Allspice (Pimenta officinalis) as a condiment with specific odor that is regularly added to dishes with fish and meats. Actually, Allspice, also known as Pimento, is a dried fruit from the Pimenta dioica – bush-like tree, much like laurel in size and shape, common in Mexico, the Caribbean, Central America. Its name derives from the Spanish word for pepper "pimiento". Allspice tree reaches a height of 10 m and a tree is called a Pimento.
Allspice is a Mirtaceae plant. Small dark grains are spherical berries with dark brown color and have 1 pip. They are 5-6 mm in diameter. Originally from Jamaica, Allspice was brought to Europe in the 16th century by the Spaniards who confused it with pepper. This error is the reason for the name of the spice in most European languages.
Today, Jamaica is the largest producer of allspice. In popular folklore, Allspice is used to stimulate healing and in mixtures with making money and prayers for good luck.
Allspice is a tropical tree whose fruits after drying are like grains of pepper. Fruits of the tree are harvested before they become ripe, and once dry, they turn brown and begin to resemble large brown peppercorns.
Allspice has a bitter taste and a strong smell, so no need to overdo it with its use. The complex aromas and flavors of allspice unite both the taste of cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. The eclectic flavor of allspice has probably won it the name allspice, or "all the spices."
Chemical composition of allspice
Medicinal properties of allspice are due to the content of fatty substances, lignins, tannins, non-crystallizable sugars, gums, and other volatile oils. Contains large amounts of essential oils and aromatic substances.
About 3-4% is the content of the tan liquid is essential oil that has up to 75% eugenol, which determines, together with other substances, the pleasant odor. In addition there are cineole, phelandrene, caryophyllene and others. In the fruits is found phenol, tannins and more.
Thanks to the content of the phenol eugenol, Allspice can be used to aid digestion, since it stimulates the production of digestive enzymes trypsin. Essential oil is obtained from the leaves of the tree. It is almost equivalent in chemical structure and biological activity to the essential oil from the fruit.
Selection and storage of allspice
Buy allspice in small tightly closed containers. Keep the spice in closed, dry and dark places, the temperature should not exceed 18 degrees and the humidity - 70%.
Culinary use of allspice
Leveraging the smell of cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves, Allspice has a distinctive and characteristic more pungent and peppery flavor. For cooking are sufficient only 3-4 grains. We can put it in some soups and fish dishes, game and beef.
Allspice is often put in some types of pickles and ready-made sausages. Allspice was becoming one of the most popular spices in the late Middle Ages. From that era comes its tradition in Europe, for allspice to be used to spice up game veal other fish.
Benefits of allspice
As well as a spice, Allspice can be used as an herb to relieve some health problems, but it is important to remember that it takes small amounts of the spice. Allspice in an amount of 2-3 to 4 fruits improves digestion and increases appetite.
There are a lot of benefits of regular consumption of allspice. Stimulates digestion, appetite and has carminative action. Allspice is recommended after meals for better digestion in intestinal pain and gas bloating as well as diarrhea.
Traditionally, Jamaicans drink hot tea from it for colds, menstrual cramps, gastrointestinal disorder. In Costa Rica, Allspice is used to treat diabetes, flatulence, indigestion. Cubans implemented it as refreshing tonic and Guatemalans used crushed berries with bruises, joint and muscle pain.
It is believed that externally, Allspice act as a local anesthetic, and is used as a compress in neuralgia, rheumatism, muscle pain relief. Use as a paste to soothe and relieve toothache - dentists use eugenol as a local anesthetic for teeth and gums. Addition of allspice in toothpastes is common, being debatable as to whether it is useful or not.
Powdered fruit is taken internally with a teaspoon 3 times a day on an empty stomach. The standard dose of essential oil is 2-3 drops, or as prescribed.
Usage: 1 teaspoon crushed fruits are flooded with 250 ml of boiling water, capped for 10 min. Drink three times a day after meals. For diarrhea, drink on an empty stomach.
Dangers of allspice
Combining allspice with certain drugs may alter their action or cause unwanted side effects. Do not take allspice if you take iron and other mineral supplements. Although it has a beneficial effect on digestion, Allspice is not recommended for people with stomach, liver, gall bladder and kidney problems.
Avoid allspice if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. Do not use oil on your skin if you have eczema or other inflammatory skin diseases. Allspice can cause allergic skin reactions when used topically.
Allspice is contraindicated if you have chronic diseases of digestion, such as duodenal ulcers, reflux, ulcerative colitis, irritable bowel diverticulosis or diverticulitis. Moreover, it should not be used in the presence of a history of cancer, or an increased risk of cancer. Eugenol, a substance in allspice, may expose you to the risk of cancer.