By Bevin Clare
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Edited by Carleen Madigan and Liz Bevilacqua
Art direction by Ash Austin
Book design by Kimberly Glyder
Text production by Jennifer Jepson Smith
Indexed by Samantha Miller
Cover photography by © Michael Piazza Photography/SAINT LUCY Represents, except for back (dished spices) by Mars Vilaubi
Interior photography by © Michael Piazza Photography/SAINT LUCY Represents
Additional photography by © Bevin Clare, 78 & 79; Courtesy of Funke Koleosho, 42; © margo555/stock.adobe.com, 97 left; Mars Vilaubi, 6, 87, 89 top, 90 right, 91, 94 right, 96 left, 97 right, 99 bottom left, 101 left; © MaxyM/Shutterstock .com, decorative labels, 10 and throughout; Courtesy of Michael Tims, 28; Courtesy of Patricia Howell, 142; © Sandeep Agarwal, 150
Photo styling by Ann Lewis
Food styling by Ash Austin
Cover and interior illustrations, including backgrounds, by © Andie Hanna
Diagram page 29 by Ash Austin
Text © 2020 by Bevin Clare
Ebook production by Kristy L. MacWilliams
Ebook version 1.0
June 9, 2020
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210 MASS MoCA Way
North Adams, MA 01247
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Names: Clare, Bevin, author.
Title: Spice apothecary / Bevin Clare.
Description: North Adams : Storey Publishing, 2020. | Includes bibliographical references and index. | Summary: "Author Bevin Clare combines her training in herbalism and nutrition to guide readers in a return to the kitchen spice cabinet for better health and healing"—Provided by publisher.
Identifiers: LCCN 2019056609 (print) | LCCN 2019056610 (ebook) | ISBN 9781635860832 (paperback) | ISBN 9781635860887 (hardcover) | ISBN 9781635860849 (ebook)
Subjects: LCSH: Spices—Therapeutic use. | Spices—Health aspects. | Cooking (Herbs)
Classification: LCC RM666.H33 C623 2020 (print) | LCC RM666.H33 (ebook) | DDC 615.3/21—dc23
LC record available at https://lccn.loc .gov/2019056609
LC ebook record available at https://lccn.loc .gov/2019056610
This publication is intended to provide educational information for the reader on the covered subject. It is not intended to take place of personalized medical counseling, diagnosis, and treatment from a health professional.
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
Chapter 2: How Medicinal Spices Work
Spices in Our Diet
Research on Medicinal Spices
Spices and Disease Prevention
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
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
Dried Spice Blends
Measuring in Parts
Additional Recipes from the Spice Apothecary
Fresh Herb and Spice Recipes
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.
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.
- 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)
- 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)
- 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)
- 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
- Saffron (stigma)
seeds and pods
roots and rhizomes
"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