Tag Archives: Spice

Aframomum corrorima

Botanical Name; Aframomum corrorima
Family: Zingiberaceae
Genus: Aframomum
Species: A. corrorima
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Zingiberales

Synonyms: Amomum corrorima Braun (1848), Amomum korarima J.Pereira (1850), Aframomum korarima (J.Pereira) K.Schum. ex Engl. (1908), Aframomum usambarense Lock (1976).

Common Names:  Korarima, Ethiopian cardamom, or False cardamom

Vernaculr Names:  Korarima, cardamome d’Ethiopie, poivre d’Ethiopie (Fr). Korarima, Ethiopian cardamom, false cardamom (En).

Habitat :Aframomum corrorima is native to Tanzania, western Ethiopia (in the vicinity of Lake Tana and Gelemso), southwestern Sudan, western Uganda. It is cultivated in both Ethiopia and Eritrea.

Description:
Aframomum corrorima is a perennial, rhizomatous, aromatic herb with  leafy stems 1–2 m tall; rhizome subterete, up to 1 cm in diameter, profusely branched, red-brown, covered with thin, subovate scales up to 6 cm × 4 cm and bearing thin, fibrous, pale brown roots; stem unbranched, mainly formed by the leaf sheaths, subterete, up to 1 cm in diameter but at base usually thickened up to 3 cm diameter. Leaves alternate, distichous, simple; sheaths covering each other, yellow-green, with prominent veins and scarious, ciliate margins; ligule deeply bilobed, thin, ciliate, lobes acute, up to 3 cm long; petiole 4–10 mm long, deeply grooved above; blade elliptical to oblong, 10–30 cm × 2.5–6 cm, obliquely obtuse at base, cuspidate at apex, margin entire, glossy dark green above, paler green and often a bit reddish below, lateral veins fine, pinnately arranged but parallel, making a very sharp angle with the midrib, 4–9 per 5 mm above, 12–16 per 5 mm below. Inflorescence a shortly stalked head arising from the rhizome near the base of a leafy stem, sometimes situated at the end of a rhizomatous runner, up to 5-flowered; peduncle up to 7 cm long, covered by imbricate, purplish-brown, subovate scales 2.5 cm × 1.5 cm; head covered with imbricate, purplish-brown, ovate to square bracts up to 4.5 cm in diameter; each flower surrounded by a scarious, suboblong bract up to 6 cm × 2 cm, bidentate, ciliate. Flowers bisexual, zygomorphic; calyx spathaceous, up to 4.5 cm × 1 cm; corolla tubular, 3-lobed at apex, white to pale violet, tube up to 4.5 cm long, densely woolly in upper 2 cm, lateral lobes ovate-oblong, up to 4 cm × 2 cm, dorsal lobe up to 4 cm × 3 cm, labellum obovate in outline, with a half-tubular fleshy claw up to 3 cm × 1.5 cm and a subovate to orbicular lobe up to 3 cm × 3.5 cm, thin, slightly notched, yellow at throat inside; fertile stamen 1, filament fleshy, slightly rounded, 6 mm × 5 mm, connectivum fleshy, at apex with 2 lateral horns 4 mm long, thecae 2, narrowly ellipsoid, about 11 mm × 1 mm; ovary inferior, 3-locular, style thin, terete, up to 5 cm long, stigma funnel-shaped, 2 mm wide, ciliate, top of ovary provided with 2 (sometimes more) lobed, fleshy outgrowths (probably nectaries), partly clasping the style. Fruit an indehiscent, subconical berry up to 6 cm × 3.5 cm, usually showing 3 longitudinal furrows but sometimes more, shiny green when immature, turning bright red at maturity, with 3 cells containing 45–65 seeds each. Seeds subglobose in outline but usually somewhat angular, 2–5 mm in diameter, testa finely lined, glossy brown, hilum circular, whitish, aril thin, a bit fleshy, completely covering the seed.

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Edible Uses:
Dried seeds are extensively used in Ethiopian and Eritrean cuisine. It is an ingredient in berbere, mitmita, awaze, and other spice mixtures, and is also used to flavor coffee.

