10 gut soothing herbs and spices
Herbs and spices have the ability to transform beautiful ingredients into delicious and therapeutic dishes. As a herbalist, I recommend herbs and spices in a tea or tonic form but did you know they offer the same benefits in food?
Herbs and spices soothe the gut by acting as:
Carminatives – these relieve flatulence or wind, by relaxing the intestinal muscles;
Anti spasmodics – these reduce muscular cramping, spasms and tension;
Anti inflammatories – these reduce inflammation, which is a response to gut infections, and irritations often characterized as swelling and pain; and
Demulcents – these soothe inflamed mucous membranes of the gut along side anti inflammatories.
The following herbs & spices are my kind of edible medicine:
- Cardamom pods add a sweet, warm, exotic flavour to curries, puddings and poached fruit. Therapeutically soothes a sore, painful tummy.
- Cinnamon powder, chips and quills bring a sweet, spicy, warm and fragrant note to sweet and savoury dishes. Add to roast pumpkin, poached fruit, yoghurt or smoothies. Therapeutically indicated for nausea, diarrhoea, colic and wind.
- Cumin seeds encapsulate the taste of India. Use them in curries with fenugreek and turmeric or Mexican blends with chilli and oregano. Therapeutically soothes the digestion like many aromatic warming spices.
- Ginger root adds warmth, spice and sweetness. It is often used in Oriental and Indian-style cooking, and is delicious with pork or duck. Therapeutically indicated for nausea and digestive upsets and to warm a cold constitution.
- Rosemary has a woody scent that works really well in any lamb dish. Therapeutically, it has antimicrobial, analgesic and antispasmodic properties. Specifically indicated for anxiety, colic, pain and wind.
- Clove buds are a rich aromatic that work well with cinnamon, fennel and ginger. They are particularly lovely with roast pork belly and apples. Relieve all kinds of digestive issues as well as having has antimicrobial effects against parasites.
- Fennel seeds lend a licorice flavour to sweet or savoury curry dishes or roasted vegetables and garlic. Therapeutically acts as a digestive tonic and soothes the tummy; especially indicated for babies.
- Fenugreek seeds have a distinctive curry flavour, and are often used with turmeric, ginger, cinnamon and cardamom. Indicated for gastritis due to its demulcent properties.
- Dill seeds taste like fennel and celery seeds with a hint of citrus. Delicious with fish or pickled vegetables. Therapeutically acts as a digestive tonic and soothes the tummy; especially indicated for babies. Similar actions to fennel seeds.
- Peppermint has a sweet, fresh flavour that is delicious in cucumber yoghurt dips or added to a Greek tomato and haloumi salad. Therapeutically cools the constitution and soothes the digestive system.
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