2019 Vegan Spice Guide For Vegan Cooking

2019 Vegan Spice Guide For Vegan Cooking | Herbal Academy | Using this vegan spice guide can add depth and flavor to your vegan meals and open up a whole new world of opportunity to be creative in the kitchen.

Vegan foods can get a bad rap for being bland and tasteless. In the Western world, meat has become a predominant part of every meal. Many people have become so accustomed to the salty, fatty flavor offered by animal protein that they find it difficult to imagine how a person could subsist on a diet of vegetables and legumes alone.

Using a vegan spice guide to add the appropriate spices to a dish can mean the difference between cooking that keeps you coming back for more, and boiled, lifeless veggies in a pot. Not only does it add depth and flavor to vegetables, but using herbs and spices in vegan cooking can also open up a whole new world of opportunity to be creative in the kitchen.

When my partner and I transitioned to a plant-based diet and lifestyle, we stopped eating meat cold-turkey (pun intended). Learning to cook with a variety of herbs and spices from the get-go allowed us to be creative in the kitchen and get to know and understand the types of flavors that went well with the foods we were now eating on a regular basis. We both became familiar with combining spices such as cumin, turmeric, garam masala, ginger, garlic, salt, and pepper, for example, to create a spice blend to cook down with onions to form the base of a curry dish.

Creating A Vegan Spice Guide

One of the first things we did when we went vegan was to prepare a vegan spice guide: a list of the essential spices we would always have in our pantry. We opted for organic spices stored in mason jars for easy cooking. Now, we cannot last long when we run low on cumin, turmeric, or nutritional yeast. Taking the time to develop a vegan spice guide and using it to stock our pantry has been integral to our success in transitioning to plant-based eating and helping us to make some beautiful, healthful meals within the comfort of our home.

It can be overwhelming to know which spices to include in your pantry, especially if you are beginning the journey of home-based vegan cooking. With new vegans in mind, I created this vegan spice guide which will walk you through 8 essential spices which can jazz up any vegan dish.

2019 Vegan Spice Guide For Vegan Cooking | Herbal Academy | Using this vegan spice guide can add depth and flavor to your vegan meals and open up a whole new world of opportunity to be creative in the kitchen.

Turmeric

Turmeric tops the list as one of my favorite herbs in my vegan spice guide. I’ve written a whole post about this beautiful spice. Turmeric is a prominent spice in Indian dishes such as curry and dahl. Turmeric also has many health properties, which make it a must-have in the kitchen. At this point in our vegan journey, we add turmeric to everything. It has a slightly bitter taste; however, it pairs well with other herbs such as ginger, garlic, and cumin.

Cumin

Cumin is one of the most versatile herbs in our pantry, which make it a must-have for my vegan spice guide. Cumin makes a great base for most curries. Use cumin seeds fried on medium with some coconut oil for 30 seconds before adding in diced onion, garlic, and ginger for the beginning of delicious curry. My favorite way to use cumin is in homemade veggie chili. Find how to make your own chili spice blend below.

Chili Spice Blend

[recipe_ingredients]

1 tbsp. ground cumin
1.5 – 2 tbsp. chili powder
½ tbsp. ground coriander
1 tbsp. garlic powder
1 pinch smoked paprika
1 tsp salt
Black pepper to taste

[/recipe_ingredients][recipe_directions]

  • Combine herbs together in a bowl and mix well.
  • Store in a labeled, airtight glass jar.

[/recipe_directions]

Add this blend with chopped onions to a large pot until fragrant and then throw in the remainder of the chili ingredients. Another tip to enhance the depth of flavor in chili is to add a tablespoon of dark cocoa powder to the pot of chili along with the chili spice blend featured above.

2019 Vegan Spice Guide For Vegan Cooking | Herbal Academy | Using this vegan spice guide can add depth and flavor to your vegan meals and open up a whole new world of opportunity to be creative in the kitchen.

Mustard Seed

I’ve only recently become accustomed to using mustard seed in my vegan cooking, and now it is a staple in my vegan spice guide. Mustard seed can be toasted using coconut oil similar to cumin seed which lends a deep, earthy flavor to dishes.

My favorite recipe that calls for mustard seed is a take on a traditional ayurvedic dish, kitchari, which you can find here. In this recipe, mustard seeds are toasted along with coriander and cumin seeds until they become fragrant. My favorite part about this recipe is that the mustard seeds dance out of the pot!

