Not Just A Pretty Taste: How To Use Your Spices Outside The Kitchen

We all have a few dusty jars of a spice we'll never cook with again, so here's a list of some of our favourite uses for spices outside of the kitchen!
Author Headshot
Johnny Garmeson
Jul 9
3 mins
Jul 9
3 mins

Admit it, we’re all guilty of a bit of spice hoarding now and then. You’ll buy it once for a recipe and it will end up tucked away in your cupboard never to be touched again.

But have you ever wondered 'what else can you do with spices?'

From pest control to gardening aids, here is a list of some of our favourite uses for everyday herbs and spices which shows you that there’s more to some ingredients than meets the eye!

Turmeric Hangover Cure

Frequently found in Indian recipes, and South asian cooking in general, it has gained so much attention recently because of the anti-inflammatory properties of its main compound curcumin.

It has widely been used in pills, teas, supplements and face masks but there is one application you might not have heard of… hangovers!

This golden concoction is for everyone who has woken up after one too many, with a splitting headache and stomach like a tumble dryer. Now read carefully because this dry January looks set to be one of the wettest on record (if you know what we mean):

Dissolve a couple rounded teaspoons of turmeric into a glass of water and add milk (it doesn’t matter if it's cow, coconut or cashew it just needs to have some fat content). The final ingredient is a few cracks of black pepper.

The combination of the curcumin in the turmeric, fat from the milk and the piperine from the pepper, helps you absorb the antioxidants of the golden root, as well as promote its anti-inflammatory work. After swigging this drink you should be feeling yourself again!

Pepper and Clove Moth Balls

This next spice mix is for those who know the pain of reaching into your closet to grab your favourite winter sweater, only to find out some winged beasts have turned it into swiss cheese.

We’re talking about moths, people. To the uninitiated they seem harmless but left to their own devices they can be a nuisance.

So our next trick is the perfect way to keep the airspace around your knitwear bug free.

Take one part whole cloves, to one part whole peppercorns and give the mixture a light toast in a pan and remove once aromatic. Let the mixture cool then place in breathable bags (think muslin or cheesecloth).

The smell of these spices is unbearable for moths, so placing these bags in and around your clothing will do the same trick that mothballs will, just without the chemical odour!

Bay Leaf Cockroach Repellent

Sticking with the theme of creepy crawlies, our next trick is technically best served in the kitchen… just a little bit closer to the floor.

For many, Bay leaves are somewhat of a mystery, blindly thrown into casseroles without ever quite knowing exactly what flavour they bring to the table.

Cockroaches are one group that are a little less hazy on how they feel about bay leaves. In fact, they hate them.

So if you are unlucky enough to have a cockroach problem - place bay leaves around the areas they usually emerge from, and you will see how much the mere smell of the leaves repels those critters!

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Cinnamon Fungicide

Baked into an apple pie, or swirled into a flakey pastry - our next entry is best known for its warm nutty flavour and beautiful aroma.

So it might surprise some of you to find out, cinnamon is also a potent fungicide!

Any budding gardeners who have had their saplings ruined by fungal disease, or had their hedgerows sprout mushrooms will know that if you find some, you’ll very quickly find a lot!

So to keep on top of your fungi problem, dissolve a dessert spoon of cinnamon into a litre of water and let it steep overnight. Sift the contents in the morning and decant into a spray bottle.

Then spray down your garden to your heart's content (the smell is also an added bonus!)

Mukhwas Breath Freshener

Now the last entry on our list is technically edible, but it definitely serves a different purpose to just flavouring food.

Mukhwas is a blend of herbs and spices, and is commonly found throughout India. Usually eaten at the end of meals or before you leave the house. To give you a clue, the word ‘Mukh’ translates as ‘Mouth’ and ‘was’ as ‘smell’ - so it does what it says on the tin!

Made with a combination of fennel seeds, anise, coconut shavings, coriander seeds, sesame and peppermint, the mixture freshens the breath and settles the stomach.

Leave that Wrigley's where it is, and grab a palmful of this stuff!

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