which in turn eliminates the risks for serious and life-threatening diseases.

Weight Loss – Believe it or not, but sea salt can also help you in weight loss. It helps the body to create digestive juices so that the foods you eat are digested faster, and it helps to prevent buildup in the digestive tract, which eventually can lead to constipation and weight gain.

Skin Conditions – A sea salt bath can help to relieve dry and itchy skin as well as serious conditions such as eczema and psoriasis. The bath naturally opens up the pores, improves circulation in the skin and hydrates the tissues so that your skin can heal.

Asthma – Sea salt is effective in reducing inflammation in the respiratory system. Thus the production of phlegm is slowed down so that you can breathe easier again. Some say that sprinkling sea salt on the tongue after drinking a glass of water is just as effective as using an inhaler. But the great thing about sea salt is that it has no side effects when taken in moderation.

Heart Health – When salt is taken with water it can help to reduce high cholesterol levels, high blood pressure and help to regulate an irregular heart beat. Thus sea salt can help to prevent atherosclerosis, heart attacks and strokes.

Diabetes – Sea salt can help to reduce the need for insulin by helping to maintain proper sugar levels in the body. Thus the salt is an essential part of the diet if you are diabetic, or at risk for the disease.

Osteoporosis – Just over 1/4 of the amount of salt that is in the body is stored in the bones, where it helps to keep them strong. When the body lacks salt and water it begins to draw the sodium from the bones, which then eventually can lead to osteoporosis. Thus by drinking plenty of water and consuming salt in moderation you can prevent osteoporosis.

Muscle Spasms – Potassium is essential for helping the muscles to function properly. Sea salt not only contains small amounts of potassium, but it also helps the body to absorb it better from other foods. Thus it is effective in helping to prevent muscle pains, spasms and cramps.

Depression – Sea salt also has shown to be effective in treating various types of depression. The salt helps to preserve two essential hormones in the body that help you to better deal with stress. These hormones are serotonin and melatonin, which help you to feel good, and relax and sleep better at night.

CHILE PEPPER TYPES

two stix

Aji Amarillo Chile

500 Scovilles. The Panca chili (or Ají Panca as it’s known in South America), is a deep red to burgundy pepper, measuring 3-5 inches. It is the second most common pepper in Peru, and is grown near the coast. Similar in shape to the Ají Amarillo, it is less spicy and has a rather sweet, berry-like, and slightly smoky flavor.

The Ají Panca can be made into a paste or dried and minced to be used as a condiment. They can be found for sale on the internet in either form. Used in Peruvian cooking, the Panca is great for stews, sauces and fish dishes.

Anaheim Chile

A mild, medium sized chili pepper that grows to 6-10 inches, often used when green, though it can be used when red. The basic variety ripens to a dark green/reddish color, but other strains ripen to full red. They are one of the most common chilis in the United States and are used in many foods and recipes. Red varieties can be strung together and dried to make ristras.

Scoville: 500-1000

The Anaheim chili pepper is named for the California city of Anaheim.

Ancho Chile

1,000 – 2,000 Scovilles. An Ancho pepper is the dried form of the poblano chili pepper. Ancho has a mild paprika flavor, with sweet to moderate heat.

Ancho Pepper Uses

The Ancho chili pepper, together with the Mulato and Pasilla chili peppers, form the “holy trinity” of peppers widely used in cooking mole sauces. The Ancho, is used to add flavor, heat, and color to the sauces.

Carolina Reaper Chile

With a Guinness-submitted 1,569,383 SHU (scoville heat units) average and recently measured peak levels of over 2,200,000 SHU, SMOKIN’ ED’S CAROLINA REAPER® has officially completed its long journey to the top of “super-hot” chili charts.

This is an extremely hot variety developed by a grower named Ed Currie. It is also called HP22B pepper. As of 2013 it is over 7 generations old. Ed created this chili pepper plant variety by crossing a Pakistani Naga with a Red Habanero type from St Vincents Island in the West Indies.

