Spice Station Blends to Kick Off 2022
As with many folks during the month of January, you might have a few “new year, new me” goals in mind for the remainder of 2022. Here at Spice Station, we’re hoping that also includes a few upgrades to your spice rack and apothecary shelf. With busy lives and even busier schedules in our modern age, the casual cook shouldn’t have to sacrifice top-chef seasonings because they simply don’t have the time or energy. This is why we’ve compiled a short list of 7 spice and herb blends to kick off 2022 that will keep you cooking, and thriving, with integrity all year long — no matter what your “day to day” might look like.
Around the World Curry Set
If one of your New Year’s Resolutions is “self care,” then why not treat yourself to this decadent mix of curry blends from all over the world? With authentic and exotic spice combinations that are guaranteed to keep you warm during the winter months, this set is perfect for the cozy curry lover.
What’s Included: Vadovan Curry (Belgium), Punjabi Curry (India), Kare Raisu (Japan), Thai Green Curry (Thailand), Mama Maria Curry (Jamaica), Baba’s Red Curry (Indonesia), Coconut Colombo Curry (Sri Lanka) and Tom Tom Carabbee Curry (Caribbean).
Blackened Jerk Rub
Perfect for grilling, this dry rub is sure to impress at your next backyard BBQ. Used for any meat (but we prefer it on chicken or pork), this blend can be added directly or used as a marinade.
What’s Included: Flavors of chiles, thyme, cinnamon, ginger, allspice, cloves, garlic and onions.
Stay healthy and keep those cholesterol levels in check with this carefully crafted spice blend. Although not a guaranteed cure, each ingredient is chosen for its ability to combat high cholesterol levels as an ayurvedic health alternative. Can be used as a culinary seasoning or health supplement. Try adding a bit to your green smoothie for a pick-me-up!
What’s Included: Turmeric, chile, paprika, ginger, black peppercorn, black cumin, mustard, asafoetida, garlic, cinnamon and cilantro.
Montreal Steak Spice
This popular dry rub is not only excellent on steaks, but can enhance the natural flavors of grilled vegetables, chicken, pork, seafood and more. Also commonly used as a marinade when mixed with soy sauce or olive oil, this vibrant spice blend will perk up any meal in a flash.
What’s Included: Pepper, salt, coriander, dill, mustard seeds, dehydrated garlic and onions, red pepper flakes, rosemary, thyme, paprika and caraway seeds.
Peruvian Spice Blend
Spice up your life with our Peruvian blend which gently balances the heat that it brings. The bold and bright flavors of this blend work excellent on fish, pork and chicken in particular.
What’s Included: Peruvian aji amarillo and aji panca chiles, citric lime leaves, additional aromatic herbs and spices.
Spicy Sweet Korean BBQ
For fans of eastern cooking, this Korean BBQ blend is sure to tantalize your taste buds. Highly versatile in its use, the spicy sweet combination can be used as a marinade (for both meat and tofu), or as a dipping sauce with a serious kick.
What’s Included: A blend of ginger and garlic that makes this sweet and spicy mix a traditional Korean staple.
Witch’s Brew Herbal Blend
Needless to say, we all want to be healthy and virus-free in this new year. Packed with immune-boosting antioxidants, this herbal blend can be used as a tea to help ward off colds, flu and viral infections. At the very least, the aromatic and warm aromas of this blend will soothe the senses and help you relax after a long day.
What’s Included: Linden flowers, lemon verbena, ginger, elder flowers and berries, rose hips, cloves, peppermint, oregano, birch bark, goji berries, raspberry leaf, rosemary, orange peel, dandelion, turmeric, nettle leaf, honey powder, blackberry leaf, angelica root, wild cherry bark, spearmint, gentian root, borage, tulsi seed, cinnamon and more!
Annatto seed is one of the most overlooked spices in the United States. On the back of labels, you can find tiny portions of annatto toward the bottom of many products. However, it is rarely utilized to its fullest potential both in taste and the health benefits it gives. It is a popular ingredient in many South American cultures for different types of sauces and dishes.
