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Let me introduce myself. My name is Mark Sisson. I’m 63 years young. I live and work in Malibu, California. In a past life I was a professional marathoner and triathlete. Now my life goal is to help 100 million people get healthy. I started this blog in 2006 to empower people to take full responsibility for their own health and enjoyment of life by investigating, discussing, and critically rethinking everything we’ve assumed to be true about health and wellness...

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August 13, 2014

Top 10 Favorite Herbs and Spices

By Mark Sisson
243 Comments

This article was originally published last year following the release of the Primal Blueprint Publishing book Rich Food, Poor Food. I’m reprinting it here today to coincide with a very special offer. As many of you may know, it’s my life mission to help 10 million (or more!) people take control of their health for good. As a small effort to that end, I’ve teamed up with Buck Books over the last few weeks to give select Primal Blueprint Publishing books away for under a buck. The response has been absolutely incredible. These one day sales have helped get life-changing information to tens of thousands of people that desperately need it. So today, I’m doing it again. Through midnight tonight you can get Rich Food, Poor Food on Kindle for just 99 cents. It’s the ultimate grocery purchasing guide, with detailed analysis and recommendations for all food groups. So have a look at Buck Books, and grab your Kindle copy before time runs out. Enjoy!

SpicesFollowing is an excerpt from the Caltons’ popular new book, Rich Food, Poor Food. I’ve chosen their section on herbs and spices because I learned more details about how to choose the best herbs and spices, and what benefits they offer, from reading their material. If you notice on my Primal Blueprint Food Pyramid, herbs, spices and extracts occupy a nice little triangle at the top. You’re not consuming mass quantities of them as a big calorie source, but they make an important contribution to a healthy diet nevertheless. Besides adding flavor and protecting against microbes, herbs, spices, and extracts provide outstanding levels of antioxidants – some of the highest values found in any food.

Yep, I’m a big fan of herbs, spices, and extracts…and after reading Rich Food, Poor Food and having follow up discussions with the Caltons, I’ve tossed most of the stuff in my cupboard! Why? Because most of the jars found in my own home were not organic, and/or have been in there longer than a year. According to the Caltons, most conventional spices you find in the grocery store have been irradiated during their processing. This compromises their nutritional value and introduces health risks, which are detailed in the following excerpt.

Sorry, herbs and spices do not get better with age (maybe you’re confusing them with the Primal Blueprint indulgence of red wine?); in fact, they lose their potency and become bottled up free radicals when they linger too long on your shelves. For kicks, I asked several folks in the office to go home, take a look at their spice rack or cupboard, and guesstimate how long the stuff has been in there. One realized that her spinning tabletop rack was a holiday gift from seven or eight years ago! Here’s more on the subject from Rich Food, Poor Food, including a nice promo for their gold medalist (and one of my favorites) in the spice category: turmeric.

Rich Food, Poor Food – Excerpt from Herbs and Spices Section

Most grocery store spices are irradiated. Irradiation is the process of exposing food to radiation in order to destroy microorganisms, bacteria, viruses, or insects that might be present in the food. While irradiation works to kill bacteria, it also disrupts the structure of everything it passes through. Specifically, irradiation breaks up a food’s DNA, vitamins, minerals, and proteins and creates “free radicals” (atoms, molecules, or ions that contain unpaired electrons and crash into each other, multiplying exponentially), which contribute to many degenerative diseases, including heart disease, dementia, cancer, and cataracts.

Additionally, irradiation destroys the essential micronutrients that can help you reach micronutrient sufficiency. Your spice rack has so much to offer, that is, when you buy the Rich Food option, which is always the non-irradiated organic spice – our top pick. Here’s a rundown on the benefits of some of our favorite spices:

Dill

Dill: Helps your Digestion. A teaspoon a day can reduce 80 percent of bloating in only three days. Its antibacterial oils not only kill any possible stomach bugs but also help in the breakdown of carbohydrates and proteins.

Uses:  Feathery texture is sharp-tasting. Great on fish, in chicken and potato salads. Used in pickling.

Tarragon

Tarragon: For Heart Health. One teaspoon daily lowered LDL cholesterol more than 40 percent while increasing good cholesterol nearly 30 percent. Tarragon contains a chemical called rutin, which boosts circulation and reduces plaque in the arteries.

Uses:  Flavor of anise, licorice, mint, hay, and pine. Try it in Bernaise sauce.

Oregano

Oregano: Bacteria Be Gone. Due to the high levels of antibacterial compounds and antioxidants, oregano is just as effective at killing E.Coli and staph bacteria as penicillin.

Uses:  Tastes Robust. Best in tomato dishes, usually of Mediterranean or Mexican origin.

 

Bay Leaf

Bay Leaf: Natural Pain Reliever. Eliminates headaches and migraines. Bay leaf is rich in eugenol, a natural anesthetic that alleviates pain.

Uses:  Tastes woody. Perfect in soups, sauces, stews, and pot roasts.

 

Rosemary

Rosemary: The Brain Booster and Fatigue Fighter. With just one sniff, the phytochemicals found in rosemary can rev up your mind by increasing production of beta waves. Carnosol, a nutrient unique to this herb, fights fatigue by flushing out energy-sapping toxins from the body.

