7 Pungent Spices For Fall

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Fall spices! Probably one of the most sensational seasons for spices, and I am not even going to talk about pumpkin spice! Haha.
In honor of the autumn season, we will look at my seven of the top pungent spices for fall, how they benefit your health, fun facts, and personal anecdotes!

Pungent: having a sharply strong taste or smell

Pungent foods and spices are powerful movers. Their scents, temperatures, and flavors promote circulation and break up stagnation in the body.  If you haven’t read my post Holistic Health For Fall, I recommend taking a look to learn more about the autumn season, and the element, organs, and emotions associated with it.

Let’s get cookin!


Ah, turmeric. The spice that will stain everything you have and has been all the rage the last few years it seems. For good reason, I mean it is an incredibly powerful healing and palate-pleasing spice.
It originates from the Curcuma longa plant, a species of ginger native to Southeast Asia. Turmeric root powder contains roughly 3.14% curcumin, which is why the spice is yellow and has outstanding anti-inflammatory properties that it does.
In relation to our fall season, the color is not only appealing but also how it interacts with our fall organs, the lungs, and the large intestine. Tumeric helps to balance the nasal passages and respiratory system and promotes healthy digestion.

You can use turmeric in so many ways in cooking, and also in taking supplements. I use Rose Mountain Herbs for many of my spice and herbal products, and they have a delightful range of turmeric products from the spice, to capsules, to essential oil!
Khroma Herbal Products has a liquid supplement, Organic Tumeric and Black Pepper, that is a must-have for fall health.
VAHDAM Teas has an extensive line of delicious Turmeric lattes that are incredible to add to your fall drink rotation. Sorry pumpkin spice latte, you’re out.
OH! Important note! Turmeric is 2000% more effective and available to the body when paired with pepper! Which is our next pungent spice.



Pepper! This is my favorite spice, sorry salt, I choose pepper. Yes, I know salt isn’t a technical spice but you get what I’m getting at. Have you guys seen what an actual pepper plant looks like? Take a look, it’s incredible. There is so much more variety than just the traditional ground black pepper, which truly pales in comparison both in flavor and aroma compared to whole or fresh peppercorn.
 Famously called the ‘king of spices’, black pepper has been used in Ayurveda, Sidha, and Unani-the traditional Indian systems of medicine, for thousands of years for its various medicinal properties.

Piperine, a natural alkaloid, is the component that gives the spice its pungent taste and smorgasbord of health benefits.
Pepper plays an important part in healthy digestion, from the moment that it touches your tongue, signaling the digestive tract to prepare for the job at hand.
It is a warming spice, and including it on dishes when you are feeling chilled, it signals the body to warm from a cellular level.

Again, Rose Mountain Herbs is my go-to here, you have to check out their selection. Trying new varieties will really expand your favorite dishes, play with pepper!


Cinnamon and I have had a funny relationship. When I was a kid, I LOVED cinnamon. Have you ever taken a flour tortilla, spread some butter inside, then sprinkle sugar and cinnamon in there, rolled it up, and popped it in the microwave for a few seconds? No?! Go ahead and try it, I’ll wait. Delicious right! Yeah, a little too good. I didn’t eat cinnamon again until my late twenties…

With the passage of this much time, I am now rekindling my relationship with this delectable spice.  Ayurveda considers cinnamon to be a vehicle of warmth and balanced stimulation for sex drive, circulation, mood, and digestion.
Cinnamon is considered a staple fall spice, and that is not just coincidental or by happenstance. Staying true to the Lungs and Large Intestine, Cinnamomum Verum, promote clear respiratory passages, and stimulates proper digestive function.

The Art of Tea has some to-die-for fall loose-leaf tea blends with cinnamon, from Cinnamon Fig blend, White Winter Chai, and yes, even a Pumpkin Spice Chai.

Now that the days are getting cooler, I will take a cup with some maple syrup and cinnamon down when I milk my cow. Milk her right into my cup. I’d say it beats cinnamon and sugar tortillas!


Fun fact, coriander, and cilantro are the same herb. The stalks and leaves are referred to as cilantro, and the seeds are coriander. The names can vary depending on which part of the world you are in, and I’m even slightly confused by them. The main point is that coriander is an incredibly little pungent, warm, and full-tasting seed. You can use the leaves and stems of coriander as well, but the seeds are where the punch is packed. In history references to coriander can be found in Sanskrit writings, and the seeds were placed in Egyptian tombs. Coriander seeds have a pleasing lemony flavor and floral aroma, and pair extremely well with curries. I also put coriander seeds in my brine when making homemade pickles!

Since the seeds have a warm quality, they may help to gently stimulate appetite, assimilate nutrients, and aid in the elimination of natural toxins. Letting go of that which no longer serves! Coriander may also benefit the urinary system and the lungs by helping to clear heat and mucous, respectively.
Coriander pairs beautifully with chicken, curries, rice, soups, bread, and anything else you want to add a warm smooth kick!

Mountain Rose Herbs is again my go-to for whole seeds, powder, and Coriander essential oil. You can purchase coriander at pretty much any store, just a reminder to buy organic and be conscious of where you spend your dollars.


