We all know that spices give food the best taste and that they are used in different cultures to make their cuisine special and authentic. Quite often, you can quickly determine the origin of a dish you like by the spices and seasonings it contains. But did you know that spices can be used for more than just cooking?
Spices have been a valuable commodity throughout history and have played a role in important historical events such as the discovery of new territories, wars, truces between empires, and even used as currency. Our life as we know it today would not be you if there were no spices.
Their use changed the course of human history, not only changing the way we cook and eat food, but also influencing the way we lived and traded. Let’s take a look at a few ancient and modern uses of spices outside of the kitchen that you may not have known about.
10. Mummification and embalming: Ancient Egyptians, masters of mummification, used spice combinations, among other things, to preserve the bodies of the dead. After removing the brain through the nostrils and removing the internal organs (or dissolving them by injecting resin into the abdominal cavity), the bodies were cleaned with a spice mixture.
The most crucial ingredient was myrrh. It has been used as an insect repellant in the body of the dead and in the environment. Cinnamon has been used as an oil for its antifungal, antiviral, and antibacterial properties. Cumin, which is also antibacterial, has been used in addition to the antiseptic and antimicrobial properties of anise oil to prevent decay and decay.
9. Spice Tinctures: One of the most aromatic distilled spirits is gin. Each distillery uses a different blend of “botanicals” to make their signature drink, but most include at least one of the following spices
Another popular spice drink is spiced rum, which contains spices such as vanilla, cinnamon, allspice, cloves, nutmeg, and ginger. Other famous spice drinks include liqueurs such as Creme de Menthe, Fernet, Campari and Jaegermeister, which use spices to create a unique flavor.
8. Remedies for insomnia
Nutmeg and cinnamon have been studied for their soothing and sleep-enhancing properties. While most natural remedies are difficult to prove effective, traditional medicine enthusiasts claim that nutmeg has soothing properties and can help you fall asleep and sleep soundly.
However, one should beware of eating too much nutmeg. Overuse is known to lead to hallucinations and other unpleasant side effects. There is even a condition called “nutmeg psychosis” in which people experience anxiety and even a sense of doom. If you suffer from insomnia but are hesitant to try nutmeg, then the safest choice is cinnamon.
7. Botanical colognes photo: listverse.com
Before modern baths and showers were invented, people could not wash with soap and water, so they used perfumes and colognes to mask their body odor and sweat. Some perfumes were even considered “medicinal” at the time for their use to combat the “bad air” that was believed to cause and spread disease.
Before the advent of modern hygiene standards, bad odors were synonymous with diseases that enter the body through the nose, so perfume was used to eliminate them. In the ancient practices of making perfumes and colognes, nutmeg, pepper, cinnamon, cloves and myrrh were added to alcohol. Their intense scent, combined with other flowers and herbs, has played a key role in the development of modern fragrances.
6. Homemade aromatic sachets photo: listverse.com
If you want to stick with everything natural and avoid using chemicals when washing, then try using spice bags. However, they do not replace fabric softener, but only give the washed clothes a pleasant scent. They can also be stored in a wardrobe on shelves between clothes or on hangers to retain their clean, earthy scent.
This bag is very easy to make: add cloves, cinnamon or nutmeg (whole, not ground) to fabric bags, mix with lavender, rose petals or your favorite dried flower, throw these bags in the dryer and, voila, homemade scented sachets are ready. ! These pouches can also prevent bacteria from building up in cabinets or drawers, depending on the antimicrobial and antibacterial properties of the spices chosen.
5. Herbal tinctures
photo: listverse.com Herbal
tinctures are concentrated liquid forms of one or more herbs or spices. They are usually made from plant parts soaked in vinegar or alcohol for several weeks. Tinctures are used as natural medicines and are usually taken orally with a few drops under the tongue.
They cannot be made at home, as some plants or parts of them can become poisonous if used improperly. One of the most popular spice infusions is made from turmeric. It is widely used as an anti-inflammatory as well as an antioxidant. Always check with your doctor before use to make sure you are using the correct product for your specific condition.
4. Homemade paint photo: listverse.com There are two popular ways to make your own paint. The easiest way is to mix a tablespoon of any brightly colored spice with a little water to make a paste. The spice will not completely dissolve, but the water will take on its color and can be used to color Easter eggs or create a painting with a watercolor effect. This is very similar to the technique that people used thousands of years ago to create rock paintings and colorful pottery. They used everything from spices to blood, berries, roots and minerals.
Another way to prepare paint is to mix spice with white tempera paint to create a more lasting color. This is a great way to keep kids entertained and teach them color theory, as well as learn to understand the smells of various spices. With paprika, you get an excellent reddish color, with turmeric – a beautiful yellow color, and with cinnamon – brown. This is a great sensory experience for both kids and adults, and can be a fun way to experiment on a small budget.
3. Ward off pests photo: listverse.com
Wild animals can be very cute, especially rabbits. We all love them, but if you start growing vegetables, they will become your sworn enemies. While we don’t want to harm the cute wild animals, we would still like them to stay away from our gardens and growing vegetables.
The best way to achieve this is to sprinkle the soil around your vegetable garden with strong spices such as cayenne pepper, chili powder, or red pepper. This will not only scare away pests, but also enrich the soil, protecting it from bacteria. Just be careful when watering your garden: try to avoid these areas, otherwise you will have to sprinkle the ground more often.
While spices are not a substitute for medicines, they can improve overall health when included in your daily diet. There have been many studies on the health benefits of various spices. For example, cinnamon helps lower blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes and normalizes high blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
Turmeric is widely recognized as a treatment for inflammation. One of its key ingredients, curcumin, can reduce inflammation in the brain, and studies show that its consumption improves memory in people over 50.
Another incredible spice to add to your daily diet is ginger. It prevents nausea, indigestion, and is used to prevent nausea from motion sickness and chemotherapy-induced nausea. If you’re prone to nausea on airplane flights or sea trips, don’t forget to take your ginger tea with you!
1. Repellents: Ants hate cinnamon, so if you have a problem with ants, simply sprinkle cinnamon powder in their habitat and they will disappear. Better yet, mix cinnamon oil with water and spray the mixture where ants have been seen.
Bed bugs hate cinnamon too. If you live in a dorm and need to get rid of bed bugs quickly, put a few drops (5-7) of cinnamon oil in the water and sprinkle the liquid on the sheet and blanket a few hours before bed. This will not kill the insects, but it will noticeably reduce their activity until you turn to specialists for help.
Cinnamon can be used not only to fight ants and bed bugs – in fact, many animals do not like cinnamon. It can be used as an effective repellent against spiders, mosquitoes, fruit flies, wasps and even mice.
It is now obvious why spices have always played a significant role throughout human history. Unsurprisingly, wars were fought over them, and they were valued as currency. Their versatility and taste have changed the course of history and created effective ways – both past and present – to deal with ailments and daily routines.