Uses:  Smell rosemary sprigs to increase alertness in only five minutes. Intense pine flavor. Great on grilled meats; adds an interesting boost to chocolate desserts.

Cayenne

Cayenne: Appetite Suppressant and Metabolism Booster. Capsaicin, found in cayenne, has thermogentic properties that increase your blood flow and metabolism. Individuals who only use cayenne infrequently also find it reduces hunger.

Uses:  Sweet heat. Works well with meats and cheeses.

Cinnamon

Cinnamon: Controls Glucose Levels. Cinnamon contains antioxidants called polyphenols that boost levels of three key proteins responsible for insulin signaling, glucose transport, and inflammatory response. Sprinkle one half teaspoon on your food to slow carbohydrate absorption by 29 percent.

Uses: Sweet and Savory. This spice is found in almost all world cuisine. From stews to pies this spice doesn’t discriminate.

Cardamom

Cardamom: Treats Indigestion. Chew one teaspoon of these seeds to soothe a sour belly. The aroma and therapeutic properties of cardamom are due to the volatile oil in its seed, which contains cineol, terpinene, limonene, sabinene, and terpineol.

Uses:  Pungent and sweet. This fragrant spice is used in rich curries and milk-based preparations, as well as in spice cakes and desserts.

Sage

Sage: Memory Minder. Both the phytonutrients and volatile oils in sage maintain levels of acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter that supports memory.

Uses:  Piney with eucalyptus notes. Lovely addition to stuffing and pork dishes.

 

And our favorite Rich Food spice is . . . Turmeric

Turmeric

This mildly woody spice is a key ingredient in many Indian, Persian, and Thai dishes. This “poor man’s” saffron is rich in benefits. The active ingredient, curcumin, is so powerful that it is commonly made into expensive nutraceutical capsules. According to Ajay Goel, Ph.D., Director of Epigenetics and Cancer Prevention at Baylor Research Institute in Dallas, “Curcumin is a complete well-being tonic – it benefits every organ in the body… It shows promise of fighting nearly every disease.” Dr. Goel suggests that curcumin aids in the prevention of Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, cancer, heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, and depression.

Why not just cook up a cure in your kitchen tonight?

Curcumin Controls Blood Sugar: It switches on the liver genes that keep glucose levels in check. It improves the pancreas’s ability to make insulin and helps slow down the metabolism of carbohydrates after meals.

Curcumin Fights Cancer: It inhibits the genetic switches that allow for cancerous cell growth to occur.

Curcumin Speeds Up Metabolism: USDA research shows that is enhances cellular energy to speed metabolism.

Curcumin Clears Plaque: It removes amyloyd plaque buildup in the brain that can cause Alzheimer’s.

Making Cents

Let’s face it, organic spice jars are small and pricey, and it can take along time to use up some of these specialty ingredients. Your best bet is to buy your organic spices in the bulk section of your local health food or specialty spice store, where you can buy smaller amounts of the spices you need right away. This guarantees that your spices are fresh, loaded with flavor, and saves you money when a recipe only calls for a pinch. Buy your own glass jars online or wash out old spice jars and transfer contents from store baggies into convenient glass jars. Store them in a cool, dark place to prevent oxidative damage from light and oxygen.

Read an extended excerpt below, and check out the Buck Books offer to get a Kindle copy of this book for just 99 cents here.

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243 Comments on "Top 10 Favorite Herbs and Spices"

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Knifegill
Knifegill
3 years 7 months ago

First! Turmeric daily, here!

Chika
3 years 7 months ago

Turmeric in egg scrambles is a fav of mine. I also sprinkle a bit into my morning cup of beef bone broth along with a bit of sea salt. yum yum!

Deanna
Deanna
3 years 7 months ago

Mmmm… in bone broth sounds good. I’m drinking a lot now, and I could use that to jazz it up.

Herbert Hoover
3 years 7 months ago

WOW THIS LADY IS SPICY , WHAT SHOULD I DO NOW , ? DADDY RAY

David
David
3 years 7 months ago

Gave that a try with my scrambled eggs this morning. Delicious (^_^)

BobG
BobG
3 years 7 months ago

Me too 🙂

Mixed turmeric, chili powder, salt, pepper, and a little pureed chipotle/adobo into a little light cream (to break up clumps), then beat the eggs into that & scrambled them.

8-minute breakfast, including eating & cleanup – PLUS antioxidants? Yeah.

Time Traveler
Time Traveler
2 years 1 month ago

I too add Turmeric and pink Himalayan salt; and her’s a tip: try a few drops of cold press Sesame oil. It will give a new definition (and twist) to bone broth soup.

It will probably be a while before it local stores, but keep an eye for fresh Turmeric root (it resembles fresh ginger). I use it all the time and find it superior to the powder.

LarryB
LarryB
3 years 7 months ago

Dried herbs become pencil shavings pretty quickly, another reason to buy bulk.

