You know what time of year it is when the aroma of pumpkin spice fills the air. Rather than a single spice, this popular seasoning is a mixture of several other spices. All the spices have a variety of proven health benefits, in addition to the warm feeling that their aroma evokes at this time of the year.
What Is Pumpkin Spice Made Of?
Pumpkin spice is made of a spice mix of cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and cloves as well as allspice. All these spices have been used for thousands of years for medicinal use, food preservation, and to make food taste better. Combined, these spices are high in antioxidants, easily absorbed within the body, and all natural. The addition of pumpkin spice into a favorite dish or beverage is a healthy alternative to high sodium and high caloric seasonings.
Each Ingredient’s Benefits
To correctly assess the benefits that pumpkin spice offers, it is important to look at the health benefits each spice adds to the mix.
For example, cinnamon has been used to treat muscle spasms, digestive issues, colds, infections and erectile dysfunction, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine. Cinnamon may lower blood sugar in people with type 1 or type 2 diabetes
It is also known to help ease problems with digestion, such as nausea and motion sickness, in addition to positively affecting appetite loss and even pain. The good news is that ginger is also safe for most people to consume, adds flavor to a variety of foods, including pumpkin, and does not add calories. However, some individuals may experience some acid reflux when consuming ginger.
The third spice in pumpkin spice is nutmeg. This spice comes from the fruit of evergreen trees in the Spice Islands. It is prized for being very aromatic, as well as for its aphrodisiac and curative properties. Among the medicinal uses for this third spice in the pumpkin spice mix are pain relief, digestive health, better brain health, a natural detoxing agent, oral health, and help with insomnia among other benefits.
The fourth ingredient in this iconic autumnal spice mixture is cloves. The aromatic bud of a flower from a tree native to Indonesia, there are many similar health benefits to this spice as detailed in the other three of the pumpkin spice mix, namely as an aid in digestion, boosting the body’s immune system and helping prevent and control oral health issues, including halitosis.
A fifth spice often included in the combination of spices that make up pumpkin spice is Allspice. Derived from the dried berry of a tropical evergreen tree, allspice has a similar fragrance to cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. It is also helpful in alleviating dyspepsia, or stomach distress. It is also a natural source of essential vitamins and minerals.
How To Make Your Own Spice Blend
Although pumpkin spice is found already mixed and ready to use, it is possible to make your own spice blend. One recipe calls for 3 tablespoons ground cinnamon, 2 teaspoons ground ginger, 2 teaspoons ground nutmeg, 1 ½ teaspoons ground allspice, and 1 ½ teaspoons ground cloves.
As with anything, moderation is the key. Overindulgence of any spice can be harmful.
The evocative fragrance of these spices, either alone or together, also influences aromatherapy, which uses scent to stimulate the sense of smell to bring about balance and encourage healing. The aroma of pumpkin spice creates that warm and fuzzy feeling people crave around the holidays by triggering the body’s limbic system, associating these scents with memories and emotions. Add to that the therapeutic nature of the combined spices, and indulging in the fragrance, let alone the taste of pumpkin spice can put you in a happier, healthier frame of mind.