Eat your way to wellness! Spice blends make it easy (and delicious) to get medicinal quantities of common culinary spices into your daily diet.

The more we learn about the medicinal powers of spices, the more possibilities come into focus regarding use of spices for health. Abundant evidence supports the use of spices in our food for the prevention, and even possible treatment, of some of our most common health concerns, such as heart disease, arthritis, and even cancer. The possibilities of the therapeutic application of spices is also bolstered by the safety data we have amassed by consuming these plants regularly for thousands of documented years. Food plants are, fundamentally, very safe to eat, and it is nearly impossible to take an unsafe dose in culinary form.

And here’s the best part: unlike some things we know we should be doing for our health but don’t really feel like doing, consuming spices is enjoyable, affordable, and easy. We have an opportunity to fill our lives (and plates) with spices and find pleasure in their delicious medicine.

layers of dried spices in a glass mortar with pestle

Photo © Michael Piazza, excerpted from Spice Apothecary

Blends of dried spices can be an excellent way to increase your overall consumption of spices, or to ensure you get a therapeutic dose of a particular spice. When we are in a rush or don’t have access to fresh spices, grabbing a jar or a bag of a favorite blend is easy and effective. Spice blends can be added to food while cooking, and many of these blends can even be added to already prepared foods. I like to keep shaker jars of my favorite blends on my kitchen table to sprinkle on top of whatever I’m eating.

Using Spice Blends in Foods

Spices can elevate a dish from mundane to something fabulous and memorable. While fresh spices are always a delight, they can be difficult or expensive to get at certain times of the year. Dried spices offer a wide selection and are easy to keep on hand for daily meals. Cultures around the world have used spice blends to create unique and iconic dishes, and it’s not hard for you to do the same. When added to food, spice blends pack a medicinal punch along with delicious flavor.

Everyday on Everything: A Spice Blend for Overall Health

an array of dried spices in small dishes

Everyday on Everything Spice Blend. Photo © Michael Piazza, excerpted from Spice Apothecary

For an overall health tonic, Everyday on Everything Blend is the perfect blend to keep in a jar on your table. It acts as an anti-inflammatory, supports heart health, supports kidney health, supports respiratory health.

Here are the health benefits of some of this spice blend’s key ingredients:

Rosemary leaves have such a strong antioxidant capacity they are used to preserve foods, such as delicate oils, from becoming rancid. These same antioxidant compounds can also help “preserve” some of your cognitive processes and capabilities.

Sage has been traditionally used to dry up excess or undesirable fluids produced by the body.

Holy basil, also known as tulsi, has been used traditionally for medicinal purposes in India for centuries. Recent research has shown that while all types of basil have significant antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, holy basil is the most potent.

Garlic is valued for its ability to ward off and treat infection. More recently, garlic has been shown to be an effective preventive in serious chronic health conditions, including hypertension, metabolic syndrome, and other cardiovascular conditions as well as chronic infections, immune dysregulation, and even some types of cancers. Garlic is a powerhouse spice for the immune system and also boasts anti-inflammation and antimicrobial effects.

Chiles are used to increase circulation and to increase the bioavailability and impact of other spices. may also change the way we experience fullness and even help decrease the amount we eat before feeling full. One study determined that red chili pepper and its constituent capsaicin have a positive effect on satiety (the feeling of being full during or after eating).

Black pepper is used to increase digestive fire and increase the bioavailability of other medicinal plants and their constituents minerals. Extracting vitamins and minerals from some foods can be tricky business, especially with any sort of digestive impairment or inflammation. Using black pepper might assist your body in getting what it needs from the healthy foods you are eating.

Turmeric in its whole form has been found to include the following beneficial properties: anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial, antioxidant, antidepressant, anticancer, antimutagenic, radioprotective, hepatoprotective, neuroprotective, antidiabetic, wound-healing, and anti-aging.

Delicious on nearly anything savory, Everyday on Everything blend can be used during cooking or can be sprinkled right on top of a finished dish. It’s versatile and forgiving, so feel free to leave out any ingredients you aren’t crazy about. One of my favorite ways to use this is to mix it into eggs when making an omelet. Try it in a virgin bloody mary (recipe follows) for some extra kick!

Virgin Bloody Mary with celery stalk

Photo © Michael Piazza, excerpted from Spice Apothecary

Spicy Virgin Bloody Mary with Everyday on Everything Blend

Yield: 1 serving

You might be surprised at how many medicinal spices you can pack into a glass of tomato juice! This nonalcoholic version of a classic Bloody Mary can be spiced up or down as you like.

Ingredients

Everyday on Everything Blend
  • 4 parts paprika or ancho chili powder
  • 8 parts dried basil
  • 8 parts dried holy basil
  • 2 parts dried sage
  • 2 parts dried rosemary
  • 2 parts ground turmeric
  • 4 parts garlic powder
  • 2 parts dried lemon peel
  • 2 parts freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 part sea salt (optional)
Spicy Virgin Bloody Mary
  • 2 tablespoons Everyday on Everything Blend
  • 16 ounces tomato juice (or other vegetable juice blend)
  • Hot sauce (optional)
  • Celery, cherry tomato, or cucumber for garnish (optional)

Directions

  1. Combine the ingredients for the Everyday on Everything Blend in a glass jar or plastic bag.
  2. Stir 2 tablespoons of the Everyday on Everything Blend into the tomato juice, adding more to taste.
  3. Add the hot sauce to taste, if using, and pour the mixture into glasses.
  4. Garnish each glass with celery or other garnish, if desired, and serve.
Dose per serving:

black pepper 1.3 grams | dried basil 1.2 grams | garlic 3.0 grams | holy basil 1.2 grams | paprika or ancho chile 2.6 grams | rosemary 0.7 grams | sage 0.4 grams | turmeric 1.2 grams

Text and recipe excerpted and slightly adapted from Spice Apothecary © by Bevin Clare. All rights reserved.

Bevin Clare

Bevin Clare is the author of Spice Apothecary. She is a clinical herbalist and licensed nutritionist, a professor of clinical herbalism at the Maryland University of Integrative Health, and… See Bio

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Spice Apothecary

by Bevin Clare

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