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.
SESAME SEED IS YOUR MEDICINE
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
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.
LONG PEPPER AS A SPICE-MEDICINE FOR THE FALL SEASON:
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
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.
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.
I BIT IN WITH CURIOSITY TO A NEW RELATIONSHIP
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.
WHAT I REDISCOVERED
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.
HOW TO GET A DAILY DOSE
OF CLOVE MEDICINE FOR
• 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
The celestial bodies are blessing us with an auspicious occasion in the early part of the year. This morning, Wednesday January 31, 2018 the first Super Blue Blood Moon and full Lunar eclipse since 1844 graced the sky. You may, like me find yourself in a heightened state of creative euphoria – nothing that unusual as the full moon tends to affect some people that way – but this feels extra-Cosmic and deeply spiritual. The words of George Harrison’s powerful song-prayer ‘Give me Love’ have been running through my mind and it feels like a healing nectar being poured sweetly over the whole universe.
Give me love Give me love Give me peace on earth. Give me light Give me life, Keep me free from birth. Give me hope. Help me cope, with this heavy load. Trying to touch and reach you with Heart and soul. Om mmmmmmmm. Mmmm my Lord. Please take hold of my hand, that I might understand you. Wont you please Oh won’t you.
In the last few days I have listened to this song repeatedly (ummm a thousand times). It’s like chanting a never ending mantra and I’ve noticed it stirring up feelings of beauty, love, peace, and devotion and oh-so-mystically aligning with this lunar event of the Super Blue Blood Moon.
A so-called blood moon occurs during a lunar eclipse when the moon, in the Earth’s shadow, takes on a reddish tint due to sunlight reflected by the atmosphere. A blue moon is when there are two full moons in one month and when these events occur together it is quite rare and magical. Apart from my desire to go deeper into the ecstasy of prayer, chanting, and devotional practice I was inspired to draw a Cosmic comparison to a fun coincidence in the kitchen with some colour magic. It was no surprise that I saw the earthly expression of the blue-blood moon manifesting in my teacup when I poured myself a very special alchemical flower elixir that I had bought over the holidays at an amazing new tea shop in my hood.
This marvellous flower (Clitoria ternatea) has become a bit of a tea trend and for really good reason. Butterfly Pea-Flower makes a transformative cup of tea, going from a pale blue to Indigo to purple depending on the PH balance of what is added to it. The PH balance of the tea is sensitive to change and acts like a mood ring, changing colours according to that shift. Add limes, lemons or any other citrus-botanical and a myriad of warm colours change before your eyes. I made a concentrated ginger-honey-lime syrup and as I added this to the steeped tea it bloomed from a violet-indigo blue moon to a purple-red blood moon in seconds. Nature!
Tangy and sweet, the ginger lime syrup gave the otherwise earthy woodsy taste of the flower tea a delicious feisty zing. Not only fun and very light to sip on but also satisfying and full of antioxidant benefits equivalent to that of green tea.
Geez talk about satisfying the artist’s aromatic soul!
RECIPE FOR ONCE-IN-A BLUE-MOON-CHAI
2 inch sliced fresh ginger
1 TBSP Honey
Juice 1/2 fresh lime
2 TBSP dried Butterfly Pea flowers
3/4 cup water
2 cups boiling water
Add sliced ginger to 3/4 cup water in a small pot and bring to boil. Simmer half covered for 10 minutes to reduce liquid to 1/2 cup. Add honey and lime juice and stir until blended.
Steep pea flowers in 2 cups boiling water for 5-10 minutes. Pour into glass. Enjoy the blue colour and add the ginger lime syrup to tea. Watch the magic as it changes to a purply-red colour. Experiment with other botanicals such as hibiscus, fresh grapefruit, lemon or orange juice. Sip under a blue blood moon : )
Happy Celestial Magic Moon and Fragrant Blessings as always,
Glynnis xox Your Spice Mistress
Some good places to buy Butterfly Pea Flower tea and other fun links.
You know those things you love and are attached to and have a hard time letting go of? Maybe because, well addiction or nostalgia or you just can’t imagine your life without it. Well I’m like that with chocolate. Every sworn abstinence just leads me back even stronger, pulls me closer like a crazy lover full of desire and ecstasy. And I like it. I love it. And I won’t stop because now I know I can have it as good medicine rather than guilty pleasure. Don’t get me wrong. There is plenty of pleasure, just without the guilt.
