Sumac – Meet the Tangy Antioxidant

Sumac – Meet the Tangy Antioxidant

Namaste spice soul, so good to connect here. As I work to complete my Spice Deck and get it ready for publishing soon, I am immersed in the spices in a way that is energized with some serious magic. A mystical event is not really surprising when engaging with the spice medicines and yet it is always thrilling. A few days before, after I had finalized work on the Sumac Spice Card, I went for an evening walk with my beloved and we decided to take a different route than usual around the neighbourhood. I had an electric feeling in my body and I was thinking about Sumac. 

After having poured through images of various types of Sumac that day, I felt a kinship with the tree and wondered when I would get to see one. I felt I had seen one before but had not introduced myself properly, if you know what I mean. Well, as we turned a corner just five blocks from our home in Vancouver BC, there it was, hard to see and barely lit on the new moon night. Even before I saw the flower-berries, I knew it was a Sumac just by the distinctive leaves. I experienced a slight bristle touching the furry berry-flowers that grow in almost conical shapes called drupes. The thought of a hairy berry doesn’t appeal, but of course the hairs are rubbed off before grinding the dried berries into a powdered spice. I reverently snapped off a drupe noting that the tree was adorned with plenty. Although this variety is mostly found in the Eastern part of North America, my find seems closest to Staghorn Sumac which feature velvety stems and pinkish-burgundy fluffy berries. Native to the Mediterranean and the Middle East, Sumacs are now found worldwide with multiple species in the Rhus genus within the Anacardiaceae family, which interestingly include cashews, mangos, and pistachios. 

Messages from the natural world are not to be ignored and I consulted with the Sumac Spice Oracle Card to see what it was I needed to hear from this encounter. I will for sure be including this tangy spice in my food and beverage elixirs until the next new moon at least.        



This sour and astringent berry is proven to have one of the highest antioxidant levels amongst all spices and fruits, even more than the deliciously nutritious and trending açai berry – made popular in smoothies and smoothie bowls.  Antioxidants of course bring a host of anti-cancer, immune-boosting benefits, as well as being a blood cleanser, and all round heart tonic. The Sumac tree is also called the Lemonade or Vinegar Tree, and Sumac-ade is a well-loved drink made from the berries or the dried ground spice, it has the bright tart, refreshing effect that cools the Pitta fire and lightens Kapha heaviness as well as being a gentle digestive tonic. 



A refreshing lemonade-like drink that is tart and sweet (with the addition of honey or maple syrup) and especially during a heatwave helps to cool the body and refresh the overheated, irritable Pitta mind. 

YOU WILL NEED: 3 heaped TBSP of ground Sumac spice, 3 cups filtered water, 1-3 TBSP honey (sweeten to taste)

METHOD: Pour room-temperature filtered water over sumac in a large mason jar. Cover and steep overnight (8-12 hours). Strain through a fine strainer or cheesecloth/filter. Add the honey to taste (you may add honey to 1/8 cup hot water first to dissolve, and then add. Add a slice of lime and a couple cubes of ice. Enjoy!


THIS incredible salty, tart, pungent, slightly sweet, savoury spice blend has adorned Middle Eastern dishes for centuries and is so easy to make and add to your daily aromanutrition. Full of nourishing rewards for your health, you can sprinkle lavishly on homemade pitta bread with olive oil, in salads, with yoghurt dips, on fruit, grilled veggies, the possibilities are endless – Za’atar goes with just about everything. The secret is the Sumac, and with the other herbaceous ingredients and a base of sesame seeds and salt, you get many essential vitamins and minerals in every serving. Make a nice big batch and keep for up to 3 months in a well-sealed jar. As we get ready for late Summer/early Fall, this calcium-rich blend is balancing to all body types when used as a condiment. Enjoy the Spice Mistress version of the classic Za’atar.    

YOU WILL NEED: 3 TBSP ground sumac, 3 TBSP dried oregano, 1 TBSP roughly-ground cumin seed, 4 TBSP sesame seeds, 1 TBSP Dried thyme, 1 tsp rock/sea salt.

METHOD: Blend all spices, herbs and salt together, keep in airtight mason jar in a cool place.


