I love using spices and herbs- especially freshly picked herbs from the garden. We currently live in a high-rise building in Hong Kong, which means that we are nowhere near a garden, but we can still find fresh herbs at the farmer’s market and in our local grocery store. Truly fresh spices are even harder to find so we do our best with what we have available to us here. We just came back from Bali and picked up some amazing spices there, including saffron and ginger.
Below is a list of spices that I absolutely adore. The five spices I have chosen as a focus for this article assist in five different areas that are important in any conception journey: thryoid health, kidney health, gut function, healthy libido and male fertility.
- Amchur (mango): sour indian spice, balances blood sugar, great for low thyroid function (which you NEED to remedy if you are preparing for a baby and hoping to breastfeed, etc.) Amchur has a lot of iron in it so if you are already pregnant and having anemia issues be sure to incorporate this spice into your life. I put amchur in my omelette, pancakes and muffins. Read more about Amchur here.
- Juniper Berry- Aids in kidney health, inflammation, infection, liver disease, cold sores and heart disease. According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, kidney health is extremely important in conception as it is where the fetus gets its irreplaceable life force from. No form of diet or lifestyle can make up for any amount of deficiency given at the time of conception so it is best to make sure the kidneys are in good form before conception. Try this delicious recipe: Garlic Potatoes with Juniper Berries.
- Marjoram (sweet)- triggers release of pepsin, high ORAC, good for pollution (hello city dwellers, especially us in Hong Kong,) kills candida, E. Coli and staph infections. Gut health is another crucial factor in fertility and overall well-being. Various studies have linked child development issues to the gut health mama had while pregnant.
- Nutmeg- great for low libido as it serves as an aphrodisiac, improves learning and memory and helps with anxiety and depression. Any couple that has been trying to get pregnant for some time knows how stressful things can get. Doing things to keep that libido strong will make the baby making process much more fun. (If you are dealing with sexual exhaustion add some Saffron as well.) I put nutmeg in my oatmeal, smoothies, quiches and coconut curry dishes. Here is a delicious fertility pancake recipe I make with loads of nutmeg and warming spices.
- Pomegranate (“ananda” is the seed oil)- great for male fertility, anti-aging, flu, diabetes, sports recovery, weight loss and cancers. My favourite fertility recipe is Guacamole with pomegranate seeds. I have yet to post the recipe but I found a similar recipe online here. You can also make a great Tropical male fertility shake with banana, kiwi, pomegranate, maca, cinnamon and walnut butter.
Warming spices (think winter dishes) such as cinnamon, cloves, allspice, ginger, fennel, cardamon, black pepper, saffron, apple pie spice and pumpkin pie spice all do a great job at keeping the body (and uterus) warm. Nutmeg also falls in this category. Ayurveda puts a lot of thought into the use of these spices listed above, particualry to assist in PMS and fertility.
Spices can be so much fun to experiement with. I would love to hear what spices you use on your fertility journeys!