Pumpkin Pie Spice: More Than A Holiday Blend!

What is “pumpkin pie spice”? It’s a mixture of 5 spices: cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, allspice, and clove. All of which are super spices! (at least I like to call them that!).

 

Let’s break this down one by one.

NUTMEG
Nutmeg is one of my favorite spices, but sadly it’s only used during Christmas season by most and is widely under rated and not even
looked at twice for it’s health benefits. But I flippin’ top it off in my smoothies…here’s why.

 

Digestive Health:
Nutmeg helps stimulate the digestive process by promoting peristaltic
motion in the intestine and also induces the secretion of various
gastric and intestinal juices that ease digestion. Nutmeg also helps
relieve constipation and other intestinal issues due to it’s high
fiber content.

The Chinese and Indian traditionally used it for illnesses related
to the nervous and digestive systems because of the compounds
myristicin and elemicin present in Nutmeg. These active principles in
nutmeg have many benefits such as:
• Anti-fungal
• Anti-depressant
• Aphrodisiac
• Digestive and
• Carminative functions.

 

Skin Health:
Although the exact mechanism is not fully understood, herbal and
traditional medicines have long used nutmeg to boost the appearance
and health of your skin. Most commonly, it is applied as paste mixed
with water, or even honey, which is also great for skin care. It can
help to:
• Reduce inflammation and irritation of the skin
• Promote hydration and a smooth appearance
• Reduce the signs and marks from pox, boils, and acne!

Load up on this spice NOW because come January it will be difficult to find in stores or it will be at a much higher price.

 

CINNAMON
Thankfully cinnamon is widely available year around, and most of us probably already have some in our pantry! I personally add a few tablespoons (yikes! I know I know….just keeping it real here) to my pumpkin smoothies in the fall as well as oatmeal and even toast! (try toasting my paleo bread, spreading on some ghee or coconut oil then adding a dash of cinnamon and honey – THE BEST!).

Oops! Did I get off topic? Haha Ok, but back to cinnamon itself! Below are just a few highlights of this wonderful spice!

• 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon per day has been shown to lower bad cholesterol (or LDL).
Cinnamon also has antifungal properties, and it’s been said that candida cannot live in a cinnamon environment.

• Just smelling cinnamon boosts cognitive function and memory.

• Cinnamon can also help stablize blood sugar. A couple of dashes in your morning tea or cereal is all it takes!

 

CLOVES
Did you ever make a craft when you were younger and push cloves into an orange? Oh, was that just my random childhood activity? Haha

Cloves are very strong and in high doses, have been known to help expel parasites because it’s just so extreme! Needless to say a little goes w long way when cooking or consuming for health maintenance. Here’s a few pointers I wanted to address when it comes to cloves benefits.

 

Digestion:
Cloves improve digestion by stimulating the secretion of digestive enzymes. Cloves are also good for reducing flatulence, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, intestinal gas and stomach aches. Just be careful; since they’re strong, they can also irritate the stomach, so take 1/2 a teaspoon at a time then work your way up to 2-3 teaspoons a day in tea or your smoothies.

 

Antibacterial Properties:
Cloves have been tested for their antibacterial properties against a number of human pathogens. The extracts of cloves were potent enough to kill those pathogens. Clove extracts are also effective against the specific bacteria that spreads cholera.

 

Diabetes Control:
Cloves have been used in many traditional remedies for a number of diseases. One such disease is diabetes. In patients suffering from diabetes, the amount of insulin produced by the body is not sufficient or insulin is not produced at all. Studies have revealed that extracts from cloves imitate insulin in certain ways and help in controlling blood sugar levels.

 

Bone Preservation:
The hydro-alcoholic extracts of cloves include phenolic compounds such as eugenol and its derivatives, such as flavones, isoflavones and flavonoids. These extracts have been particularly helpful in preserving bone density and the mineral content of bone, as well as increasing tensile strength of bones in cases of osteoporosis.

 

Anti-mutagenic Properties:
Mutagens are those chemicals that change the genetic makeup of the DNA by causing mutations. Biochemical compounds found in cloves, like phenylpropanoids, possess anti-mutagenic properties. These studies were administered on cells treated with mutagens and they were able to control the mutagenic effects to a significant rate.

 

Anti-inflammatory Properties:
Cloves possess anti-inflammatory and pain-killing properties. Studies on clove extracts being administered in lab rats suggest that the presence of eugenol reduced the inflammation caused by edema. It was also confirmed that eugenol has the ability to reduce pain by stimulating pain receptors.

 

Cure for Oral Diseases:
Cloves can be taken for gum diseases like gingivitis and periodontitis. Clove bud extracts significantly controlled the growth of oral pathogens, which are responsible for various oral diseases. Cloves can also be used for toothaches due to their pain-killing properties.

 

Cure for Headaches:
Headaches can be reduced by using cloves. Make a paste of a few cloves and mix it with a dash of rock salt. Add this to a glass of milk. This mixture reduces headaches quickly and effectively.