Another interesting way to incorporate mustard seeds into your diet is to add them with oil and onion to the bottom of a pot to fry. Then I add in some basmati rice and turmeric, covering the rice with oils from the toasted seeds and onion. After that, I cook the rice as usual. This is a simple way to add some interest, color, and flavor to the rice.

2019 Vegan Spice Guide For Vegan Cooking | Herbal Academy | Using this vegan spice guide can add depth and flavor to your vegan meals and open up a whole new world of opportunity to be creative in the kitchen.

Garlic

Although I prefer to use whole, fresh garlic cloves, it can never hurt to have garlic granules in your pantry for times when you’re in a pinch. Even if you are using garlic cloves, who said you can’t double up? If you’re a garlic lover, you’ll find that this spice becomes a part of your everyday life when you’re cooking plant-based meals.

Recently, my partner cooked a simple, slow-cooked stew in which he incorporated large cloves of fresh garlic and garlic powder. It was delicious! When you are purchasing garlic powder, opt for the granules as opposed to the powder. The powder tends to stick and clump together over time, whereas the granules remain separate.

Smoked Paprika

Before transitioning to a plant-based diet, my only familiarity with paprika was that it was the orange spice sprinkled on top of potato salads or deviled eggs at backyard barbecues. Now, it is a go-to for most recipes. The benefit of paprika is that it lends a smoky flavor to vegan dishes which mimics the savory taste of meat. If it is available where you are, choose smoked paprika over the regular spice.

Garam Masala

Next in the vegan spice guide is the beautiful spice blend, garam masala. While you can make a garam spice blend (ground coriander, cumin, cardamom, cloves, black pepper, cinnamon, and nutmeg),  it can also be easily purchased at your local health food store. Think of this blend as a finisher for curries like chickpea-based chana masala or other Indian dishes that incorporate tomato. Season your curry with garam like you would salt or pepper, just before you serve. Although it is traditionally used as a finishing spice, feel free to add it to mashed chickpea sandwiches with vegan mayo, chopped pickles, and salt and pepper.

2019 Vegan Spice Guide For Vegan Cooking | Herbal Academy | Using this vegan spice guide can add depth and flavor to your vegan meals and open up a whole new world of opportunity to be creative in the kitchen.

Cayenne

Bear with me on this one. Becoming vegan requires a level of openness to trying new foods. While you may be hesitant to venture into the realm of spicy foods, I can assure you that it is worth giving it a shot. Adding just a dash of cayenne to dishes like vegan spaghetti can add a level of brightness your dish might be missing. Build your spice tolerance up over time by adding small increments of the spice into dishes throughout the week. Before long you’ll be putting cayenne on everything.

2019 Vegan Spice Guide For Vegan Cooking | Herbal Academy | Using this vegan spice guide can add depth and flavor to your vegan meals and open up a whole new world of opportunity to be creative in the kitchen.

Salt and Pepper

Although this might seem obvious, salt and pepper are two necessities in the kitchen. Do not be afraid of using a little salt and pepper in your spice blends as they will help to tie all the flavors together. You do not want to go overboard on salt and pepper. However, I have read that seasoning with a little of each of these seasonings at each step of the cooking process can help to meld individual flavors resulting in a more savory and satisfying dish.

Nutritional Yeast

Nutritional yeast, or “nooch,” as it is so fondly referred to in the vegan community, is an indispensable component of any vegan spice guide. Though nutritional yeast is not technically a spice, it has quickly become as familiar to us as ketchup in a 1980’s refrigerator. We keep a jar of nutritional yeast on our kitchen table at all times. We use it as a seasoning as we would apply salt and pepper. Sprinkle it over everything from salad to noodles, pasta, and curry. It adds an “umami” flavor which vegans often miss out on when they stop eating rich foods like cheese. Nutritional yeast also forms the basis of many vegan “cheese” sauces and can be used to make a delicious baked mac and cheese.

Becoming vegan has added excitement to my time spent in the kitchen. Plant-based foods are often critiqued as being boring or flavorless, but I can tell you that if you begin to experiment with some of the spices in this vegan spice guide, you will find that vegan cooking is anything but dull.

2019 Vegan Spice Guide For Vegan Cooking | Herbal Academy | Using this vegan spice guide can add depth and flavor to your vegan meals and open up a whole new world of opportunity to be creative in the kitchen.