Constituents:
Korarima seed has a mild, sweet flavour and is less peppery or pungent than seed of Aframomum melegueta K.Schum. (grain of paradise). The seeds contain essential oil which has a typical odour and is sometimes called ‘nutmeg-cardamom’. After distillation of dried comminuted fruits, 3–3.5% of a pale yellow volatile oil with a flat cineolic odour can be obtained, in which the following compounds have been found (all monoterpenes, approximate amount of the major ones): 1,8-cineol 32–35%, limonene 7–14%, B-pinene 4–7%, sabinene 7–9%, terpinen-4-ol 3–5%, geraniol 5%, P-cymene 4%, A-pinene, A-terpineol and Y-terpinene 3% each. Sesquiterpenes were identified in another analysis; the total was dominated by about 75% monoterpenes including 1,8-cineol (38%) and terpinyl acetate (11%), and 17% sesquiterpenes including nerolidol (11–14%), ?-caryophyllene (2%) and caryophyllene oxide (1%).

Medicinal Uses:
In Ethiopian herbal medicine the seeds are used as a tonic, carminative, and laxative.

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Resources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aframomum_corrorima
http://www.prota4u.org/protav8.asp?fr=1&g=pe&p=Aframomum+corrorima+
http://database.prota.org/PROTAhtml/Aframomum%20corrorima_En.htm

Cloves

Dried cloves

Dried cloves (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

 

Botanical Name : Syzigium aromaticum
Family: Myrtaceae
Genus: Syzygium
Species: S. aromaticum
Kingdom: Plantae
Phylum: Angiosperms
Order: Myrtales

Synonyms:Eugenia Caryophyllata

Common Names: Indian name Laung.In Urdu it is called as ‘Laong’. In Kerala state (India) it is called ‘Grampoo’ in Malayalam. In Hindi, it’s called ‘Lavang’ and many Indian languages have names similar to it, e.g. in Marathi, it is called as “Lavang”, whereas In Telugu, it is called ‘Lavangam’, plural ‘Lavangalu’ . In Kannada, it is called ‘Lavanga’. In Sinhala it is called ‘Karabu Nati. The Tamil language uses both the native  (kirambu) and also the Sanskrit-derived(lavangam).

In Vietnam, it is called ?inh huong. In Indonesia it is called cengkeh or cengkih.Cloves are also known as ‘giroflier’ in French; ‘Gewürznelkenbaum’ in German; ‘cravo-da-Índia’, ‘cravo-das-molucas’, and ‘cravo-de-doce’ in Portuguese; and ‘árbol del clavo’, ‘clavero giroflé’, and ‘clavo de olor’ in Spanish.

Habitat : Cloves are  native to the Spice Islands and the Philippines but also grown in India, Sumatra, Jamaica, the West Indies, Brazil, and other tropical areas.

Description:
The clove is an evergreen tree, 15 to 30 feet tall. It has opposite, ovate leaves more than 5 inches long; and its flowers, when allowed to develop, are red and white, bell-shaped, and grow in terminal clusters. The familiar clove used in the kitchen is the dried flower bud. The fruit is a one- or two-seeded berry.

You may click to see the pictures of  CLOVE TREE
The clove tree is endemic in the North Moluccas (Indonesia) and was of old cultivated on the islands of Ternate, Tidore, Bacan and the West coast of Halmahera. The Dutch extended cultivation to several other islands in the Moluccas, but only after the end of the Dutch monopoly (18.th century), clove trees were introduced to other countries.click & see

Uses:
Cloves can be used in cooking either whole or in a ground form, but as they are extremely strong, they are used sparingly.

Cloves have historically been used in Indian cuisine (both North Indian and South Indian). In North Indian cuisine, it is used in almost all rich or spicy dishes as an ingredient of a mix named garam masala, along with other spices, although it is not an everyday ingredient for home cuisine, nor is it used in summer very often. In the Maharashtra region of India it is used sparingly for sweet or spicy dishes, but rarely in everyday cuisine. In Ayurvedic medicine it is considered to have the effect of increasing heat in system, hence the difference of usage by region and season. In south Indian cuisine, it is used extensively in biryani along with “cloves dish” (similar to pilaf, but with the addition of other spices), and it is normally added whole to enhance the presentation and flavor of the rice.

Dried cloves are also a key ingredient in Indian masala chai, spiced tea, a special variation of tea popular in some regions, notably Gujarat. In the US, it is often sold under the name of “chai” or “chai tea”, as a way of differentiating it from other types of teas sold in the US.

