Carminatives: The little known health secret that’s already in your kitchen.
By Kami McBride

spice rack health herbs

I have a question for you. Why do you have spices in your kitchen?

Maybe you just have salt and pepper. Maybe you have salt, pepper, and cinnamon. Maybe you have baking spices or maybe you have a whole cupboard or drawer full all kinds of spice blends

My husband likes to have chili powder and some kind of barbecue blend. That’s about it for his repertoire.

What would your spaghetti sauce be without oregano? Or potatoes without pepper? Or that green drink without some ginger?

Yes, we use those spices for flavor, but what I’d like to do is take us beyond flavor.

What if I told you that all of the spice condiments in your cupboard were there to help you digest your food?

spice rack health herbs

Herbs and spices are the bridge to your nutrition. There’s a reason that spices are paired with foods. You find ginger with fish, cardamom with yogurt, black pepper with cream sauce, mint with lamb and bay leaf with beans.

What would your corn tortilla be without the chilies and the salsa? They are there to help with flavor, but it’s all about digestion.

What does it really mean when we say that using spices to help with digestion can enhance your wellness?

Well, we’ve all heard the saying, “You are what you eat.” Well…… “You are what you digest!”

Your body takes in food, tears it apart, breaks it down and then rebuilds it into your heart cells, hair cells, your toes, fingernails……..

Every second you rebuild new cells throughout your body. The quality of your everyday health and wellness is totally influenced by how well you assimilate what you eat which is where you get the building blocks to create all those new cells.

This is a really important piece of understanding the value of your common kitchen herbs and spices and how they support your health.

Here is one of my favorite Spice Rack Hacks: A Carminative at every meal.

All the spices in your cabinet whether it be the green herbs like sage, thyme, rosemary, or dill, or the more dense spices like cinnamon, cardamom, clove or ginger; they are all digestive aids. They all have a carminative action in the body.

Carminative herbs and spices increase the nutrient absorption rate of your food. They help to reduce gas, bloating, constipation, and digestive upset.

With every meal you have the chance to use helper herbs and spices to boost your digestive power and bridge your food into something that you can really absorb and digest.

Using little bits of herbs and spices can help you out every day. Whether it’s pepper on your potatoes or garlic in your pasta, you are engaging in the ancient tradition of using herbs to enhance the health benefits and the digestibility of your food.

Spices. Spice over Wood. Herbs. Curry, Saffron, turmeric, cinnamon and other over wooden background

Curry, Saffron, Turmeric, Cinnamon and others

That is the hidden super power that lies in your kitchen spice rack. Now, you know just a little bit more about what you already do. You’re already doing this, right?

The flavor makes it attractive and good, but healthy digestion is the real benefit of using your spices. This is so simple, so powerful.

You may be thinking, “Hey, I eat a lot of meals without spices and I do just fine.” Okay, yes, you do. You do just fine. Your body is amazing and it has to digest that food, so what it does is it puts a lot of energy toward that task.

In fact, your body will rob energy from all kinds of places–Have you ever eaten a big meal and oops! Where did your energy go? Have you ever just had a total nap attack after you had lunch? Maybe that’s happening to you today……

Take a minute and think about the last time that that happened. Where did your energy go after you ate? It left your brain. It went to your belly. Digestion trumps mental clarity. Digestion uses a lot of energy. We know that.

Yes, you can eat and you’ll digest it, but it’s just a matter of wouldn’t you like a little bit of help? Wouldn’t you like to use a little bit less of your own energy and let the spices do some of the work? Do you want help with your digestion or not? It’s as simple as that.

So, remember, a carminative at every meal!


herbs,spice and oil on wooden table


Kami McBride is the author of The Herbal Kitchen. Over the past 25 years she has helped thousands of people learn just how simple it can be to bring the healing power of natural remedies into their home. She developed herbal curriculum for the Master’s program at the California Institute of Integral Studies and at UCSF School of Nursing. Her work is centered in sustainable wellness practices, creating self-reliance and revitalizing our relationship with the plant world.
She can be reached at