Dill, scientific name Anethum graveolens, belongs to the family of Apiaceae and it is native to Asia Minor even if by now it has naturalized in Europe as it is found almost everywhere up to an altitude of 600 m.
Dill is an annual herbaceous plant, with a green stem, typically streaked and hollow inside. The root is taproot and the leaves are petiolate, sheathing divided into filiform laciniae. The flowers are yellow in color gathered in umbels. It blooms from spring and all summer. It has an aroma reminiscent of fennel.
Dill contains essential oil, nitrogenous substances, mucilage, tannin and resin. Contains anethole, an essential oil widely used in the pharmaceutical field.
Its properties are: antispasmodic, carminative, stomachic, diuretic, vermifuge.
USED PARTS OF THE PLANT
Dill uses the roots and fruits (improperly called seeds), collected together with the umbrellas at the end of summer which are dried in ventilated and dark places and then beaten to extract the seeds.
HOW TO USE IT
The simple dill seeds sprinkled in food are used to combat aerophagia, bloating and aid in digestion.
The herbal tea calms hiccups, colic and facilitates milk secretion.
Root tea is an excellent remedy for colds.
The external rinses help in skin inflammations.
In the kitchen it is normally used as an aromatic condiment.
Dill closely resembles fennel, coriander and anise from which it differs in a much more pungent and penetrating flavor. In any case, these plants all have very similar characteristics and can be used one instead of the other.
Dill is also called bastard fennel.
There are no particular reports or contraindications for dill.Note
L'dill (Anethum graveolens L.) is a aromatic plant grown in the Mediterranean countries, Asia and Europe.
It belongs to the Umbelliferae family, the same as that of parsley and fennel, which resembles a similarity also underlined by the popular names of dill, which include bastard fennel, fetid fennel is fennel rizu.
Like other spices, dill is used in herbal medicine and in folk medicine to treat a variety of ailments, including digestive problems, infections is painful menstruation in this sense, the fruits (commonly called seeds) are mainly exploited, while the leaves are widely used in cooking.
THE cloves are the dried flower buds products from the plant Syzygium aromaticum.
Originally from the Maluku Islands in eastern Indonesia, Syzygium aromaticum is an evergreen tree of medium size (8-12 m), belonging to the mirtaceae family.
As the name of the plant recalls, cloves are particularly aromatic thanks above all toeugenol, which constitutes 72-90% of theessential oil extracted from cloves.
In addition to the aroma, eugenol gives these buds some interesting medicinal properties, being equipped with antiseptic properties, antifermentative is analgesics.
Not surprisingly, cloves are a particularly precious spice, used for centuries not only as a food preservative, but also for multiple medicinal purposes 1.
Although many studies conducted on various parts of the Capparis spinosa have reported different pharmacological activities - including anti-diabetic, lipid-lowering and antihypertensive - there is still no conclusive information on the association between consumption of capers and benefits for human health.
This is because only a few clinical studies have looked at the effect of consuming C. spinosa on human health.
However, the results of the research in test tubes, on animal models and of the first clinical trials are absolutely encouraging.
Different parts of C. spinosa, including fruits and roots, have been used as a remedy in traditional medicines in various parts of the world 5, 6:
The following table shows the main traditional uses of Capparis spinosa to relieve symptoms and cure diseases 6.
|Symptoms and diseases treated|
|Diseases of the liver|
In general, the caper contains a wide range of bioactive compounds, such as alkaloids, flavonoids, steroids, terpenoids and tocopherols.
Flavonoids have received considerable attention for their positive health effects, essentially due to their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
Consumption of flavonoids has been shown to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and promote human health 7.
Preserved capers also contain many polyphenols, including flavonoids quercetin (173 mg per 100 g) e kaempferol (131 mg per 100 g) 8.
Several researches have found that some components of the caper plant may have antidiabetic properties.
A study published in Complementary Therapies in Medicine found that caper fruit extract could be effective in lowering blood sugar in people with diabetes 26 .
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In the aforementioned study by Eddouks et al. 3 On healthy rats and diabetic rats fed an aqueous extract of powdered caper fruit (20 mg / kg), in addition to weight loss after two weeks of treatment, reductions in plasma triglyceride and cholesterol concentrations were observed both in healthy rats than in diabetic ones, already after a few days of treatment.