In Mexican cuisine, cloves are best known as ‘clavos de olor’, and often used together with cumin and cinnamon.

In Vietnamese cuisine, cloves are often used to season the broth of Pho.

Due to the Indonesian influence, the use of cloves is widespread in the Netherlands. Cloves are used in cheeses, often in combination with cumin. Cloves are an essential ingredient for making Dutch speculaas. Furthermore, cloves are used in traditional Dutch stews like hachee.

Non-culinary uses:
The spice is used in a type of cigarette called kretek in Indonesia. Kreteks have been smoked throughout Europe, Asia and the United States. In 2009, clove cigarettes (as well as fruit and candy flavored cigarettes) were outlawed in the US. However, they are still sold in similar form, re-labeled as “filtered clove cigars.”

Cloves are also an important incense material in Chinese and Japanese culture. And clove essence is commonly used in the production of many perfumes.

During Christmas, it is a tradition in some European countries to make pomanders from cloves and oranges to hang around the house. This spreads a nice scent throughout the house and acts as holiday decorations.

Cloves are often used as incense in the Jewish practice called Havdala

Clove oil anesthesia and overdose is considered a humane method for euthanizing fish.

Constituents:
Eugenol comprises 72-90% of the essential oil extracted from cloves, and is the compound most responsible for the cloves’ aroma. Other important essential oil constituents of clove oil include acetyl eugenol, beta-caryophyllene and vanillin; crategolic acid; tannins, gallotannic acid, methyl salicylate (painkiller); the flavonoids eugenin, kaempferol, rhamnetin, and eugenitin; triterpenoids like oleanolic acid, stigmasterol and campesterol; and several sesquiterpenes.

Eugenol has pronounced antiseptic and anaesthetic properties. Of the dried buds, 15 – 20 percent is essential oils, and the majority of this is eugenol. A kilogram (2.2 lbs) of dried buds yields approximately 150 ml (1/4 of pint) of eugenol.

Eugenol can be toxic in relatively small quantities—as low as 5 ml.

Medicinal Uses:
Traditional Chinese physicians have long used the herb to treat indigestion, diarrhea, hernia, and ringworm, as well as athlete’s foot and other fungal infections.  India’s traditional Ayurvedic healers have used clove since ancient times to treat respiratory and digestive ailments.  America’s 19th century Eclectic physicians used clove to treat digestive complaints and added it to bitter herb-medicine preparations to make them more palatable.  The Eclectics were also the first to extract clove oil from the herbal buds. It has antiseptic, stimulant, stomachic and digestive properties.  As an anti-infectant, cloves are effective against coli bacilli, streptococci, staphylococci, pneumococci and as an antimycotic.  The oil, too, is used in dentistry for its antiseptic and analgesic properties, and, like the whole cloves and powdered cloves, for local pain-relieving purposes.  Eugenol is a local anesthetic used in dental fillings and cements; a rubifacient and a carminative.  It is also an irritant and an allergic sensitizer.      Besides all their other uses, cloves can be used to treat acne, skin ulcers, sores, and styes.  They also make a potent mosquito and moth repellent which is where the clove studded orange pomander comes from.

Traditional medicinal uses:
Cloves are used in Indian Ayurvedic medicine, Chinese medicine, and western herbalism and dentistry, where the essential oil is used as an anodyne (painkiller) for dental emergencies. Cloves are used as a carminative, to increase hydrochloric acid in the stomach and to improve peristalsis. Cloves are also said to be a natural anthelmintic. The essential oil is used in aromatherapy when stimulation and warming are needed, especially for digestive problems. Topical application over the stomach or abdomen are said to warm the digestive tract. Clove oil, applied to a cavity in a decayed tooth, also relieves toothache. It also helps to decrease infection in the teeth due to its antiseptic properties.

In Chinese medicine cloves or ding xiang are considered acrid, warm and aromatic, entering the kidney, spleen and stomach meridians, and are notable in their ability to warm the middle, direct stomach qi downward, to treat hiccough and to fortify the kidney yang. Because the herb is so warming it is contraindicated in any persons with fire symptoms and according to classical sources should not be used for anything except cold from yang deficiency. As such it is used in formulas for impotence or clear vaginal discharge from yang deficiency, for morning sickness together with ginseng and patchouli, or for vomiting and diarrhea due to spleen and stomach coldness. This would translate to hypochlorhydria. Clove oil is used in various skin disorders like acne, pimples etc. It is also used in severe burns, skin irritations and to reduce the sensitiveness of skin.

