Healing Spices review and a roasted cauliflower recipe

It’s rare that I do a book review that is not a part of Cook the Books Club or TLC Book Tours or Book Club Cookbook.    Today I am reviewing a book I received for Christmas.  Mom told me about it but it didn’t make the trip in the gift bags in December.   My sister recently visited and delivered it to me.

About the book:

Spices do more than just flavor food! This introductory illustrated guide shows how spices can maintain optimal health and treat common ailments, and offers healing recipes.

Easy to follow, approachable, and authoritative, this is the essential reference to using spices for maximum health and wellness. It’s packed with practical information, including the benefits of spices, their history as natural remedies, creating spice blends, safety tips, common uses, and delivery systems. An A-Z guide of 40 spices identifies their preventative and curative potential, and each examination of 40 conditions features one or two spice-filled recipes to help you heal.

Here’s what healing spices can do for you:

  • Muscles, joint pain, and arthritis can be treated with cayenne, ginger, and turmeric.
  • Garlic and onion can alleviate seasonal allergies.
  • Fenugreek can regulate type 2 diabetes.
  • Red pepper can ease a hangover.
  • Juniper berries can help with a UTI.
  • Sumac can treat skin conditions such as eczema, psoriasis, sunburn, acne, and allergic reactions.

About the author:

Barbara Brownell Grogan is former editor-in-chief for National Geographic Books and a certified health coach through New York’s Institute for Integrative Nutrition.  She is the author of 500 Time-Tested Home Remedies and the Science Behind Them, Healing Herbs Handbook, CBD Handbook, and Healing Spices Handbook and editor of USDA’s Guide to Infant Nutrition.

Deanna Gabrile Vierck, CCH, CN is a clinical herbalist and transformational healer in Boulder, CO.  Her private practice focuses on assisting others using energy healing, plant spirit medicines and flower essences.   (Vierck writes the forward to the book and a lot of the recipes are attributed to her.)

What I thought…

I’ve always been very interested in utilizing herbs in the most healthy way, but I guess I’ve always thought that spices were used for just that…spice and flavor.  Grogan’s book is a great reference and resource for promoting a healthy lifestyle through spices.

The book is separated into three parts:  “The Spicy Backstory,” “40 Spices and Their Uses,” and “40 Ailments Treated by Spices.”  An easy to access and informative glossary is also included.

Part I (“The Spicy Backstory”) includes blurbs on growing your own spices and storing spices.  Part II (“40 Spices and Their Uses”) lists seemingly every possible spice in alphabetical order.  Alternate names are listed as well as a description, history, and uses.

Part III (“40 Spices and Their Uses”) is the best section of the book because that is where the recipes are located.  Experiencing some digestive discomfort?  Whip up some Mustard-Juniper Vinaigrette (118-119).  Use it as a marinade for pork, chicken or fish or add a bit more olive oil for a salad dressing.  This recipe makes a large portion utilizing 1 cup of olive oil, 2 cups of water, and half an onion (along with mustard seeds and juniper berries).

Besides edible offerings, there’s also recipes for Makrut/Kaffir Lime Cologne (146) and Rosemary Spritz body spray (147).   As summer is approaching, I will need to whip up some Winning Combo Insect Repellent (102).  This concoction uses makrut/kaffir, basil and vanilla essential oils along with almond oil.

I found lots of quick tips throughout this book’s pages like taking a spoonful of prepared mustard if you’re feeling a bit bloated after a meal or using a tiny bit of wasabi on the tongue to help a sinus headache.  (That last tip just remarkably makes sense.)

Looking under the “Fatigue” section (because aren’t we all a bit fatigued lately?), I found a couple more recipes worth earmarking:  Spice of Life Chicken (129) with lemon juice, garlic, rosemary, horseradish and paprika and Roasted Cauliflower with Turmeric and Cumin (130).    I had a cauliflower in the vegetable drawer that needed some attention so I decided to try out this recipe for quick weekend lunch.

Roasted Cauliflower with Turmeric and Cumin

From Healing Spices

Cumin is considered a stimulant. “It appears to control blood sugar and acts as an adaptogen, generally shoring up the immune and other systems. For it’s part, turmeric strengthens every part of the body. Combined, these timeless spices make a potent fatigue fighter” (130).


  • 2 T. olive oil (I used extra virgin.)
  • 2 t. cumin (I toasted whole cumin seeds and then ground them in a spice grinder.)
  • 1 t. turmeric
  • 1 t. sea salt (I used pink Himalayan sea salt.) *
  • 1/8 t. cayenne (I used some organic cayenne that mom also sent.)
  • 1 head cauliflower, cut into florets


  1. Preheat oven to 450 F.
  2. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the oil, cumin, turmeric, salt, and cayenne. Whisk until smooth.
  4. Add the cauliflower and toss to coat thoroughly.
  5. Place the seasoned florets on the baking sheet and roast for about 25 minutes, until tender.*

Yield: 4-6 depending on the size of the cauliflower head

Prep Time: 10 mins.

Cook time: 25 mins.*

Total time: 35 mins.

*Notes:  I found that one teaspoon of salt was a bit too much.  I would start with 1/2 t. next time and then season after they are out of the oven if needed.  I would also check the cauliflower after 15 minutes.  Mine got a bit overly roasted.

I still enjoyed these for lunch and ate every last bit.

Even if your skeptical about homeopathic and naturopathic healing, the recipes in this book are worth the read.    In no particular order, I have marked these recipes to make next:

  • Spinach-Pomegranate Salad with Balsamic-Wasabi Dressing (82)
  • Sparkling Pomegranate Quencher (168)
  • Cinnamon Almond Mocha (68)
  • Rosemary Popcorn (189)
  • Brussels Sprouts with Caraway and Tahini (201)
  • Paprika Roasted Carrots (126)

Basically, I plan on working my way through this book.

Thanks, Mom!!!

I’m linking with with Foodies Read (which I have only done once this year)!


8 comments to Healing Spices review and a roasted cauliflower recipe

  • It sounds like your mother is really looking out after you with the book selection she gave you. The cauliflower sounds great.

  • I am aware of the healing and nutritional value of spices. It is why some countries do so much better health and weight wise compared to the USA.

  • mae

    I hope that your book also provided warnings about dangerous effects of spices taken in large quantities, particularly about interactions with prescription medications that people may be taking or pre-existing conditions that may be present. A lot of the recommendations for medicinal use of spices in the press are given in a rather irresponsible way, especially not covering some of the side effects for high doses.

    best… mae at maefood.blogspot.com

  • Interesting sounding book. And I’m all for using more spices! One of the reasons why I like Indian food so much — no way to avoid spices. 🙂 Anyway, lovely recipe — great way to use cauliflower. Thanks!

  • i love cauliflower and roasting it gives it such flavour. i like the spices you have used here.

  • Thanks for the review! I finally got my copy from the library and it is a wonderful resource, which I am putting to good use. The recipe you featured looks fabulous, and it’s a pity the cauliflowers we get here are usually not at peak.

  • […] For a full review, please see March 13th post. […]