VERY excitingly my 52 card Spice Deck and gorgeous companion booklet with Ayurvedic wisdom and kitchen medicine, is releasing on Kickstarter on September 20th on the Full Harvest Moon. How auspicious is that! I know many have been waiting for a long time for this and I have too : ) So much has happened to delay this beauty being born out into the world, but all good things are worth waiting for… stay tuned!

In the meantime acquire some real sumac spice (watch out for dyed imposters!) and get to know this magic bold spice – you have nothing to fear.

Fragrant Blessings.
Spice Mistress, Glynnis xo

A Tiny but Mighty Medicine

A Tiny but Mighty Medicine

A teeny tiny bit of faith is plenty.

The mustard seed, this tiny power packed spice is known as the seed of faith. What makes it so? The great sages and saints knew about the power in the mustard seed, and what becomes of it, the flower, the spice, the medicine. It has been used as a symbol for potentiality, held within something so small as to be almost invisible. 

Many sacred texts and spiritual parables across religions of the world, note the mustard seed as a powerful healing medicine and a symbol of faith.

“The Kingdom of Heaven is like a grain of mustard seed, which indeed is smaller than all seeds but when it is grown, it is greater than the herbs and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and lodge in its branches…. if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can move mountains. Nothing will be impossible for you.”

When I am in the kitchen with mustard seeds popping enthusiastically in my skillet, and then grinding them into a spicy, enlivening masala or paste and the pungent aroma tickles my nose, I believe

It only takes a small act of faith to live in the realm of infinite possibility. Try it. Work with this potent spice seed throughout the Spring and watch as your body responds with increased circulation, improved lung capacity, and a feeling of lightness as you detox sticky gunk from your body, purge dull thoughts from your mind and lift heavy emotions in your heart. Focus on having faith, and moving those mountains. 


  • 3/4 cup yellow mustard seeds (or mix it up half yellow/half black)
  • 1and 1/2 cups filtered water
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp Turmeric powder
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne powder or paprika for a slightly less spicy version.
  • 1/8 tsp garlic powder or 1 whole clove of very finely minced garlic 
  • 1/4 tsp ginger powder
  • 1 TBSP honey (Optional). 
  • Powder the seeds in a spice grinder or mortar and pestle to a fine powder or make it ‘chunky style’ and leave some seeds cracked but not ground. .Chunky or smooth – your choice!
  • Blend with the rest of the spices. 
  • In a small medium pot, add the water and spice blend. If using fresh garlic, add and stir in.
  • Cook over very low heat for about 30 minutes, until it gently starts bubbling. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking.
  • Add the vinegar, stir in well and let it simmer for another 5-10 minutes. 
  • Pour in a glass jar and cool before closing with airtight lid. Refrigerate..
  • Leave in fridge to settle for at least 24 hours. to mellow out, this decreases bitterness,. 
  • Use within two to three months. 

    Spoon over veggies, add to salad dressings, soups, stir fries, beans, rice, sandwiches,

    Mustard Spice Blend

Learn more about MUSTARD SEED and take a peek at the Spice Deck Card and discover the Mustard Oracle to bring wisdom for this Season. 

Spice Deck card back

Let me know how your mustard adventures go my spice friends, and join me for the 2021 Ayurvedic Home Spring Cleanse where we will certainly be moving mountains!

Fragrant Blessings,
Glynnis xo

Your Equinox Spice Oracle has spoken.

Your Equinox Spice Oracle has spoken.

Fall Greetings Beautiful Soul.


At 6.30am this morning, I pulled a Spice Oracle Card with a prayer for all beings everywhere. This was the exact time (Pacific Time) of the 2020 Autumnal Equinox. Magic happens at such an hour on such a Celestial occasion and so I suppose, although enchanted,  I was not very surprised when I pulled the Sesame card.



Ground yourself in meditation.
This is your message and your medicine.
Plant the seeds of deep understanding
by connecting to the cosmic energy,
the giver of all life.

Here you will find true nourishment.


Sesame spice-medicine has a very aligned message and some serious magic for us at this auspicious time in our human evolution, and also in the seasonal shift we are experiencing now in the Northern Hemisphere. You see, Autumn or Fall, however you name this season, is when the Vata elements of Air and Ether are presiding and in order to remain grounded, stable, and sane, we need Sesame. And other Vata-pacifying food and lifestyle practices.