One of annatto’s most popular uses is as a dye because of its bold red pigment. As a result of its color and shape, it is sometimes referred to as “lipstick tree”. Despite it being inexpensive and versatile, annatto remains in relative obscurity. Here are three reasons you should utilize this potent spice in your life.
1. As a Natural Coloring Agent
While most people won’t use annatto for this reason, traditionally it’s been one the most common uses. With so many artificial dyes on the market, annatto is a great natural source to use on a variety of items. Cheeses, frosting, pastes, cakes, butter, soaps, clothing, and much more. It gives a pleasant scent to textiles and adds anti-microbial properties.
The shade of the seed as a dye can range from yellow, to bright orange, to red, depending the amount used and the type of material. In order to make a proper dye, follow these steps. First, soak around 100 grams of annatto seeds with 10 grams of plain club soda in water for 8-12 hours. Next, use a blender to break down the seeds. This helps make the dye more concentrated. Finally, simmer on low heat for about an hour and strain the liquid.
2. The Health Benefits
The health benefits of annatto are intriguing and remain in obscurity. While spices such as cinnamon, clove, turmeric, and ginger receive mainstream praise and attention, other spices like annatto are left behind. As a result, people are missing out on some important benefits of many different spices like sumac, annatto, and others.
Annatto seeds contain different minerals and nutrients that help protect the body. For diabetes, spices like annatto, clove, turmeric, and lemongrass are extremely valuable to use in cooking. Research shows a sustained decrease in glucose levels of rats. Instead of the usual effect of lowering glucose for a couple hours, annatto seed caused a prolonged effect. This is an extremely valuable attribute with high potential. Although this research is on rats, it is still very significant because of the possible sustained effect.
Annatto has anti-microbial properties that may help the body defend against different types of pathogens. It may also have applications against foodborne illnesses. The nutrients help to promote good digestion and absorption of nutrients. The thing that makes annatto unique is the carotenoid and tocotrienol content that it contains. Tocotrienols are rare vitamin E compounds that have many different benefits for the eyes, heart, brain, liver, and body. Annatto happens to have the highest ratio of these unique compounds in the world.
In addition, the powerful pigments help protect eye health. These carotenoids may decrease the chances of conditions such as glaucoma, macular degeneration, and cataracts. When used as a paste, annatto may even help to speed healing, cleanse wounds, protect against infection, and reduce the appearance of scars! Lastly, annatto seeds can improve liver health, skin health, and may even help treat gonorrhea. Pretty powerful benefits for a little humble seed!
3. The Flavor
Annatto seed has a unique flavor not found in other spices. When combined with other flavors, it imparts a subtle earthy, peppery, even smokey taste in certain dishes. It is extremely adaptable in the number of culinary applications. Annatto mixes well with smokey flavors, paprika, cumin, turmeric, garlic, saffron, and more. It’s not ideal to use as a stand-alone flavor or within more bitter dishes.
While the focus of most spices is solely on enhancing flavor profiles, the medicinal benefits continue to surprise researchers. For thousands of years, spices were heavily sought after for their dish-altering and enhancing qualities. While this is certainly still true, the movement to understand the health benefits of them is rapidly expanding. This adds even more incentive to using these diverse and intriguing flavors in cooking.
Not only are spices inexpensive, but they create beautiful nuances in flavor and add tremendous health benefits. In exploring these benefits in greater detail, the diverse properties of spices are extremely impressive. It’s as if they’ve been created for this purpose, along with adding flavor. Such focused and apparent benefits cannot be an accident.
It appears as if there’s a spice for just about every condition.The focus of this article is to explore and highlight the benefits of these popular spices. Using one is good, but all three together on a fairly consistent basis can impart many different health benefits. In nature, there’s synergy when it comes to medicinal benefits. Let’s explore what some of these benefits are.
The issue of inflammation is much more severe than it appears to be. Many think of inflammation as soreness or something short-lived that subsides after a couple of weeks. However, this is not what is often happening inside our bodies. It’s almost like a wildfire wreaking havoc in an insidious and silent manner. While inflammation is present in cases of accidents, aches, pains, and localized trauma, the chronic, systemic inflammation is what desperately warrants more attention.