The flavor of Smokin’ Ed’s Carolina Reaper® has been described as a roasted sweetness delivering an instant level of heat never before achieved continuing with an increasing tidal wave of scorching fire that grips you from head to toe. Eyes glaze. Brows perspire.  Arms flail.     CAUTION!      CAUTION!     CAUTION!    CAUTION!    CAUTION!

Cayenne Chile

30,000 – 50,000 Scovilles. A thin chile pepper, green to red in color, about 2 to 3 inches long. The “cayenne pepper” spice you use is the dried, ground version of this pepper.

Cayenne Pepper Information

The cayenne chili pepper is a bright red chili ranging from 2-5 inches long and about 1/2 inch in diameter. Cayenne chilis are usually sold as a powder, as cayenne pepper.

The word cayenne comes from the city of Cayenne in French Guiana. Cayenne pepper is great in soups and sauces, on pizzas, as well as over meats and seafoods. Keep it on the table in a shaker as an alternative to salt or pepper.

The cayenne pepper is one of the most popular peppers used in the Western hemisphere. The name of the pepper is taken from the city of Cayenne in French Guinea, from where the pepper originates and where its first documented uses were found. Cayenne peppers are usually used as a dried spice, which is made by drying and grinding the peppers or pulping and baking them into cakes, which are then ground to produce the spice. Cayenne peppers can also be used fresh in dishes, but are a little harder to find outside of the powdered form.

Charleston Hot Chile

70,000-100,000 Scovilles.

Similar to the Carolina Cayenne, the Charleston Hot is a variety of Cayenne created by the U.S. Department of Agriculture in South Carolina. Although it was not bred for its heat, it is much hotter than a regular cayenne, which averages about 30,000 Scovilles. In fact, it’s almost as hot as a habanero but with a great cayenne flavor.

The Charleston Hot starts out green and turns to yellow, then orange, then bright red. It can be harvested during its immature stages, but most people are familiar with its typical mature, red color. The peppers are long and skinny, growing to about 5 inches in length, and ¾ inch in width.

This cayenne variety is great in sauces and any dish where you would typically use a cayenne but want some extra heat.

The significance of this cayenne hybrid is its resistance to root-knot nematode, a parasitic worm (hence the NR in the name- Nematode Resistant). Root knot nematode can destroy a crop, and resistance makes growing this variety much easier. Recent research by scientists and the USDA in South Carolina has created a stir in the field of chili peppers because they have been able to develop a few varieties of pepper with this resistance, making farming much more productive. Other chiles stemming from this region and this research include the Tiger Paw-NR Habanero and the Carolina Cayenne.

Chilaca Chile

1,000-2,500 Scovilles. The Chilaca is a curved, long, thin pepper, that grows to about 6-9 inches, and 1 inch wide.

It has a flattened shape, and its skin is wrinkled. It matues to a deep brown color, and has a rich flavor. The Chilaca is usually dried, and in this form is known as the Pasilla. The Chilaca is rarely used fresh, but the Pasilla is great for sauces or can be ground and made into a table sauce, or condiment.

Espanola Chile

1,500-2,000 Scovilles.

The Espanola was developed in New Mexico in the 1980s by crossing a Sandia pepper with another New Mexico chile. They grow to 5-7” and mature from green to a deep red.

The young green fruits can be used to make green chile or chiles rellenos, while the red peppers are sometimes dried to make ristras or ground into a smoky chili powder. The Espanola is also popular in many dishes to add just a little kick.

Ghost/Bhut Jolokia/Naga Chile

1,000,000 + Scoville Heat Units! Yep, these babies are officially the hottest peppers around, toping the Red Savina Habanero. It was awarded the distinction of World’s Hottest of All Spices by the Guinness World Records in 2006.

Bhut Jolokia Pepper Uses

Use the Bhut Jolokia as you’d use a habanero, but remember that they are much hotter, up to 5 times the heat level. Use caution when cooking with them. Wear gloves and protect your eyes.