If you understand the effects of Vata and the Doshas, you will already be noticing the elevated qualities of this ethereal, mobile, light, quick, dry, cold, erratic force of nature. Vata is VAYU which means Wind. The Sanskrit word Vata literally means ‘blown’ and Vayu, ‘blower.’ So we have the blown and the blower, and this is what can knock us off our course, derange our thoughts, unsettle our hearts, and make us feel as if we are flying wildly and without direction, in an uncontrollable vaccuum of fear, anxiety, exhaustion, and confusion, especially during the Fall season.


So Sesame Medicine is true nourishment.  The kind that comes from the deep and consistent practice of meditation. What a perfect Spice Oracle for this day, this season, this human life. Rather than being blown about by the winds of change, we can find ever-present, unchangeable peace and serenity by tuning in every day to the Giver of all life through a daily meditation practice. 


Sesame tells us to chew our life experiences well, to grind our seeds of practice into a nourishing life habit. When you chew well on the seeds, you can properly absorb the myriad vitamins and minerals it provides. When you patiently grind sesame seeds, you make tahini, a creamy paste that is easy to digest, tastes delicious, and feels nourishing. We also produce a sublime substance with similar qualities, through our meditation practice, it is called SOMA, the nectar of bliss-awakening.


Ah, I am on a path of sharing profound wisdom this morning, bestowed on me by my aromatic spice companions. I also realized that pulling the Sesame Oracle Card, was synchronistic with the just-launched Autumn issue of Maple Magazine. My Ayurvedic article in there for the season was all about, ya you guessed it, Sesame!

In the article I talk about how tila or sesame seeds are named in the Vedas, as seeds of immortality. In Ayurveda, this refers to the rich and fortifying nutrition, and life-giving qualities of the food and oil that comes from the seed. They boost our ojas or immunity, and bless us with longevity. They are a rasayana, a sacred restorative food.

Through external oiling of the body with sesame oil, and internal nutrition of the seed as a spice, we gain double-benefits for our healthy state of being, body, mind and soul.

Sesame is loaded with calcium, iron, potassium, magnesium, and a high level of plant protein. How do you include this in your daily diet? Gently toast and blend the seeds with other spices and sprinkle lavishly on warming grains, soups, stews, and kitchari. Spread the paste on earthy whole-grain bread or make a dressing/sauce for your sweet roasted root veggies.

Thank you Sesame for blessing us all with your message today, and with your grounding nourishment every day. My lovely friends, I wish you the true Nourishment of the season, and steadfast mojo for your Fall meditations.

Fragrant Blessings,
Your Spice Mistress, Glynnis xo


Long Pepper. Long Life.

Long Pepper. Long Life.

Namaste Beautiful Spice-Lovers. Have you met Pippali, Long Pepper? (not at all related to Pippi Long Stocking!). Pippali is actually the Sanskrit word for this close relative of the somewhat less-spicy better known, black pepper, both from the Piperacea family. 

The gorgeously fascinating and aromatically elegant long fruit of this flowering vine, is dried and used as a spice, but more so as a spice-medicine with roots in Ayurveda, dating back thousands of years. Not surprising. This pepper plant is special. It has a unique gift of boosting the potency of other herbs and spices when taken together. This generous act is known in Ayurveda as Yoga Vahi, where the assimilation, metabolism, and absorption of substances are enhanced in the body by another special botanical. Turmeric bio-availability is a good example, we have heard of black pepper making this anti-inflammatory spice-marvel more easily assimilated in the system, but Long Pepper takes it up a notch. 

This is not the aromatic spice’s only superpower. Pippali is good medicine for the respiratory system, particularly for the lungs. Not only does it restore lung tissue, it detoxifies accumulations in the lungs and relieves asthma. Beneficial to both Kapha and Vata constitutions with stimulating and warming actions. Pippali is a lung tonic of note, and we need to know about it. At this time when wild fires are burning and smoke fills the air, when flu season is upon us, and COVID-19 persists, the protection of our lungs is more than wise, its crucial. Long Pepper is a Rasayana, a plant of longevity, an alterative, breathing life into our lungs. And I’ll make this long pungent spice story, short and sweet…..get yourself some. 