Cloves may be used internally as a tea and topically as an oil for hypotonic muscles, including for multiple sclerosis. This is also found in Tibetan medicine. Some recommend avoiding more than occasional use of cloves internally in the presence of pitta inflammation such as is found in acute flares of autoimmune diseases.

In West Africa, the Yorubas use cloves infused in water as a treatment for stomach upsets, vomiting and diarrhea. The infusion is called Ogun Jedi-jedi.

Western studies have supported the use of cloves and clove oil for dental pain. However, studies to determine its effectiveness for fever reduction, as a mosquito repellent and to prevent premature ejaculation have been inconclusive. Clove may reduce blood sugar levels.

Tellimagrandin II is an ellagitannin found in S. aromaticum with anti-herpesvirus properties.

The buds have anti-oxidant properties

CLICK & SEE: Health Benefits Of Oil Of Clove

Disclaimer:
The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Resources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clove
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_C.htm
http://www.ifood.tv/blog/how-to-grow-clove-trees
http://www.heartofthedragon.net/Cloves.htm
http://www.ifood.tv/blog/how-to-grow-clove-trees

Alligator pepper

Botanical Name :Alligator pepper
Family :Zingerberaceae (Ginger family).
Synonym :Amomum melegueta.

Common Names: Grains of paradise, nengrekondre pepre, alligator pepper, guinea grains, graines de paradis, atar, paradies kõrner, grani de Meleguetta, paradijs korrels, Grana paradise, poivre de Guinée, malaguette, Malagettapfeffer, grani de paradiso.

Parts Used: Dried ripe seeds and oil. In commerce the pods and seeds are found whole, shelled, and ground (green or roasted).

Habitat :Alligator pepper is  native to West Africa; brought over to Surinam by the slaves to swampy habitats along the West African coast.

Description:
A herbaceous plant reaching 1-4 m in height. The stem is short and marked with scars of fallen leaves. The leaves are lanceolate and  about 30 cm long and 12 cm wide, with close nerves below. The flowers are handsome, aromatic and with orange-coloured lip and a rich pinkish-orange upper part. The fruits are fleshy and indehiscent, and contains numerous small golden- or red-brown seeds. USES The cardemom-flavored seeds are used as a spice and carminative and the can also be used to spice wine and beer. Fruit, seed, leaf and rhizome have medicinal properties.

You may click to see the pictures..

The plants which provide alligator pepper are herbaceous perennials  flowering plants  reaching 1-4 m in height.The stem is short and marked with scars of fallen leaves. The leaves are about 30 cm long and 12 cm wide, with close nerves below. The flowers are handsome, aromatic and with orange-coloured lip and a rich pinkish-orange upper part. Once the pod is open and the seeds are revealed the reason for this spice’s common English name becomes apparent as the seeds have a papery skin enclosing them and the bumps of the seeds within this skin is reminiscent of an alligator’s back.

The trumpet-shaped, purple flowers develop into 5 – 7 cm long grayish – brown, wrinkled dried pods (capsules) containing the numerous very small seeds.
These are almost oval in shape, hard, shiny, and have a reddish-brown color.

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The numerous seeds are borne in grayish – brown capsules.
The important part of this plant is the seed; the small (3-4 mm =1/8″) reddish – brown seeds have a pungent aroma with a pepper – like heat.
This much sought after spice is tempered with, among others, flavors reminiscing of hazelnut, butter and citrus.
The essential oil from grains of paradise consists of two sesquiterpenes, humelene and caryophyllene and the oxides of these.
It has an exotic tropical scent and flavor and is used for the production of beer, wine and spirits, and the flavoring of vinegar.
It is used in the Surinam cuisine to flavor dishes such as vegetables (okra and tomatoes recipes), soups (lentil and chicken) and fish recipes.
The rhizome of the plant is used medicinally and is also is an important part from the diet of Western lowland gorillas in Africa.