Bhut Jolokia belongs to the Capsicum chinense family, like the Habanero, Scotch Bonnet and Red Savina. They originate in Northern India.

It is also known as Naga Jolokia, Ghost Pepper or Ghost Chili. Note: “Naga” mean “Cobra Snake” in Sanskrit.

The bhut jolokia pepper has been in the running for the hottest pepper in the world for some time now – in fact, it actually held the Guinness Book of World Record’s record for the world’s hottest pepper from 2007 until 2010. The bhut jolokia is a naturally growing pepper that can be found primarily in northeastern India and neighboring Bangladesh. However, species can also be found in Sri Lanka occasionally. Due to the fact that “bhut” means “ghost” in the Assam language, this pepper is often called the “ghost pepper,” in the Western world. These peppers have dented skin that is very thin and easy to tear.

Bhut Jolokia Chili Peppers

This pepper also has side use in Indian cooking. In addition to being a common household ingredient in certain parts of India and Bangledesh, it has also been used as a homeopathic remedy for stomach pain, a way to beat the summer heat (when the bhut jolokia is eaten, the partaker will usually start to sweat quite a bit, which will ultimately lead to a decrease in body temperature). The bhut jolokia has even been used as a weapon – locals of northeastern India smear their fences with it to keep elephants away, and the pepper has even been used in smoke bombs!

Guajillo Chile

2,500-5,000 Scovilles. Capsicum Annuum. The Guajillo is one of the most common and popular chiles grown and used in Mexico. It is mild to moderately hot, and has dark, reddish brown, leathery skin. The peppers range from 3-5 inches in length and are 1 inch wide. They are said to have either a green-tea flavor or fruity flavor, with hints of berries.

The Guajillo is usually sold in its whole, dried form, which can be either toasted and ground into powder, or re-hydrated and made into a sauce or paste. It may also be sold in its powder form, already ground down.

Guajillos, along with the Pasilla and Ancho, are used in traditional mole sauces. They are great in sauces, salsas and soups and chili, especially in the salsa for tamales. They can be ground down into a paste or a rub to add flavor to meat, or to make Harissa, a chili paste used in Tunisian cuisine. But, a little of this pepper goes a long way, so experiment first to see what level of flavor you prefer.

Habanero Chile

100,000 – 350,000 Scovilles originally. 80,000 – 600,000 Scovilles is the new range. This pepper is named after the Cuban city of La Habana, known here as Havana, because it used to feature in heavy trading there. It is related to the Scotch bonnet pepper; they have somewhat different pod types but are varieties of the same species and have similar heat levels. The habanero pepper grows mainly on the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico, where it is now thought to have originated, though it also grows in other hot climates including in Belize, in Costa Rica, in parts of the United States, and in Panama where it is known as the aji chombo. Once the Spanish had discovered it, they spread it far and wide around the world, so much so that taxonomists in the 18th century thought it originated in China and therefore named it “Capsicum chinense” or the “Chinese pepper.” If anything, this pepper’s popularity is even more on the rise today.

Habanero Peppers

Before maturity the habanero is green, but as it ages its coloring ranges from yellow-orange to orange to bright red, depending upon when its harvesting occurs, and it can even appear pink or dark brown. Its size ranges from 1 to 2 1/2 inches in length and from 1 to 2 inches in diameter, and its shape, like that of the Scotch bonnet, can be compared to that of a Scottish Tam o’ Shanter hat. Both types of pepper also typically have flesh that is thin and waxy.

We absolutely LOVE jalapeño peppers, and they are our favorite chili pepper of all, but that doesn’t mean we can’t love other chili peppers as well! Try some of these on for size! The habanero pepper, with its terrific heat, its hint-of-citrus flavor and its flowery aroma has once again become a well-loved ingredient in many preparations including hot sauces and other spicy foods. In Mexico, the habanero pepper is sometimes soaked in tequila or mezcal bottles for days or even weeks in order to make drinks even more fiery.

