You may have heard of the joke that some people can’t tell the difference between mint and coriander, and end up buying one when they wanted to buy another. This joke is a reality for some people, and for some people, this confusion extends further to cinnamon, nutmeg, and pepper.
All these spices are very similar in appearance, and anyone who doesn’t know much about these spices can confuse himself over this.
In such a scenario, we all wish that there should be a mega spice which is a combination of all three spices. Just like our smartphone which acts as a mode of communication and as well as entertainment.
The good thing is there is a spice called “Allspice” which is a combination of cinnamon, nutmeg, and pepper that can be used as an alternative to these three spices.
What Is Allspice?
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Allspice is derived from the dried berries of the “Pimenta dioica” plant. This is an evergreen shrub.
Allspice got this unique name because of its unique flavor which is a combination of cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, pepper, juniper, and ginger. Allspice was first grown in Southern Mexico, and Central America but is now found in many regions of the world. Allspice is also known by some other names such as Jamaican pimento, myrtle pepper, and kababchini in other parts of the world.
To make allspice spice, green and ripe allspice fruits are picked and sundried until they turn brown and look like large peppercorn kernels.
These dried allspice berries can be used either as a powder or as a whole. Leaves of allspice plants can also be used in cooking, and look like bay leaves.
History Of Allspice
Allspice has an interesting history associated with it. It is native to Jamaica and was first encountered by Christopher Columbus when he was on his second voyage to the New World in 1493. He was looking for a pepper, and a taste of allspice resembles the taste of pepper, so he mistook allspice to be pepper. He bought allspice along with him to Spain, and in Spain, it was named as “Pimienta” by Diego Alvarez Chanca.
This way, allspice made its way to the European and Mediterranean cuisines by the 15th and 16th centuries. Allspice was a popularly used spice until world war II.
During world war II, many allspice trees were cut and their production almost vanished.
Because of this reason, it is not much popular these days.
However, it is a powerhouse of nutrients that provides amazing health and beauty benefits.
Nutritional Value of Allspice
Allspice has a rich nutritious profile because of the presence of various nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, carbohydrates, dietary fibers, and phytonutrients, etc.
One tablespoon (about 6 grams) of allspice provides around 0.5 grams of fat and 15.8 calories. It has 4.3 grams of carbohydrates and no cholesterol.
Acai berries are also a good source of potassium, iron, calcium magnesium, and vitamin C, and low in sodium.
Health Benefits of Allspice
(1) Provides Anti-Inflammatory Benefits
Allspice is anti-inflammatory and because of this property, it is widely used for providing relief from the pain and inflammation caused by various problems such as muscle aches, joint pains, sprains, fits, arthritis, rheumatism, and hemorrhoids, etc.
This advantage is mainly because of the presence of vitamin C and other antioxidant inflammatory compounds in them.
For experiencing anti-inflammatory benefits, it is suggested to use allspice topically like in the form of essential oil, poultice ours in a hot bath.
(2) Improves our Digestive Health
Another advantage of allspice is its ability to improve our digestive health and keeps our stomach healthy.
The Eugenol present in the allspice stimulates digestive enzymes and thus improves digestion.
The antioxidants present in the allspice protect our digestive system from the oxidative damage caused by the free radicals in our body, and thus minimizes the risk of various cancers such as colon cancer, abdominal cancer pancreas, and so on.
The dietary fiber present in the allspice is a natural laxative that improves bowel movement and ensures smooth elimination of stool from our system. This provides relief from constipation and other gastrointestinal problems such as abdominal pain, irritable bowel syndrome, gas, bloating and flatulence, etc.
Allspice is known to improve our overall digestive health.
(3) Strengthens Our Immune System
Allspice is anti-bacterial. This property along with some other property makes them very beneficial for strengthening our immune system.
It is effective against several stomach bacteria such as E. Coli, Listeria monocytogenes, and salmonella enteruca.
Our immune system is the defense mechanism of our body that prevents the disease-causing microbes such as bacteria, viruses, and fungi, etc from invading us. Even if these microbes manage to enter our body, it is the immune system that fights against them and makes us healthy again. By making our immune system stronger it reduces getting infected by cough, cold, and fever, etc.
