Spice mixes are not exactly a unique concept for making yourself and there are a bajillion recipes out there that are all vaguely similar. My point of this post is not really to sell you on some magical recipe that will transform your dishes into culinary masterpieces. What I am doing is giving you 4 basic mixes that I recommend to you because the use of these spices and herbs is a really simple and delicious way to help support your body.
People tend to think that you need to consume these things in pill form in order to benefit from them, but in general just sprinkling it on your meals whenever you can is enough. A dash here and there at every meal is enough to get the healing properties of each spice and herb into your body. While I could wax poetic about the place of seasonings in our home, I’ll simply point you to this lovely intro for Rose Vanilla Syrup written by Jenn from The Leftover Queen.
Never rely on any particular seasoning mix to deliver exactly what you’re looking for – adjust to your tastes! Learning how to pick out what flavors will match a dish and suit the palates of your family is a valuable skill to have. A great way to
these as you make them is to keep little blobs of sour cream on a plate, mix in a pinch of the seasoning and taste on your finger or cracker. The sour cream evens out the flavor so you can really taste everything. Remember: if a particular ingredient is more costly or you know you don’t like it, use less or leave it out, it won’t make that much of a difference.
Basic Spice Mix: 3 parts salt and pepper, 1 part turmeric
Uses: anything you feel could use a savory kick up of flavor, just be aware that turmeric turns food a funky yellow/green color
Sea Salt – Unadulterated salt derived from the sea has many benefits, but of important note is trace minerals.
Black pepper – Traditionally used in combination with other spices to preserve food, ground black pepper is also an antioxidant, antidepressive and better than capsaicin for pain relief.
Turmeric – With a barely noticeable mustard-like flavor, I love this spice in my basic mix because it helps detox the liver, as a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory. It is used in Ayurvedic medicine as part of birth control measures, so you might want to avoid it if you are or are trying to be pregnant.
Italian Spice Mix: equal parts of the following ingredients
Uses: pasta, pizza, dinner rolls, salad dressings, croutons, veggie dip, savory stir fry, chicken, potatoes, egg salad, and if you add a big helping of dill, you’ve got ranch!
Sea Salt – See above.
Chili powder – Unlike other hot spices, chili powder only tricks the brain into thinking that your tongue is burning, which after a short period of time will remove all sensations of pain. Consuming chili powder regularly can reduce pain sensations throughout the body and inflammatory responses.
Black pepper – See above.
Basil – While most of the benefits of basil come directly from the oil, dried basil helps relieve stomach pain and gas.
Oregano – As a strong expectorant plant, oregano helps keep blood, bile, sweat, lymph and stomach acid moving, all of which are good things. Be careful not to consume too much during pregnancy.
Thyme – An amazing antibacterial and antiseptic plant, thyme is great for all types of infections, from cough and cold to cuts and yeast infection.
Parsley – Great for detoxing and freshening breath, parsley’s simple taste also evens out other strong flavors.
Garlic – While freshley chopped garlic provides most of the benefit received from garlic (a large percentage gassing off within 20 minutes of being chopped), powdered garlic does retain some of the benefits. Garlic has been known to help the heart and blood, as well as aid the body in fighting off all sorts of different infections from bacteria to parasites.
Onion – Similar to garlic, onions are more potent when fresh. As a dried ingredient, onions still help with allergies, stomach ailments and help move infections through the body.
Mexican Spice Mix: equal parts of the following ingredients except chili powder, which should be the main component
Uses: all varieties of mexican/latin dishes
Chili powder – See above.
Paprika – See chili powder.
Sea salt – See above.
Coriander – Little is it known that this is the seed of the cilantro plant and relieves indigestion, gas and stomach pain.
Cumin – This slightly overpowering spice can stimulate menstruation and lactation, but also relieves gas, indigestion and inflammation.
Cayenne – See chili powder.
Oregano – See above.
Garlic – See above.
Onion – See above.
Chai Spice Mix: approximately equal parts of each of the following ingredients, with more emphasis on ginger and cinnamon
Uses: baked goods, ice cream, hot chocolate, mixed with black tea and milk for chai latte, pumpkin dishes, custard, pudding, pies, apple sauce, cobbler, alcoholic drinks, and so much more!
Ginger – Science has come around to the amazing properties of ginger and studies now support its use for inflammation, high cholesterol, allergies, asthma, indigestion, detoxification, and infections.
Cinnamon – Like black pepper, cinnamon is another mostly unheard of spice that was used to preserve foods and is still sometimes used in pickling for its antibacterial and antifungal properties. Nowadays cinnamon is mostly beneficial for its flavor that is frequently associated with the comfort and joy of rich desserts and delicious drinks, but it also does help with colds and stomach upset.
Cloves – Studies have shown that clove poulstices and clove oil are both effective at treating toothe ache and freshening breath, but it is also traditionally used as a germicide for a variety of infections and in
inal distress caused by bacteria.
Cardamom – This spice is one of few that is just a generically good spice used traditionally for a variety of things, including as an aphrodisiac, breath freshener, sedative, stimulant (how contrary!) and treatment for certain cancers. As there are no concerns in use of this spice, I happily include it for good measure regardless of what it really does.
Nutmeg – Helpful in treating gas, chest congestion and even diarrhea from rotovirus, this delightfully mild spice nut has also been used in a study to treat erectile dysfunction.
Allspice – Yet another spice to aid in digestive upset, allspice berries, even the dried one, pack more antioxidant power than most other berries, and also helps with allergies.
Vanilla powder – This ingredient is included partially to balance out the other spice flavors and bring out the richness of the mix, but vanilla itself has been traditionally used as an aphrodisiac and calming aromatic.
Sugar (optional) – This is also used to balance the flavors of the other spices, but if you enjoy a strong punch of flavor, leave it out. Try to get all natural cane sugar called sucanat or rapadura. You could conceivably use stevia powder as well!
White pepper (optional or just a pinch) – Traditional chai uses a small bit of white pepper to give a hint of straight spice. I personally do not use this ingredient.
Informational resource: Mountain Rose Herbs