Your Health

Spice It Up!

Bay Area locations make it easy to add herbs and spices to your diet

Herbs and spices can certainly add a kick of flavor to your meals. But they can also boost your health, researchers say. A few examples: Turmeric can protect against numerous conditions including diabetes and inflammatory bowel syndrome, according to research done over the past half-century, as reported by the National Institutes of Health. According to the NIH’s National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH), studies have shown that horse chestnut seed extract can be as effective in treating chronic venous insufficiency as wearing compression stockings. The NCCIH also cites research showing that ginger can help relieve nausea and vomiting during pregnancy.

Ready to shop for quality herbs and spices from around the world? The following Bay Area vendors have the thumbs-up from Yelp users, and a couple won recognition from Food & Wine magazine.

Bombay Spice House
1036 University Ave., Berkeley
510.845.5200
This specialty grocer carries everything you need to make flavorful curries and other Indian fare. Customers appreciate the friendly, helpful service, and one fan says, “I’m pretty sure I’ve seen stuff here I haven’t seen back at home in India.”

Local Spicery (localspicery.com)
80 Main St., Tiburon 
415.382.6455
Broaden your flavor journey at this elegant shop, located on Tiburon’s historic Ark Row, which sells scores of herbs and spices from all over the globe. Products are personally milled, blended and packaged in small batches to ensure the most robust aroma and flavor. 

Oaktown Spice Shop (oaktownspiceshop.com)
546 Grand Ave., Oakland
510.201.5400
This shop boasts a range of spices and some unique, hand-mixed blends that you simply won’t find at your average grocer, such as Better Than Everything Bagel Spice, Jamaican Curry Powder and Moroccan Style Fish Tagine. Check the store’s calendar for cooking demonstrations and other events.

Penzeys
771 Santa Cruz Ave., Menlo Park
650.853.1785
This well-organized shop carries individual herbs and spices as well as mixes such as 
curries, baking blends and seasonings for grilling. Have a foodie friend who deserves a treat? Pick up one of the store’s themed gift boxes.

San Francisco Herb Co. (sfherb.com)
250 14th St., San Francisco
415.861.7174
Buy quality herbs and spices at wholesale prices, including hard-to-find items such as grains of paradise and long pepper. While you’re there, peruse the custom spice and tea blends.

Spice Ace (spiceace.com)
1821 Steiner St., San Francisco
415.885.3038
Pick up sustainably farmed spices that are packaged in small batches to ensure freshness. Try spice blends such as Ancho Honey Citrus Blend or French Basque Seasoning. For regret-free purchases, Spice Ace offers samples before you buy.