Tag Archives: cooking spice

Cumin-Did You Know?

Cumin The Did You Know GuyDid you know Cumin was used in the ancient Egyptian mummification process? Marcus Antoninus 16th emperor of Rome was given a nickname that referenced the herb as someone miserly must have eaten cumin, and symbolized excessive desire. Pliny the Elder, a Roman naturalist who lived between 23 AD and 79 AD was said to have listed Cumin as “the best appetizer of all condiments.”

The history of Cumin goes back over 5000 years. from Iran and the Mediterranean. Cumin is a small seed that comes from the Cuminum cyminum herb, a member of the parsley family. This seed has a distinct flavor, and warm aroma. It is a major ingredient in chili powder as well as curry powder. According to the Bible, Cumin had such a powerful medicinal value that it could be used as money!

Cumin has an overpowering smell and should be used very sparingly. Yet it is considered non-toxic, non-irritant and non-sensitizing. It does have photo-toxic qualities, so it should not be used when the skin will be exposed to sunlight. Photosensitization, and photo-toxicity can occur when certain essential oils react when exposed to Ultraviolet UVA light. Inflammation, blistering, and reddening/burning of the skin are common.

Cumin is useful as a warming oil and helps relieve muscular pains and osteoarthritis. In the digestive system, it is a stimulant that helps with colic, dyspepsia, flatulence, bloating and indigestion. For the nervous system, it is a tonic, and has a beneficial effect on headaches, migraines, and nervous exhaustion.

Rosemary-Did You Know?

RosemaryDid you know rosemary assists in the development of true knowledge and true intelligence? Rosemary is the essential oil of knowledge and transition. It challenges people to look deeper than they normally would, and ask more soul searching questions so they may receive more inspired answers. Rosemary also aids in times of transition and change, such as adjusting to a new house, school, or a relationship.

Rosemary is actually a bush perennial that grows in abundance in the Mediterranean area (Spain, Italy, Portugal, Southern France, Greece and North Africa as well as in isolated areas of Turkey, Lebanon and Egypt). It is one of the most common aromatic wild plants of the Mediterranean landscape, especially in rocky limestone hillsides adjoining the seaside.

Rosemary was relocated to England by the Romans in the eighth century, primarily in the southern part of the country. Rosemary branches were placed on the floors of medieval homes to combat diseases during the “black plague.” Because of the fragrance the plant gives off, it was a used as an incense. It was introduced to the New World by early immigrants, but in the northern regions they must be protected in the winter months.

Rosemary is an aromatic, evergreen shrub whose leaves are frequently used to flavor foods such as stuffings and roast lamb, pork, chicken, and turkey. When you add rosemary to spaghetti sauce it will bring out the flavor of other ingredients. It is a very nice addition to tomato-based soups, stews, and sauces. Along with its culinary applications, Rosemary has many health benefits.

Rosemary supports healthy digestion and helps soothe sore muscles and joints. Long revered by healers, rosemary was considered sacred by the ancient Greek, Roman, Egyptian, and Hebrew cultures. Rosemary’s herbaceous and energizing scent is frequently used in aromatherapy to combat nervous tension, fatigue, and has antioxidant properties.

Nutmeg-Did You Know?

NutmegDid You know Nutmeg comes from the fruit of a 50 ft (15 m) tall tropical evergreen tree? Nutmeg is most commonly used as a cooking spice. The tree grows in Indonesia, New Guinea, and the West Indies. The dried nut and essential oil are both used to enhance your health.

Nutmeg is used in both Western and Chinese herbal medicine. It is most popular as a spice in food and drinks, and is also used in cosmetics and soaps. In ancient Greece, and Rome, nutmeg was highly valued and expensive. People were convinced it stimulated the brain. The Arabs have used nutmeg for centuries.

Nutmeg relaxes the muscles, and helps remove gas from the digestive track. It is most commonly used for stomach problems such as discomfort with indigestion. It is also used for chronic nervous disorders, kidney disorders, and to help with nausea, and vomiting. In Chinese medicine, nutmeg is used to treat abdominal pain, diarrhea, inflammation, impotence, liver disease, and vomiting. Some cultures have been know to use nutmeg as an aphrodisiac.

Oregano-Did You Know?

Oregano

Did you know the word “oregano” comes from the Greek phrase, “joy of the mountains?” Oregano is the oil of humility and non-attachment. Oregano cuts through the less important parts of life and teaches people to do the same. Oregano is a powerful oil, and may even be described as assertive or intense. Oregano addresses an individual’s need to be “right.”

Ancient Greek physicians discovered that oregano had beneficial properties, and prescribed it for a variety of ailments. Hippocrates used it as well, as its close cousin, Marjoram, as an antiseptic. Just married couples were crowned with wreaths of it. It was also put on graves to give peace to departed spirits.

The use of oregano later spread throughout Europe and much of Northern Africa. In these regions it was used as a spice for meats, fish, and a flavoring for wine. In the middle ages people continued to use it. Oregano was one of few spices used in cooking to give variety to the daily meals.

In spite of its use in England, Oregano was little known in the United States prior to the Second World War. Soldiers discovered the flavors, and aromas during the Italian Campaign, and brought back the spice, and the desire for it. The oregano sold on the spice racks of stores today, is usually made up of several varieties.

Oregano is one of the most potent and powerful essential oils, and has been used for centuries in traditional medicine for its cleansing and immune-boosting properties. The primary chemical components of Oregano are carvacol, and thymol, both in the Phenols group, which possess purifying, and antioxidant properties. Due to its high phenol content, caution should be taken when inhaling or diffusing Oregano; only one to two drops is needed. Additionally, Oregano should be diluted with fractionated coconut oil when applied to the skin.

Oregano essential oil contains phenols—powerful antioxidants that ward off free radicals. One drop taken daily can help maintain healthy immune function; Oregano should be taken more frequently when seasonal threats are high, or as needed to further boost immunity. In addition to being a popular cooking spice, Oregano supports healthy digestion by promoting the secretion of digestive juices. When diffused, Oregano acts as an enhancer and equalizer in essential oil blends, and can help maintain healthy respiratory function.