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Spices & Herbs

Medicinal, Culinary Recipes - Benefits and Uses


1. Anise (Pimpinella anisum)

a. Culinary Uses
Cakes, breads, sweets, spaghetti sauce, Italian sausage.
b. Medicinal Uses
Comforting antiseptic tea for colds and coughs. It is an expectorant and cough suppressant and soothes sore throat. Treat indigestion and nausea, menstrual cramps, asthma, whooping cough and bronchitis. CAUTION: Do not use anise during pregnancy, except normal amounts in cooking.
c. Household & Other Uses
Potpourri, toothpaste, mouthwash, insecticide and scabies treatment.
d. History & Other Info
The Romans used anise in cooking to aid digestion. Pliny wrote that aniseed improved on'e breath and made one's face appear younger. An anise plant hung over one's bed was believed to prevent evil dreams.

2. Basil (Ocimum basilicum)

a. Culinary Uses
Accents the flavor of chicken, fish, pasta, tomatoes, stews, salads, vegetables and other foods. Be sure to add last to cooking dishes because heat is tough on basil.
b. Household & Other Uses
Insect repellent - repels flies and possibly mosquitoes, perfume.
c. History & Other Info
Basil was used in embalming in ancient Egypt. It was a symbol of mourning in ancient Greece and of hatred among the Romans. In medieval times it was believed to have been created by scorpians. It was used medicinally for melancholy and fantasy and for colds and warts.

3. Bay Leaf (Laurus nobilis)

a. Culinary Uses
Use in soups, stews, pickling, meat dishes, fish and spaghetti sauce.
b. Household & Other Uses
: Potpourri, room deodorizer, bug repellent. Put a bay leaf in flour canister to deter weevils and run a few leaves through your grain grinder.

4. Celery Seed (Apium graveolens)

a. Culinary Uses
Use in tomato juice, pickles, pastry, salads and most meats and vegetable dishes.
b. History & Other Info
The ancient Greeks gave celery wine to winning athletes. Celery elixirs have been used in healing throughout history. Ayurvedic physicians in India have prescribed celery seed since ancient times as a diuretic to treat colds, flu, arthritis and diseases of the liver and spleen.

5. Cinnamon (Cinnamomum zeylanicum, Cinnamomum cassia, Cinnamomum saigonicum, Cinnamomum aromaticum)

a. Culinary Uses
Beverages, puddings, baked foods and rice dishes.
b. Household & Other Uses
: Potpourri
c. History & Other Info
In the fifth century B.C., Herodotus of Halicarnassos wrote that cinnamon flourishes in the remote homeland of the god Dionysos, near a city named Nosa in Arabia (not found on any map). Aristotle told of cinnamon birds collecting the spice to build their nests. Theophrastus, the "father of botany", told that cinnamon and cassia came from bushes in Arabia. Diodorus, a Sicilian historian about 50 B.C. said that there was so much cinnamon in Arabia that it was used as fuel for cooking. A book of herbs attributed to the Chinese emperor Shen Nung around 2000 B.C. refers to "kwai", which is the word for cassia. A recipe for incense was inscribed in a temple at Edfu about 1500 B.C. that called for "kainamaa", identified as cinnamon. The Phoenicians and Hebrews around 1000 B.C. were familiar with cinnamon, and their word for it, "qinnamon" is found often in the Old Testament. In Exodus 30, Moses was directed by the Lord to make a holy ointment with olive oil, five hundred units of myrrh and of cassia -half as much of sweet cinnamon and of calamus- in order to annoint the sanctuary and it's furnishings and priests. Pliny the Elder, in the first centruy A.D., valued a Roman pound (350 grams) of cinnamon at a thousand denarii, equal to over five kilograms of silver.

6. Cloves (Syzgium aromaticum)

a. Culinary Uses
Add to salads, pies, sandwiches, jams, vinegar and syrup.
b. Household & Other Uses
: Potpourri and room freshener.
c. History & Other Info
Every high official of the Han Dynasty in China during the centuries surrounding the life of Christ were ordered to chew on cloves to freshen their breath before consulting with the emperor. Alexander of Tralles, a famous physician whose works were read for a thousand years, stated that clove could stimulate the appetite, prevent seasickness and cure gout. Saint Hildegard discussed clove in her book about medicinal plants in the twelfth century.