For spices, buy them whole and grind them as needed. Ground spices last about 90 days before becoming sawdust, and who knows how old they were before bringing them home. Whole spices can last six months or more.

When you buy bulk, shop somewhere with good turnover like the local co-op. People who shop in places like Safeway or Kroger are a lot less likely to buy bulk and the products are probably less fresh.

tkm
tkm
3 years 7 months ago

I go to a spice store (Spice Station in Los Feliz, CA) where they grind spices for me fresh, and I can just buy a small amount. It’s a lot more expensive than the grocery store, when you compare the price per ounce (with most spices at $1.75 to $4 an ounce) but I only need a small amount at a time and my spices are always fresh and beautifully pungent!!

Roger
Roger
3 years 7 months ago

I buy all organic spices (unground) now that I’m better informed on the subject. There’s an online store located in northern California called iHerb.com that I get them from and they have great prices. If you’re trying them out for the first time, you can use this code – COC 920 – and get $5 off of your first order.

I order from them for spices and many other items even though I live in S. Korea. They have the most remarkably low shipping rates to S. Korea I’ve ever seen and my orders get here in 5 days. Amazing.

Roger
Roger
3 years 7 months ago

By the way, regarding buying unground spices, I use my coffee grinder to deal with those.

Animanarchy
Animanarchy
3 years 7 months ago

lol @ coffee grinder comment
Someone stole most of my underground spices recently. I’m considering it an accidental favour, since I was using excessively, and now that I’m not burning so much I can feel my lung function improving.
It feels good to walk around with energy at a spritely pace instead of lumbering along sleepily.
No judgments from me on that though, I just recommend responsibility.

Shary
Shary
2 years 1 month ago
We buy all our spices at the Savory Spice Shop (metro Denver), where they grind everything to order. You can really smell and taste the difference. Much better than the supermarket spices that can already be very old when you buy them. Aside from a few exceptions, I actually don’t use much spice when I cook. We like to taste the food itself rather than everything that’s been sprinkled on it. Most of the time I stick with garlic, salt and pepper. If I eat in a restaurant where the food is loaded with spices, I always wonder what they’re… Read more »
Doug P>
Doug P>
2 years 1 month ago

“… beautifully pungent!!” Yum!

eema.gray
eema.gray
3 years 7 months ago

Black mustard seed, fenugreek, fennel seed, cumin, and coriander are amongst my favorite spices. I buy at a large asian/pacific grocery that has a spectacularly high turnover rate.

Logan P.
Logan P.
3 years 7 months ago

Now I have to pretty much clear my spice collection… dang it! Mark, Please start selling spices.

pat
pat
3 years 7 months ago

Why do you have to clear you spice collection? Why do you need Mark to sell you spices? You can buy spices anywhere and everywhere, and you have to learn to use what you read as a guide, not the bible.

Jenn
Jenn
3 years 7 months ago

Pretty sure there was nowhere in the aricle where he said… chek out my online spice satore or anything of the sort.. I find your comment odd and almost like you just came here to say something negative which I find LAME.

KariVery
KariVery
2 years 1 month ago

I think you may be overreacting to Logan’s comment – I took it as “dang it my spices are old and I have to throw them away,” and the comment about Mark selling spices was a half joke. Keep Calm and Carry On.

Annette
Annette
2 years 1 month ago

I have to agree here. Logan’s comment looked very tongue in cheek to me. Made me smile anyway. Hate to see someone misunderstood and then dumped on.

Rob
3 years 7 months ago

Tarragon is my “secret” ingredient for killer scrambled eggs (low and slow people!) and tuna salad.

Alyssa
3 years 7 months ago

I’ll have to try that! I don’t use tarragon much, but it sounds like it’d be a great addition to scrambled eggs.

Leo
Leo
3 years 7 months ago

Try tarragon in some homemade seafood chowder. I love the flavor.

HopelessDreamer
HopelessDreamer
2 years 1 month ago

tarragon in gazpacho! ( I think my recipe came from moosewood cookbook, but it’s still good)

b2curious
b2curious
3 years 7 months ago

Haven’t tried tarragon in my scrambled egg – I use cayenne, marjoram, basil and thyme. Mind you, my scrambled eggs are more like scrambled omelets, because I also add spinach, mozzarella cheese, and bell pepper, then top with salsa. Will have to try some tarragon.

AB
AB
3 years 7 months ago

Are Penzeys spices irradiated?

Marc
Marc
3 years 7 months ago

No. They do not.

I called about a year and half ago to inquire and they said that they didn’t. Perhaps it’s time for an update call.

Joshua
Joshua
3 years 7 months ago

So glad you asked. I was wondering the same. I love me some Penzey’s. The folks in Houston are great. They remember you and take care of you when you only need one nutmeg but the smallest jar has 3.

Glen PDQ
Glen PDQ
3 years 7 months ago

I agree. Very low flame and slow IS the way to go. Constant stirring and folding is the secret to a creamy gravy-like consistency avoiding solid clumps. Use a pat of butter at the beginning, and after turning off the flame stir in another pat of butter.