In the aforementioned clinical study in diabetic patients, the authors reported a significant reduction in the level of triglycerides in type 2 diabetic patients who were supplemented with caper fruit extracts in doses of 1200 mg per day for 2 months 26.
The caper could act by reducing the activity of the enzyme HMG-CoA reductase (deputy to the synthesis of endogenous cholesterol), thus replicating the pharmacological activity of statins and fermented red rice 27.
In a study in spontaneous hypertensive rats, Ali et al. reported that when the aqueous extract of fruit powder of C. spinosa (150 mg / kg) was administered for 20 days, systolic blood pressure was significantly reduced after 8, 12 and 16 days 28.
In addition, there was a significant increase in urinary sodium, potassium and chloride concentrations after 20 days.
It is suggested that the caper reduces blood pressure by increasing the excretion of kidney electrolytes and inhibiting the activity of the ACE enzyme.
In several studies on animal models, caper extracts have been shown to strongly reduce the toxicity of hepato-toxic poisonous substances (paracetamol and carbontetrachloride), protecting the liver from organ damage 29.
Furthermore, diabetic mice treated with 0.2 g / kg and 0.4 g / kg of hydroalcoholic caper extract showed reduced levels of transaminase (marker of liver damage) after 4 weeks of treatment 30.
Here, in alphabetical order, is a list of the spices most commonly used in cooking and as natural remedies.
L'dill it is a plant native to India, which in appearance is similar to wild fennel and anise but has a much more aromatic and pungent flavor. They use dill both the leaves and the dried seeds, characterized by many beneficial properties thanks to which, since ancient times, this spice has been used as a natural remedy.
It has a carminative action (that is, it favors the elimination of gas from the stomach and intestines) and is antispasmodic, so it is helpful in case of stomach cramps and halitosis. It is therefore a spice allied to the health and well-being of the gastrointestinal system.
The infusion of dill also gives relief in case of digestive problems, while taken before going to sleep it reconciles sleep and counteracts insomnia.
Dill boasts excellent diuretic and purifying properties, which make it useful against water retention and cellulite. It also has great potential in the cosmetic field: the crushed seeds and the leaves can be used to prepare strengthening compresses for brittle nails.
This spice, particularly used in oriental cuisine, is one of the typical ingredients of the Tzatziki sauce, based on Greek yogurt and cucumber.
L'star anise it is an unmistakable star-shaped spice, with 8 or 10 points. In the kitchen it is used dried, whole or ground, especially for the preparation of sweets and liqueurs. It is star anise, for example, that gives their characteristic aroma, similar to that of licorice, sambuca, pastis, ouzo and absinthe.
Its beneficial effects derive mainly from one of its active ingredients, anethole, which gives him anti-inflammatory properties.
The dill also plays acarminative, digestive, antiemetic (against nausea), antibacterial and antiviral action which makes it a useful ally against cold sores. It also has adiuretic action, beneficial against water retention and cellulite.
Find out more in our article: "Star anise: properties, benefits and uses“.
Among the most used spices in the kitchen, especially for flavoring desserts, the cinnamon it also has numerous potential on the curative front. It is in fact rich in iron, calcium, vitamin K and antioxidants.
It's a folk remedy for flu and colds, but, above all thanks to the presence of polyphenols, also seems to have the ability to improve heart health, reduce the risk of diabetes, keep blood triglycerides low e counteract Alzheimer's.
Quality that many researches have confirmed or which are the subject of further and more in-depth studies by the scientific community. In addition, it also carries out anantibacterial and antifungal action thanks to the presence of cinnamaldehyde, the main active component of this spice.
The cardamom it is a small fruit with very aromatic seeds and many healthy properties.
It is particularly rich in mineral salts, but also in flavonoids and carotenoids with an antioxidant effect.
This makes it effective protection against oxidative stress, one of the factors that most comes into play in premature aging and the onset of chronic and degenerative diseases such as diabetes and cancer. L'essential oil of cardamom is also a excellent diuretic and detoxifying.
In our article "Cardamom: what it is, nutritional values, benefits, varieties and uses in the kitchen”We show you all the properties and how to use this spice.
THE cloves they are a spice known since ancient times and widely used in cooking: the aroma they give to mulled wine is unmistakable. But their use is also widespread in phytotherapy.
The abundant presence of an oil,eugenol, confers numerous cloves therapeutic properties, in particular anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, digestive, memory stimulants, antioxidants.
