The Power of 3 Kitchen Spices

Believe it or not, in ancient times, spices were often more precious than gold. There were wars over them, kingdoms lost over them, and new frontiers discovered because of spices.

You can harness the healing power of spices by strategically adding them to your meals. Spices can be medicines. Writings in ancient medical texts dating back 3000 years showed how spices like turmeric, cinnamon, coriander, cloves, ginger, pepper were used for therapeutic value.


This sweet-spicy flavored spice is derived from the bark of a tropical evergreen tree. Here is a brief overview of its medicinal qualities.

cinnamon sticks



  • Lowers blood sugar levels in type 2 diabetes
  • Reduces triglycerides levels
  • Mildly reduces LDL (bad) cholesterol
  • Supports digestion by reducing gas, bloating, etc
  • Tones and constricts tissues. Good for varicose veins
  • Relieves congestion
  • Helps with menstrual discomforts
  • Contains anti-inflammatory proprieties that help arthritis
  • Contains blood thinning compounds that stimulate circulation & promote heart health
  • Prevents urinary tract infections
  • Prevents tooth decay and gum disease (why do you think it is in so many toothpastes?)
  • Promotes fresh breath
  • Helps control Metabolic syndrome (AKA insulin resistance syndrome and syndrome X)
  • Induces sweating with colds/flus


This spice was first imported to the state of Connecticut in the 18th Century, where only the wealthy could afford it. If you haven’t done it yet, buy a whole nutmeg and grate a little fresh on foods for a delightful flavor and added nutrition. The Lamb Shoppe has this delicious spice available in the Bulk Herb Section of the store. NOTE: TAKE IN LOWER AMOUNTS ONLY (less than 2 ounces), it may cause narcotic reactions if taken in large amounts.

Grated nutmeg and whole seed

  • Insomnia – eating enough of this herb may produce drowsiness, so eat it in the evening for a good night’s sleep
  • Anxiety remedy
  • Calms muscle spasms and pain
  • Helps nausea and vomiting
  • Good for indigestion by reducing gas and bloating
  • Alleviates diarrhea
  • Relieves joint pain and gout
  • Helps lower blood pressure
  • Lowers cholesterol
  • Improves memory and concentration
  • Improves male infertility and impotence
  • May be good for fibromyalgia pain



Star anise

This spice comes from an evergreen tree in China and is greatly admired for its beauty. It has a 6 or 8-pointed star of slender pods, each cradling a seed. It not only looks beautiful, it tastes of a lovely licorice flavor with a hint of cinnamon and clove. This spice is 13 times sweeter than sugar, but is often used in savory recipes, particularly with meats. In China, which has used it for centuries, star anise is a key ingredient in five-spice powder (with cloves, cinnamon, fennel and Sichuan peppercorns). One whole star is enough to aromatize a vegetable stir fry dish.  When simmered with onions and soy sauce or tamari, it add a nice flare to beef, chicken and lamb.

  • Relieves gas, cramping, bloating and indigestion
  • Used in traditional Chinese medicine for clearing mucus from the respiratory tract
  • Fights influenza
  • Wards off viral, bacterial and fungal infections including Hepatitis B., Herpes simplex 1, HIV, Stept bacteria, Epstein-Barr virus and more.

Here are a few ideas in case this spice is new to you:

  1. Put a star anise in the pan when roasting a chicken.
  2. Add star anise to stewed apples or plums.
  3. Use it in soups, stews, and casseroles that require long cooking times.
  4. Use it to flavor teas.
  5. Grind it and add to a marinade.

Hint: I like to add one dried star anise pod and one slice of a fresh orange to a glass of water, and let sit for about 30 minutes before drinking it.  The water becomes infused with the spice and citrus flavor for a refreshing change of pace in beverages. Make a pitcher of this, for serving when entertaining, your guests will be delighted. The Lamb Shoppe has this spice and many more in the bulk herb section.

Note: This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended to provide medical advice or to take the place of medical advice from your professional healthcare provider. Please consult your qualified healthcare provider for treatment of medical problems.

Become a Home Herbalist

A 9-Month Educational Program

 Learn how to create your own herbal products for yourself and your family. Herbalist & Holistic Health Educator, Connie Karstens, MS will instruct a nine-month intensive program that will empower you to become your own herbalist. This series of classes takes you through the seasons so you can prepare an entire apothecary of safe, gentle and effective herbal products.

This program will include a solid foundation for plant identification, wild food foraging, numerous preparation techniques, and knowledge on proper usage. By the end of the class, not only will you have stocked your own botanical pharmacy, but you will know and understand how and why to use the herbal preparations that you have created.

This is a rare opportunity for hands-on learning and gathering plants with a local herbal practitioner. Sign up today to become a part of this amazing program! Certificate of Completion awarded at last class.


2018 Class Dates

All 12 classes are currently scheduled for Saturdays 9 am – 1 pm.

Most months have 1 class per month except May, June and July where there are 2 classes because of the abundance of plants to gather and make into preparations.

  • March 24
  • April 21
  • May 5 & 19
  • June 9 & 23
  • July 14 & 28
  • August 4
  • September 29
  • October 27
  • November 10
Details on the Course:

This course is essential for those wanting to take charge of their own health and who have a desire to become informed, educated and more independent.

The class will explore the historical roots of herbal medicine and will help you learn how to use botanical medicines for basic natural healthcare. The student will gain an understanding of simple herbal aids for many common ailments and first aid uses. This course will teach the basics of preparing herbal medicines in your own home. You will also learn about planning, planting and using your very own medicine garden.

You will learn about the following over the 9 -month course:

  • Fresh & Dried Tinctures
  • Bark Tinctures
  • Root Tinctures
  • Glycerite Tinctures
  • Medicinal Herbal Wines
  • Medicinal Herbal Syrups
  • Medicinal Herbal Teas
  • Herbal Pastilles
  • Herbal Lozenges
  • Medicinal Vinegars
  • Herbal Infused Honeys
  • Herbal Oxymels
  • Drying Herbs & Storing Herbs
  • Freezing Herbs
  • Make a “Green Jar”
  • Poultices
  • Compresses
  • Liniments
  • Oil Infusions
  • Salves & Ointments and Formulas
  • Herbal Hydrotherapy & Formulas
  • How to Use Specific Herbs for Organ Systems
  • Herbal Actions & Corresponding Herbs
  • Learning Basic Tongue Indications
  • Facial Analysis Foundations
  • Organ System Emotional Relationships
  • We will touch on Pulse Testing
  • How to Put It All Together to Select Herb for Common Aliments
  • Using Herbs Safely

This course will require some independent work and research. Along with quizzes, presentations and group collaboration, there will be a great deal of hands-on learning.

By the end of the class, your will have well over 50 herbal preparations for your own personal herbal pharmacy. Plus, the knowledge on how to safely and effectively use every preparation that you made.

As a bonus, you will become well-informed on how to wild forage with common plants in the local area. We will do much hands-on collecting of plants for medicine and food.

If this class sounds like a match for you, do not delay. Sign up today and reserve your spot! The first 20 students will fill the class quickly.


Program Instruction Cost:
  • Deposit of $50 to hold your spot due 1/1/18
  • Total of $975 (check or cash only), due 3/1/18
  • Add $25 for credit card payments



If there is enough interest, we will offer it again next year. Thank you for the support.


Registration Form - Become a Home Herbalist