Jamie
Jamie
3 years 7 months ago

How much Tarragon do you use? and with how many eggs?

primal_alex
primal_alex
3 years 7 months ago

I know that a top-10 list can only contain 10. But I would add as well:

– cumin (both brown and black)
– mint
– savory (a must when I do ratatouille)
– coriander
– galanga (ah, I got you all! I bet nobody here knows it 🙂 )
– And ginger… how come it is not in the list?

Primal V
Primal V
3 years 7 months ago

Is that another name for Galangal?

I’m familiar with galangal (which I’ve used)and also the very hard-to-find galingale (which I haven’t). I once considered growing my own galingale til I realised I’d need to get a garden and dig a pond first 🙂

Sabrina
Sabrina
3 years 7 months ago

I use galangal in Thai soups. It’s similar to ginger and quite delicious!

Lyn
Lyn
3 years 7 months ago

I can buy fresh galangal for part of the year. Love it. Even my ginger hating husband doesn’t mind it because it is so much milder.

Jack Lea Mason
Jack Lea Mason
2 years 1 month ago

Yes for galangal, and lemongrass and keffir lime leaves. The trinity in Thai food I use all three to make marine creature stock.

Max Ungar
3 years 7 months ago

How many of these spices can you grow yourself? (It probably depends on where you are, but just wondering)

tkm
tkm
3 years 7 months ago
Assuming a friendly climate, rosemary and cayenne are super-easy to grow; oregano’s pretty easy; I think sage is easy, too; I imagine dill, tarragon, and bay leaf are pretty easy. I have never heard of anyone growing cardamom, cinnamon, or turmeric. Cinnamon is a bark from a shrub I believe, so if you can grow that shrub, I guess you could harvest the bark?? Turmeric is a root; I have no idea how one harvests roots, other than carrots, but I’ll bet turmeric would be difficult (just a guess). Cardamom trees could probably be grown but I bet harvesting the… Read more »
tkm
tkm
3 years 7 months ago
Max, you got me curious about growing these so thanks to the internets I now know that 1)cinnamon is relatively easy to grow, more or less like an outdoor houseplant 2) turmeric is relatively easy, if you’re willing to provide warmth and humidity in a hothouse or bathroom; it dies in the winter, at which time you harvest the roots, saving some to replant the following season; 3) cardamom is fussy; it’s a tropical plant, not a tree as I thought, and needs a well-regulated hothouse or humid bathroom with constant spraying; and doesn’t produce any seeds for harvest for… Read more »
Sterling Archer
Sterling Archer
3 years 7 months ago

Phrasing!

b2curious
b2curious
3 years 7 months ago

I read bit about turmeric needing “heat and humidity in a hothouse or bathroom” and thought “or summer in Arkansas,” where stepping outside feels like stepping into a sauna. Then I looked up how to grow it. Turmeric grows in the USDA hardiness zones 7b-10b. Central Arkansas is zone 7b… so I should be okay growing it outside. Cardamom on the other hand, would not do well here, too hot in the summer and my house is too cold for it in the winter…

caitlin
caitlin
3 years 7 months ago

@sterling archer

marry me.

tkm
tkm
3 years 7 months ago

@ Sterling Archer – it would take a little peroxide, maybe for a special occasion…(you perv, shame on you…)

Marco
3 years 7 months ago

Here in Costa Rica I have seen Cinnamon trees up to 20ft tall :-)) I have been growing one for about 4 years and it is still under 6ft. Ginger and Turmeric are both roots that look similar and you should be able to grow in a pot as tkm suggested in your bathroom. I grow them in the garden and if you live far enough South in the US you may be able to grow outside as well.

Elisa
Elisa
3 years 7 months ago

I am from Nebraska and we have always had basil and often dill and occasionally rosemary as well. Does anyone know how to store them throughout the winter months without them losing their flavor?

tkm
tkm
3 years 7 months ago

Freeze them while freshly picked, would be my best guess.

Mark A
Mark A
3 years 7 months ago
Dill does pretty well dried, although I prefer it fresh. Basil can be frozen in water in ice cube trays. Herbs that are easy to grow (I live in Colorado): sage, rosemary, tarragon, garlic (surprised garlic isn’t mentioned in this article – maybe they don’t consider it an herb or spice). When growing tarragon, don’t buy seeds or you’ll end up with Russian tarragon, which doesn’t taste very good and may not have the same health benefits. Buy a small potted tarragon and it will come up in the same spot every year, even after the cold dry winters of… Read more »
Mark A
Mark A
3 years 7 months ago

Oh, dill and oregano are also very easy to grow. Rosemary and oregano can be dried (oregano is actually better dried than fresh). Or as others have said, rosemary can be picked as needed, even in the winter, although the plant stops growing in the winter, so you could easily over-pick it and kill it if the plant isn’t very big.

B Keen
3 years 7 months ago

I use my ice trays. I put my herbs,in the tray and cover with olive oil and freeze. Works very well. I use olive oil to cook with so I have both on hand at all times.