Mulato Chile

2,500-3,000 Scovilles. Capsicum Annuum. The Mulato is a mild to medium driedPoblano, similar to the Ancho, but with a slightly different flavor. Both are green while growing, but while the Ancho is a Poblano that ripens to a deep red, the Mulato is a Poblano that ripens to brown, then it is dried. It grows to about 4 inches long and 2 inches wide, tapering toward the bottom.

The Mulato is part of the “holy trinity” of chiles used in Mexican mole sauces, along with the Ancho and Pasilla chiles. It has flavors of chocolate or licorice, with a hint of cherry and tobacco. Because it is dried, it is commonly ground into chili powder. Whole or ground, it is perfect for many sauces in addition to mole.

Paprika Chile

250 – 1000 Scovilles. A large, cone-shaped chili pepper. It is typically dried and ground to make the more familiar powdered spice. It is originally from Hungary. The paprika is a fairly large red pepper and quite long, growing up to 8 inches, and lends a unique spiciness to paprika powder.

Most cooks consider paprika when preparing dishes like deviled eggs or potato salad, using it more for color than flavor. This is such a shame, as they do offer a unique flavor.

In Hungary there are six classes or types of paprika ranging from delicate to hot. The peppers also range in size and shape depending on where they are grown . Some are grown in Spain, Hungary, California and other parts of the U.S. The most commonly produced paprika is made from the sweet red pepper also called the tomato pepper.

History

The first paprika plants arrived in Hungary in the 17th century. It is told that ethnic groups fleeing north from the Turks introduced the paprika to the Balkans. Paprika became commonly used in Hungary by the end of the 18th century. Two towns in Hungary (Szeged and Kalosca) competed against each other for the title of Paprika capital of Hungary.

Pasilla Chile

250 – 3,999 Scovilles: Pasilla or “little raisin” properly refers to the dried chilaca pepper. The chilaca, when fresh, is also known as pasilla bajio, or as the chile negro or “Mexican negro” because, while it starts off dark green, it ends up dark brown. It typically grows from 8 to 10 inches long.

The pasilla pepper should not be confused with the ancho. The ancho is the dried version of the poblano pepper that growers and grocers frequently mislabel as the pasilla in the United States. The darker anchos ARE also sometimes known as chile negro – thus generating much confusion – but they are not the same as the pasilla peppers.

Featuring a rich smoky taste, the pasilla often turns up in dried whole form or as a powder in Mexican salsas as well as in mole and adobo sauces. The pasilla can even create an interesting twist in the flavor and appearance of the standard red-chile enchilada sauce. It is also a favorite in combination with fruits or accompanying duck, seafood, lamb, mushrooms, garlic, fennel, honey or oregano.

Scotch Bonnet Chile

100,000 – 350,000 Scovilles. This pepper is a cultivar of the habanero and is among the hottest peppers anywhere. Its name derives from its resemblance to the Scottish Tam o’ Shanter hat, though it appears primarily in the Carribean and in Guyana and the Maldives. Other names for these chili peppers include Bahamian, Bahama Mama, Jamaican Hot or Martinique Pepper, as well as booney peppers, bonney peppers, Boabs Bonnet, Scotty Bons and goat peppers.

The Scotch bonnet pepper is usually red or yellow at maturity. It typically features with jerk dishes including pork and chicken. Its apple-and-cherry-tomato flavor also pops up with other dishes in Grenadian, Trinidadian, Jamaican, Barbadian, Guyanese, Surinamese, Haitian and Caymanian cuisine.

Thai Chile

50,000 – 100,000 Scovilles. Despite the common belief, there is no single “Thai chili pepper” though most candidates for the title are small in size and high in heat or pungency. There are at least 79 separate varieties of chili that have appeared from three species in Thailand. While the names of chili peppers are often “hotly” debated and therefore in a volatile state of flux the world over, some would say that there is particular confusion when the subject comes around to Thai peppers.

Prik num or “banana peppers,” for instance, also resemble a New Mexican pepper, and they are also grown in Kashmir, India, and thus are also known as Kashmir peppers. Further confusion arises because the Kashmir is ALSO known as the Sriracha, a name associated with the famous sauce originally made from these peppers in the Thai seaside town of the same name.