Studies show that this chronic, body-wide inflammation is at the core of so many diseases. Heart disease, diabetes, cancer, arthritis, digestive disorders, fatty liver disease, asthma, Alzheimer’s, autoimmune diseases, and so much more. Inflammation is both a contributor and byproduct of disease. It can result from disease states, while at the same time contribute to its progression.
By quelling inflammation on a regular basis in a healthy, natural manner, certain toxic pathways and expressions in the body will gradually dissipate. This will lead to greater health and greater prevention of disease. Ginger, lemongrass, and turmeric are all premier fighters of toxic inflammation. Together, these tasty spices significantly lower harmful markers that lead or contribute to chronic disease according to many studies.
They fight against the expression of inflammation inside the body through many mechanisms. So while this category only highlights inflammation, the effects spill over to many other potential areas. Since inflammation and pain go hand and hand, the combination of these three spices are good options for many different types of pain. Instead of medication, ginger, turmeric, lemongrass, with holy basil (tulsi) is a fantastic pain-relieving stack.
Tumeric, Ginger, & Lemongrass for The Big Three
The big three is referring to the top three diseases in many places around the world year in and year out. Cancer, heart disease, and diabetes. Diabetes is still slightly lower on the list than heart disease and cancer, but it’s spreading rapidly. In addition, many deaths that are noted as being caused by heart disease and stroke are due to diabetic complications. While turmeric, lemongrass, and ginger may not be a cure-all to the big three, they are extremely helpful in many areas of their progression.
What’s the Evidence?
A compound of lemongrass called citral has shown to lower blood glucose and improve glucose tolerance. Turmeric can improve insulin sensitivity, decrease insulin resistance, and lower triglycerides. A compound called 6-gingerol in ginger contains potent anti-cancer properties. For this purpose, a strong extract would be more successful than regular ginger spice. The nutrients in ginger can also be helpful in preventing blood clots and improving circulation.
In rats, ginger decreased the structural damage done to the heart in those with diabetes. In one study comparing lemongrass to green tea for the heart, the group drinking lemongrass experienced a mild decrease in blood pressure and a reduction in heart rate. Several sources of research suggest that lemongrass contains valuable anti-cancer properties as well.
These benefits are only a sample of what exists with these three powerful spices. They are fantastic for fighting certain infections, digestive disorders, kidney, liver, and brain health, and so much more. Spices are incredibly powerful and extremely underrated when it comes to the medicinal benefits that they impart.
Buying high quality is very important. Low quality spices that are irradiated have all sorts of disgusting toxins and very little benefits. Many of them are pretty much nuked and dead on arrival. High-quality spices are definitely something to incorporate into your routine and can do wonderful things for long-term health.
Sumac is an exotic berry with a rich history of use in many different countries around the world. It’s most commonly known in several areas of the Middle East where it is said to originate from. There are also reports of it growing in areas of the Mediterranean and even North America. Yet despite that, it’s no cakewalk trying to find sumac in stores and supermarkets. Many people are familiar with the word sumac because of the poisonous shrub that grows. The edible sumac is easily distinguished by its shape and color.
Sumac has a rich culinary history of use in Turkish, Arabic, and Lebanese cuisine. The Roman empire also used and enjoyed sumac for its unique flavors and health benefits for many years. There are even records of the medicinal benefits of it in ancient Greek texts. From spice rubs on meats, to desserts, vegetables, soups, stews, and side dishes, sumac has a wide culinary range. It blends well with sweet and savory dishes to add hints of tartness and citrus.
In most dishes, it works best when used as a small part of a blend rather than as a sole flavoring agent. The slightly sour, tart, and citrus notes compliment flavors such as cilantro, cumin, lemongrass, cardamom, spicy dishes, thyme, saffron, cinnamon, and brown sugar. With sumac, it’s important not to overdo it in quantity. Despite its versatility, the most exciting part of this berry is the multitude of health benefits it offers.
For starters, sumac berry is a very powerful antioxidant. The word antioxidant is so incredibly overused and abused in the health world. Everything is touted as having these potent benefits that will allow you to ride off into the sunset unperturbed by these damaging free radicals.
