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Cape Town, where spices are still used to prevent illness

I have had an amazing holiday in the country of my birth Cape Town, South Africa. It is a beautiful place with a unique culture and heritage and the variety and blends of food is always a culinary delight.

I went on a tour of Bo-Kaap and during the explanation of the history of the Cape and its people we visited a Spice Wholesalers and I brushed on my knowledge of herbs and spices , which I would like to share with you as I found it all so fascinating. Food is a way to include it into our daily life naturally.

Basil is a tonic and antiseptic and excellent for the relief of nausea. Rub fresh leaves onto the temples to alleviate headaches. Add finely chopped basil to cooked vegetables like courgettes, brinjals, marrows and squash before serving.

Chives contain high levels of vitamin C and A and contain essential minerals such as potassium and calcium. They aid digestion and stimulate appetite. Use when preparing egg and cheese dishes and add to stews and soups in the last 5minutes of cooking.

Coriander seeds can be chewed to ease digestion. Use the leaves in salads, sauces and curries.

Fennel has an anise flavour and is slightly sweet. Use it to enhance the flavour of fish dishes and green beans. Chew a leaf or piece of stem to prevent indigestion.

Mint is well known for relieving colds

and stomach aches. It is used in sweet sauces, jellies and fruit drinks.

Origanum helps to heal bruising and aids against stomach bloating, tonsillitis and painful menstruation. It goes well with tomatoes,lamb, egg and cheese dishes.

Parsley is a good source of folic acid , one of the most important B vitamins. Chew the leaves to sweeten the breath after eating onions and garlic. Add it to cooked vegetables and mixed stews before serving.

Rosemary is commonly used to flavour chicken, lamb , pork salmon and tuna dishes as well as soups and sauces. It has the remarkable ability to level both high and low blood pressure and headaches.

Thyme is known for its anti spasmodic, antiseptic and digestive properties. It assists with alleviating the symptoms of bronchitis, coughs and chest congestion. Use it when preparing meat, cheese, egg and fish dishes.

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