CACAO VS COCOA
Good chocolate makes all the difference. It’s certainly not like the Halloween candy bar stash that makes you high at night and very very low in the morning, or the processed hot cocoa with fake-o marshmallows on top that warms you up but leaves you wanting. So what exactly is ‘good chocolate’? Its raw and real, unprocessed, fair trade and organic.
The difference between cocoa and cacao is very simple. Cacao is the raw bean that has been fermented, cocoa is the processed cacao bean turned into powdered cocoa through heat. Cacao is raw and cocoa is what the bean is called after being heated and processed. So? The raw fermented cacao is FULL of antioxidants. Unbelievably 40 times higher than that of blueberries. Cocoa is roasted and has about 60% less antioxidant goodness, its basically been processed out.
Raw cacao is also choc-full (adorable pun intended!) of magnesium, in fact its the highest whole food source of magnesium which is a brain and heart super-food. Something I only recently found out is that raw cacao has a much higher and more bio-available (easier to digest and metabolize) calcium content than cow’s milk. Contrary to what we think we know about cacao is that it actually helps with weight loss, and stabilizing blood sugar. This makes it good for those with type 2 diabetes. It’s packed with coumarin (also found in cinnamon) and chromium which imbues it with these health-giving benefits.
The main reason we all eat this Theobroma ‘food of the Gods’ so passionately is that it makes us feel good. Cacao has an amino acid phenethylamine or PEA, the feel-good neurotransmitter responsible for that feeling of LOVE as it releases the pleasure-inducing endorphins. In Ayurveda cacao is an aphrodisiac or rasayana, boosting immunity by restoring the reproductive tissues and bringing SOMA or bliss to the mind and emotional body.
A DAILY DIET OF GUILT-FREE CACAO
So how best to get this good stuff into the daily diet and reduce cravings for the not-so-good stuff? Recently at Spice Lounge, an event I offer in Vancouver, we got to know the cacao bean a little more intimately and made a spice blend Gomasala where the star was cacao. This blend with a base of sesame seeds is for sprinkling lavishly as a finishing spice on avocado-toast, scrambled eggs, popcorn with ghee, soups, roasted veggies, chicken, fish…. really it adds nutritional enhancement and divine flavour to food of all kinds.
Included in our Spice Lounge was a cacao chai that can be enjoyed as a morning elixir or late afternoon drink to reduce sugar cravings. We had it in the evening and the group were all euphoric, there was a tangible mood of luscious love in the air. This cacao chai would make the most delicious holiday drink with whipped cream or frothed almond milk and perhaps a splash of ginger liqueur
CACAO SPICE MOON CHAI
Makes 8 cups.
This heavenly cacao chai is rich in antioxidants and digestive spice medicines. Cacao is the star ingredient of this chai and can be enjoyed any time of day as its tea base is the herbal but full bodied rooibos (red bush).
Rooibos is high in antioxidants and is anti-inflammatory and known to relieve stress and nervous tension. Along with the antioxidant, mind-relaxing and pleasure-inducing benefits of cacao this is a beverage for everyone during the cooler season and the busy holiday season.
Pre-toast all the whole spices together in a skillet (this optional step releases the aromatic molecules).
Gently crack the spices in a mortar and pestle or grinder, chunky style.
In a medium sized pot add 10 cups of water with spices and slowly bring to a boil.
Add the rooibos tea. Simmer together on very low for at least an hour to infuse the spices.
Add the dried ginger and cacao powder (and nutmeg if you are using ground) and stir well. Allow to steep for another 15 minutes.
Turn off heat and allow to steep for at least another few hours. This gives a deeper, richer chai.
Strain into a big glass jar to store in refrigerator or pour into mugs ready to enjoy.
Add honey (I like it sweet and spicy so I add 1 heaped tsp per cup)
Top with optional whipped cream or frothed almond milk and a dusting of cinnamon or cayenne.
Enjoy your Cacao Spice Moon Chai and the soulful magic of this Winter Solstice season. I’d love to hear how you adorned and enjoyed your personal Cacao Chai!
YOUR SPICE ORACLE FOR THE WINTER SOLSTICE SEASON
Pulled by The Spice Mistress
With Love and Fragrant blessings as always,
The Spice Mistress