When compared to just about any other superfood, berry, herb, and spice, sumac is vastly superior as an antioxidant. In fact, it is often 20,40, to 100 times more potent than other powerful antioxidants. It usually comes in as number 1, or at least top 3 on any ORAC rating (measuring antioxidant capacity) list. Despite all the boasts and claims of most of these mainstream nutrients, this humble, barely known berry tops all of them with ease.
The benefits for of sumac berry for diabetes are quite significant according to research thus far. Several studies found a very big reduction in postprandial spikes in glucose levels. The insulin and glucose spike following a meal is one of the more damaging processes that occur in the body. Especially if meals are filled with unhealthy ingredients. This gives even more incentive to use sumac in cooking.
As we see, sumac can impact diabetes in many important ways such as improving insulin resistance, lowering glucose levels, as well as leptin levels. In many people, this hormone is out of balance and causes overeating. In human clinical testing, several measurements that hold great importance in health such as CRP, malondialdehyde, and insulin levels were positively impacted by sumac.
A study using a sumac extract improved cholesterol and lipid profiles in obese subjects. The extract cause HDL (protective) cholesterol to increase and LDL to decrease. The same study also saw a decrease in triglyceride levels. One of the main protective benefits is the effect sumac has at decreasing cholesterol from oxidizing and producing “foam cells”. This is when things become more dangerous. Studies show that stable cholesterol on its own isn’t harmful like we once believed.
A second study backed up sumac’s protective effects on the arteries. This study proved that this potent berry can lower a harmful type of cell from forming and migrating into the vascular walls. This cell, called a vascular smooth muscle cell, is an indicator of arterial disease. In addition, sumac shows promise for those suffering with high blood pressure.
Other noteworthy attributes include possible benefits for respiratory disorders, weight loss, infectious pathogens, and even bone loss. Human research is lacking for bone loss, but it still holds excellent potential based on what we know so far. The tart, tangy subtlety coupled with the fantastic health benefits may cause it to be a favorite in your spice cabinet. At Spice Station, we carry two high quality forms of sumac from Turkey and Syria.
As we know, depression and mental health are incredibly prevalent and widespread issues in the world today. Clinical depression, as well as mild symptoms of depression are still on the rise. Studies show that depression is at least 20% higher in the past decade alone. Mental health around the world is worse than ever. Yet, medication is more common than ever. As a result, new problems are arising from the side effects without much long-term improvement.
There are dozens of medications that claim to treat depression, yet the problems they cause seem greater than what they fix. Why is that? Why does it seem like the modern paradigm of drug therapy is digging a deeper hole rather than fixing the problem? Should medicine come with a long list of potential side effects? Whatever happened to first do no harm?
Symptoms of Depression
Depression is something that has deeper currents than what is able to be defined verbally. In addition, there is a wide range of severity. Some people have short bouts of depression, while for others it is perpetual and ongoing. Some forms of depression will come and go because of external events, while for others it is constant no matter what. Feeling down constantly, lacking energy, changes in appetite, sleep patterns, low motivation, lacking self-value, thoughts of self-harm, feeling pressure, and more are some of the most common symptoms.
It is important to know that there are no claims being made that these will cure depression, but rather tools to help improve it. Before running to the nearest psychiatrist or doctor to get a prescription, it’s good to explore natural means. Many different spices have powerful medicinal properties that can offer great value to those with depression. Here is a list of some of the most studied spices that may be worth a try.
Saffron is a potent spice with a high price tag, but has good medicinal value. However, saffron is also one of the most knocked off spices in the world. If you can get your hands on some genuine saffron, definitely give it a try. Studies show that it affects several neurotransmitters such as dopamine and serotonin that play a role in depression. An analysis of over 20 studies showed that saffron had positive effects on depression when compared to placebo. As a bonus, saffron may also improve certain symptoms of anxiety as seen in one study.