 

 

GINGER
We all are pretty much familiar with ginger root as well as the powder. We’ve had pickled ginger on the side of our sushi, crystallized candied ginger when we were young (or old!), and many are familiar with ginger snap cookies! But let’s get real, ginger in those applications are just for taste and you won’t get any benefits from eating ginger snap cookies or even pickled ginger (many contain preservatives, sugar, even color dyes by the way – but I digress.) Best way to consume it is fresh from the root, or you can still obtain some of its health benefits in powder form.

 

Ginger Contains Gingerol, a substance with powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties and is widely known to treat nausea and upset stomachs.

Osteoarthritis:
Osteoarthritis is degeneration of the joints in the body, leading to symptoms like joint pain and stiffness.
In a controlled trial of 247 people with osteoarthritis of the knee, those who took ginger extract had less pain and required less pain medication.
Another study found that a combination of ginger, mastic, cinnamon and sesame oil, can reduce pain and stiffness in osteoarthritis patients when applied topically.

 

Indigestion:
Ginger appears to speed up emptying of the stomach, which can be beneficial for people with indigestion and related stomach discomfort.

 

Menstrual Pain:
One of the traditional uses of ginger is for pain relief, including menstrual pain and cramps.

 

Brain Function and Alzheimer’s Disease:
Oxidative stress and chronic inflammation can accelerate the aging process.

They are believed to be among the key drivers of Alzheimer’s disease and age-related cognitive decline.

Some studies in animals suggest that the antioxidants and bioactive compounds in ginger can inhibit inflammatory responses that occur in the brain.

There is also some evidence that ginger can enhance brain function directly. In a study of 60 middle-aged women, ginger extract was shown to improve reaction time and working memory.

 

Infections:
Gingerol, the bioactive substance in fresh ginger, may help lower the risk of infections.

It’s also very effective against the oral bacteria linked to inflammatory diseases in the gums, such as gingivitis and periodontitis.

Fresh ginger may also be effective against the RSV virus, a common cause of respiratory infections.

 

 

ALL SPICE

If you have UC, Crohns, Ulcers, or similar conditions, READ THE BLOW PARAGRAPH.

I do want to point out the benefits of allspice since it is in the pumpkin pie spice blend, however I personally don’t take it alone (if I do it’s only becasue it’s already in a spice blend). It can be a very beneficial spice, but it can cause serious allergic reactions in hypersensitive individuals. Also, as mentioned above, if you have existing gastric ulcers or ulcerative colitis, it is best to avoid using this spice as it may exacerbate the conditions.

What Is Allspice?
This powerful spice is actually derived from the dried fruit of the pimento tree, which is why it is commonly called Jamaica pepper, pimenta, or pimento, among other geography-specific nicknames. Native to Central America, parts of the Caribbean, and Mexico, the allspice bearing tree has the scientific name of Pimenta dioica and has gradually spread throughout the world due to its unique flavor and its healthy quality. The name allspice is because the dried brown berries (which look like large peppercorns), smell and taste like a mixture of cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg. The berries are picked when they’re ripe and allowed to dry in the sun, ending up as the slightly shriveled, hard berries known as allspice. These can then be ground up into spice for culinary use, or the essential oil can be extracted.

 

Anti-inflammatory Qualities:
One of the most celebrated aspects of allspice is its ability to lower inflammation and alleviate pain in parts of the body. The active ingredients in the spice have chemical compounds that eliminate inflammation making it an ideal spice to give you some relief from arthritis, gout, muscle aches, or even hemorrhoids. Allspice also has certain analgesic components that allow for pain reduction in the case of injury or surgical recovery.

 

Aids in Digestion:
The calming, rubefacient effects of allspice’s organic components make it perfect for soothing the stomach and also facilitating healthy digestion. The eugenol found in allspice can eliminate digestive issues such as diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, and constipation, while also stimulating regularity, which reduces bloating and excess flatulence. The anti-inflammatory aspect of allspice further eases cramps, which can ease the entire process of digestion.

 

Dental Health:
The antimicrobial, antibacterial, and antiseptic aspects of allspice can help to boost your dental health; although gargling with this spice wouldn’t be particularly pleasant, it has been connected to healthier dental and gum health by protecting against bacterial pathogens.

 

Improves Circulation:
With significant levels of copper and iron, allspice is ideal for boosting circulation, as these are essential components of red blood cells. Furthermore, the rubefacient aspect of the spice is a stimulant, and warms the body. Combined with increased blood flow, this can result in additional energy and the proper oxygenation of extremities in the body. Iron also functions in the creation of certain enzymes that are crucial for overall metabolism.

 

 

Final Thoughts

Now, after reading all this, don’t think you can go out and eat pumpkin pies every day and reap the benefits of this spice blend! To be honest, you would need to consume a might higher, much unpleasant amount of pumpkin pie spice to benefit from it’s properties because remember, it’s a blend! So consuming the individual spices is best. And don’t go crazy! Maybe just commit to one spice a day, and you can even alternate them…no need to consume all 5 the same day. Just like we don’t need to consume fish at every meal even every day to reap the benefits. I think you see where I’m going with this, right? And as always, each person is different, so consult your doctor and see how much of something you can consume if at all.

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