25 Aromatic Facts about Herbs and Spices

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1Peppermint oil

Peppermint oil promotes hair growth more than hair growth medication.


2. There is an herb named culantro, not to be confused with cilantro, that is related to parsley and cilantro/coriander. It is native to Mexico and Central and South America, but is used throughout the world for its culinary and medicinal properties, and is said to taste like stronger cilantro.


3. Cinnamon can prevent mold growth. Scientists have created cinnamon-based packaging that can prevent mold in bread and in other baked goods.


4. Saffron is the most expensive food on earth, costing approximately 5,000 USD per pound. It is so expensive due to the fact that it has to be harvested manually, and takes between 50,000-75,000 flowers to produce just one pound of the spice.


5. Catnip is 10 times more effective at repelling mosquitoes than DEET, the compound used in most insect repellents.


6Star anise

Anise, star anise, and licorice are completely botanically unrelated, despite smelling and tasting very similar.


7. Mint was strewn across floors in Ancient Greece to cover the smell of the hard-packed soil, thus being known as the "herb for hospitality."


8. Pregnant women should not drink chamomile, as it may lead to miscarriage.


9. During the Middle Ages, saffron was so expensive some traders would try to increase their profits by bulking up the herb with yellow marigold petals. When authorities in Nuremberg, where the herb was mainly traded, found out about these tainted parcels of saffron, the traders were burned alive.


10. Chili peppers evolved to be spicy because heat repels most animals except for birds, which are responsible for spreading their seeds.


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11Lemon balm

Lemon balm not only acts as a mild sedative and sleep aid but also boosts memory performance.


12. Fenugreek contains an extremely potent aromatic compound called solo tone and when consumed in heavy amounts, can prompt a sweet maple odor in sweat and urine. 


13. Licorice is mildly poisonous and should not be eaten during pregnancy or in quantities exceeding 70-150 grams per day.


14. The flavors of spearmint and caraway are chiral molecules. They have the exact same molecular composition, but their orientation (left or right) makes them taste and smell different from one another.


15. Poppy seeds can cause drug tests to test positive for heroin.


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16Black pepper

Black pepper can stop bleeding and take away the soreness of a cut.


17. Paprika is simply made from the dried and ground bell and/or chill peepers.


18. If you add saffron or turmeric to mayonnaise, you can no longer legally call it mayonnaise in the US.


19. Mixing cayenne pepper or other chili peppers into underwater marine paint helps prevent barnacles from attaching to the boat hull.


20. Vanilla beans can only be pollinated within 12 hours of blooming, either by hand or a special variety of Mexican bee.


21Cardamom

Saffron, cardamom, and vanilla are the three most expensive spices (by weight).


22. Anise, the herb that flavors traditional absinthe, Jagermeister, Ouzo, etc. can relieve menstrual cramps.


23. Fennel is widely employed as a carminative to treat flatulence by encouraging the expulsion of intestinal gas.


24. Despite the numerous claims about the health and beauty benefits of 'Aloe Vera' by makeup brands and its hype among women, there isn't enough scientific evidence for its effectiveness. In fact, a non-decolorized extract of Aloe Vera plant is a known toxin and carcinogen.


25. Lavender or tea tree oil may cause breast growth (gynecomastia) in boys.

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