Dill not only tastes great, but may also help to curb minor blues and depression. The flavonoids and polyphenols impact the mind in a way that is comparable to medication. One study showed that the anagesic and antidepressant effects rivaled that of tramadol and sertraline. While it won’t cure clinical depression, the goal here is to see improvement naturally.
Although turmeric quality can vary quite a bit, pure turmeric helps to stimulate neurotransmitters that are sometimes low in depression. Furthermore, through its MAO inhibiting properties, it has the ability to help these chemicals to not be broken down as quickly. Turmeric also helps to tame inflammation, which can be high at times in the brain of those with depression.
Studies show that rosemary is is one of the best spices for the brain. It enhances circulation and may help to lower cognitive decline associated with aging. For depression, rosemary may be able to slightly lower the severity. In one study, the group that took rosemary saw an improvement from moderate to mild depression.
Although this is not a spice, it has beneficial properties for depression that combine well with the others on this list. Many people enjoy noni because it works on several pathways that help with mood balance. This includes GABA, the calming neurotransmitter, serotonin, and dopamine. These three compounds largely impact mental and emotional health. In addition, noni is a natural MAO-A & B inhibitor, which allows these important compounds to last longer in the brain before being broken down. Clinical studies highlight low levels of MAO in people with depression.
Before running to the doctor to get a script for medication, there is a treasure chest of healthy, natural items that can help. While it may take time to find the right combination, it is worth experimenting with. With the long list of side effects and lack of long-term effectiveness at times, it’s important to try other options first. You may be surprised by combing some of these spices with nutritional therapy.
Summer is finally here and we bring to you the Summer Spices and Herbs that are aromatic, refreshing, and unforgettable! Here at Spice Station is your one-stop shop for unrivaled selections of spices and herbs from around the country, the world, and for every cuisine conceivable.
You want to put your culinary skills on display, so what better way is there than to dabble in the art of presenting flavorful foods with every dish, at every sitting.
Spices we can’t live without
Vanilla bean is an extraordinary summer spice as a blastoff in the morning with oatmeal (or in a fruity smoothie), sweetened with maple syrup, or honey.
-The vanilla bean is a reliable source of essential oils, vitamins, and minerals that include antibacterial properties.
-It supports the nervous system, and regulates the body’s metabolism.
-Lowers stress and depression.
-Works well as an antioxidant.
It’s easy to know where to begin on the subject of nutmeg! The positive findings of this incredibly celebrated summer spice are numerous. It’s a favorite in breakfast dishes, and in other sweet or savory dishes.
-Many studies have proven that nutmeg’s antioxidant and antibacterial properties provide relief from toothache pain; halistosis (bad beath),
-Because of the potency of its oils, nutmeg aids in the relief of cough, colds, gastrointestinal diseases, and other maladies.
One great way to enliven your smoothies is with this freshly grated summer spice–ginger!
Awaken the flavors of your Asian, European, and other dishes, soups, potatoes, baked sweet or savory delights.
-Ginger is popularly known for its relief of nausea.
-Removes toxins from your body.
-It is regarded as an overall health booster.
Summer herbs that brighten our days
These delicate and versatile blossoms are bursting with goodness for both your inner and outer health. The pleasant aroma of this summer herb is not intrusive but seems to blend well with other herbs. Chamomile is a versatile herb and its popularity for beauty and health dates back to ancient Rome, Greece and Egypt. It is also used in some desserts and drinks.
-Famously known to calm the nerves and allows a good night sleep.
-It can be added to strawberry smoothies for a calming and enjoyable drink that can minimize stress.
-Controls allergies such as eye itchiness when used as an eye wash, and when used as a steam can ease nose stuffiness.
What looks more inviting than a sprig of mint leaves attached to the glass that’s holding your favorite drinks! Just rubbing a couple of mint leaves together in your hand and inhaling the aroma is so refreshing. It is a savored summer herb in most cuisines around the globe for its use in the following:
-Making delicious ice creams, mint julep, mojitos, smoothies, cookies, and candies; hot mint tea and hot, creamy mint chocolate
-Sauces, stews, grilled salmon, buttered beans, and salads
-Dishes like leg of lamb, veal, steak, and poultry
-Mint is often used as an aid to the common cold, relieves headaches, eases the discomfort of asthma, and promotes a healthy digestive system.
