The human body works best when it is slightly alkaline, according to Elizabeth Lipski in the book "Digestive Wellness." In order to maintain this pH, Lipski recommends eating 60 percent foods that contribute to alkalinity and 40 percent foods that contribute to acidity. Urine reflects the body's pH. Tests to determine pH levels are available over the counter. An acidic substance has a pH below 7, while an alkaline substance has a pH above 7.
Cinnamon, which Lipski says is a decidedly alkaline spice, comes from the bark of the evergreen cinnamon tree. When dried, it develops a single curl and is otherwise papery, brittle, and beige. This is different than cassia, which has a similar, though more bitter and less sweet taste. Most spices sold as cinnamon in the United States are actually cassia, according to the "Handbook of Herbs and Spices." Cassia develops a double curl, has a dark reddish coloring, and is thicker. In addition to its alkalinity, cinnamon bark contains protein, fiber, ash, phosphorus, sodium, vitamins B1 and C, niacin, fat, carbohydrates, calcium, iron and potassium.
Lipski states that licorice has alkalinity similar to cinnamon. Licorice is the root and rhizome of a small, shrub-like tree that grows in Europe, Asia and the Middle East. Preparation includes drying in the sun, and optionally, stir-baking with honey. Licorice is prized globally for its purported healthful benefits. It contains glycoside glycyrrhizin, isoflavanoids, coumarin, triterpnoids, flavonoids,chalcones, liquirigenin, licobenzoburan, isoloquiritigenin, manite, biotin, betulic acid, starch, sugar, sterols, volatile oil, amino acids, sugar, amines, wax and gum.
Valerian is another spice Lipski lists as decidedly alkaline. It is the root and rhizome of the Valeriana officinalis plant and is often used as a sleep aid. It grows in damp environments to a height between 2 and 5 feet. Even the fragrance of valerian root is a purported sedative. Culinary use of valerian includes to flavor liquor, root beer, beer, candy, baked goods and meat products.
- "Digestive Wellness"; Elizabeth Lipski; 2005
- "Handbook of Herbs and Spices, Volume 1"; K. V. Peter; 2001
- "The Healing Power of Chinese Herbs and Medicinal Recipes"; Joseph P. Hou and Youyu Jin; 2005