Tina
Tina
3 years 7 months ago
Puree the fresh herbs with olive oil or coconut oil and freeze. That’s one of the better methods according to Fine Gardening. The best time to pick the herbs is in the morning after the dew dries but before the temps rise too much since this is the time when concentrations of aromatic oils and moisture in the leaves are at their greatest. The best time in the plant’s life cycle to harvest is when flower buds are forming but haven’t opened yet. (That said, I harvest any time of day and season because I’m making pesto and I need… Read more »
Marci
Marci
3 years 7 months ago

Be careful growing dill. Harvest it long before it goes to seed. If you don’t, it will take over your garden faster the buffel grass and kudzu combined.

Mary Anne
Mary Anne
3 years 7 months ago
I have a bay laurel bush in a pot on the deck, just east of Portland, OR. It has done fine for 3 years. of course, winters here have been relatively mild the last 3 years, but it did survive a couple of days of snow. From Bon Appetite, tweaked by me: Tarragon: make a duxelle of tarragon, butter, mushrooms and a little white pepper. Line muffin cups with thinnly sliced ham (or partially cooked bacon). Put lump of duxelle in cup, top with one egg, bake at about 350 until egg is set. enjoy. I get a little carried… Read more »
Paleo Bon Rurgundy
3 years 7 months ago

If only I had a nickel for every time kudzu overtook my garden.

Paleo Bon Rurgundy
3 years 7 months ago

I just read kudzu is used as a nutraceutical to treat alcoholism. Fascinating.

Primal V
Primal V
3 years 7 months ago

I don’t about other countries, but herbs like rosemary and sage are frequently used in commercial planting, you see them in the borders of office and industrial estates, and bay trees are popular outside restaurants.

I asked the guys gardening the borders where I worked if they’d mind me picking a bit and they said help yourself! – Urban foraging – awesome 🙂

Just use a bit of sensible caution- don’t eat it if you’re not sure what it is and use your judgement about environmental polution/pesticides.

Joshua
Joshua
3 years 7 months ago

My local Cracker Barrel uses multicolored kale as their planting. Maybe some evening foraging is in order.

Alyssa
3 years 7 months ago
We have a rosemary plant, and it’s been super easy! The nice thing is that it’s an evergreen, so you can use it year-round and don’t have to plant it again every year. I know it’s not on the list, but basil is also pretty easy to grow. We also have a ton of dill plants in our yard, and although they die every winter, they always drop their seeds and pop up again the next year. Very low maintenance! Plus, caterpillars adore dill, so you’ll probably attract some butterflies (: I’m really intrigued by the idea of growing cinnamon.… Read more »
BonzoGal
BonzoGal
3 years 7 months ago

Another great thing about having a rosemary plant in your yard is that bees LOVE the blooms. Our rosemary plant blooms for a good long time every year and we have lots of happy, happy bees come by.

tkm
tkm
3 years 7 months ago

It seems like growing one’s own cinnamon would be kind of impressive!

Susan
Susan
3 years 7 months ago

My great grandmother always said it takes a strong woman to grow rosemary. 🙂

Sterling Archer
Sterling Archer
3 years 7 months ago

@Alyssa & tkm: Alyssa, meet tkm. tkm, Alyssa.

Rae
Rae
3 years 7 months ago

We are in NE GA and have rosemary plants taking over the hillside of our driveway (faces south, lots of sun) Anytime I need rosemary I can go snip off a little bit. Another plus is when there is a breeze, the rosemary scents the whole area and smells divine!

I have trouble with my basil plants, I have two plants, one at work and one at home, and they both are struggling along. I’m not sure what I’m doing wrong?

Sounds like I will have to try some dill and cinnamon as well!

Judy
Judy
3 years 7 months ago
Ginger is a root like turmeric and is easy to grow. Pick up a chunk at the grocery story that looks very fresh and with a couple of bud nodules on it. Poke it in the ground or pot in my case (zone 6a). Keep moist, be patient as it takes a while until you will see leaves. Withhold water and let it die back in the fall if you are ready to dig. Or bring your pot in and set in a south-facing window until the temps are over 50 degrees in the spring before taking back out. The… Read more »
Oly
Oly
3 years 7 months ago

Thanks!

Lisa
3 years 7 months ago

I feel the inspiration to cook after reading that…. AND I will also go through my spices and see what needs to be bought. Cayenne for sure….

Ezestreets
Ezestreets
3 years 7 months ago

Lisa: you have a great web site. Your primal baking dishes look delicious.

Lisa
3 years 7 months ago

Hey – thanks!!! Glad you enjoy it! I’ll have to work some of these spices into my next recipes I think…. 🙂

Bjjcaveman
3 years 7 months ago

Anyone else feel the urge to use all 10 spices at once? I want to take advantage of all those benefits!

It’d probably taste horrible though!

Judy
Judy
3 years 7 months ago

Look into some Indian recipes they can use most of the spices and herbs listed.

Sabrina
Sabrina
3 years 7 months ago

I am of Pakistani origin, and our food is similar to North Indian food. There are a lot of dishes that call for a combination of these spices (and a few more) together. In fact, I have a killer pot roast recipe that uses many of the spices mentioned here.