A Warming Turmeric Cauliflower Soup For Chilly Winter Days

A Warming Turmeric Cauliflower Soup For Chilly Winter Days | Herbal Academy | There is nothing better than a warm bowl of soup on a chilly winter’s day. Give our Turmeric Cauliflower Soup a try and stay warm!

Winter is here, and if you’re anything like me, you’re probably craving soup! There is nothing better on a chilly evening, wrapped in a blanket with loved ones, than sipping from a bowl of warm, soothing soup. Turmeric (Curcuma longa) and cauliflower are gaining popularity in many healthy recipes as they have a plethora of nutritional benefits, are versatile, and are delicious. In this article, we will share the benefits of this healthy and nutritious root and vegetable pairing and offer a recipe for a warming, turmeric cauliflower soup that you can enjoy on cold winter days.

What is Turmeric?

Turmeric has been used for centuries as food and as an herb to assist with many imbalances. Its tough, fibrous root (the rhizome) is where its beneficial properties lie and give it its yellow color. Curcuma longa, whose Latin binomial comes from the Arabic name Kurkum, has also been called The Yellow One and Golden Goddess in Sanskrit (Gallant, n.d.).

Besides giving Indian curry its beautiful golden hue, turmeric has been used as a dye in packaged foods such as mustard and chicken broth (Gallant, n.d.). Turmeric can even be used as a natural, plant-based dye for fabrics like silk, cotton, and wool (Kayne, 2016).

Where wellness benefits are concerned, turmeric is most well-known for its anti-inflammatory properties (Gallant, n.d.). Turmeric is in the Zingiberaceae family, which is also home to its cousin ginger (Zingiber officinale). Turmeric is native to India (and a staple in Indian cuisine), but it can also be grown in other warm climates around the world. In ayurvedic herbalism, turmeric is commonly used to balance the doshas: vata, pitta, and kapha (Gallant, n.d.).

A Warming Turmeric Cauliflower Soup For Chilly Winter Days | Herbal Academy | There is nothing better than a warm bowl of soup on a chilly winter’s day. Give our Turmeric Cauliflower Soup a try and stay warm!

Benefits and Uses of Turmeric

As mentioned earlier, turmeric is most commonly used to assist the body when inflammation is present. It is believed that turmeric helps to inhibit an inflammatory gene by helping to lower histamine levels, subsequently increasing natural cortisone production by the adrenal glands (Rathaur, Raja, Ramteke, & John, 2012).

It has been found that turmeric can aid in health issues such as osteoarthritis (Kuptniratsaikul, Thanakhumtorn, Chinswangwatanakul, Wattanamongkonsil, & Thamlikitkul, 2009), back pain, and general inflammation (Rathaur et al., 2012), and according to a 2006 study, curcumin is also considered an antioxidant (Khor et al., 2006).

Turmeric can also benefit digestion by assisting the body in producing digestive enzymes that help the body to digest fats, thus supporting liver detoxification (Rathaur et al., 2012). While turmeric has been found safe for many to take in high amounts without side effects (Rathaur et al., 2012), some individuals can be more sensitive to turmeric so it’s best to start at the low end of a suggested dosage and slowly work up from there.

Many studies show that turmeric should be combined with black pepper to enhance the bioavailability of curcumin. Curcumin is a curcuminoid most often researched as turmeric’s primary active compound. The addition of black pepper will aid in the absorption of curcumin in the body and also facilitate the production of digestive enzymes (Shoba, 1998). Traditionally, most recipes with turmeric also include black pepper.

Curcumin is also fat-soluble, meaning that in order to obtain the benefits of the herb you should combine it with a portion of fatty food or substance. This means, if you simply put turmeric in water, you may lose out on curcumin’s benefits (Higdon, Drake, & Delage, 2005). For this reason, coconut milk is used in the recipe below.

It is also believed that turmeric should be heated in order to make the curcuminoids more bioavailable to us (Kurien & Scofield, 2009). This is likely why we most often find turmeric in traditional recipes of soups and curries.

Nutritional Benefits of Cauliflower

A Warming Turmeric Cauliflower Soup For Chilly Winter Days | Herbal Academy | There is nothing better than a warm bowl of soup on a chilly winter’s day. Give our Turmeric Cauliflower Soup a try and stay warm!