1. Add to a blend, equal parts ground Long Pepper, Ground Ginger, Ground Turmeric. Add a pinch to warm water or almond milk. Add to your chai with cardamom and cinnamon. 

2. Add a pinch to warm milk with a drop of honey, drink as a morning tonic (rasayana).  

3. Use as a spice for soups, kichari, and roasted grains and veggies, along with cumin, cardamom, cinnamon, ginger. Found in the famous spice blend in Ras El Hanout.

4. Found in the classic Ayurvedic formula Trikatu, use for lung


Not so easy to find but WORTH IT. I recently ordered some online at this amazing Canadian Spice Store. For an online search look for Long Pepper or Pippali, its out there! I’m excited to hear what you find.

Fragrant Blessings.
Your Spice Mistress, Glynnis x

A note: Long Pepper is not for ongoing long-term use as a medicine. It is safe as a short term tonic and for acute respiratory and digestive issues. Used as a spice in a blend is a good way to incorporate a small amount into your diet. 

Cloves of Love and the Full March Moon

Cloves of Love and the Full March Moon

Full Moon Ode to Clove

known as “the strong-scented”
Katukaphalah or Lavanga
Your Sanskrit names vibrate with sensual power
and good Kapha medicine,
and aromatic stories well-travelled.
From Maluku Islands within the Banda Sea,
you have come.
Clove Bud you numb my pain,
making me forget, with your sweet spicy botanica
yet uniquely pungent.
The dried flower bud,
of the tropical evergreen.
Syzygium Aromaticum
My love for you is eternal,
and true is yours for me.

Ahhhhhh yes another full moon, with two occurring in this month of March. It seems like we are blessed with Blue Moons galore in this power 2018 year. As I looked in my spice apothecary this morning to adorn my rye oats with something spicy for the almost-Spring damp day, the clove jar jumped off the shelf. Usually cloves are my  third, fourth or fifth choice to go in my chai or maybe in something baked. I’ve chewed on a bud for relieving toothache.

But today I gave it a closer look, you know how you cannot ignore the plea of something to be acknowledged when it makes you pay attention. And so a new love affair with an old spice is born as I put the C in LOVE for this full moon.


Giving this familiar spice another chance to show its character made me feel grateful. All those things that are ‘just there’ that we take for granted, and yet they are so mystical, generous, exotic even, when we dig deeper and smell closer and taste with more attention. Always striving for the new, the glamorous, the exciting, sometimes we overlook those solid things and their secrets to happiness.


Clove is a visionary spice. Its strong smell and intense flavour literally numbs the mucous membranes, it is an analgesic, quieting pain so one can focus on higher things (like feeling good). I sprinkled some on my rye oats along with ginger and turmeric and blueberries and cashews with a splash of almond milk. Ohmigosh I could not believe the fireworks that went off in my brain. This is Kapha time of year and the spicy digestive activity started right in my mouth, allowing for easy digestion. Pulling away all things sticky that I wanted unstuck. It was delicious all this good spice medicine at breakfast time. And then I bit into a whole clove bud. I closed my eyes and chewed it. A world of flavours and sensations arose in me. I forgot the cliche’s of clove and saw this spice treasure in new light.

In addition to their unique, sweet and pungent aromatic flavor, cloves are revered for their potent medicinal properties. Studies have found that the compounds in cloves display multiple health benefits, including supporting liver health, helping stabilize blood sugar levels, as well as being antimicrobial and rich in antioxidants, and improving bone health. (Jaw-dropping!).

For sure I could go on with a long list of clinical benefits but those do not sing in the heart.  In Ayurveda the wisest way to receive boons from the plant and spice medicines is to include them with reverence in moderation in your daily diet, perhaps even chanting their names as you invite them into your inner world.


• Sprinkle into your cereal, oats or atop scrambled eggs
• Adorn your eggs-and-avo toast
• Add to your chai
• Goes great in coffee!
• Make a spice blend with clove and sprinkle lavishly
• Add to your smoothie
• Drop one into your herbal tea

May you too discover new mysteries in old relationships for this full moon and all the cycles of your life.

With CLOVE and Fragrant Blessings,
Spice Mistress Glynnis xox