An action, the latter, enhanced by the presence of flavonoids. These compounds of the family of polyphenols they promote blood microcirculation, strengthen the immune system, keep the cardiovascular system healthy.
Find out everything you need to know about cloves in the article "Cloves: properties, benefits and use in cooking and phytotherapy”.
There lemongrass is one of the best known remedies against mosquitoes, but it also has a lot of therapeutic properties. It carries out aanti-inflammatory action and acts as antibacterial and antiviral in case of colds and flu.
In the form of oil, it is useful to counteract difficulty falling asleep, stress and muscle and joint pain thanks to its sedative effect.
The active substances it contains are monoterpenes, hydrocarbons that give it its characteristic aroma, similar to that of lemon. But it also provides flavonoids with antioxidant action and mineral salts.
Do you want to know more about lemongrass and its beneficial effects? Read the article "Lemongrass: what it is, therapeutic properties, cultivation of the anti-mosquito plant and recipes”.
Of the coriander are used both leaves, with a more pungent flavor, suitable for seasoning vegetables, meats and soups, both dried seeds, similar to pepper and sweetish in taste, used whole or in powder to flavor meat and sausages, such as mortadella.
The active ingredients of coriander are concentrated above all in the essential oil, while they are milder in leaves and seeds. In particular, this spice promotes digestion and alleviates ailments, like flatulence, it has purifying properties, it is able to lower cholesterol and blood sugar levels, it has an anti-inflammatory action, especially useful against arthritis and rheumatism.
Want to know more about cilantro? Read our article and find out what it is, botany, nutritional values, benefits, alternative uses and recipes.
The cumin, originally from Egypt and Central Asia, it is now a very widespread spice also in the Mediterranean area. Its seeds, similar to those of fennel, are real allies of the gastrointestinal system: they regulate its functionality, facilitate digestion, perform an antispasmodic and carminative activity. They are also useful against colic and, in general, in abdominal pain, even of nervous origin. They also have antibacterial, antioxidant, immunostimulating properties.
Find out more about this spice in our article "Cumin: what it is, properties, benefits, contraindications and uses in the kitchen”.
There turmeric it is a spice with numerous beneficial properties, mainly due to its own high concentration of antioxidants, in particular of the curcumin, a yellow-orange pigment from the polyphenol family responsible for its warm and bright color.
Has anti-inflammatory properties, helps prevent cardiac and degenerative diseases and appears to be one as well promising ally in the oncology field, even if its anticancer effects are still under the lens of the scientific community.
According to Ayurvedic medicine, turmeric also plays ahepatoprotective action, helping to promote the proper functioning of the liver. Turmeric is also widely used for skin care: Indian women use it for many purposes, for example against:
Find out more about this spice in our article "Turmeric: benefits, properties and uses in cooking”.
Curry is a mixture of the most famous and used spices, originating in Indian cuisine but widespread all over the world.
The key ingredients are:
But the curry blends are many, so much so that it is estimated that there are over 600 variations of curry. This very aromatic mix inherits the benefits of the spices that compose it, in particular theantioxidant and anti-inflammatory action turmeric, lDigestive effect cumin, the purifying properties of coriander.
Find out more about curry, its properties, the different types of curry and how to use them in the kitchen in our article "Curry: what it is, nutritional values, benefits, uses in the kitchen”.
The fenugreek it is a plant of the genus Trigonella, used for a long time only to feed livestock, but then increasingly exploited also for human nutrition thanks to its many properties.
It provides vitamins, especially A, C and group B, and mineral salts such as calcium and iron.
But it is above all an excellent source of fiber, which makes it useful for reducing blood cholesterol levels and slowing down the absorption of sugars: this hypoglycemic action makes it an ally in case of diabetes.
It is a plant withtonic and restorative action, particularly recommended in convalescence and against fatigue, loss of appetite and anemia, thanks to its richness in iron.
It is found for sale in the form of seeds, which can be used to prepare the sprouts or for herbal teas and infusions, or as a capsule supplement, to be taken on the advice of a doctor or herbalist.
The Juniper berries are one of the most common spices in Italian cuisine, widely used to flavor meats, soups, stews, pickled preserves and basic ingredient for the production of Gin.
This plant and its berries have been used for thousands of years, by many cultures, for therapeutic purposes for their diuretic, antiseptic, antibacterial action and in the treatment of gastrointestinal problems thanks to their anti-inflammatory effects.
