Sumac, The Superfood Yet The Most Underrated Spice
Image Credit: Sumac powder, Image Credit: silkroadspices

Fattoush salad is one of the popular dishes on the Iftar menu, especially in Middle Eastern and Arabic countries. Often, it is served as a part of meze spreads. While the salad has its own distinction, one ingredient that gives a unique taste is sumac. Also called sumach, it is a reddish-purple spice used as a common condiment. It originates from the berries of a Rhus Coriaria shrub. Mediterranean countries, including Iran, Turkey, and Italy, are home to this wild plant. Sumac is made when the berries are dried and powdered. This spice is a relatively recent addition to Western cuisine, notwithstanding having a long history in the Middle Eastern food scene. Sadly, it is still a very underrated spice. 

Sumach is a perfect substitute for lemon in Middle Eastern and Arab cooking. It is used to marinate meat, flavour hummus, and as a souring agent for salads. In recent years, it has gained popularity among health enthusiasts, mostly due to numerous studies revealing its enormous health advantages.

It is abundant in antifungal, antimicrobial, anti-oxidant, and anti-inflammatory properties. Apart from being used as a condiment, this herbal product has been frequently employed as a medicine. Sumac's phytochemical composition has been thoroughly investigated. The study discovered it to contain flavonoids, tannins, organic acids, polyphenols, and essential oils. So, if you haven't cooked food with sumac, it's time to introduce it to your spices collection. A tiny sprinkle also adds a rich pop of colour to any dish.

Here are some more best features of this condiment.

Good for stomach health

Sumac's enormous reservoir of diuretic qualities aids in the treatment of bowel movement-related problems. So instead of popping a pill, you may consider this natural healing agent. Sumac juice soothes an upset stomach.

Heals inflammation

Many foods with anti-inflammatory abilities are highly recommended by health experts. Sumac certainly falls into this category. Its anti-inflammatory properties help to decrease fever. Inflammation of the skin, arthritis, and respiratory illnesses, including bronchitis, colds, and flu, can all be effectively treated with it.

Berries of Rhus Coriaria, Image Credit: Pexels

A rich source of Vitamin C

Sumac contains significant amounts of Omega 3 fatty acids and Vitamin C. By consuming it, one can reduce the risk of getting many types of cardiovascular disease, including strokes. Additionally, it helps the body get rid of free radicals, mainly in the gastrointestinal tract.

Guards lungs against infection

After the pandemic's onset, we all have become awry about our lungs' health. Sumac seeds work well as defences against the Aspergillus fungus, which causes lung infection and other organ infections. According to an analysis of the characteristics of the COVID-19 virus shown by clinical research, sumac extract may be helpful in its treatment. 

Antimicrobial agent

Sumac's tannins have antimicrobial (biofilm-preventing) capabilities. The antimicrobial compounds, including methyl gallic acid, provide protection against Salmonella bacteria. According to research, five prevalent oral bacterial strains that can cause infectious disorders of the mouth have been shown to get some of their growth inhibited by these substances' antibacterial characteristics.

Use this ancient spice lavishly on sauteed or steamed vegetables, grilled lamb, chicken and fish. Ground sumac also makes a good and flavorful topping on dips like hummus.