If you shop in a natural foods store, you may find that a growing number of packaged items are made of cauliflower these days, from pizza crust to mashed “potatoes” to cauliflower “rice.” The list goes on. The use of cauliflower has become very popular in the low-carb diet world as a substitution to grains or legumes making it a fantastic way to increase your vegetable intake. Cauliflower is extremely versatile; I personally enjoy it steamed, raw on a salad, or dipped in hummus. The turmeric cauliflower soup recipe below offers the option to roast and puree the cauliflower, creating a warm, creamy, and delicious soup.

Cauliflower is a wonderful dietary addition as it is widely available and affordable. It is also an excellent source of antioxidants and nutrients (Elliot, 2017). While it is low in calories, it still packs a punch with its high nutritional value and vitamin content with one serving of cauliflower containing over 75% of the recommended daily value of vitamin C (SELF Nutrition Data, 2018). According to Dr. Joseph Mercola (2014), cauliflower is a great source of vitamin K, protein, riboflavin, niacin, magnesium, phosphorus, vitamin B6, folate, pantothenic acid, potassium, and manganese. It is also high in fiber which supports healthy digestion and also aids in the detoxification process in the body (Mercola, 2014).

Cauliflower is rich in choline which plays an important role in brain health and development (Elliot, 2017). Another reason cauliflower is known to be a nutritional powerhouse is that it contains the potent antioxidant sulforaphane. Research shows that sulforaphane may also help to reduce high blood pressure and support overall heart health (Yang et al., 2015).

According to the National Cancer Institute (2012) and Abdull Razis & Noor (2013), cruciferous vegetables contain many unique antioxidants and compounds that may reduce inflammation, help protect against cancer cell growth, and even shrink existing cancer cells.

A Warming Turmeric Cauliflower Soup For Chilly Winter Days | Herbal Academy | There is nothing better than a warm bowl of soup on a chilly winter’s day. Give our Turmeric Cauliflower Soup a try and stay warm!

How To Make Turmeric Cauliflower Soup

[recipe_ingredients]

2 heads cauliflower, roughly chopped
2 medium yellow onions, diced
1 bunch carrots, chopped
3 stalks celery, chopped
1-1 ½ tablespoons fresh minced ginger (Zingiber officinale)
8-10 cloves of minced garlic (Allium sativum)
1 dried bay leaf (Laurus nobilis)
1 small bunch fresh thyme (Thymus vulgaris)
1 small bunch fresh sage (Salvia officinalis)
2 tablespoons dried ground turmeric (Curcuma longa)
1 teaspoon black pepper (Piper nigrum)
Juice from 2 large lemons
32 ounces of broth (chicken or vegetable)
32 ounce carton of unsweetened coconut milk
1 can full-fat coconut milk
½  cup gluten-free flour (King Arthur’s or Bob’s)
½ cup coconut oil
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt and pepper (to taste)
Freshly squeezed lemon juice (to taste)

[/recipe_ingredients][recipe_directions]

  • Cut cauliflower heads into pieces while removing large stems and toss with olive oil and salt. Roast on a sheet pan at 450 degrees F for 25 minutes or until brown.
  • On a separate sheet pan, roast carrots, celery, onion, and garlic with bay leaves, sage, and thyme at 450 degrees F.
  • While vegetables are roasting, sweat ginger (sauteed on low heat) in olive oil.  
  • Combine gluten-free flour to coconut oil to make a roux (thickening base).
  • Slowly add in the stock on low heat while whisking vigorously to make veloute (savory sauce made from a roux and stock).
  • Blend roasted cauliflower, vegetables, and ginger in a blender with coconut milk until extremely smooth.
  • Add lemon, pepper, and salt to taste and simmer for 30 minutes to an hour. Additional water or milk may be added during this process to maintain the desired thickness.

[/recipe_directions]

REFERENCES

Abdull Razis, A.F., & Noor, N.M. (2013). Cruciferous vegetables: Dietary phytochemicals for cancer prevention. Asian Pacific Journal of Cancer Prevention, 14(3):1565-70.

Conrozier, T., Mathieu, P., Bonjean, M., Marc, J.F., Renevier, J.L., &  Balblanc, J.C. (2014). A complex of three natural anti-inflammatory agents provides relief of osteoarthritis pain. Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine, 20 Suppl 1:32-7.