In addition, recent studies have shown the many beneficial properties of essential oils and extract derived from juniper, which play anantioxidant and hypoglycemic action as well as, in fact, to combat inflammation. The extracts also have protective effects on the nervous tissue and liver.
Do you want to know more about the many benefits of this spice and how to use it, both at the table and as a natural remedy? Read our article "Juniper: what it is, botany, nutritional values, healing properties and uses in the kitchen”.
Especially enjoyed in the form of "stick" (the dried root) or candy, the licorice it is a sweet root whose consumption is widespread. And which also has many beneficial properties.
Helps fight digestive disorders, skin diseases and inflammation of the respiratory system. It also has a laxative effect and is useful for those suffering from low blood pressure.
Instead, it must be avoided by those suffering from high blood pressure.
The merit of its benefits is due to its composition, characterized by a high content of mineral salts and precious compounds, such as coumarins, triterpene saponins, sterols and flavonoids with antioxidant action.
In the kitchen, licorice is not one of the most used spices, but it can be used to flavor meats and prepare desserts such as ice cream, as well as being the basic ingredient of licorice liqueur.
There nutmeg it is one of the most sought after spices, both for its uses in the kitchen and for its medicinal properties.
Folk medicine has handed down many of them: nutmeg would carry out an action:
In addition, it would be effective for relieving muscle pain, promoting circulation, stimulating appetite, fighting gallstones.
Of this spice it is important not to abuse, because next to the beneficial properties it also has, if taken in very large quantities, a neurotoxic effect which can have very serious consequences for health.
L'Origan it is not only a herb with a very intense scent and many uses in the kitchen, but it acts as a real natural medicine and that is why widely used in herbal medicine, in the form of an infusion or essential oil.
Contains phenols, vitamins, mineral salts and is a natural antibiotic, useful, especially in the form of herbal tea or decoction, to prevent flu and respiratory diseases.
But oregano also has anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, antibacterial and analgesic properties, as well as being effective in fighting aerophagia and digestive disorders. In cosmetics, it is one of the ingredients of anti-cellulite massage lotions and oils.
There paprika was born as a spicy spice, but over time they have also been introduced sweet varieties, and is characterized by interesting beneficial properties, often little known compared to those of other spices. Its positive effects depend on the high content of antioxidant compounds that help defend the body from the action of free radicals.
Paprika, derived from the processing and drying of peppers, for the same weight, it contains a much higher concentration of vitamins than that of raw vegetables, from those of group B to vitamins C and provitamin A or beta-carotene.
A treasure of nutrients that makes this anti-inflammatory spice, useful for strengthening the immune system, beneficial for the health of the cardiovascular system.
Do you want to know more about paprika? Read our article "Paprika: what it is, benefits, nutritional values and uses of this spice in the kitchen”.
The pepper is considered the "king of spices”: It is, in fact, the most used spice in the kitchen. But it also has many uses in medicine and cosmetics, which have made it highly sought after since ancient times. In Ayurvedic medicine it was traditionally used for menstrual disorders and for those of the ear, nose and throat.
Many recent researches have highlighted the beneficial effects, especially thanks to Piperine, a bioactive compound responsible for its spicy taste but also for its many properties.
Pepper is antimicrobial, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, digestive and, despite what is commonly believed about hot spices. It does not damage the gastric mucosa but, on the contrary, appears to have a protective action against gastric ulcer.
Find out all about pepper and its beneficial properties in our article "Pepper: what it is, nutritional values, benefits and uses in the kitchen”.
Thanks to capsaicin, the alkaloid that makes it spicy, the chili pepper it is beneficial for health, but also for the diet.
In fact, it is called a natural fat burner because this substance stimulates the metabolism and acts on fat deposits through the process of thermogenesis.
But the positive effects of chilli are many: it performs a vasodilating action that makes it beneficial for cardiovascular health, has anticancer properties, is anti-inflammatory, digestive, analgesic and strengthens the immune system.
Find out more about the many reasons to bring chilli to the table and how to use it in the kitchen in our in-depth study "Chilli: what it is, history, types, beneficial properties and uses in the kitchen”.