Oddly, the peppers now featuring in the sauce known around the world as Sriracha are red Serrano peppers! At least in agricultural terms, we specify that two types of chili peppers grow for harvest in Thailand: the prik khee nu or “bird pepper” and the prik khee fah or plain “chili pepper.”

Whatever the case regarding names, Thai chili peppers usually turn up ground from fresh to add heat to curry pastes for very spicy dishes and for very colorful dishes at the same time – the traditional Thai cook being as interested in presentation as the traditional Japanese cook, for instance, and therefore garnishing hot dishes with a pleasing array of hot peppers.

Thai chili peppers also appear in other Asian cuisine including that of Myanmar, where they are known as nga yut thee, frequently featuring in curries, as well as in balachuang, a spicy relish never absent from any meal. Laotian cuisine utilizes similar peppers and calls them mak phet; they appear in pastes and even end up stuffed and steamed to create spicy vegetable and fish dishes.

Related peppers are also known to be favored in Cambodia, and are widespread in Vietnam where they enliven pastes and sauces, especially those with local fish flavors, of course.

Trinidad Scorpion Chile

300,000+ Scovilles. Capsicum chinense. A rare chili pepper hailing from the Caribbean. These red, wrinkled peppers resemble the scorpion, hence the name, and are known for their intense heat. When growing, they are approximately 80+ days to full maturity, and they are great for growing in pots or containers, and even for indoor growing. The peppers are produced with a pointy tip. They are very hot and mature from green to vibrant red

Trinidad Moruga Scorpion Chile

2,009,231 Scovilles. Capsicum Chinense. In February 2012, the 2012 New Mexico Chile Conference, in association with Jim Duffy of Refining Fire Chiles, announced that the Trinidad Moruga Scorpion is the hottest chili pepper in the world. Clocking in at 2,009,231 Scoville Units, this chili pepper is beyond blistering.

The Moruga Scorpion is indigenous to the Moruga region of Trinidad and Tobago.
In the study, the overall mean heat was measured at more than 1.2 million Scoville Heat Units, the highest measuring at over 2 Million SHU. Belonging to the collection of “super hots”, the Moruga Chili Pepper is used in a number of hot sauce products.

The research team in New Mexico planted about 125 plants of each variety of the current “hottest peppers,” including the Trinidad Moruga Scorpion, the Trinidad Scorpion, the 7-Pot, the Chocolate 7-Pot and the previous record holder, the Bhut Jolokia.

Once the plants were grown and the peppers matured, the researchers chose a number of fruits from the plants. They dried them and ground them to powder. They were then tested for their levels of Capsaicinoids.

The capsaicin of these blistering peppers actually wore through multiple pairs of latex gloves that the researchers wore while picking the peppers. They went through about 4 pairs each.

One of the most significant points that chile pepper experts are making is that the Trinidad Moruga Scorpion is a non-hybrid, stable variety. Therefore, it produces more quantity and grows more easily that the Butch T, for example.
It is estimated that “chile heads” will soon start buying seeds and plants to grow their own Moruga Scorpions. Although few are willing to actually eat a whole chile, (and it’s not recommended), the Moruga Scorpion is said to have a great flavor that, if used in smaller amounts, could make deliciously addictive barbeque sauce or hot sauce.

Because the heat of all peppers can vary greatly, many also say that the growing conditions in New Mexico where the study was conducted are perfect for producing scorching peppers, and that it would be difficult to replicate that pepper heat in most other growing conditions. Therefore, people growing them at home probably wouldn’t get peppers on the high end of the Scoville rating, but would they really notice? It’s still going to be scorching and it should have the same flavor, so it could still be worth it to grow them at home.

The red moruga plants grow tall and upright, and produce a good number of chilies, which mature from green to orange to bright red. The pod skins are not smooth but bumpy, reflecting their hornery heat, and are similar in shape to habanero or scotch bonnets, which are more familiar.