Grains of paradise is a species under the ginger family Zingiberaceae. Also called alligator pepper, fom wisa, Guinea pepper, Melegueta pepper, and ossame, it is obtain from the ground seeds. It is one of the commonly used herbs and spices in the kitchen and its taste is a blend of black pepper, cardamom, and citrus. The following are its health benefits.
Grains of Paradise and Traditional Uses
Grains of paradise have its traditional uses in West Africa, as per Herbs Treat and Taste. According to the publication, the spice is used as aphrodisiacs and stimulants. Research utilizing rat subjects found that the spice increased the rats’ libido and decreased inflammation and pain, which led scientists think that the spice can be a potential treatment for arthritis. Nonetheless, more evidences should be done to determine such effects on humans.
Grains of Paradise as Anti-Infective
Grains of paradise also prevent spread of infection. According to Body Nutrition, it counters a number of microorganisms in the body. As per the publication, it is considered as an efficient antimicrobial and antifungal. Also, it is found to have anti-parasitic properties, which suggests that it can be used in the management of parasitism in the digestive system. Moreover, many African countries use grains of paradise as treatment for infectious diseases like leprosy and measles.
Grains of Paradise as Carminative and Diuretic
Grains of paradise helps the body excrete waste products through defecation and urination. According to The Epicentre, the seeds are primarily used in some veterinary medicine. In an old pharmacopoeias, as cited by the publication, Gerard said that the grains chewed in the mouth drew forth from the head and stocked waterish pituitous humors. It is added that they also comfort and warm the weak, cold, and feeble stomach, help the ague, and rid the shaking fits.
Grains of paradise can be added to various meal recipes like Tagine of Lamb with Apricots. According to The Perfect Pantry, the ingredients include half teaspoon of the spice, half teaspoon of black pepper, two tablespoons of olive oil, two tablespoons of sliced raw almonds, two onions (roughly copped), three cloves garlic (minced), one tablespoon fresh ginger (grated or minced), a pinch of saffron threads, two cinnamon sticks, one and a half teaspoon of ground coriander, one and a half pound of boned lamb (cut into one and a half inch cubes), 24 dried apricots, four strips of orange peel, one tablespoon of agave nectar or honey, and salt to taste.
To prepare, as per the publication, oil is heated over medium heat in a Dutch oven. Then, it is stirred and cooked, until the almonds begin to brown. Next, the onions are added and sautéed until they start to gain color. After that, the ginger, garlic, saffron, coriander, and cinnamon sticks are added and stirred to combine. The lamb is also added and is stirred to coat with the seasonings. The meat is sautéed for a minute or two, until the lamb is lightly browned. Once done, three and a half cups of water or enough is added to cover the meat. The food is brought to a boil and heat is reduced. The food is simmered and cooked for an hour.
Once done, the apricots are placed in a bowl and are covered with very hot tap water. They are allowed to soak for an hour while the lamb is cooking. After an hour, the fruits are drained and are added to the lamb, together with the orange peel. They are simmered for 20 more minutes. Finally, the agave nectar or honey is added, along with salt, pepper, and grains of paradise. It is expected that the lamb is tender and the sauce is thick and glistening.
Grains of paradise serves as one of the healthy food ingredients people have today. Its inclusion in many food recipes will help boost a person’s health and well-being.