One of nine Anglo-Saxon sacred herbs, this sweet seed is very popular in many cuisines across the Mediterranean.
Fennel belongs to the family Umbelliferae that includes other important herbs such as anise, dill, and caraway. This perennial plant is native to Southeast Europe, but it grows widely in the Middle East, India, Turkey, and China. It can reach up to 2 meters in height and it has deep green leaves and yellow flowers. The seeds are harvested when they turn light brown during the early hours of the day.
Fennel seeds are especially important due to the flavonoid antioxidants like kaempferol and quercetin. These compounds are responsible for removing harmful free radical from the body. Seeds are rich in dietary fiber as well. This inert insoluble fiber is responsible for water absorption and digestive system. Dietary fiber lowers the LDL cholesterol level as well.
Volatile essential oils present in fennel are limonene, anisic aldehyde, pinene, myrcene, fenchone, and cineole. These oils have antioxidant, digestive, anti-flatulent and carminative properties. Vitamin A, C, E and B complex vitamins, as well as potassium, calcium, iron, copper, manganese, selenium, zinc and magnesium, are all important compounds of fennel.
For indigestion, you can make a tea from a teaspoon of fennel, with honey, or chew fennel seeds. This tea is a gentle remedy, even for children. Some studies showed that fennel is also great for milk production in nursing mothers. Above all, great hot drink that has a relaxing impact on hormones and positive effect on indigestion.
Native to Middle East Asia, cumin is from the family of Apiaceae, from the genus Cuminum, and is grown all over the world for its flavorful seeds. Cuminum cyminum is a small flowering herbaceous plant that grows in sandy, fertile soil. It bears small, gray-yellow seed. Cumin is especially praised in the traditional medicinal system in India, and it is known by the name jeera or jeeraka, where is used to treat nausea, and vomiting as well.
The most important compound of cumin comes from a group of essential oils. These oils give the cumin that distinctive flavor and strong sense. Its seeds contain certain health-benefiting essential oils that are responsible for proper digestion and proper function of the digestive tract.
Cumin is also an excellent source of basic minerals, B-complex vitamins, vitamin A and C, and dietary fiber. Overall, cumin has excellent antioxidant, anti-flatulent and carminative properties.
To prepare a cumin tea, one will need one teaspoon of cumin seeds and one-quarter of water. After you boil the water, add cumin seeds, cover the pot, and leave the mixture for 20 minutes. Strain it and consume it through the day.
Cardamom is one of the most expensive spices in the world in weight besides saffron and vanilla.
Native to rain forests in India, cardamom belongs to the family Zingiberaceae, and it consists of two genera, Elettaria and Amomum. This plant grows up to 4 meters in length and it bears seedpods after about two years. Elettaria pods are small and light green, Amomum pods are larger and dark brown.
For centuries, these seeds were used both in culinary and medical purpose.
Similar to other spices, the most important compounds are essential oils. Researchers showed that cardamom oil has antiseptic, antispasmodic, carminative, digestive, diuretic, stimulant, and antioxidant properties. As an excellent source of magnesium, calcium, iron, manganese, and potassium, and essential vitamins, cardamom seeds are necessary for optimum health.
To prepare a remedy for digestion, mix cardamom (2-3 seeds) with coriander (1-2 spoons), ginger (1 teaspoon), and clove (2-3 pieces). When the problems occur, eat this mixture.
For centuries, this plant was grown due to its health benefits, especially in traditional Chinese and Indian medicinal system.
Ginger is the rhizome of a small plant called Zingiber Officinale, from the family Zingiberaceae. It originated in the Himalayan foothills, but today is grown all over the world. With its dark green leaves and small yellow flowers, this plant grows to about meter in height. The important part of the plant is finger-like roots that are silver gray when fresh and raw. When you cut the root, you can find yellow, red, or white crunchy flesh.
Its aroma comes from the essential oils and phenolic compounds such as shogaols and gingerols. Gingerols has analgesic, anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, and anti-pyretic properties. Moreover, gingerols increase the motility of the gastrointestinal tract. Another important compound is zingerone, a chemical compound that gives pungent character to the root. This compound is effective against Escherichia coli and diarrhea. The root contains 80 calories per 100 gram and has no cholesterol. It is rich with B vitamins, potassium, manganese, magnesium, and copper.
People used to boil ginger root slices to prepare a remedy for cold, cough, and sore throat. Nowadays, many add lemon, orange juice and honey to the drink to treat the same conditions.
After some studies and researches, this ginger tea became even more popular. Today, it is mandatory for treating constipation and indigestion. One can drink ginger tea while eating, or after when indigestion starts. It is very easy to prepare; a couple of slices of fresh ginger or a ½ teaspoon of powdered ginger is enough to make one cup of tea. Boil it, and leave it for 10 to 15 minutes.
There are also some indications that ginger tea can provide relief from morning sickness and nausea.
It is amazing how nature has a solution for every problem. However, one should consult with health care provider about the treatment with these spices.
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Last article update: 6/11/2019