This post (and tasty recipe!) comes to us from herbalist Rosalee de la Forêt! She is the creator of Taste of Herbs, an exciting new course teaching practical herbalism by LearningHerbs and Mountain Rose Herbs. Rosalee is a clinical herbalist, herbal educator, and founder of Herbal Remedies Advice who lives on the edge of the wilderness in the northeastern Cascadian mountains of Washington state. Many thanks to Rosalee for sharing!
How often do you use your sense of taste to understand how herbs work?
There are many ways to learn about herbs. Oftentimes when people first begin to study herbalism they attempt to memorize long lists of what an herb can do. Or they might memorize a list of herbs that are good for a particular reason. Of course, there is no wrong way to learn about herbs! But learning herbs by memorizing lists can be a bit overwhelming (not to mention a bit boring!).
There is another wonderful way to dive into the world of herbalism. This method gives you a strong connection to plants and how they are used and it doesn’t require memorizing lists of information. This is your sense of taste!
The taste of an herb can reveal how we can use that herb for medicine. When you develop your sense of taste and fine-tune it to understand how herbs work, you unleash a powerful tool. The best part is that this is a tool you can easily carry with you wherever you go!
There are five categories or tastes in herbal medicine:
pungent, salty, sour, bitter, and sweet.
In this recipe, we are exploring an herb that is classified as having a pungent taste: cardamom!
Cardamom is one of my favorite spices. I use it in chai blends as well as sweet and savory dishes.
It has a pungent and spicy taste that is warming in nature. Cardamom helps to increase circulation, which can warm up the body or break through stagnant digestion. (Ever eat a meal that just felt like it was stuck in your middle, making you feel bloated and heavy? That’s food stagnation.)
Cardamom is also a famous aphrodisiac herb that has long been touted as an herb that can spice up your love life. But what does that mean exactly? Do you eat cardamom and instantly feel like an evening in front of the fire with Marvin Gaye in the background? Probably not...
One way of understanding how cardamom works as an aphrodisiac is by its taste and qualities. Remember, cardamom is spicy and warming. It increases circulation and invigorates the senses. You might begin to imagine what the effects of increasing warmth, circulation, and sensations might have on your love life. It also tastes alluring and sweetens the breath. I think that makes for a win, win, win, win in the love department.
Here’s a delicious recipe for Cardamom Chia Pudding to bring this pungent taste to life!
If you've never had chia seed pudding you are in for a treat! Chia seeds are nutritious seeds that soak up the liquid around them to form a tapioca-like pudding. Yum!
This recipe takes only minutes to put together, but then needs several hours or overnight for it to turn into a pudding. And yes, feel free to enjoy it in front of the fire with Marvin working his magic in the stereo.
Cardamom Chia Pudding
In a medium sized bowl, stir together the water and coconut milk until it has an even consistency. Add the chia seeds and mix well. Let stand for one hour in the fridge, then stir again, breaking up any clusters of chia seeds if necessary. Store for a couple more hours, or overnight, in the fridge before serving. Add the cardamom powder and honey to taste. Mix well. This goes great with any kind of seasonal fruit. I prefer this recipe served chilled, but some people may enjoy it warmed up. It will keep in the fridge for several days.
Want to learn more?
You can download the free Taste of Herbs Flavor Wheel here!