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What Is Allspice? Benefits, Uses, Substitutes and Side Effects

What Is Allspice? Benefits, Uses, Substitutes and Side Effects

If your kitchen is usually dotted with all kinds of herbs and spices, they can be spices you wouldn’t normally enjoy much. Although most people associate all herbs with recipes such as pumpkin pie, there are many other ways to use this food-rich spice, such as in spices, marinades, meatballs and mulled wine.

What are the ingredients of the herb? And how much is in the herb?

The name is actually misleading, because the spices are not really a mixture of different spices. Below we invite you to discover what spices are, the two forms in which they appear (whole and ground) and the advantages of adding these herbs to sweet and savory recipes.

What is allspice?

Allspice is a culinary herb that has a unique, sweet and warm taste. It is sometimes called allspice berry oil or Jamaican pepper.

It is not a mixture of herbs, but in fact a single medicinal herb made from the crushed brown berries of the tropical Pimenta dioica plant, native to Jamaica, the West Indies and Central America.

Why are herbs called herbs? It is said to have been named after European settlers in the 17th century. For centuries because it tastes like a mixture of cloves, cinnamon and nutmeg.

Recipes such as gingerbread and apple pie are generally still associated with these herbs. It is also one of the most famous herbs used to make jerry cans and pumpkin pies.

In terms of taste, for many people it looks very much like cloves. Both herbs contain a compound called eugenol which has a characteristic warm smell and taste.

The spice also contains caryophylene-cinol, which is described as a fresh, woody taste.

Earth against all.

For the dry season, the whole berries are first harvested when they are not yet ripe, then fermented and dried in the sun or in a machine. They are first harvested when they are green in colour, but during fermentation and drying they take on a reddish-brown colour.

Whole herb berries are small, round and look like very large peppercorns. Some people prefer to grind whole berries rather than using chillies pre-punched with herbs, because this gives a stronger taste.

Once the berries are crushed, they begin to lose their intensity in aroma and flavour.

Whole berries are mostly used for marinating and making mulled wine, while ground berries are used for cooking and preparing sauces, soups and stews.

If you prefer to crush your berries yourself, do it at home with a mortar and pestle or in a very powerful food processor. (The blender may be too big to chop a small amount of berries).

It takes a little longer, so just grind a few tablespoons at a time. Store the ground powder in an airtight glass jar to preserve the aroma.

If you think the berries are too tasty for you and you want to soften the taste a little, cook them before you use them, for example. Bake in the oven for 10 minutes or heat briefly in a frying pan.


What’s the herb for? Below you will find some of the benefits associated with herbal berries.

1. Contains antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory agents

Like cloves, cinnamon and other similar spices, spices are sometimes used to produce concentrated essential oils rich in antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory compounds, including eugenol, ethylene, caryophyllene, glycosides and polyphenols.

According to a report published in Current Drug Targets, spice contains aromatic compounds that have antibacterial, antihypertensive, antineurological and analgesic properties. Recent studies have shown that two of the known compounds isolated from spices, eugenol and gallic acid, also have antiproliferative and antitumor properties on human cancer cells.

Essential herbal oil is used in the same way as clove oil: it helps relieve muscle aches, relieves cramps and indigestion and reduces colds and flu symptoms.

Eugenol is also known for its antiseptic properties, while the other antioxidants in herbal oil can absorb free radicals. These are two reasons why the use of herbal oil on the skin, when mixed with a carrier oil (do a skin test first), can promote skin health.

2. Adds a sugar and calorie free taste

The advantage of using herbs in cakes and other recipes is that they improve the taste and at the same time reduce the amount of sugar and calories. Good herbs such as allspice, ginger and cinnamon can be added to healthy recipes for cookies, muffins, bread, oatmeal, etc. to help you reduce other less harmful ingredients.

3. Can be used to make teaTo improve digestion

Allspice is sometimes used to make herbal teas and infusions that can help reduce digestive symptoms such as gas, cramps and bloating. Also recommended for women who suffer from menstrual cramps.

This oil is sometimes found in massage blends that can be applied to the abdomen, aromatherapy diffuser blends, perfumes, body care products and more. It is said that the characteristic fragrance promotes positivity and brings comfort thanks to its earthing properties.


You’ll find all the herbs not only in recipes like pumpkin pie, but also in tasty recipes like Jamaican chicken trick, meatballs and Swedish meatballs. It is popular in confectionery, but also in Caribbean, Middle Eastern and Latin American cuisine.

Besides adding some of these herbs to cooking recipes, you can also use whole berries to make a spicy fruit juice or apple cider. They can also be used for the preparation of, for example, brine. For example, for homemade fish such as herring, pickled cucumbers or vegetables.

Make sure the recipe contains whole or ground berries. Six whole spiced berries are equal to about 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of ground spiced berries.

Here are some recipe ideas to get you started:

  • Make homemade gherkins with a brine of all-spice berries, whole cloves, mustard seeds, black pepper and bay leaves.
  • Try the homemade apricot spices with herbs, nutmeg, black pepper, thyme, cayenne pepper, paprika, sugar, salt, garlic and ginger. Use this to make a classic jerk.
  • Use it in this Swedish meatball recipe (which uses ground beef and spices such as black pepper, ginger, nutmeg and cloves).
  • Mix all the herbs with other hot herbs in this gluten-free pumpkin bread or pumpkin and spicy latte. Or try this gluten-free apple crispy recipe.
  • I make a spicy stew, like Cincinnati chili.


Although the herbs do not look much like cloves, they are similar and can often be replaced. It is unlikely that you will notice a difference in taste if you combine these herbs with others, such as cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg.

Risks and side effects

If you are allergic to cloves or other spices, you should be very careful when eating spices. Since these herbs have similar compounds, you can get a reaction if you use them both.

When using herbal essential oil for the first time, use a very small amount and always combine it with a carrier oil, as this can cause irritation. Test your reaction before asking for more.

In addition, you should not consume the essential oil in the herb unless you are working with a doctor, because in some cases it may be toxic if swallowed.


  • What’s a spice? It is a warm and sweet spice made from the dried berries of the Pimenta dioica tree, native to the Caribbean and Central America.
  • These dried berries resemble small brown peppercorns and are full of beneficial substances that have antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties.
  • It is traditionally used to promote digestion, relieve pain and promote relaxation.
  • This spice is used in spices such as pumpkin pie and apricot herbs, but also in meatballs, stews, chili, gherkins, etc. You’ll also find it in skincare and beauty products, perfumes and other aromatherapy blends, especially those popular during the holidays.