Sage or Sarsaparilla Salvia, derives from the Latin salvere (“to save”), referring to the long-held belief in the herb’s healing properties. I believe this is a highly undervalued plant. Personally, I am sensitive to the taste of sage, I enjoy it but it has to be very lightly used. The aroma, however, mmm, I can smell sage all day.
Since this blog tends to talk about the spiritual sides to things, I want to note that garden sages (S. OFFICINALIS & S. APIANA) are not the same sage used for smudging.

I came across a medieval saying doing research on this herb.
“Why should a man die when sage grows in his garden?” This speaks volumes to the diverse effects that it has in regard to our health, from menstrual issues, migraines, excessive sweating, arthritic pains, and list goes on. Sage is one of the ingredients in my favorite ASEA drink powder, called Mind, as it sage enables us to stay more mentally alert, enhancing both memory and concentration.

Staying true to our autumn theme, (really if you haven’t checked out Holistic Health for Fall, you should), this sensational herb knows just how to support the lungs and large intestine. It will help to soothe a sore throat, and is a natural astringent, making it a must for those swollen lymph glands we tend to get when sick.
In Chinese medicine, sage is known to “dispel wind damp cold” and helps to rid the “lung phlegm damp”. Sage essential oil (applied externaly) is a champion at breaking up and thinning excess mucus so that you can return to normal breathing!
Sage lends a hand to break up foods high in fat content so that they can move more readily through our digestive tract as well.
Sage can be used fresh or dried in cooking, teas, tinctures, or through your olfactory senses. Khroma Herbal Products has an Organic Sage Liquid Supplement that is a beautiful way to get an extra dose of all sages phenomenal benefits. They have multiple blends that incorporate a few of the spices listed here, super phenomenal company and product, you should really take a look, for your Christmas list maybe?!



Thyme is a kitchen cupboard staple and has been for hundreds of years. It has also been a medicine cabinet staple for hundreds of years. The smell of thyme always reminds me of chicken, but that’s just me.
Thymus Vulgaris is an herb native to southern Europe (think Mediterranean) but grows well almost anywhere in the world. Thyme has had an incredible role throughout history. The Egyptians used it to embalm their dead, and the Romans threw thyme on their floors to deter venomous creatures. The Benedictine monks added Thyme to their elixirs for its health-supportive benefits. In the Greek language, thymon means “fumigate,” thymos pertains to either “smoke” or “spirit” and thumus means “courage.” During the time of the ancient Greeks and Romans, it was used for medicinal to metaphysical to even to spiritual uses.

This potent herb is rich in plant phenols, thymol, and carvacrol — active antimicrobial agents that, like sage, help to thin mucus and fight bacteria in the bronchial tract. Using thyme essential oil is powerful for joint pain relief and was used in wars to medicate bandages!
The thymol stimulates contractions of smooth muscle tissue along the digestive tract, to keep food from sitting too long and becoming blocked. It is a powerful and pleasant herb for easing stomach cramps, indigestion, bloating, and gas.
Thyme contains many essential vitamins and nutrients as well: Calcium, Iron, Manganese, Magnesium, Potassium, Selenium, Vitamin-A, Vitamin-K, Vitamin-E, and Vitamin-C.

Whether you are using it on chicken, in potatoes, as tea, or in a soothing bath or massage, thyme is sure to keep you feeling your best.


Peppermint is one of my all-time favorite herbs! Peppermint tea, peppermint essential oil, peppermint candy, peppermint chocolate, peppermint scented things(natural of course). I have a mint plant in my garden and this summer my son would watch me just pick a leaf and chew on it, and so after a while, he started picking leaves to then come and put in my mouth. He’s so freaking adorable.
I grew up with peppermint tea and essential oil, my mom gave them to us for headaches, tummy aches, and fatigue. She would always put a drop on the back of her hand and lick it for a breath freshener. She still does that to this day, it’s always in her purse.

While you may think of peppermint as more of a winter spice, it has its place in the pungent category of autumn, it is just considered a cooling pungent. Peppermint is highly regarded as a digestive aid, helping to soothe upset stomach or nausea, I leaned heavily on this during my first trimester of pregnancy.
Drinking peppermint tea hot will help to release toxins and boost the immune system. With its aromatic smell, delicious taste, and incredible properties, peppermint tea is a must for clearing all types of stagnation, from digestive, respiratory, and even emotional stagnation.

The Art of Tea has a lovely variety of mint teas to suit your fancy, from Morrocan Mint, to Dark Chocolate Mint, to a Big Sur Mint Earl Grey Crème!

With so many positive attributes, I never leave home without my peppermint.
I got it from my mama.

Spicy Conclusion

These posts just keep getting longer and longer as I continue to write, and I love it!
I sincerely hope you learned something here, and are inspired to try different ways to incorporate these seven pungent spices into your holistic autumn kitchen/medicine cabinet.

Variety is the spice of life they say!

I would love to hear some of your favorite recipes, teas, or uses for any of these spices! Or if you have one that you use!

Love and vibes,

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