As mbongo spice the seeds of alligator pepper is often sold as the grains themselves, isolated from the pod and with the outer skin removed. Mbongo spice is most commonly either Aframomum danielli or Aframomum citratum and has a more floral aroma than Aframomum exscapum (which is the commonest source of the entire pod).

It is a common ingredient in West African cuisine where it imparts both ‘heat’, ‘pungency‘ and a spicy aroma to classic West African ‘soups’ (stews).

Use in cuisine:
Even in West Africa, alligator pepper is an expensive spice and is used sparingly. Often a single whole pod is pounded in a pestle and mortar before half of it is added (along with black pepper) as a flavouring to West African ‘soups’ (stews) or to boiled rice. The spice can also be substituted in any recipe using grains of paradise or black cardamom to provide a hotter and more pungent flavour.

When a baby is born in Yoruba culture, they are given a small taste of alligator pepper shortly after birth as part of the routine baby welcoming process and it is also used as an ingredient at traditional meet-and-greets.

In Igbo land, alligator pepper with kola nuts are used in naming ceremonies, as presentation to visiting guests and for other social events.

Click to see :Water leaf, alligator pepper treats hypertension – survey ….

Medicinal Uses:
As a purgative, galactogogue (to increase production of breast milk), anthelmintic- and hemostatic agent (purifies the blood). It is also effective against schistosomiasis (bilharzia).
Further is it used against intestinal infections, infestations, to calm indigestion and heartburn.
The seeds of Aframomum melegueta possess potent anti-inflammatory activity with a favorable gastric tolerability profile.
Phytochemical analysis revealed the presence of alkaloids, glycosides, tannins, flavonoids, sterols, triterpenes, and oils, while the methanol fraction contains alkaloids, glycosides, tannins, flavonoids, sterols, and resins.
The pungent, peppery taste of the seeds is caused by aromatic ketones such as (6)-paradol; essential oils occur only in traces.

Some of the known areas of application are to cure Arthritis, boil, pimples, and any inflammatory disease. Alligator pepper is used in combination of one or two other components to cure different sicknesses. For information on different application go to web site: http://www.free-est.com.

Disclaimer:The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is  always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Resources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alligator_pepper
http://www.tropilab.com/nengrekondrepepre.html
http://finimanaturepark.org/capacity-building/community-capacity/
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/cropView?id=2872
http://hubpages.com/hub/Alligator-pepper

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This Simple Addition to Meat May Help Decrease Damage When you Cook It

 

Cooking meat with an antioxidant-rich spice mix could reduce compounds that have been linked to heart disease and cancer.


Food Navigator reports that:

“Using aF spice mix similar to that used in the East Indian spice blend, researchers … report that hamburgers were subsequently found to contain significantly lower levels of lipid-peroxidation products, claimed to produce off-flavors and linked to promotion of the processes of atherogenesis and carcinogenesis.”

The study that produced this result was funded by spices and seasonings company McCormick and Company, and involved 11 healthy volunteers.

The participants consumed either burgers seasoned with a spice blend or a plain burger. The amount of malondialdehyde (MDA) in the burger, as well as in the urine and blood of the participants, were used to measure lipid oxidation.

MDA was reduced by 71 percent in the spiced burger, resulting in a 49 percent reduction in urine levels of MDA.

Resources:
Food Navigator April 14, 2010
American Journal of Clinical Nutrition April 8, 2010

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Spice Up Your Health

 

 

Your favorite marinades may provide a beneficial source of natural antioxidants, according to a new study by researchers at The University of Western Ontario.
………...CLICK  &  SEE
After analyzing seven popular brands of marinade that contained herbs and spices as their primary ingredients, they found “very good quantities” of antioxidants remained, even after cooking and marinating.

Although marinating meat reduced antioxidants levels by 45-70 percent, there was still a benefit over cooking meat plain, with no marinade.

Consumers can help boost their intake of antioxidants by choosing sauces with the highest levels of antioxidants to begin with, according to researchers.

Foods rich in antioxidants play an essential role in preventing cardiovascular diseases, cancers, neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, inflammation and problems associated with cutaneous aging,” Science Daily reported.

Resources:
Science Daily March 24, 2010
Journal of Food Composition and Analysis May 2010, Volume 23, Issue 3, Pages 244-252

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