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Book Review: Healing Spices: How to Use 50 Everyday and Exotic Spices to Boost Health and Beat Disease by Bharat B. Aggarwal PhD and Debora Yost

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Healing Spices is a detailed look at the healing and curative properties in many spices, both ordinary and more exotic. Part one of this book discusses ancient medicines and how spices have been used throughout history from about 2,600 BC. This glimpse into history includes the cultures of India, Indonesia, Syria, Egypt and even Rome.

The first part of the book also includes a brief introduction to spices, what they are, and how they work. It also explains epidemiological studies and what they’ve discovered about different types of spices. There’s also information on phytonutrients contained in a variety of different types of spices.

Part two of Healing Spices is a detailed breakdown of 50 different spices. There are fifty chapters and each chapter focuses on one specific spice. The author has only included spices that have been shown to be beneficial based on intriguing or established science. Every spice chapter highlights the specific health condition that is potentially affected by this spice.

Each chapter includes information on the medicinal and culinary history of the spice. They also explain what traditional foods you probably already eat are prepared with the spice. The chapter also includes information on how to purchase each spice. It tells you what the best form is to buy it in (whole, ground, etc.). It tells you what you need to look for when you’re purchasing the spice to make sure you get the best quality.

The author tells you how to examine a spice for flaws and age as well and discusses the proper way to store each spice. Each chapter also includes recipes and suggestions for how to use each spice in cooking.

Part three is devoted to special spice combos and teaches you what you need to know to combine different species to create delicious healing dishes. A few combinations included are Indian spices, North African spices, Chinese spices, Middle Eastern spices, Latin American and Caribbean spices, and French spices. Also discussed is how to create powders and pastes.

Part four discusses specifically how to use spices as natural medicine. There is an A-Z guide that lists each health condition along with the healing spice most likely to be used for the condition. I especially appreciate that it included the research tested therapeutic use for each health condition. I am really impressed with the information contained in this section. I love being able to look up health conditions and know what types of foods I can eat to help treat the condition or to possibly prevent it.

This is definitely a valuable book to have on hand for when you want to take a more active role in managing your health. Even if you’re not interested in specifically managing a condition with spices, you’ll appreciate this book for the variety of recipes included.

It’s well written, easy to read and quite fascinating.

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About Ellen Christian

Ellen is a busy mom of two teenagers who left the corporate world in 2008 to focus on a more eco-friendly life. She lives in rural Vermont where she juggles family, two blogs and a career in social media. You can find her at http://www.confessionsofanover-workedmom.com/ and http://the-socialites-closet.blogspot.com/.