2Rae
2Rae
2 years 1 month ago

Well, that sounds like you should post that in a “reply” here so we could all try it…. PLEASE?
😀

Stephanie
Stephanie
3 years 7 months ago

I buy fresh organic herbs that get marked down to 1/2 price close to their sell by date, then dry/grind them myself.

I don’t see this mentioned much when talking about curcumin, but for those with scleroderma,
http://ajrcmb.atsjournals.org/content/31/1/28.full#FIG1

Brandon
Brandon
3 years 7 months ago

Save even more money by growing some of these yourself. Most of them are pretty tolerant of different zones. And when you do live in a bad zone or have nowhere to grow them, many of them will grow beautifully in a pot in a window, especially if it faces south.

rueben
rueben
3 years 7 months ago

(or North if you are in the Southern Hemisphere) 😉

trackback

[…] Following is an excerpt from the Caltons’ popular new book, Rich Food, Poor Food. I’ve chosen their section on herbs and spices because I learned more details about how to choose the best herbs and spices, and what benefits they offer, from reading their material. If you notice on my Primal Blueprint Food Pyramid, herbs, […]… Mark’s Daily Apple […]

Brian Seelos
3 years 7 months ago

I don’t know any of the health benefits off the top of my head, but my favorite spice is smoked paprika. It’s great on thick soups and sandwiches.

Wafaa
Wafaa
3 years 7 months ago

Paprika is dried and ground sweet bellpeppers.

Sabrina
Sabrina
3 years 7 months ago

I am a huge fan of Penzey’s Hungarian half-sharp paprika.

Paleo Bon Rurgundy
3 years 7 months ago

Penzey’s smoked salt is great with pork.

Nocona
Nocona
3 years 7 months ago

Have turmeric on my Big Ass Salad everyday, but is it fresh and organic? No. Time to throw it out.

Tisha
Tisha
3 years 7 months ago

I have a Big Ass Salad for lunch most days myself, I will look at throwing some of these spices in the bowl from now on.

Mary Anne
Mary Anne
3 years 7 months ago

I add any and all herbs to BAS’s. Dill, oregano, marjoram, basil, lemon thyme, sage. GREAT flavors! and reduces my urge to cover with dressing, although a splash of balsamic with unrefined olive oil and a touch of dijon-style mustard is quite the thing.

Wenchypoo
Wenchypoo
3 years 7 months ago

Wild oregano supplements are known as “the poor man’s antibiotic.”

Oly
Oly
3 years 7 months ago

Oil of oregano cured my dog’s ear infection. $18 for essential oil of oregano in an olive oil base in 2 days flat vs 2 months of treatments and nearly $800. I gave externally and maybe one dose internally. Ugh! $800 could have bought a lot of meat.

Brian Clasby
Brian Clasby
3 years 7 months ago

I didn’t know paprika had a flavor until I bought a new jar.

KRP
KRP
3 years 7 months ago

+1

Erin
Erin
3 years 7 months ago

Hungarian paprika is the best! My husband’s family is from Hungary and they ship us the kind without any English on the package 🙂

ED
ED
3 years 7 months ago

What!!! smoked paparika is the bomb…sprinkle it on some eggs for breakfast…you’ll be glad you did!

Chika
3 years 7 months ago

love the bacon flavor of smoked paprika. Goes well in egg dishes and sauteed greens.

Lisa
3 years 7 months ago

Great tips! And a great reminder to clean out the spice rack!

Mazzy
Mazzy
3 years 7 months ago

I tried to grow dill and it grew wonderfully, but it was all covered in aphids. Very disappointing since dill is my favorite. If anyone has any hint for keeping the aphids away, let me know. I’m still a gardening novice, but I intend to try again this year in a new plot.

tkm
tkm
3 years 7 months ago

I don’t remember if it was aphids specifically, it probably was, but what my grandmother suggested I try when I had bugs attack a plant was mix dishsoap and water in a sprayer and spray the plant. Of course I used some sort of eco-friendly brand. It killed the bugs but didn’t bother the plant at all. I don’t remember how dilute it was, maybe 1/3 soap to 2/3 water.

Deannacat
Deannacat
3 years 7 months ago

I use Fels-Naptha for bug spray. Always on hand as it’s required for homemade laundry soap. For the bug spray, grate 1/2 bar into 2 cups very hot water and stir until melted. When it cools it makes a gooey gel that I store in an old jar. About a tablespoon mixed into warm water will yield about a quart of highly effective insecticide. I use this in great quantities in my garden sprayer during the summer. =o)

Mark A
Mark A
3 years 7 months ago

Soapy water works pretty well. There are also organic insect sprays available that are a combination of cinnamon oil, soap, and I think some citrus oils. Soapy water will drown the critters and the cinammon oil keeps them from coming back.

ValerieH
ValerieH
3 years 7 months ago

the best way to keep bugs off the plants is to have healthy soil. One of my friends runs an organic greenhouse business. He reads ACRES magazine. he said 1 issue of ACRES taught him more than 4 years at U of IL in agriculture.

As for soap, I would prefer something like Dr. Bronners soap because that company has a commitment to organic and sustainable ingredients in their products.

