The dried, unripe berry of an evergreen tree in the myrtle family known as Pimenta dioica, is called allspice. These are small, dark brown balls, just a little larger than peppercorns. Allspice is spicy and fragrant. It has a taste and aroma of a mixture of cloves, cinnamon and nutmeg. It is also known as Jamaican pepper or pimiento.
Allspice is enriched with good amount of minerals like manganese, iron, potassium, copper, selenium, and magnesium. It also carries a very good amount of vitamin A, B-6, C, riboflavin and niacin. Furthermore, it is a good source of Eugenol, an essential oil that has local anesthetic and antiseptic properties.
Health Benefits/ Medical Use
Allspice has been found to have anti-inflammatory, carminative, rubefacient, and anti-flatulent properties. Since it’s a good source of Vitamin C, it helps the body develop resistance against infection. The decoction obtained from this spice sometimes used in treating flatulence and indigestion in traditional medicine. The essential oil, eugenol has been used in dentistry as a local-anesthetic and antiseptic for teeth and gum. Its oil is a popular home remedy for arthritis and sore muscles.
Allspice should be ground first before being added to dishes to keep its flavor and fragrance intact. It’s been widely used in Caribbean cuisines. Some Indian vegetarian and chicken curries also contain this spice. Some of the recipes that use this spice include Spiced Butternut Squash Soup, Carrot Cake, and Allspice Cream Cheese Frosting.