-Research shows that it may improve brain function.
-It is well known for its effects in improving breath freshness.
-Mint is rich in nutrients such as Vitamin A, Iron, Manganese, and Folate.
Thyme is highly prized for its longevity in the chef’s kitchen. The aroma of this summer herb stands out among many of its counterparts as a source of providing distinguished flavor to delicious meat and seafood dishes. The nutritional values it provides are lengthy. Here are some:
-Vitamins A and C
-Works as a guard against chronic inflammation in the body.
-Remedies coughs, colds, sore throats.
-Promotes bone health, prevents the risk of bone diseases.
-Rich potassium content, which controls the rise of blood pressure.
This long recognized and favorite summer herb lives up to the standards of culinary expectations. Rosemary is the seasoning for a variety of well-known recipes and exudes a pungent aroma that satisfies the longings of those who crave well prepared dishes such as:
-Seafood and pork
-It is well known and recommended for stimulating brain functioning and improving the memory.
-Aids in improving and treating digestion.
-Studies have suggested that rosemary combats damage to the brain and nervous system.
-Can improve mood and concentration.
-High in antioxidants.
These summer spices and herbs can be found at Spice Station.
Modern research continues to verify the exciting health benefits of spices. This is great news for people that love to drench their food in delicious flavors and herbs. During this time where infection defense is needed, oregano sets itself apart as one of the most potent herbs available. As a result, many companies are utilizing herbs like oregano in supplement form and marking up prices.
The beauty in nature is how diverse its properties are. The taste, flavors, scents, and medicinal effects makes them so intriguing to understand. The medicinal properties are what have scientists interested. It’s important to realize what we have growing right in our backyards. Or at the very least, have access in stores and online. Spices and herbs play a much larger role than just flavoring for food.
There are many different ways that oregano can impact health. The Greeks and Romans even associated it with happiness. Here are some of the most researched and proven benefits:
Oregano for Fighting Infections
Oregano helps to fight several types of infections. Its multifaceted effects go after several types of bacteria, viruses, and fungi. Moreover, oregano can help fight infections that no longer respond to antibiotics. Studies show effects against over 20 types of bacteria.
For ideal results, use oil of oregano with the dry herb. While it’s not something to take year-round, using both the oil and herb during times where bugs are going around can help provide the body with extra resistance. Combining it with thyme, cinnamon, and clove is especially powerful for infections. For stubborn coughs, mixing it with thyme, elecapmagne, osha, and mullein is a blend that may be helpful.
Diabetes is perhaps the biggest growing threat in the United States right now. This condition even threatens the youth and people in their 20’s. Fortunately, research shows that it is one of most responsive conditions to changes in diet and supplements.
According to rat studies, oregano has a positive effect on insulin resistance and glucose metabolism. In addition, it may improve liver and kidney health, although more studies are needed. Oregano may also have a protective effect on type 1 diabetes.
Mood & Depression
Depression and mood are very complicated issues that often require complex solutions. Hence, no one product is a total solution. Having said that, oregano may be helpful with some of the symptoms. In rats, specific extracts improved markers of depression according to one study. The behaviors indicative of depression improved in rats taking this extract.
Another study presented at a Neuroscience conference in New Orleans showed that certain compounds in oregano may help improve motivation, mental well-being, and mood. Combing it with other spices such a turmeric and saffron will help to strengthen the effects to an even greater degree.
Oregano may help Combat Inflammation
Inflammation is an underlying symptom of many chronic diseases. Oftentimes, it is one of the driving forces in disease growing stronger in the body. Oregano may help to bring down certain types of inflammation in the body. When we break the cycle of chronic inflammation, it can change disease outcomes over time. However, oregano alone will not be strong enough. Using herbs such as cat’s claw, holy basil, and boswellia as an addition will be much more powerful.
In conclusion, many powerful herbs and spices are extremely helpful in helping different types of ailments. Sometimes, the best solution is right under our nose. Medication may not be the best option in many cases. Knowledge is critical when it comes to disease and health disorders.