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Author: Tero Isokauppila

I was home in Finland earlier this summer and I realized in so many places around the world, there’s something about our kitchens that we all have in common.

And that something is usually buried in the back of the pantry, or maybe displayed on the countertop. Sometimes they’re even on the fridge! Whether proudly displayed, or hidden in unmarked jars, almost every kitchen has a basic set of spices.

The normal person would use these spices to flavor pastries, stir-fries or egg nog. But we’re not normal, are we?

Spices are now used almost exclusively in recipes to flavor food. But historically they have been used for a wide range of health benefits. Not only that, but they have been used topically for first aid, as cleaning supplies, and even as pest management. So let’s get back to our roots and look at new ways to use these every day spices.

Cinnamon

Far more than just a bun flavoring, cinnamon has been eaten since at least 500 B.C and is even mentioned in the Torah. Cinnamon benefits are unending.

There are actually two types of cinnamon: ceylon and cassia. Ceylon is native to Sri Lanka and India, while Cassia is originally from China and Japan. Cassia has a much richer, spicier taste, while ceylon leans more towards vanilla. Both have similar benefits.

Traditional use: Digestive support

Eat for:

  • To help maintain blood glucose levels (source)
  • Its antioxidant properties. (source)
  • A sweet taste without any sugar

 

Find it with your ‘shrooms in: Mushroom Chai Latte with Turkey Tail and Reishi or Mushroom Cacao with Reishi

Apply on skin for: It may increase blood flow to the skin. If a pimple pops up, I’ve heard of making a paste with honey and applying it right to the offender for about 20 minutes.

You can even use it for: I love cinnamon, but ants do not. If you’re having an ant infestation, apply cinnamon essential oils to their path/anywhere they might be getting in. Yes, scientists have even tested and proven it effective. (source)


Nutmeg

Nutmeg is a love it or hate it type of flavor. It has a reputation as an aphrodisiac in India, and is toxic in very high amounts. A little bit certainly goes a long way.

Traditional use: Digestive support, and in Ayurveda it’s used to support sleep, normally drank in warm milk before bed.

Add to food for:

  • Its antioxidant properties

Try in:

 

Find it with your ‘shrooms in: Mushroom Chai Latte with Turkey Tail and Reishi

Apply on skin for: A hydrating mask when mixed with yogurt, or a pimple fighter when mixed with honey.

Ginger

Your mother or grandmother probably had you drink ginger ale when you were sick. Indians and Chinese have been producing ginger as a tonic for over 5000 years to treat many ailments. (source) At one point in time, the value of a pound of ginger was equivalent to the cost of a sheep! 🐑

Western medicine is now backing that up a bit. Clinically shown ginger benefits including helping to prevent nausea and vomiting with motion sickness and sea sickness. (source)


Traditional use: Digestion, circulation, and respiratory aid

Eat for:

  • Its antioxidant properties
  • Reducing nausea on a boat
  • Indigestion

 

Find it with your ‘shrooms in: Mushroom Matcha with Lion’s Mane and Mushroom Cacao with Cordyceps.

Apply on skin for: As a warming spice it helps with circulation and the purification of pores. Try adding ginger powder or fresh root to your next face mask.

Pro tip: With the fresh root you always want to peel your ginger. Skip the peeler and use the side of a spoon to get just the root without the skin.

Clove

Clove has been used for thousands of years to support your entire body. Native to Indonesia, chewing on cloves are a natural breath freshener.

Traditional use: Food preservation, digestion, pain relief

Eat for:

  • Its antioxidant properties
  • Digestion

 

Find it with your ‘shrooms in: Mushroom Chai Latte with Turkey Tail and Reishi

You can even use it for: Reducing unpleasant odors. If you have a thermos, water bottle, or coffee mug that sits for awhile in your cupboard, add a couple of cloves to reduce that pungent scent of “old.”

Now go forth, and have a spicy day!

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