Angel
Angel
3 years 7 months ago

I had a dill patch right next to my compost pile for a few years, never saw any bugs on the dill … rich soil keeps the plants happy and their defense systems in top notch shape.

Willow
Willow
3 years 7 months ago

Some nurseries sell ladybugs specifically to keep aphids down. Ladybugs eat aphids. We used to buy ladybugs to keep the aphids from eating our roses and it worked pretty well. You also get the benefit of having a bunch of ladybugs around! Also food grade diatomaceous earth is a great non toxic all around bug killer, though you don’t want to use it AND ladybugs or it will kill the ladybugs too.

Lindsay
Lindsay
3 years 7 months ago

Awesome information. We’ve been growing fresh herbs at home inside for a few years now and we love it! Herbs are a huge part of Chinese culture — my spouses mom has taught me loads about them and uses them in almost every single meal. This just enforces their benefits for me even more so (not that I needed any convincing ;)). Thanks!

Mila Bulic
3 years 7 months ago

I use many of these spices plus many others not on this list. One I use daily is curcumin. I get the roots from Bolivia (just a few hours from here) and grind them up in my mortar and pestle. I also use a lot of real cinnamon bark which is also native to Bolivia.
My pets receive the benefits of these spices as well.
YUM! and good for all of us.
Great post, Mark.

Kit Martin
Kit Martin
3 years 7 months ago

Curcumin is turmeric.
Loved reading this post Mark.

Brent
3 years 7 months ago

Wow, this is really interesting stuff–I might just have to be buying this book sooner than later. I also think a n=1 experiment is in order with dill.

Hayley
Hayley
3 years 7 months ago

I have it on good authority that trader Joes spices are not irradiated. Neither are Penzey’s apparently.

I have a few spices that are much older than a year in my cabinet 🙁 time to throw them out 🙁
This is a good reminder to use herbs and spices liberally though. I frequently buy them in bulk and ration them, not wanting to run out.

Deanna
Deanna
3 years 7 months ago

Mark, I grow some of these, rosemary, sage, oregano, dill; I guess it’s ok to mix them up fresh in my protein shake every morning, correct?

Hemming
Hemming
3 years 7 months ago

I was reading through the list and thinking ‘where is turmeric (and cumin)?’ and then Mark added it 🙂

dragonmamma
dragonmamma
3 years 7 months ago

If you’ve never used turmeric before, be careful about carelessly flinging it around; the golden stains might fade a bit but are fairly permanent.

Hemming
Hemming
3 years 7 months ago

I’ll second that! 🙂

Sabrina
Sabrina
3 years 7 months ago

That’s a good reminder. In South Asia, turmeric is used as a natural dye for fabric, rugs etc.

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[…] […]

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[…] For Heart Health. One teaspoon daily lowered LDL cholesterol more than 40 percent while increasing good cholesterol nearly 30 percent. Tarragon contains a chemical called rutin, which boosts circulation and reduces […]

Edward Giles Brown
3 years 7 months ago
My two favorites (Ginger and Cilantro) weren’t mentioned, though I’m glad to see Ginger getting some love in the comments. I suppose it may have something to do with the fact that my love is Chinese, I have grown to love these two spices immensely. Chinese put fresh Cilantro on all kinds of dishes, and Ginger is in tons of the food. I always buy fresh ginger (it’s cheap and stores forever). Cilantro I always get fresh, but it doesn’t last as long so I try to buy only what I need and then use quickly. I also use red… Read more »
cTo
3 years 7 months ago

NOOOOOOO CILANTRO IS THE DEVILS WEED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Edward Giles Brown
3 years 7 months ago

Haha, why? I found a page recently extolling its benefits:

http://www.globalhealingcenter.com/natural-health/health-benefits-of-cilantro/

Do you not like the way it tastes?

Edward Giles Brown
3 years 7 months ago

Haha, why?

(I posted a reply with a link to a page that mentions health benefits of cilantro but it’s awating morderation.)

Do you not like the way it tastes?

rueben
rueben
3 years 7 months ago

Cilantro is called Coriander down here – I love it but it makes my lips go all wierd… I reckon its the same reaction cats have with catnip – go a little crazy…

Animanarchy
Animanarchy
3 years 7 months ago

In my opinion, that would be datura.. a very unpleasant intoxicant. I swallowed 45 seeds or so once and was in sluggish, inebriated delerium with an uncurable dry mouth. I had hallucinations I couldn’t tell apart from reality. The next day my vision was blurry and I was still very tired and out of it.

JG
JG
2 years 1 month ago

+1 tastes like soap to me.

JG
JG
2 years 1 month ago

that was +1 for the Cilantro

Sugarjar
Sugarjar
3 years 7 months ago

I make a “tea” (a misnomer, of course) – add cumin, ajwain (Trachyspermum ammi) seeds, grated fresh or powdered ginger, turmeric, and fennel seeds. Boil for 15 mins. Let cool. Strain into a bottle. If it is too strong for your taste, pour some in a cup and dilute by adding hot/cold water and sip. This works well to detox and to reduce inflammation in the body.

