I recently discovered the wonders of five-spice powder. Five-spice powder is an oriental blend of five fragrant (and healthy) spices ground together - fennel seeds, cinnamon, star-anise, cloves and peppercorn. Not only is this spiced concoction flavorful, it is also packed with medicinal properties.
Discover the health benefits of the Chinese Five-Spice powder.
#1: Fennel Seeds
Fennel seeds contain strong antioxidant properties. Natural flavonoid antioxidants in fennel seeds, such as kaempferol quercetin and rutin, are known to reduce inflammation and effectively remove harmful free radicals in the body, thus protecting from cancers, aging, infections and degenerative neurological diseases.
Fennels seeds are also rich in dietary fiber, vitamins and minerals such as vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin B-complex, iron, magnesium, copper, calcium, zinc and selenium. These vitamins and minerals aid in the production, formation and operation of red blood cells, control heart and blood pressure and regulate digestion. Super rich in folate and potassium, fennel seeds are great for women in child-bearing age.
Cinnamon contains strong antibacterial properties. Studies have shown that cinnamon is effective in fighting ulcer-causing stomach bacteria such H. pylori and other pathogens. This spice also helps to regulate blood sugar levels, reduce LDL cholesterol ("the bad cholesterol") and balance hormone production levels in women. Excellent for women experiencing infertility issues due to hormonal imbalance.
#3: Star Anise
Star anise is a dark brown star-shaped fruit (yup, it's a fruit) used commonly in Indian dishes. It has a sweet licorice flavor, and contains strong antiviral properties such as shikimic acid. Shikimic acid, combined with quercetin (even at low doses), can ramp up immune function to fight viral infections such as cold and influenza. This spice also has anti-septic, anti-spasmodic and anti-inflammatory properties; traditionally used to relieve stomach pain, back pain, digestive problems and respiratory tract infections. Good for women who are menstruating or lactating.
Clove is a highly-prized spice that contains a concentrated amount of a powerful anti-inflammatory known as - eugenol. It is what gives the clove bud a sweet aromatic fragrance. Eugenol has local anesthetic and antiseptic properties. Its active components aid in reducing blood sugar levels, and relieving ingestion, constipation, toothache and joint pain. Cloves also contains high levels of vitamin A, vitamin K, vitamin B-6, riboflavin and beta-carotene.
Peppercorns are packed with phytochemicals. These are naturally occurring compounds found in plants are strong antioxidants that neutralizes harmful free radicals in the body, preventing cellular damage. Peppercorns are effective diuretic with the ability to naturally "heat" up the body, increase metabolic rate and encourage the body to sweat as a natural way of eliminating toxins.
Five-Spice Powder in often used as a spice rub for chicken, duck and pork in Chinese cooking. Delicious Cantonese dishes like roasted duck, braised pork belly and beef stew all have five-spice powder on its recipe listing.