7. Dill Seed (Anethum graveolens)

a. Culinary Uses
Use in dips, salads, soups, fish dishes, pickles, cabbage, cakes, bread, dill butter, apple pies and dressings.
b. Medicinal Uses
Aids digestion. Chew for bad breath. Use to treat amenorrhea and heartburn. CAUTION: Avoid during pregnancy.
c. Household & Other Uses
Strengthening bath for nails.

8. Dill Weed (Anethum graveolens)

a. Culinary Uses
Use in salads, soups, lamb, pork and vegetables. Complements chicken, fish, and veal. Add to carrots, tomatoes, potatoes, eggs, cottage cheese, noodles, sour cream, cream cheese and salad dressings.
b. Medicinal Uses
Aids digestion. Use in cough, cold and flu remedies. Mild diuretic. Treat athlete's foot.
c. Household & Other Uses
: Pressed flower candles.
d. History & Other Info
Dill is a very old spice that was popular in Russia and Turkey.

9. Fennel Seed (Foeniculum vulgare)

a. Culinary Uses
Use in Italian cooking, Italian sausage, sauces, bread and on seafood. Sprout for winter salads.
b. Household & Other Uses
Use in facial steams for deep cleansing, skin and hair care.
c. History & Other Info
Fennel was believed to be good for the eyes and restore sight to the blind. It was called "the meetin' seed" by Puritans, who chewed the seed to freshen their breath during long meetings. The Greeks called fennel "marathon" after a famous battlefield where they defeated the Persians in 490 B.C. Fennel became their symbol of victory and success.

10. Garlic (Allium sativum)

a. Culinary Uses
Use in salads and Italian dishes.
b. Household & Other Uses
Use on mildew and aphid deterrent, hair care.
c. History & Other Info
Garlic and onions have been traced back to 3000 B.C., when the Egyptians used them as offerings to the gods. Roman soldiers were given garlic before battles to give the vigor. Garlic was believed to have magical powers, and was hung around children's necks in ancient and medieval times to protect them against sorcery. In the nineteenth century, garlic was hung around the necks of cows and geese as protection.

11. Ginger Root (Zingiber officinale)

a. Culinary Uses
Add to seafood, rich meat, stews, sauces, oriental dishes, gingerbread, cakes, cookies, and bland foods.
b. Medicinal Uses
Cleansing tea, stimulates circulation, soothes sore throat, settle the stomach, prevent travel sickness. Useful in some types of food poisoning. Lowers blood pressure. Treat amenorrhea, angina, arthritis, athlete's foot, bunions, bursitis, chronic fatigue syndrome, colds, coughs, dandruff, depression, dizziness, fever, flu, high cholesterol, hives, indigestion, kidney stones, laryngitis, liver problems, menstrual cramps, morning sickness, motion sickness, nausea, pain, respiratory problems, sciatica, seborrhea, sore throat, swelling, tendinitis, toothache, ulcers, viral infections and worms.
c. Household & Other Uses
Use in deodorant for body odor.
d. History & Other Info
According to the Koran, the table of King Arthur's Court and that of the one in paradise are blessed with ginger. Ginger was imported to Rome 2000 years ago. Ginger was declared to warm and soften the stomach and used as a broad spectrum antibiotic by Dioscorides, the Graeco-Roman "surgeon general" of Claudius and Nero, as he wrote in "De Materia Media" about 77 A.D. Ginger was mentioned in the writing of Confucius as early as 500 B.C. The name of ginger dates back to Sanskrit, the old Indo-European language brought to India more than 3000 years ago.

12. Mustard Seed (Sinapis alba, Brassica nigra)

a. Culinary Uses
Use in all kinds of meat dishes, barbecue, sauces, pickles, mayonnaise, and summer sausage. NOTE: Mustard's taste develops only after the seeds are crushed and their powder is mixed with water. It takes about 10-15 minutes for the flavor to reach it's peak, and then the flavor starts to fade unless the development is stopped by adding an acid like vinegar or lemon juice.
b. Medicinal Uses
Poultice relieves pain & inflammation in rheumatism & arthritis. Use to treat hypothyroidism and sciatica.
c. History & Other Info
Pythagoras declared mustard an excellent cure for scorpion bites in the sixth century B.C. Hippocrates prescribed a number of decocts made with mustard. Pliny the Elder announced in the first century A.D. that mustard would turn lazy housewives into ideal ones. In Charlemagne's age, the ninth century A.D., mustard was cultivated by the imperial estates and the monastery gardens near Paris. French mustard can be found in cookbooks dating to the seventeenth century. In Denmark and India, it is believed that evil spirits can be kept out of a house if mustard seeds are strewn around it.

