In Ethiopian culture we use different kinds of spices, from ginger and cinnamon to cardamom and coriander. Most people assume spices are used only for better taste. But the fact is, spices have far better benefits than only seasoning our dishes. Our chilly pepper and turmeric powder are full of different spices. We season our butter with 3-5 different kinds of spices. Some people even season “Enjera” with Fenu Greek seed. Our (Wot) sauce is seasoned with a wide range of flavorings. Even our renowned coffee tastes better with the addition of a little spice to it.

Most spices go together. You almost can’t go wrong, what we need is to use our intuitive taste to know how to use which spice to which dish or drink and being cautious about the amount. There is no definite usage of spice. We can always create better recipes by mixing different herbs with different dishes. 

— Allspice is wonderful in just about any recipe, as it’s a flavorful and high-antioxidant spice. It’s helpful for menopause and high blood pressure and contains more than 24 healing compounds.

— Caraway seeds are great for digestion, constipation, acid reflux, and regulating cholesterol.

— Cardamom helps with asthma, constipation, bad breath, and indigestion, and has been shown to lower blood pressure and histamine.

— Cinnamon is anti-inflammatory, helps promote healthy bacteria in your gut (those good guys that help you digest and assimilate your food), and keeps your blood sugar stable (which helps give you willpower!). It can also help with heart health and can prevent diabetes.

— Clove is great for your teeth and gums, helps fight bad bacteria like H. pylori (responsible for ulcers), and can inhibit viruses like herpes and hepatitis C.

— Coriander helps regulate digestion, bloating, cholesterol levels, blood pressure, skin issues (such as rosacea or eczema), and vaginal yeast infections.

— Cumin has beneficial properties for cancer, epilepsy, type 2 diabetes, and bone health.

— Fennel can help with arthritis, calms cramps (including menstrual cramps) and colic, and is a powerful digestive aid and anti-inflammatory.

— Fenu-greek has been found to help with weight loss, improved moods, blood sugar balance, cataracts, kidney stones, and gallstones. It can also help prevent or reverse non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.

— Ginger is an anti-inflammatory spice that can help with arthritis, nausea, morning sickness, and migraines. It is also amazing for your digestion.

— Nutmeg can protect your skin from wrinkles due to the breakdown of elastin in the skin and skin-damaging ultraviolet (UV) rays, provides anti-anxiety and anti-depression benefits, and inhibits the viral cause of diarrhea.

— Paprika helps with indigestion, cardiovascular health, and circulation; is antibacterial and anti-inflammatory; and contains vitamins A, E, K, and C.

— Saffron has been shown to help with mood issues (such as depression or anxiety), insomnia, blood pressure, menstrual cramps, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, memory issues, and erectile dysfunction.

— Turmeric is wonderful as an anti-inflammatory spice if you’re experiencing arthritis, swelling, or inflammation around your menstrual period, or any other autoimmune-type symptoms. Incidentally, it’s wonderful for your skin and a natural anti-wrinkle remedy. It can also protect against radiation from the sun or x-rays. Be sure to pair with black pepper to activate turmeric’s healing properties.

Treat yourself to some well-loved staple herbs and spices. Use your intuition. When you open your spice cabinet, allow your intuition to guide you to the herbs and spices you feel most drawn to. Sometimes, without even knowing why, you’ll pick spices with exactly the medicinal qualities your body needs. Use the herbs and spices in our recipes and notice how they taste. Start small. If you only put in a little of an herb or spice, like 1⁄8 tsp., you almost can’t go wrong. If you’re not sure, take 1⁄8 tsp. and put it in the food, mix it up, and taste. If you like it, add another 1⁄8 tsp. and go from there.


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