The horseradish it is a spice with a pungent aroma and a very particular flavor, with balsamic and spicy notes. The horseradish is mainly consumed root, although the most common use is in the form of sauce, also called horseradish sauce, typical of German and Eastern European cuisine and usually combined with roasted or boiled meat, fish and shellfish.
Among the nutrients it contains are mineral salts, fiber, vitamin C and folate (vitamin B9), but also bioactive compounds such as lutein and zeaxanthin, with antioxidant effect, and glucosinolates. Among these, the sinigrina, which gives the horseradish its characteristic flavor, also giving it important antimicrobial, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and antibiotic properties, effective for example against infections caused by pathogenic bacteria such as Salmonella, Helicobacter pylori and Escherichia coli.
Want to know more about the "Horseradish: what it is, types, nutritional values, benefits, uses in the kitchen"? Read our article.
The term "mustard”Is commonly associated with the spicy sauce often used to flavor meat dishes, raw or cooked, such as tartare and roasts.
But mustard actually it is a plant of the Brassicaceae or Cruciferous family (the same as cabbage and broccoli), from which the seeds which, pulverized, are the basic ingredient of this sauce, together with sugar, apple vinegar, water, extra virgin olive oil, salt and any other spices.
There are several variety of mustard, yellow or dark, sharing the same beneficial properties: the seeds are rich in vitamins and mineral salts, in particular calcium and phosphorus.
In addition to being the basis for mustard sauce, they can also be enjoyed in the form of infusion against colds, or used to prepare compounds to be applied locally against:
A solution of ground mustard seeds and water also helps promote digestion.
The tamarind is a tropical tree native to Africa, whose fruits have the appearance of brown pods containing from 4 to 12 seeds. In the kitchen it is mainly used to prepare jams, sauces and syrups to which it gives its many beneficial properties. He is best known for his laxative effect, due to the presence of tartaric acid and malic acid, useful against constipation episodes.
Tartaric acid, together with caffeic acid, also give it a antioxidant effect which makes it ideal for counteracting free radical damage and slowing down cellular aging.
According to various researches, the leaves of the tamarind would play ahepatoprotective action: Tamarind is often used to prevent biliary disorders. The tamarind extract, thanks to the presence of natural compounds such as lupeol and tamarindin, has antifungal, antibacterial and antiviral effects.
The thyme is an extremely versatile spice in the kitchen but also since great success in the herbal, phytotherapeutic and cosmetic fields, linked to the beneficial effects of the essential oils it contains. Already in ancient times, the thymus was used to treat gastrointestinal and airway disorders.
It is a true iron food supplement thanks to the high content of this mineral, but it also provides large amounts of calcium: 10 g of thyme cover 10% of the daily requirement.
IS' antiseptic, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and antifungal, helps the liver in the metabolism of cholesterol and is useful in the treatment of urinary tract infections.
There vanilla, in the form of berry you hate extract, is one of the most used spices in cooking, especially for flavoring desserts. The main phenolic compound of vanilla is the vanillin, an extremely aromatic substance but also with many beneficial properties.
Thanks to its presence, vanilla is a anti-inflammatory agent and a natural antiseptic, has an anti-stress and antidepressant action, fights insomnia, promotes digestion.
Find out more about vanilla and how to use it in the kitchen in our article "Vanilla: what it is, nutritional values, benefits and recipes”.
The saffron, nicknamed "red gold”Is a precious spice. In fact, to get just one gram, you need as many as 200 Crocus Sativus flowers, which explains its rather high cost.
Some studies have elected saffron "king of antioxidants" for the high level of carotenoids that characterizes it and gives it anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective properties.
Saffron is indicated for the treatment of depression, mild to moderate. It also seems to play anprotective action on the liver and on the bronchial system, as well as having anti-aging effects thanks to rich in antioxidants.
Infatti, un primo piatto allo zafferano può contrastare l’effetto di circa il 20% dei radicali liberi prodotti in un giorno.
Noto per il suo caratteristico sapore, fresco e pungente, lo zenzero è una spezia dai tantissimi benefici, ottima per insaporire i piatti ma anche molto salutare se consumata sotto forma di infuso.
Favorisce la digestione, protegge lo stomaco, è antinfiammatorio, allevia i dolori mestruali e, grazie alla sua azione sul microbiota intestinale, riduce la produzione di gas a livello del colon.
Merito dei composti fenolici di cui questa spezia è ricca, che svolgono un’azione antiossidante e di protezione dai radicali liberi.
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