13. Nutmeg (Myristica fragrans)

a. Culinary Uses
Use in puddings, cakes, cookies & in meat products such as sausage. Sprinkle on eggnog.
b. Medicinal Uses
Treat diarrhea or eczema. Infuse for gastroenteritis. CAUTION! Do NOT use large doses.
c. Household & Other Uses
: Use in deodorant for body odor.
d. History & Other Info
Pliny, the Roman naturalist, wrote of a tree with two kinds of spices that may have referred to nutmeg. Nutmeg and mace were brought by Arab merchants to wealthy Constantinople in the sixth century. In the twelfth century, nutmeg was mentioned in European countries and up to Scandinavia. When Henry VI, the Holy Roman Emperor, was crowned in Rome in 1191, nutmeg was burned as incense in the streets. Nutmeg was believed to have magical powers and was used in a love potion in 1619. Nutmeg was believed to protect against all manner of diseases and mishaps.

14. Onion (Allium cepa)

a. Culinary Uses
Use in soups, stews, meat dishes, casseroles and marinades.
b. Medicinal Uses
Use on boils and sores. Prevents colds, flu and coughs. Helps prevent oral infection and tooth decay. Warmed juice for earache. Use to treat allergies, asthma, burns, colds, diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol, HIV, inflammatory bowel disease, insect bites & stings, pneumonia, scabies, tuberculosis and varicose veins.
c. Household & Other Uses
: Stimulate hair growth.
d. History & Other Info
Garlic and onions have been traced back to 3000 B.C., when the Egyptians used them as offerings to the gods. Plutarch tells us that the priests were not allowed to eat onions in the first century A.D. because they would become too thirsty for wine. Onions were cultivated in China five thousand years ago and in India since the earliest Vedic writings. Pliny wrote that onions promoted digestion. Onions were among the first vegetables cultivated by Europeans in the New World, brought over on Columbus' second voyage.

15. Oregano (Origanum vulgare)

a. Culinary Uses
Use in Italian cooking, soups, vegetables, butter sauces, meat dishes and salad dressings. Add to pizza, tomatoes, egg and cheese dishes. Rub into roasting meat.
b. Medicinal Uses
Use to treat amenorrhea, arthritis, asthma, emphysema, glaucoma, hypertension, HIV and sinusitis.
c. Household & Other Uses
: Potpourri and scented pillows.
d. History & Other Info
Oregano has been used for a long time as an antiseptic, stomach cure and food preservative.

16. Parsley (Petroselinum crispum)

a. Culinary Uses
Use to flavor stews, soups, salad, egg dishes, fish and boiled or mashed potatoes.
b. Medicinal Uses
Treat amenorrhea, angina, arthritis, bad breath, bladder infections, bruises, gout, hives, kidney stones and rheumatism. Relieve insect bites. Fade freckles with parsley lotion. Relieve menstrual pain. CAUTION! Do not take in large doses and do not eat seeds during pregnancy or if suffering from kidney disease.
c. Household & Other Uses
Infuse as hair tonic & conditioner, skin & hair care, green or cream dye.
d. History & Other Info
Young heroes in ancient Greece wore parsley wreaths at parties to protect against drunkenness. Winners of the Isthmian Games near Corinth were crowned with parsley wreaths. During the Middle Ages Charlemagne ordered parsley to be grown on his estates as a medicinal herb.

17. Pepper, Cayenne (Capsicum frutescens)

a. Culinary Uses
Use in most main dishes and on meats.
b. Medicinal Uses
Stimulates circulation, pain reliever. Prevent or treat colds or varicose veins. Use to treat arthritis, backache, bunions, carpal tunnel syndrome, emphysema, fever, headache, herpes, indigestion, pain, psoriasis, shingles and toothache.
c. Household & Other Uses
: Insect repellent.

18. Peppermint Leaf (Mentha piperita)

a. Culinary Uses
Use in teas, jellies, sauces, desserts and beverages.
b. Household & Other Uses
Insect repellent - deters aphids, ants, fleas or mice. Use in toothpaste, mouthwash and foot powder.