Elliot, B. (2017). Top 8 health benefits of cauliflower. Retrieved from https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/benefits-of-cauliflower

Gallant, L. (n.d.). Turmeric: “The golden goddess.” Retrieved from http://www.ayurvedacollege.com/articles/students/turmeric

Higdon, J., Drake, V., & Delage, B. (2005). Curcumin. Retrieved from https://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/dietary-factors/phytochemicals/curcumin

Kayne, J. (2016). DIY: Dyeing with turmeric. Retrieved from https://www.jennikayne.com/ripandtan/dyeing-with-turmeric

Khor, T.O., Keum, Y.S., Lin W., Kim, J.H., Hu, R., Shen, G.,…Kong, A.N. (2006). Combined inhibitory effects of curcumin and phenethyl isothiocyanate on the growth of human PC-3 prostate xenografts in immunodeficient mice. Cancer Research, 66(2):613-21. https://doi.org/10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-05-2708

Kuptniratsaikul, V., Thanakhumtorn, S., Chinswangwatanakul, P., Wattanamongkonsil, L., & Thamlikitkul, V. (2009). Efficacy and safety of Curcuma domestica extracts in patients with knee osteoarthritis. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine,15(8): 891-897. https://doi.org/10.1089/acm.2008.0186

Kurien, B.T., & Scofield, R.H. (2009). Oral administration of heat-solubilized curcumin for potentially increasing curcumin bioavailability in experimental animals. The International Journal of Cancer, 125(8): 1992-1993. https://doi.org/10.1002/ijc.24547

Mercola, J. (2014). Top 8 health benefits of cauliflower. Retrieved from https://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2014/02/22/cauliflower-health-benefits.aspx

National Cancer Institute. (2012). Cruciferous vegetables and cancer prevention. Retrieved from https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/causes-prevention/risk/diet/cruciferous-vegetables-fact-sheet

Rathaur, P., Raja, W., Ramteke, P. W., & John, S. A. (2012). Turmeric: The golden spice of life. International Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences and Research, 3(8), 1987.

SELF Nutrition Data. (n.d.). Cauliflower, raw nutrition facts and calories. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/vegetables-and-vegetable-products/2390/2

Shoba, G., Joy, D., Joseph, T., Majeed, M., Rajendran, R., & Srinivas, P.S. (1998). Influence of piperine on the pharmacokinetics of curcumin in animals and human volunteers. Planta Med, 64(4): 353–6. https://doi.org/10.1055/s-2006-957450

Yang, B., Xiaolu, W., Song, Z., Chunye, M., Jiuwei, C., & Yang, Z. (2015). Sulforaphane protects against cardiovascular disease via Nrf2 activation. Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity, 2015, 407580. https://doi.org/10.1155/2015/407580

How Does Hot Water Temperature Affect The Nutritional Content Of Herbs?

How Does Hot Water Temperature Affect The Nutritional Content Of Herbs? | Herbal Academy | Let's take a look at the good and bad side of using hot water temperatures when making herbal preparations, and how it affects the nutritional content of herbs!

When it comes to health and wellness, herbs can be one of our greatest allies. Herbal tea is a go-to for soothing common ailments like cold and flu symptoms, while herbal infusions are beloved as nature’s “vitamin supplement.”

When it comes to steeping nutritional herbs for vitamins and minerals, most of us turn to a whistling kettle of boiled water. The idea is that hot water plus high-vitamin herbs equals a high-vitamin tea.

Is this long-held belief actually true, though?

In some cases, science shows that hotter isn’t always better. Before you turn on the stove to make a teapot of herbal infusion, take a look at how heat can impact our favorite herb-sourced vitamins and minerals—affecting the nutritional content of herbs.

How Does Hot Water Temperature Affect The Nutritional Content Of Herbs? | Herbal Academy | Let's take a look at the good and bad side of using hot water temperatures when making herbal preparations, and how it affects the nutritional content of herbs!

The Universal Solvent: Water

Water is not only cheap and, for the most part, readily available, but it’s considered the universal solvent—having a more substantial range when it comes to extracting plant chemicals than any other known liquid (Green, 2000).

When it comes to using nutritional herbs for their vitamin and mineral content, water is thought to be the best way to extract these nutrients.

Below, we will look at how heat affects the nutritional content of herbs, exploring its effect on both their vitamin and mineral content.