Sugarjar
Sugarjar
3 years 7 months ago

oops, I forgot mention add the spices to boiling water….

cTo
3 years 7 months ago
I just found fresh tumeric at a fancy grocery this weekend and I bought a couple nodules to try making fresh tumeric tea (since I find using the powder to make tea is frustrating, as its hard to sift out the sediment.) I grated it and mixed it with fresh grated ginger, fresh ground black pepper, cinnamon, a clove bud, a cardamom pod, and some orange zest, then steeped it in a french press and served it with some honey. BAM!! Amazing. My sinuses have been a little fritzy as we transition from winter to spring here in CA, and… Read more »
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Shawn
Shawn
3 years 7 months ago

I will start making a daily tea with ALL the herbs and spices listed here. I suspect it will taste like crap, but we suffer for our well being, yes?

Chika
3 years 7 months ago

LOL…that will be one hell of an interesting taste sensation. You gotta share your thoughts once you try it out.

Sharon
Sharon
3 years 7 months ago

I live in the cold Northeast US and have a big beautiful sage plant that is about 5 years old planted in my perennial garden. It is very slow to come back in the spring so one could mistake it for being dead if they had no patience.

Shawn
Shawn
3 years 7 months ago

apparently mccormick spices are not irradiated..just steamed. maybe thats why they are 2x expensive as the walmart brands on the shelf next to them. is steaming an issue?

Donna
Donna
3 years 7 months ago

Be careful growing oregano! It belongs to the mint family and will take over. You might want to bury a pot of it leaving an inch or so of pot above ground.

Hilary
Hilary
3 years 7 months ago

Yes, my mint plant from last spring is doing really well. It was planted in the same pot as the basil. It choked out the basil and now I have a whole pot of rapidly growing mint!

Beccolina
Beccolina
3 years 7 months ago

Dill is awesome on eggs.

Sheila C
Sheila C
3 years 7 months ago

Is there anything wrong with storing your (organic) dried spices tightly sealed in the freezer? That is how my grandmother taught me to spices fresh, but does anyone know if it really works?

Sheila C
Sheila C
3 years 7 months ago

*keep spices fresh…long day 🙂

Shary
Shary
2 years 1 month ago

I think your grandmother gave you good advice. I keep a lot of things in the freezer, dried spices and nuts in particular.

Julie
Julie
3 years 7 months ago

Would it be better to buy fresh (organic)herbs and dry them yourself or buy already dried/ground?

David Marino
David Marino
3 years 7 months ago

Oregano, thyme, sage, and rosemary are very easy to grow as perennial potted plants. You get max nutrition because you can pick them right before cutting them up finely and adding to dishes, vinaigrettes, etc. Just bring them indoors in the colder months at higher lattitudes. You can freeze bulk quantities of basil, parsley, cilantro, etc, for the winter.

AB
AB
3 years 7 months ago

Is Penzeys spices irradiated?

Kristin
Kristin
3 years 7 months ago

I had no idea about the effects of tarragon on cholesterol levels. Is that a teaspoon of fresh tarragon, or dried?

Beth
Beth
3 years 7 months ago

I see there are already many on here who know of the wonders of Penzey’s! Every so often I apply to work there, but so far, they don’t want me. Darn, seems like a dream job, and who would mind coming home smelling like THAT?

Wulf
Wulf
3 years 7 months ago

lol pretty sure my mother still has spices from the 70s somewhere

Stephanie D
Stephanie D
2 years 1 month ago

My mom still had spices from the 60’s in her cupboard until last year! I finally (a few years of nudging) talked her into dumping them out and refilling the tins with fresh herbs that she actually uses on a daily basis.

Happycyclegirl
Happycyclegirl
3 years 7 months ago

We use the seeds from the dill plant to make tea. Great for upset stomach, particularly for kids who don’t like ginger tea. Dill seed tea is very mild and is one of the main ingredients in gripe water.

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[…] There are heaps of other herbs and spices to discover once you get these going in your food. Check out this post on more spices you should be using from one of my favorite websites, Mark’s Daily Apple. […]

Steve Gardner
Steve Gardner
3 years 7 months ago

Turmeric–I love the stuff. Goes into my salad dressing, on my eggs, etc.

This is the United States of Turmerica, damnit!

john B
3 years 7 months ago

Don’t forget to take it all with some lemon/lime juice.

That is how I take my Turmeric and ginger put it in mouth and wash it down with the juice.

Caroline
Caroline
3 years 7 months ago

I live in Maine and still manage to have a nice little perennial herb garden. I grow oregano, thyme, French tarragon, sage, mint & lemon balm. In the spring I plant parsley & dill. I have a hard time growing basil here.

I use all my herbs often in the summer, and in the fall I either dry or freeze them.

I buy my spices from Penzey’s. Does anyone know if they are organic?

Al
Al
3 years 7 months ago

I use thyme on just about everything cooked. It’s great in omelets, whole grain pastas, on meats, even in meat wraps with mustard. I think Mark may even be responsible for my infatuation with it. I’m pretty sure I read about it in one of his books.

Energy!
Energy!
2 years 1 month ago

Thyme is my go to herb for almost any dish. 🙂

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