Spice Apothecary

Blending and Using Common Spices for Everyday Health


By Bevin Clare

Formats and Prices




$36.95 CAD


This item is a preorder. Your payment method will be charged immediately, and the product is expected to ship on or around June 23, 2020. This date is subject to change due to shipping delays beyond our control.

Spices are universally recognized as a source of flavor and aromatics, but in cultures around the world, these plant parts have a long history as source of medicine. In Spice Apothecary, author Bevin Clare combines her training in herbalism and nutrition to inspire a return to the kitchen spice cabinet for better health and healing. Focusing on 19 common culinary spices that are easy to source and prized for their flavor, this practical guide highlights each spice’s role in supporting wellness goals and delivers creative and impactful ways to incorporate key health-boosting spices into everyday life. To bolster the immune system, chili, garlic, ginger, and mustard are best. Celery seed, parsley, and sage support kidney function, while the respiratory system benefits most from ginger, mint, and thyme. Learn the best way to harness each spice’s medicinal power, the proper way to store spices, and how to determine your daily dose. Then, prepare customized dried spice blends and use them in delicious dips, soups, sauces, and even sweets that deliver flavor and healing. 


to my family, with whom i wish to travel all the world and taste all the spices


Preface: The Medicine of Spices

Chapter 1: Our Connection to Spices

The Global Spice Trade

Understanding the Plants

Plant Families

Chapter 2: How Medicinal Spices Work

Spices in Our Diet

Phytochemical Powerhouses

Research on Medicinal Spices

Spices and Disease Prevention

Safety Practices

Spice Synergy

To Cook or Not to Cook

Chapter 3: Creating Your Spice Apothecary

Fresh vs. Dried



The Daily Dose

19 Spices for Everyday Use

Medicinal Use and Dosage

Chapter 4: Using Spices to Support Health Goals

Bolster Immune Protection and Defense

Healthy Connections: Skin, Bones, and Joints

Creat Calm and Focus

Strengthen Digestion

Balance Flow for Kidney Health

Support a Healthy Heart

Breathe Easy for Respiratory Health

Spices for Specific Health Concerns

Chapter 5: Recipes

A Little Spice Every Day

Blending Spices

Dried Spice Blends

Measuring in Parts

Additional Recipes from the Spice Apothecary


Fresh Herb and Spice Recipes

Pesto Power!

Appendix: A Healthcare Practioner's Guide to Using Medicnal Spices




Metric Conversion Chart


Take Care Naturally with More Books from Storey

Share Your Experience!


The Medicine of Spices

I have been asked hundreds of times, "What do you take every day to stay healthy?" I imagine people have visions of me with cauldrons of bubbling medicines, or bowls of rainbow-colored capsules, or dozens of amber tincture bottles lined up on my kitchen table. When I tell people that the only medicines I take every day are things like garlic, cinnamon, black pepper, and basil, I can sometimes see a hint of disappointment. Just simple spices, when they thought they might discover the secret to youth or immortality.

But this is an underestimation of the power of culinary herbs and spices. How could something that tastes good be used medicinally? Could something that our grand-mothers and grandfathers cooked with every day be fundamental to good health?

What we've forgotten is, our bodies evolved in tandem with the plants that offer an abundance of spices and herbs. These spices and herbs were used to make (often unpalatable) food palatable as well as for food preservation and cultural traditions. The distinction between what was considered "food" and "medicine" was not always so starkly drawn.

Today, however, as people reach for bland and salty processed foods, we see less use of culinary spices and more prevalence in the conditions these spices can actually prevent and treat. While this may not be a causal relationship, I do have a clear observation: We need the medicine of spices.

To compound the issue, holistic, integrative, or herbal medicine tends to be expensive and inaccessible to the general population. What was once a simple daily practice, herbal medicine has become the medicine of the elite, with fancy products in pricey bottles. And while there are many wonderful companies and products out there, herbal medicine does not need to be expensive or exclusive. In fact, the more you can taste and smell and touch and grind and sift the medicines you are using, the better. Backed by a plethora of scientific evidence supporting the beneficial properties of using herbs and spices for health, I am making the call for more people to use medicinal spices every day.