The antioxidants present in the acai berries fight against the free radicals in our system, stabilizes them, and prevents them from causing oxidative damage to our cells, including the white blood corpuscles that serve as s backbone of the immune system.
Other nutrients like zinc, copper, and iron, etc also play a significant role in boosting immunity.
(4) Provides Antioxidantal Benefits
Allspice is loaded with several antioxidants such as vitamin A, vitamin C, Eugenol, quercetin and tannins, etc that provide numerous benefits.
These antioxidants combat the free radicals in our body, stabilizes them, and thus prevents them from causing oxidative damage to our cells and tissues.
By protecting our cells and tissues from oxidative damage, it minimizes the risk of several types of cancers.
It is known for strengthening our immune system and is also beneficial for our vital organs like the liver and kidneys.
It also minimizes the signs of premature aging such as fine lines, wrinkles, age spots, dark spots and skin blemishes, etc.
(5) Enhances Dental Health
Allspice is very effective for enhancing our dental health due to the presence of Eugenol. Eugenol is a natural anesthetic which is being used in traditional medicines for ages.
The antimicrobial property of allspice is known to improve our teeth and gum health.
For using allspice for oral health, it is suggested to gargle with allspice water regularly.
(6) Improves Blood Circulation
The essential oil made from the allspice is known for improving blood circulation. The best way to use the essential oil for this purpose is to massage the affected area with allspice essential oil. This will not only improve blood circulation but also adds a warming effect which can help reduce pain and inflammation from the affected area.
In addition to this, the presence of low levels of sodium and high level of potassium also plays a significant role in improving blood circulation.
(7) Provides Relief From Hypertension
Hypertension or high blood pressure is a silent killer that affects millions of people around the world and is also a leading cause of various cardiovascular problems such as heart attack, heart stroke, irregular heartbeat, etc.
For healthy living, it is necessary to keep our blood pressure under control, and allspice can help in doing so.
This advantage is mainly because of the low level of sodium and an adequate level of potassium in it.
Potassium is a natural vasodilator that relaxes our blood vessels, improves blood circulation, and thus provides relief from hypertension.
Although allspice aids in regulating high blood pressure it is suggested to use them in moderation as otherwise, they may lower our blood pressure to an extremely low-level high giving rise to hypotension, which is characterized b by the symptoms such as dizziness, nausea, fainting, blurred vision, pale skin, lack of concentration, etc.
In the same way, if you are already taking medication for high blood pressure, it is suggested to be on the safe side and use allspice only after the doctor’s advice as it may otherwise interfere with the medication.
(8) Promotes Cardiovascular Health
Allspice is very beneficial for our heart and overall cardiovascular health. This benefit is mainly due to the presence of essential nutrients like vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, phytonutrients, and dietary fibers in them.
The antioxidants such as vitamin C, vitamin A, and other relevant compounds present in the allspice protects our heart muscles from the ill effects of the oxidative damage caused by the free radicals of our body.
The dietary fibers help in managing cholesterol level as it prevents the accumulation of plaque and fat deposits in the arteries, and thus reduces the risk of atherosclerosis which is a leading condition for various cardiovascular problems such as heart attack, stroke, and palpitation, etc. It also helps in the removal of toxins and other impurities from our system, which could otherwise affect our vital organs like the heart, liver, and kidneys negatively.
Potassium present in the allspice improves blood circulation, regulates high blood pressure, and is thus beneficial for our cardiovascular health.
(9) Strengthens Bones And Improves Bone Mineral Density
It is a well-known fact that calcium plays an important role in maintaining our bone health as it is required by our body for the growth and development of the bones, and also for making them stronger.
However, calcium is not the only mineral responsible for our bone health.
Another important trace mineral called “Manganese” also plays a major role in strengthening our bones.
Allspice is a good source of manganese, and this mineral is responsible for strengthening our bones, and for reducing spinal bone weakness in postmenopausal women. It is also known to improve bone density.
Bone density is a factor that determines the amount of calcium and other bone minerals present in a segment of bone. A low bone density indicates the deficiency of calcium, manganese, and other bone minerals. In simple words, this represents weak bones that are prone to damage and fracture, and are at a high risk of developing osteoporosis.