19. Rosemary Leaf (Rosmarinus officinalis)

a. Culinary Uses
Use in lamb, pork, baked potatoes, vegetables, soups, roast beef and chicken dishes.
b. Household & Other Uses
Air freshener, skin & hair care, potpourri, room sanitizing spray and soap. Burn dried rosemary to rid the room of odor.
c. History & Other Info
Rosemary was believed to have attained it's blue color, once being white, when Mary laid the Christ child on a clump of rosemary in bloom. Blue is the color that represents eternity and heaven, truth and wisdom. The Greek gods of Mount Olympus were believed to value a wreath of rosemary more highly than one of gold. Romans decorated their house gods with rosemary. Rosemary was believed to strengthen the memory, and Greek students wore rosemary wreaths during examinations. In the Middle Ages and Renaissance, it was a prized medicinal herb.

20. Sage Leaf (Salvia officinalis)

a. Culinary Uses
Use in meat dishes, pasta, poultry stuffing, sausage, veal, meat loaf, hamburgers, stews, salads, vinegar, butter and tomato based sauces.
b. Medicinal Uses
Aids digestion. Antiseptic & antifungal. Use in gargle for sore throat. Reduces hot flashes in menopause. Combats diarrhea. Treat asthma, athlete's foot, Alzheimer's Disease, bad breath, canker sores, carpal tunnel syndrome, gingivitis, hair loss, nausea, tonsillitis, wrinkles and yeast infections. [CAUTION: Avoid large doses]
c. Household & Other Uses
Insect repellent. Use in drawer sachets for linen to deter insects, hair care, tooth cleanser. Burn dried leaves to remove animal and cooking odors. Use dried sage in potpourris, crafts, perfumes, soaps, flower arrangements and aftershaves.
d. History & Other Info
Sage was a well-known medicinal herb in the Middle Ages. "How can anyone die who grows sage in his garden?" was the famous phrase coined in the Salerno School of medicine in Sicily. Egyptian women drank sage juice as a fertility drug.

21. Sea Salt (Sodium Chloride)

a. Culinary Uses
Use in main dishes, soups, and sauces.
b. Medicinal Uses
Warm gargle for sore throat, treat oral lesions. Soak tired feet. Draw out fluid and inflammation with a poultice. Relaxing bath or facial steam. Make saline solution.
c. Household & Other Uses
Used in preservatiing food, tanning hides.

22. Sesame Seed (Sesamum indicum)

a. Culinary Uses
Use on breads, rolls, cakes, vegetables, rice, meat or noodle dishes. Sesame butter or milk.
b. Medicinal Uses
Treat dizziness, tinnitus and blurred vision due to anemia. Remedy for constipation. Treat asthma, coughs, hair loss and toothaches. Lowers cholesterol.
c. Household & Other Uses
Oil used in cosmetics.
d. History & Other Info
Sesame may be the world's oldest oil plant. It was cultivated in Mesopotamia as long ago as 1600 B.C. Sesame oil is burned in lamps in India and China.

23. Spearmint Leaf (Mentha spicata)

a. Culinary Uses
Use in mint sauce or jelly, desserts and for tea and beverages.
b. Medicinal Uses
Properties similar to peppermint leaf. Treat athlete's foot, gallstones and heartburn. Household & Other Uses: Insect repellent, scented candles, laundry rinse, skin care, soap, toothpaste, mouthwash and foot powder.

24. Thyme (Thymus vulgaris, Thymus serpyllum)

a. Culinary Uses
Use in fatty foods to improve digestion, such as duck, goose, mutton or pork. Add to stocks, marinades, stuffings, sauces and soups. Sprinkle on fresh sliced tomatoes. Use lemon-scented thyme on chicken, fish, hot vegetables, fruit salads and jams.
b. Household & Other Uses
Attract bees, potpourri, insect repellent, scented candles, scenting linens and skin & hair care.
c. History & Other Info
Thyme was used as a meat preservative in ancient times and burned by the Greeks for purification and cleansing. The Romans used thyme as a cough remedy, digestive aid and a treatment for intestinal worms. Thyme was believed connected to courage in the Middle Ages. Thyme was used as an antiseptic during plagues.

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Copyright Unknown.

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