Allspice comes from a tropical evergreen tree. It’s native to Central America and the West Indies, but is used around the world in just about every culture’s cuisine.
The spice itself is the unripe, dried berries of the Pimenta diocia tree.
Its spicy, slightly sweet flavor is similar to cloves, nutmeg, and cinnamon. Allspice can be added to sweet or savory food, or even brewed as a tea. No matter how you enjoy it, allspice has several health benefits.
The minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants found in allspice may have several health benefits. Many of the compounds in allspice are being studied as potential treatments for inflammation, nausea, and even cancer.
Inflammation can aggravate injuries or infections. Many compounds in allspice may be able to reduce inflammation.
Eugenol, the compound that makes allspice “spicy,” is sometimes used to treat nausea. Allspice tea may help settle an upset stomach.
Allspice many contain compounds that could help prevent bacterial infections. In some studies, eugenol has also shown antiseptic and antifungal properties. In one study, it was used to eliminate E. coli bacteria and yeast when applied to the skin.
The eugenol in allspice is also frequently found in over-the-counter toothache remedies. Studies have shown that eugenol has potential as a topical pain reliever when applied in the right amount.
Ease Menopause Symptoms
Compounds in allspice may increase the amount of estradiol in menopausal women. This helps decrease the negative symptoms of menopause, such as hot flashes. Cultures where allspice is often used in food report fewer negative symptoms during menopause. Eating more allspice seems to be a low-risk treatment for menopause symptoms in many women.
Slow Cancer Growth
Allspice contains a large amount of phenols, or aromatic compounds. Many phenols are being studied as cancer-fighting treatments. Quercetin, ericifolin, eugenol, and gallic acid are being studied for their ability to slow the growth of cancer cells.
Nutrients per Serving
A single teaspoon of allspice contains:
- Calories: 5
- Protein: Less than 1 gram
- Fat: Less than 1 gram
- Carbohydrates: Less than 1 gram
- Fiber: Less than 1 gram
- Sugar: Less than 1 gram
Allspice is also an excellent source of:
- Vitamin B5
- Gallic acid
How to Prepare Allspice
Since it’s made from the dried berries of a tropical evergreen tree, allspice is available year-round. You can stock your kitchen with whole or ground allspice, depending on what you like to cook. It’s available in most supermarkets, as well as specialty spice stores.
For best results, get whole allspice berries and crack or grind them when you want to cook with them. Store them in the fridge in an airtight container to preserve the flavor longer. You can use a pepper or spice grinder to quickly grind whole allspice berries when you’re ready to use them.
Allspice can be used in many different kinds of recipes. Here are some popular and easy ways to add this versatile spice to your diet:
- Add allspice to gingerbread for additional spiciness
- Sprinkle ground allspice on roast vegetables
- Make jerk chicken in the traditional Jamaican style, with lots of allspice
- Sprinkle some allspice into a chai latte
- Add allspice to curries or stews to add heat and depth
- Mix allspice with cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves to make your own pumpkin spice blend
- Brew allspice tea
- Add allspice to a meat rub to add flavor to roasts