(10) Natural Energy Booster
Allspice is a natural energy booster that enhances our energy level and stamina, without the involvement of addictive chemicals such as caffeine in them.
These energy-boosting abilities of allspice are mainly because of the presence of various nutrients like vitamins and minerals etc. in them.
The iron present in the allspice enhances the production of red blood corpuscles that carries oxygenated blood to and from our cells and tissues and provides nourishment to them.
The iron in the allspice also makes it beneficial for the treatment of anemia, a condition caused by the deficiency of iron and is characterized by the symptoms such as fatigue, weakness, pale skin, irregular heartbeat, dizziness and shortness of breath, etc.
Potassium helps with blood circulation, and improved blood circulation ensures that nourishment that gets from food reaches every cell and tissue of our body efficiently.
Antioxidants in the allspice protect our circulatory system from the oxidative damage caused by the free radicals and are thus good for us.
(11) Improves Metabolism
Allspice is very beneficial for improving metabolism due to the presence of essential vitamins and minerals in them. A healthy metabolism is important for maintaining our well-being as it determines the effective rate at which our body burns calories from the food we consume.
A slow metabolism means our body burns calories at a slow rate and this could lead to excessive weight gain or obesity. On the other hand, people with flat metabolism burns calories at a higher rate and are likely to be underweight.
The essential nutrients present in the allspice improves metabolism.
Iron in it helps in the generation of new cells and red blood from the bone marrow, while manganese improves bone density and also enhances the synthesis of antioxidantal enzymes.
Potassium maintains electrolyte balance, regulates blood pressure and heartbeat, and performs many other functions.
(12) Allspice And Cancer
Allspice has a complicated relationship with cancer.
On one hand, it is a powerhouse of numerous antioxidants such as vitamin A, vitamin C, and other antioxidantal compounds like anthocyanin, phytonutrients, and polyphenols, etc that fights with the free radicals in our body, stabilizes them, and prevents them from causing oxidative damage to our cells and tissues. By doing so it reduces the risk of several cancers.
Research studies conducted on mice have found that it can kill breast cancer cells and inhibits the growth of prostate cancer cells.
On the other hand, allspice is also a good source of Eugenol that can prime the growth of cancer cells in people that already have some form of cancer or those who are at the risk of developing some form of cancer.
Keeping this in mind, it is safe to say that it is better to be cautious.
(13) Good For Brain and Improves Neurological Health
Allspice is good for our brain and plays an important role in improving our neurological health.
This advantage is mainly due to the presence of essential nutrients like vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, etc in them.
The antioxidants like vitamin c, vitamin A and other compounds such as phytonutrients and polyphenols, etc protects our neurological system from the oxidative damage caused by the free radicals in our system, and thus reduces the risk of neurological disorders such as Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, and Amnesia, etc.
Folate present in our improves brain functioning during aging. The riboflavin in it reduces brain fatigue.
Other nutrients also play an important role in maintaining our neurological health and provides numerous benefits such as sharper memory, improved focus, mental clarity, and so on.
(14) Keeps Premature Ageing At Bay
Using allspice on a regular and moderate basis is very beneficial for keeping various signs of premature aging such as fine lines, wrinkles, age spots, dark spots and skin blemishes, etc. at bay.
This benefit of allspice is mainly because of the presence of antioxidants like vitamin C, vitamin A and other compounds such as polyphenols and phytonutrients, etc. in them. These compounds protect our cells and tissues from the oxidative damage caused by the free radicals and thus reduces the signs of premature aging.
It also enhances the production of collagen which is an important amino acid found in connective tissues such as tendons, cartilages, and capillaries, etc and plays an important role in maintaining skin elasticity.
The dietary fibers in the allspices help with skin detoxification and make our skin soft, supple, and radiant.
(15) Regulates Blood Sugar Level
Tea made from the allspice extract could be very beneficial for people with diabetes and for those who are at the risk of developing diabetes.
This is mainly because of its extremely low glycemic index. It is a scale ranging from 0 to 100 that determines the rate at which a particular food item releases sugar into the bloodstream.