Heat And Its Effect on Vitamin Content

B Vitamins

Stability varies for vitamins B1, B2, B3, B6, B9, and B12. They’re all water-soluble and can be extracted by water, so that’s great news for tea lovers and infusion fiends.

One study explored vitamin B loss in boiled milk. The findings revealed that fifteen minutes of boiling resulted in a decrease in content of vitamins B1, B2, B3, B6, and B9 ranging from 24% decrease for B6 to 36% decrease for B9 (Asadullah, 2010). That actually doesn’t sound too bad given that this milk was boiled for fifteen minutes, but if you’re aiming to preserve as much of herbal-sourced B vitamins as possible for sipping, then you may want to give your steaming kettle a few minutes to cool down before pouring it over your tea bag.

How Does Hot Water Temperature Affect The Nutritional Content Of Herbs? | Herbal Academy | Let's take a look at the good and bad side of using hot water temperatures when making herbal preparations, and how it affects the nutritional content of herbs!

Here are some herbs that are good sources of B vitamins:

Herbal Sources of B Vitamins

Vitamin B1 (Thiamine) Alfalfa, bladderwrack, burdock root, catnip, cayenne, chamomile, chickweed, eyebright, fennel seed, fenugreek, hops, nettle, oat straw, parsley, peppermint, raspberry leaf, red clover, rose hips, sage, yarrow, and yellow dock.
Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) Alfalfa, bladderwrack, burdock root, catnip, cayenne, chamomile, chickweed, eyebright, fennel seed, fenugreek, ginseng, hops, horsetail, mullein, nettle, oat straw, parsley, peppermint, raspberry leaf, red clover, rose hips, sage, and yellow dock.
Vitamin B3 (Niacin) Alfalfa, burdock root, catnip, cayenne, chamomile, chickweed, eyebright, fennel seed, hops, licorice, mullein, nettle, oat straw, parsley, peppermint, raspberry leaf, red clover, rose hips, slippery elm, and yellow dock.
Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine) Alfalfa, catnip, oat straw.
Vitamin B12 (Methylcobalamin) Alfalfa, bladderwrack, hops.

Note: The information in this chart is sourced from Prescription For Nutritional Healing by Phyllis Balch.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is another vitamin that is soluble in water (Colorado State University, n.d.) which is great news for tea and infusion drinkers! However, you might not want to boil up any rose hips just yet. Ironically, the vitamin most often sought during times of sickness is actually the most sensitive to heat.

A 2010 study looked at the effect of heat on the vitamin C content of a number of fresh juices, including orange juice. After being heated to 40 C/104 F, the orange juice showed a vitamin C loss of 42.14% (El-Ishaq & Obirinakem, 2010).

We can get another look at the effect of heat on vitamin C from a study in which samples of broccoli, spinach, and lettuce were exposed to five minutes of heat treatment either via steaming, microwaving, or boiling. Steamed veggies lost 8.6-14.3% of vitamin C content, while microwaved veggies lost 21.2-28.1% of vitamin C content. The greatest loss was seen in boiling, with veggies losing 40.4-54.6% of their original vitamin C content (Zeng, 2013).

Obviously an herbal infusion is a bit different than cooked veggies, but regardless of preparation method, the information out there shows that heat does decrease vitamin C content. A 2012 study also showed that the higher the temperature, the faster the rate of oxidative damage occurs in vitamin C (Rahmawati & Bundjali, 2012).      

Although tea lovers may be feeling a bit heartbroken by this news, all hope is not lost. Cold water infusions may be helpful. If you’re looking to preserve the vitamin C content of your herb, lower infusion temperatures can help. Nancy Phillips, in her book The Herbalist’s Way, says that a peppermint tea prepared as a cold infusion will retain more vitamin C and will have a brighter flavor than one made with hot water (Phillips, 2005).

How Does Hot Water Temperature Affect The Nutritional Content Of Herbs? | Herbal Academy | Let's take a look at the good and bad side of using hot water temperatures when making herbal preparations, and how it affects the nutritional content of herbs!

Herbal Sources of B Vitamins

Alfalfa, burdock root, cayenne, chickweed, eyebright, fennel seed, fenugreek, hops, horsetail, kelp, mullein, nettle, oat straw, paprika, parsley, peppermint, pine needle, plantain, raspberry leaf, red clover, rose hips, skullcap, violet leaves, yarrow, and yellow dock

Note: The information in this chart is sourced from Prescription For Nutritional Healing by Phyllis Balch.

