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Monday, 19 November 2012

Improving Digestion with Spices

Now the Holiday Season is upon us, we need to be extra vigilant about taking care of our gut and digestive system. Here are three commonly used spices that have been long used to aid digestion, together with some tips on how to use them in easy every day ways. As always, the quality and frequency of use is paramount in seeing if these spices help in the way they have traditionally been used for. For Coriander, Fennel and Cardamom, the more volatile oil content there is, if they have been hand harvested and the higher the grade (respectively), the more potent the spices will be and if organic, the better they will be in taste and for our bodies.


Did you know that approximately 85% of Coriander Seeds is in the form of various volatile oils, two of which (linalool and gernayl acetate) are antioxidants and digestive aids. Among other things, coriander seems to work as an anti-spasmodic, laxative, stomach lining protector and to alleviate bloating. 

Since the seeds contain most of the oil, it is better to buy the seeds and then grind them to ensure you capture as much of their goodness as possible. 

Here are 5 easy ways to incorporate Coriander seeds more into your daily diet or after meals:

1. Create a zesty seasoning in your peppermill with one part mixture of Malabar or Tellicherry black pepper and half part our coriander seeds.
2. Garnish lightly roasted and crushed coriander seeds to carrot, lentil or root vegetable soups.
3. Excellent  when a little ground coriander is added to any tomato dish: try it in a pasta sauce or curries.
4. Add a few lightly crushed seeds to your nut or trail mix for a lemon layer to your healthy snacks!
5. Add an equal part of ground coriander to ANY dish where you are using ground cumin.


Fennel seeds and powder both have significant anti-inflammatory properties which is what is thought to help relax the lining of the stomach and intestines and aiding in digestion.  Excessive use of fennel when pregnant should be avoided. While both Fennel and Coriander are thought to be useful aids for Chrohns disease or Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Fennel is often used in gripe water as an effective ingredient to alleviate colic.

Here are 5 easy ways to incorporate Fennel more into your daily diet or after meals:

1. Steep 1/2 tsp of the seeds in boiling water for a digestive tea.
2. Make a seasoning rub of equal parts fennel seeds, cumin seeds, brown mustard seeds, nigella seeds, lightly roast and grind for use on leaner proteins like pork or lamb.
3. Add 1/8 tsp of fennel powder to your tomato based pasta sauce.
4. Combine 1/8 tsp fennel powder with 1/4 tsp turmeric and paprika. Mix in a little heated butter and use as a spooning sauce over steamed fish.
5. Make an after dinner mint by rolling 1/4 tsp fennel seeds, 1/8 tsp ground cardamom seeds inside one fresh mint leaf and chewing on it after dinner.


Cardamom contains a volatile oil called cineole which, apart from being an antioxidant, is also thought to contain anti-inflammatory and anti-spasmodic agents which work together to provide digestive aid for a variety of complaints such as bloating, stomach cramps and gas

Here are 5 easy ways to incorporate Cardamom more into your daily diet or after meals:

1. Add 1/4 tsp of ground cardamom seeds to your morning smoothie, tea, granola
2. Sprinkle a little over root vegetables before roasting
3. Mix 1/4 tsp into some yoghurt and fruit for a great after dinner dessert.
4. Steep 1/8 tsp or a couple of whole pods in boiling water for a few minutes as an after dinner tea.
5. Add a little to your cinnamon for a more exotic touch to your baking or other uses.

Why not try our Inspirit Taster Collection to make a home made digestive tea from some of these and other of our organic spices?