Star Anise

Star Anise: Shapely Spice

Star anise is a spice that comes from an evergreen tree native to southwest China. The Chinese have used it for thousands of years as both a culinary spice and a medicine. Its pods are shapely with eight arms, and this was believed to signify “good luck.” The spice was …

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Fenugreek: The Perfect Background Note

Fenugreek is among the oldest known medicinal plants. Fenugreek seeds were found in Iraq that date back to 4,000 BC. Archaeologists have also found fenugreek seeds in Tutankhamen’s tomb. The ancient Egyptians ate it as a vegetable and the seeds were among the spices that they used for embalming. Ancient …

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Mint: A Healing Burst of Cool Flavor

There are hundreds of species of mint, with the most common varieties being spearmint and peppermint. The consensus among most historians is that the term “mint” in historical texts is usually referring to peppermint. The use of mint dates all the way back to ancient Egypt. Archaeologists have found dried …

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Mace: The Sister Spice of Nutmeg

Mace comes from the aril of the nutmeg and you can purchase it in whole or ground form. Since mace comes from the nutmeg plant, the two share a common history. Nutmeg originated in a set of Indonesian islands called the Banda Islands. It has been in use from as …

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Dill: Not Just For Pickles

Dill is sometimes called “dill weed” and is in the same family as carrot and parsley. It has long been a popular herb in both Europe and the US. Its origins are believed to lie in the Mediterranean region, though the name dill is actually from an Old Norse word …

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Chinese Five Spice Powder

Chinese Five-Spice Powder: Balancing the Elements

Five-spice powder gets its name from the five elements, not because it contains five spices as many believe. According to traditional Chinese medicine, the five elements are manifested in different parts of the body and if there are imbalances in these elements, disease can result. For thousands of years, different …

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Marjoram: Oregano’s Forgotten Cousin

Marjoram is indigenous to northern Africa and is a relative of oregano. The cultivation of this herb is believed to have originated in the Mediterranean region, namely Cyprus and Turkey. Both marjoram and oregano are of the Origanum genus and in parts of Europe, what we refer to as oregano …

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Basil: The King of Herbs

Like many other popular herbs, basil is a member of the mint family. This herb originated in Persia and India where it has now been cultivated for more than 5,000 years. Today, Egypt and the United States are the primary countries in which basil is grown and exported.

Surrounded by rich folklore, renowned for uses both culinary and medicinal and named for the Greek word meaning ‘king’, basil is indeed considered by many to be the ‘King of Herbs’.

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