• Patricia H. Arnazzi

Spice Up Your Life!





Hello, my friends:

Marco Polo, the Italian explorer from the 13th Century, is best known for opening and expanding the trade routes in Asia, especially China. He is credited with making Europe acquainted with silk and spices.

And grateful to him should we be in the western hemisphere since spices not only put flavor to our food, but as it turns out, also pizzazz into our lives.

Turmeric, Cumin, Clove, Cinnamon, Ginger, Saffron, Sumac, Nutmeg, Thyme, Coriander, Clove, Black Pepper, Cardamom, are only a few of them which you can find in any well-respected cook’s covers. But what if I told you that all of them have wonderful health benefits as well?

Today, I will focus on Clove, Cardamom and Cinnamon because these three spices may become very helpful in this season to be jolly, but which also exposes us to harsh cold weather and the ill effects of overeating.

Cardamom seed, Sha Ren, or Bai Dou Kou is warm, acrid and aromatic. It enters the Spleen, Stomach and Kidney channels and it is a wonderful antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and helpful for both the digestive and respiratory systems. Great for vomiting, heartburn, flatulence, but also for bronchitis, Cardamom strengthens our digestion and subdues our cough.

Clove, better known as Ding Xiang, is also a great anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, disinfectant and wonderful for upset stomach, diarrhea or dysentery, flatulence, nausea and vomiting, as well as for sinusitis, bronchitis and even toothaches.

As with these two, Cinnamon, especially the cinnamon bark or Rou Gui is warm and enters the Kidney, Spleen, Heart and Liver channels helping our pancreas, our circulation and being a wonderful aid for coughs, flu and rheumatism.

Make a blend of concentrated tea with these 3 spices by simmering them for at least thirty minutes, or in their oil form at equal parts and have it handy when you brace the cold weather to go to grandma’s house to enjoy her cooking this holiday season. You will not be sorry you did. Just remember to thank Marco Polo in the process.