Finally, I want to say, this is the medicine of families, communities, and traditional cultures. A whiff of celebratory cardamom can conjure the joys of a wedding; the heady scent of fresh rosemary conveys a sense of elegance. While children sprinkle cinnamon in their hot cocoa, their grandparents can add it to a dinner dish to support cardiovascular health.

Spices are our perfect medicine. They are my daily tonic, my connection to past and present. They also bring joy to the food I prepare for my family. I invite you to integrate spices into your diet, and to enjoy the health-boosting deliciousness that they bring.

Bevin Clare



Our Connection to Spices

Our senses are attuned to the taste, touch, and smell of spices. Across the globe, people have made use of spices as food flavorings, medicines, and even as valued cultural totems. And despite an ever-growing industry of synthetic flavors, we return again and again to spices for use as fragrant foods and as medicines.

The Global Spice Trade

We have long been tantalized by spices. They have been more valuable than gold, the topic of wild lore, and the glories of great societies. They have incited us to cross vast oceans, fight wars, and seek treasures. Many of the most important trade routes in the world were developed for trading spices — specifically, among the Middle East, India, and China and their connections to Europe.

Look at a map of Europe and you'll see the lasting effects of the spice trade routes. Venice became a major port where ships sailed in with exotic ingredients from afar, such as ginger, cinnamon, and peppercorns. The Dutch and English competed to colonize areas of the globe that were rich in spices, and to establish trade routes to them. Spices played a significant role during the hundreds of years that European nations sought to colonize tropical countries — often extracting profit from these cultures without giving many benefits back, or causing harm and violence. Indeed, the desire for the flavors of rare spices has been powerful and often destructive.

Christopher Columbus bumped into North America when he was seeking a more efficient route to the Spice Islands — known as Indonesia today. But the New World does not offer the abundance of spices that were found in Asia or even Europe. The most favored herbs and spices brought from the Americas to Europe were vanilla, chili peppers, and allspice.

Today, the United States is the world's leading consumer of spices, and Asia is the largest producer. Some spices, like peppercorns, have become big business, and their centers of production have moved across the world from where the spice is native. A vast quantity of peppercorns (native to the Americas) are grown in Brazil; ginger (native to Asia) is grown in the Tropics.

One thing that has remained consistent over centuries is the relative expense of spices. The price tends to correlate to the difficulty of growing. Famously, the most expensive spice is saffron. Saffron is the stigma of the crocus flower, and it is incredibly labor-intensive to harvest. There are only three stigma in a saffron flower, and the harvesting has to be done by hand. Then, each tiny stigma must be dried to preserve its color and flavor. The second most expensive spice to harvest and buy is vanilla. Vanilla plants are in the orchid family and are notoriously difficult to grow and pollinate. The fruits (vanilla beans) of these delicate plants take a long time to mature, and they must be harvested at a precise time, requiring intensive cultivation and a lot of human labor.

Today, spices are grown around the globe. Most of them are cultivated in the tropics and are sold in large quantities in more temperate regions. While the United States, European Union, and Japan are leaders in purchasing herbs and spices, these countries grow very few of the spices on the global market. As our tastes become more global, our desire to have a greater diversity of spices available in our communities increases. Trends show increases in the purchase and consumption of spices around the world, regardless of economic or developmental status. Spices have become a truly global power in health and cuisine.

Native Spices

the americas

  • Allspice (Pimenta dioica)
  • Annatto seeds (Bixa orellana)
  • Cacao (Theobroma cacao)
  • Chile pepper (Capsicum spp.)
  • Epazote (Chenopodium ambrosioides)
  • Lemon verbena (Lippia citriodora)
  • Mexican pepperleaf (Piper auritum)
  • Mexican tarragon (Tagetes lucida)
  • Nasturtium (Tropaeolum majus)
  • Oilseed pumpkin (Cucurbita pepo)
  • Paprika (Capsicum annuum)
  • Pink pepper (Schinus terebinthifolius)
  • Sassafras (Sassafras albidum)
  • Spilanthes (Spilanthes acmella)
  • Vanilla (Vanilla planifolia)

northern europe and eurasia

  • Caraway (Carum carvi)
  • Celery seed (Apium graveolens)
  • Chives (Allium schoenoprasum)
  • Horseradish (Armoracia rusticana)
  • Juniper (Juniperus communis)
  • Mint (Mentha spp.)
  • Mugwort (Artemisia vulgaris)
  • Southernwood (Artemisia abrotanum)


