Whenever you’re making food, you’re bound to be using spices sooner or later. It doesn’t matter if you’re a decent chef or you can barely make scrambled eggs, we know that food made without spices is just horrible. Most of the flavor comes from them and they give a dish identity.
But apart from food, there’s been some other pretty bizarre uses for spices. Some of those things are even done on a pretty much daily basis today without you probably realizing it. Let’s take a look at some of the weirdest ones.
Gin is probably the most popular type of booze right now that uses so-called “botanicals”, which is just fancy drunk people talk for herbs and spices. Some of the things used in the creation of gin are coriander, anise, black pepper, saffron, cardamom or cinnamon. And if you’ve ever drank a shot of Jaegermeister – that has spices in it too.
Essentially liquid spices, tinctures have been used as medicinal remedies for centuries. You take a few drops of whatever spice you need and put them underneath your tongue, and that was pretty much the way to go before we had modern science. Don’t make these yourself, as many spices and plants can be lethal if used incorrectly and I’m pretty sure the disease you want to cure isn’t “life”.
Research has shown that cinnamon and nutmeg (the spice, not the thing you do at football practice) have calming and sleep aiding properties. The only downside is that taking too much nutmeg in an attempt to fall asleep can actually make you hallucinate. Maybe start with some cinnamon, just in case.
When I say “myrrh, cinnamon, anise oil and cumin”, you’re probably not thinking of preserving a dead body and wrapping it in bandages. If you were thinking that, however, you were absolutely right and/or there may be something horribly wrong with you. The myrrh was used to repel insects, the cinnamon and cumin for its antiviral and antibacterial properties and the anise oil for its antiseptic properties that prevented the body from decaying.
One spice in particular that’s very effective against ants and bed bugs (among others), is cinnamon. In fact, most insects hate cinnamon for some weird reason. I say just throw it all over the place, what’s the worst that could happen?
Yes, we use spices in those too. This mainly comes from the golden days when people didn’t have modern commodities like baths and showers, so they just sprayed themselves with strong-scented spices, combined with other herbs and flowers. In order to make the scent more sprayable, it was infused in alcohol.
You can either dissolve strongly colored spices into water to make water paints, or you can mix them with good ol’ white paint to actually use them as a pigment of sorts. If you’ve always wanted that paprika red bedroom wall but you couldn’t exactly find the right color, this might be the perfect solution for your problems.
Some spices have proven their effects in keeping cute bunnies and other nasty critters like that away from your homegrown vegetables. It basically comes down to “really strong pepper”, like cayenne pepper or chili powder. If it’s so hot it makes a grown man cry, it’ll probably keep the animals away too.