Being a low glycemic index food means it releases sugar into the bloodstream at a slow pace and thus regulates blood sugar levels.
Additionally, the dietary fibers in the allspice reduce the rate at which sugar gets absorbed by the bloodstream and thus helps in managing diabetes.
(16) Maintains Healthy Blood Cell Count
Allspice is very efficient in maintaining healthy blood cell count due to the presence of trace minerals such as iron and copper in them. These minerals play an important role in the formation of new blood cells including the red blood cells that provides nourishment to every cell and tissue of our body.
By doing so, it helps in maintaining healthy blood cell count, and also reduces the risk of anemia, fatigue, and muscle weakness.
(17) Relieves Menstrual Cramps
Allspice helps provide relief from the pain and discomfort that women face during their periods.
The anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties of the allspice are very effective for providing relief from pain and discomfort of the menstrual cramps.
It also helps in treating menopausal symptoms.
This benefit can be best experienced by consuming tea made from the allspice extract.
(18) Masks Unpleasant Odors
Allspice has a strong Aroma that notes cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and ginger.
Because of its strong scent, allspice essential oil is being used as a fragrance in deodorants, cosmetics, aftershaves, and medicines for making unpleasant odors.
(19) Fights Disease-Causing Microbes Such As Bacteria and Virus
Allspice is antibacterial and antiviral, and when added to food, it helps in getting rid of the disease-causing microbes that may contaminate the food during and after food preparation.
It has been found to kill bacteria and inhibit the fungal growth in the food.
Because of its antimicrobial property, allspice could prevent sickness from various types of infections.
(20) Natural Anti Depressant
Allspice is a natural antidepressant that provides relief from stress and anxiety and improves mental health.
For this reason, essential oils made from the allspice extract are widely popular in aromatherapy for reducing stress, depression, and anxiety.
This anti-depressing benefit of allspice is mainly due to the presence of essential compounds such as folate, zinc, and magnesium in them.
(21) Helps In The Treatment of Nausea
Allspice is good for our stomach and keeps our digestive system healthy. Antioxidants protect our digestive them from oxidative damage, and the dietary fibers provide relief from constipation and other gastrointestinal problems like abdominal pain, irritable bowel syndrome, gas, bloating and flatulence, etc.
Allspice is equally beneficial for providing relief from nausea that makes us feel as if we are about to throw up. This benefit is due to the presence of “Eugenol” in it.
Tea made from the allspice extract can settle an upset stomach and provides relief from discomfort.
(22) Aids In Weight Loss
Allspice is also beneficial for the people who are on a weight loss journey and would like to get rid of some extra pounds.
This advantage is because of the ability of allspice to improve our metabolism. A healthy metabolism ensures that we can burn calories at an efficient rate.
The dietary fibers in the allspice provide satiety to our stomach which means it gives a feeling of fullness to our stomach, controls overeating, and thus helps with weight loss.
Uses of Allspice
Allspice is used in various forms. Some of the common ways to use allspice are as follows:-
- Allspice is used in cooking as a spice to add unique flavor to meats, vegetables, and desserts
- Allspice is also used in its powder form. For this, allspice is dried for removal of water moisture and then grounded to a fine powder.
- “Pimento Dram” is a popular liquor in the West Indies which is made from allspice extract.
- It is also used in jerk seasoning, milk sauces, and for flavoring pickles.
- In Germany, it is widely popular in the commercial sausage industry and it is used in large quantities.
- In the USA and Great Britain, it is widely used for confectionery items such as cakes and cookies,, etc.
- Like bay leaves, fresh allspice leaves can be used for cooking.
- In its powder form, allspice is extensively used for various food items such as soups, stew, spaghetti sauce, pot roast, meatloaf, barbecue sauce, as a coating for ham, Sarkar dressing marinade, cakes, cookies, pickles, pickled beets, sweet potatoes, candy, frosting,, and mincemeat,, etc.
The information contained in the post is for general purposes only and shouldn’t be considered as medical advice or as an alternative to medical advice. Although I’ve tried my best to keep the information contained in this post as accurate and updated as possible, I make no guarantee of the accurateness of the same.
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