  • Ajwain (Trachyspermum copticum)
  • Anise (Pimpinella anisum)
  • Arugula (Eruca sativa)
  • Coriander (Coriandrum sativum)
  • Cumin (Cuminum cyminum)
  • Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare)
  • Hyssop (Hyssopus officinalis)
  • Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia)
  • Myrtle (Myrtus communis)
  • Nigella (Nigella sativa)
  • Oregano (Origanum vulgare)
  • Parsley (Petroselinum crispum)
  • Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis)
  • Rue (Ruta graveolens)
  • Saffron (Crocus sativus)
  • Sage (Salvia officinalis)
  • Savory (Satureja hortensis)
  • Sumac (Rhus coriaria)
  • Thyme (Thymus vulgaris)


  • Grains of Paradise (Aframomum melegueta)
  • Kani pepper (Xylopia aethiopica)
  • Sesame (Sesamum indicum)
  • Tamarind (Tamarindus indica)

the middle east

  • Almond (Prunus dulcis)
  • Asafetida (Ferula assafoetida)
  • Bay leaf (Laurus nobilis)
  • Black mustard seed (Brassica nigra)
  • Dill seed (Anethum graveolens)
  • Fenugreek (Trigonella foenum-graecum)
  • Garlic (Allium sativum)
  • Lemon (Citrus limon)
  • Marjoram (Majorana hortensis)
  • Mint (Mentha spp.)
  • Onion (Allium cepa)
  • Poppy (Papaver somniferum)
  • Rose (Rosa spp.)
  • Tarragon (Artemisia dracunculus)

east asia

  • Cassia cinnamon (Cinnamomum cassia)
  • Ginger (Zingiber officinale)
  • Lesser galanga (Kaempferia galanga)
  • Perilla (Perilla frutescens)
  • Sichuan pepper (Zanthoxylum piperitum)
  • Star anise (Illicium verum)
  • Wasabi (Wasabia japonica)

southeast asia

  • Cloves (Syzygium aromaticum)
  • Cubeb pepper (Piper cubeba)
  • Ginger (Zingiber officinale)
  • Greater galanga (Alpinia galanga)
  • Kaffir lime (Citrus hystrix)
  • Lemongrass (Cymbopogon citratus)
  • Lesser galanga (Kaempferia galanga)
  • Lime (Citrus aurantifolia)
  • Long pepper (Piper retrofractum)
  • Mace and Nutmeg (Myristica fragrans)
  • Perilla (Perilla frutescens)

south asia

  • Basil (Ocimum basilicum)
  • Black cardamom (Amomum subulatum)
  • Black cumin (Bunium persicum)
  • Black pepper (Piper nigrum)
  • Cardamom (Elettaria cardamomum)
  • Cinnamon (Cinnamomum zeylanicum, C. verum)
  • Curry leaf (Murraya koenigii)
  • Long pepper (Piper longum)
  • Turmeric (Curcuma longa)

Understanding the Plants

When you enjoy the taste or smell of a spice you are experiencing something critical to the survival and health of the plant from which it was harvested. The aromatic compounds created by plants that we call spices serve many purposes beyond piquing our palate. They are part of plant communication and defense as well as part of a connection between related plants circling the globe.

Herbalists use the name "herbs" to refer to the medicinal parts of plants in a broad sense. When we look to herbs and spices for culinary use, we typically consider spices to be the seeds, flowers, bark, roots, buds, pollen, and fruits of plants, while we call the leaves herbs. Don't get too hung up on the terminology; they're all plant parts, and wherever a plant concentrates its flavor we can harvest the part for medicine.

