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The term “allspice” was coined in the 1600s by the English, who thought the herb combined the flavors of cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. Allspice is also referred to as “Jamaica pepper,” “kurundu,” “myrtle pepper,” “pimenta,” and “newspice.” Ground allspice is not a mixture of spices as some still believe, but arises from the dried unripe berries of the tree Pimenta dioica. This tree is native to the Greater Antilles, southern Mexico, and Central America. Today, P. dioica is cultivated in many warm areas throughout the world. Allspice is also available commercially as an essential oil.
Basil (Ocimum basilicum) is a culinary herb prominently featured in Italian and Southeast Asian cuisines. While many varieties of basil exist, sweet basil is one of the most predominant and most frequently examined herbs for its health benefits. Basil is originally native to Iran, India, and other tropical regions of Asia, but now it is widely available throughout the world. Basil’s antioxidant, antimutagenic, antitumorigenic, antiviral, and antibacterial properties likely arise from a variety of components including linalool, 1,8-cineole, estragole, and eugeno.
Caraway (Carum carvi), also known as “meridian fennel” or “Persian cumin,” is native to western Asia, Europe, and northern Africa. Recently, showed that caraway essential oil and oleoresins were progressively effectively with dose as antioxidants and more effective than commercial butylated hydroxyanisole and butylated hydroxytoluene.
Cardamom refers to herbs within the Elettaria (green) and Amomum (black) genera of the ginger family. Cardamom is a common ingredient used in Indian cooking and in various parts of Europe. As with many spices, cardamom has been demonstrated to have antioxidant properties.
The cayenne pepper also known as the Guinea spice, cow-horn pepper, aleva, bird pepper, or, especially in its powdered form, red pepper is a hot chili pepper used to flavor dishes. It is red colored when ripened to maturity, but also eaten while still green. It is a cultivar of Capsicum annuum related to bell peppers, jalapenos, paprika and others.
Cinnamon is a spice obtained from the bark of an evergreen tree belonging to the Lauraceae family. Major constituents in cinnamon include cinnamaldehyde, eugenol, terpinene, Î±-pinene, carvacrol, linalool, safrole, benzyl benzoate, and coumarin. A natural food preservative, cinnamon is a source of iron and calcium. Useful in reducing tumor growth, it blocks the formation of new vessels in the human body. The ability of cinnamon extracts to suppress the in vitro growth of H. pylori, a recognized risk factor for gastric cancer, gastric mucosa-associated lymphoid tissue lymphoma, and pancreatic cancer, has stirred considerable interest in the potential use of this spice to suppress human cancers.
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Spice mixes are blended spices or herbs. When a certain combination of herbs or spices is called for in many different recipes (or in one recipe that is used frequently), it is convenient to blend these ingredients beforehand. Blends such as chili powder, curry powder, herbes de Provence, garlic salt, and other seasoned salts are traditionally sold pre-made by grocers, and sometimes baking blends such as pumpkin pie spice are also available. These spice mixes are also easily made by the home cook for later use.
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