Heat And Its Effect on Mineral Content

As we’ve seen above, vitamins can be finicky when it comes to heat. Luckily, minerals aren’t so sensitive to degradation. The minerals calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, zinc, and copper aren’t impacted by heat (US Department of Agriculture, 2007). In this report, various vegetables and greens were analyzed for their mineral content after being exposed to different cooking methods. The only time mineral loss was seen was when greens or vegetables were cooked in water and the water was drained. Otherwise, mineral content was at 100%. But hold on, it gets better! The majority of dietary minerals take the form of water-soluble salts, which makes them perfect candidates for herbal infusions (Casiday & Frey, 2001).

So What’s the Answer?

So, can hot water temperatures destroy the nutritional content of herbs? In some cases, yes and in others, no. It really comes down to the specific nutrients and how stable they are in heat. When drinking herbal teas or infusions for nutritional benefits, it pays to know the nutritional content of the herbs you’re using and how heat affects them, altering your preparation techniques to fit each nutrient’s specific needs.

Happy steeping everyone!

How Does Hot Water Temperature Affect The Nutritional Content Of Herbs? | Herbal Academy | Let's take a look at the good and bad side of using hot water temperatures when making herbal preparations, and how it affects the nutritional content of herbs!

REFERENCES

Asadullah, K., Tarar, O.M., Ali, S.A., Jamil, K., Begum, A. (2010). Study to evaluate the impact of heat treatment on water soluble vitamins in milk [Abstract]. The Journal Of The Pakistan Medical Association, 60(11), 909-12. Retrieved from https://www.researchgate.net/publication/50286429_Study_to_evaluate_the_impact_of_heat_treatment_on_water_soluble_vitamins_in_milk

Balch, P. (2006). Prescription for nutritional healing. New York, NY: Penguin Group.

Casiday, R. & Frey, R. (2001). Nutrients and solubility. Retrieved from http://www.chemistry.wustl.edu/~edudev/LabTutorials/Vitamins/vitamins.html

Colorado State University. (n.d.). Water-soluble vitamins: B-complex and vitamin C. Retrieved from http://extension.colostate.edu/topic-areas/nutrition-food-safety-health/water-soluble-vitamins-b-complex-and-vitamin-c-9-312/

Council For Responsible Nutrition. (2014). Stability and shelf-life requirements for supplements. Retrieved from http://www.crn-i.ch/2014symposium/Presentations/7_Jennings.pdf

El-Ishaq, A. & Obirinakem, S. (2010). Effect of temperature and storage on vitamin C content in fruits juice. International Journal of Chemical and Biomolecular Science, 1(2),17-21. Retrieved from https://www.researchgate.net/publication/279976518_Effect_of_Temperature_and_Storage_on_Vitamin_C_Content_in_Fruits_Juice

Green, J. (2000). The herbal medicine-maker’s handbook: A home manual. New York, NY: Crossing Press.

Hrncirik, K. (2010). Stability of fat-soluble vitamins and PUFA in simulated shallow-frying. Lipid Technology, 22(5),107-9. Retrieved from http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/lite.201000018/pdf

Phillips, N., & Phillips, M. (2005). The herbalist’s way. White River Junction, VT: Chelsea Green Publishing.

Rahmawati, S. & Bundjali, B. (2012). Kinetics of the oxidation of vitamin C. Indonesian Journal of Chemistry, 12(3),535-46. Retrieved from https://www.researchgate.net/publication/228484005_KINETICS_OF_THE_OXIDATION_OF_VITAMIN_C

U.S. Department of Agriculture (2007). USDA Table of Nutrient Retention Factors: Release 6. [Report]. Retrieved from https://www.ars.usda.gov/ARSUserFiles/80400525/Data/retn/retn06.pdf

Van Bree, I., Baetens, J.M., Samapundo, S., Devlieghere, F., Laleman, R., Vandekinderen, I., Noseda, B., Xhaferi, R., De Baets, B., De Meulenaer, B. (2012). Modeling the degradation kinetics of vitamin C in fruit juice in relation to the initial headspace oxygen concentration. Food Chemistry,  134 (1),207-14. Retrieved from http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0308814612002841

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