We can also harvest different spices at different times of growth from the same plant. As you may know, cilantro and coriander come from the same plant. We harvest the green leaves as cilantro, and when they mature and turn to seed, we have coriander. There are also optimal times to harvest plants for the best flavor. Vanilla, for example, can take up to nine months to mature, and then as soon as the plant turns golden-green, the unripe pods are harvested. Some spices, like cinnamon, can come from any number of different species and will range dramatically in flavor, medicinal properties, and cost. Each spice has its own characteristics to consider when using it. Some spices are best dried, others are best fresh; some are processed or smoked before use, and others are fermented.

parts of the plant from Which Spices are sourced

leaves and aerial parts

  • Angelica (stem)
  • Basil
  • Bay laurel
  • Chervil
  • Chives (scapes)
  • Cilantro
  • Dill
  • Epazote
  • Fennel
  • Fenugreek
  • Lemongrass
  • Marjoram
  • Mint
  • Oregano
  • Parsley
  • Rosemary
  • Sage
  • Sassafras
  • Tarragon
  • Thyme


  • Calendula
  • Chamomile
  • Lavender
  • Saffron (stigma)


  • Allspice (berry)
  • Aniseed*
  • Black peppercorn (berry)
  • Cacao (bean)
  • Capsicum pepper
  • Caraway*
  • Citrus
  • Coriander
  • Cumin*
  • Dill
  • Fennel*
  • Juniper (berry)
  • Mace
  • Nutmeg
  • Sumac (berry)
  • Vanilla (bean)
  • *the dried fruit is commonly referred to as a seed

seeds and pods

  • Annatto
  • Cardamom
  • Celery seed
  • Charnushka/Black Cumin
  • Fenugreek
  • Mustard
  • Poppy
  • Sesame
  • Star anise

roots and rhizomes

  • Angelica
  • Galangal
  • Ginger
  • Horseradish


    • "If you are in tune with using food as medicine, Spice Apothecary will earn a prized place on your shelves. In it, Bevin Clare summarizes the healing properties that are inherent to various plants and traditional remedies within many different cultures. A more detailed exploration of the health-boosting qualities of some common spices follows, with simple recipes to easily incorporate them into your daily diet." — Foreword Reviews

      “The perfect guide to using spices for everyday wellness and radiant good health, Spice Apothecary provides a detailed and thorough account of the medicinal properties of common spices and the best ways to incorporate them into our daily diets.  Important information not normally found in other books — such as recommended dosage, specific medicinal uses, clinical applications, safety issues, as well as an abundance of delicious, well-spiced recipes — make this an excellent reference for everyone interested in good health and good food.” — Rosemary Gladstar, herbalist and author

      “Drawing on her years of practice as an herbalist, Bevin Clare invites us to reconsider the healing powers of common and exotic spices from all over the world. Mixing two parts culinary know-how with one part herbal wisdom and a pinch of science, she creates a recipe for restoring spices to their rightful role in shaping our health!”  — Patricia Kyritsi Howell, RH (AHG)
      Spice Apothecary is a beautifully woven collection of stories, recipes, and practical guidance for incorporating spices into your daily life. No other resource provides such detailed and accessible information about how to use spices therapeutically as part of a healthy diet.” — K. Camille Freeman, herbalist and licensed nutritionist

      “I love the affordable and delicious approach of eating medicinal herbs in your daily cuisine. Bevin Clare’s creative spice blends and recipes for using them will make you rethink your spice cabinet!” — Maria Noël Groves, RH (AHG), clinical herbalist at Wintergreen Botanicals and author of Body into Balance and Grow Your Own Herbal Remedies

      “Spice Apothecary is an easy-to-use, beautifully illustrated guide that will have you cooking with culinary spices for your health more often.” — David Winston, RH(AHG), DSc (HC), coauthor of Adaptogens: Herbs for Strength, Stamina, and Stress Relief  
      “Bevin Clare’s expert guidance shows you how to use healing spices with confidence, to add evocative flavor to your life and powerfully support your health.” — Rosalee de la Forêt, author of Alchemy of Herbs: Transform Everyday Ingredients into Foods and Remedies That Heal

    On Sale
    Jun 23, 2020
    Page Count
    176 pages

    Bevin Clare

    About the Author

    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 the president of the American Herbalists Guild. She has studied herbal medicine around the world and travels globally to teach about herbal medicine and nutrition. Clare finds spices to be central to the food and medicine practices of her family, with whom she lives in Maryland. Find her online at http://www.bevinclare.com.

    Learn more about this author