They hit your senses sharply. You inhale their aroma, and a sense of wellness fills your being. Spices are life. Those who haven’t begun to experiment with spices are missing out on an exciting adventure.
My romance with spices began when I was a little girl. We cooked almost every meal with a combination of spices. These spices were often hot and aromatic. We had spices for Pepper soup; spices for Banga (Palm nut soup) and spices for yam dishes we ate for breakfast on Sunday.
When people fell ill, my Grandmother and my Mother were quick to find spices that were used for insufflations, sprayed on our cheeks (when we came down with mumps) or rubbed on irritated skin. Lemon grass, black peppercorns, African nutmeg, Basil and a host of other spices could be regularly found about the kitchen.
Since then, I have discovered Turmeric, Garlic, Ginger, Cloves and so many other fragrant spices.
Spices such as Pepper and Lemon grass are bursting with Vitamin C that is needed for healthy bones and gums. Garlic has antioxidant properties that rid the body of toxins and free radicals, known to cause cancer and other life threatening diseases.
Cinnamon, not only flavours your cocoa drinks or cakes. It relieves indigestion and has antibacterial properties. It also lowers blood cholesterol.
Cloves are fragrant additions to cakes, and pepper soup. They also relieve asthma symptoms; can be a mild anaesthetic and provide relief from inflammation. Ginger has been used by pregnant women to diminish the unpleasantness of morning sickness. Like anise seeds, ginger can be used as an expectorant instead of cough mixture; it lessens motion sickness and also aids digestion.
Star anise seeds can be used in a variety of ways – from soothing colicky babies to oral hygiene; digestive support and is beneficial in boosting libido and suppressing menstrual pain.
Turmeric, when combined with cruciferous vegetables such as cauliflower, is said to reduce some forms of cancer. It is also a natural pain killer, antiseptic and it also soothes inflammation.
Spices offer us so much beyond tasty dishes. They can mean the difference between healthy living and spending time at the Doctor’s.
Why don’t you go out, shop for put some spice into your life?
Photo: Koleade Odutola