Rhus coriaria, which you may know as sumac (also spelled sumach), has been used all over the world because of its medicinal properties. Sumac spice in Hindi is kankrasing while it is gewürzsumach in German and sommacco in Italian. Many researchers have proven that this ingredient does have numerous uses, including promoting good health.
Before talking about sumac spice health benefits, you should be aware that this ingredient is not the same as the poison sumac. This is often taken as a poisonous plant because it is related to Rhus toxicondendron or the famous poison ivy. However, there are people who have sumac spice allergy where bumps and skin inflammation may occur.
Uses of Sumac
It is a spice that several people confuse as an herb, but it actually is a berry. It can be found in the Middle East as well as in some parts in Europe. Aside from poison ivy, this is also related to Rhus glabra or smooth sumac and Rhus typhina or staghorn sumac. Both of these are used in North America to produce rhus juice or what is known as Indian lemonade. In other parts of the world, sumac is mixed with tobacco to satisfy the smoker’s taste.
To create the spice, the sumac berries are gathered from the sumac tree and then dried under the sun. When the berries reach the desired level of dryness, they are crushed into powder to make the spice. Although sumac spice is more common, there are also fresh berries sold to make the juice.
Since this is a spice, you can add it into your food, which will add a zing to it due to its tartness. One sumac spice recipe that you can try is the sumac-roasted chicken salad where the chicken is dry brined for about two hours before roasting.
Where to Find Sumac
It is now quite easy to find sumac spices in the grocery aisles, but if you are having trouble looking for this, you can try a sumac spice substitute known as za’atar. If you have eaten food with za’atar, you have also eaten sumac because this is typically one of za’atar’s ingredients alongside sesame seeds. It is actually much easier to find the spice itself than a sumac substitute. Among the spices that are available in the Amazon online store are Spicely Tin Organic Sumac, 3 Oz, Nar Gourmet, Organic Sumac (Milled), 50 grams, and Sumac Berries Ground, 4 Oz.
10 Sumac Spice Health Benefits
Aside from the fact that it gives your food extra tart, sumac is also good for the body. Here are the 10 most important health benefits that this spice offers:
1. Great Antioxidant
Sumac is best known as an antioxidant, which effectively scavenges free radicals away. This is very helpful for those who have gastrointestinal tract problems as it cleans and helps maintain the tract’s good condition.
Sumac contains diuretic properties, which help those who have difficulty in passing urine. Sumac spices are also used to treat problems in bowel movement. As a matter of fact, the sour juice is used in the Middle East to relieve stomachaches.
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Sumac spices can also be used to help treat skin inflammation as well as arthritis and respiratory problems including flu, cold, and bronchitis.
4. Battles Bacteria
Sumac also contains anti-microbial properties. It is believed that it can fight the salmonella bacteria, according to the study conducted by the International Journal of Food Microbiology. Sumac’s methyl gallic acid is said to be the reason behind its strength in combating bacteria.
Zeitschrift Fuer Naturforschung, a bioscience journal in Germany has published a research that showed that the sumac seeds have the ability to fight Aspergillus fungus. This is the main cause of lung infection as well as other organ infections in the body.
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6. Hyperglycemia Treatment
Another research showed that sumac products can help prevent and treat hyperglycemia because of the hypoglycemia properties. Therefore, it can be used to treat diabetic patients and obese people.
7. Cardio Disease Fighter
When consumed regularly, sumac spice can fight cardiovascular diseases and prevent stroke as well.
8. Rich in Vitamin C
Sumac is full of vitamin C, which already has a ton of benefits including protection against deficiencies in the immune system and prenatal health problems.
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9. Fever Relief
If you have fever, it is said that sumac can help reduce your body’s temperature and also helps in fever treatment.
10. Sore Throat Aid
Sumac has astringent and also has cooling properties, which allow it to relieve throats problems.
With the many health benefits associated with sumac spices, it is no wonder that it is sought-after by many homemakers around the globe.