Besides imparting complex flavours into food, some spices also have medicinal properties. Here are spices that can be used to minimize symptoms and even treat some basic health problems.
The fast lifestyle of fast food, soda and stress is starting to catch up on the average American, so much so that an estimated one in every three Americans has high blood pressure. This puts them at risk of heart disease, stroke and even kidney disease. Moreover, this condition is costing the country 93.5 billion dollars in health care services.Putting too much faith in the medical establishment to find a cure for your high blood pressure may no longer be advisable in the least. The number of prescription drugs on the market and the cascade of variations suggest that a cure for blood pressure is not in the offing anytime soon.
Few Healing Herbs and Spices You Have at Home
Beneficial effects on cholesterol, among other things. It is high in phytochemicals, which have been known to lower blood pressure, and may also help to reduce the risk of stroke.Eating a lot of garlic can lower rates of some cancers as well (ovarian, colorectal, etc) and colon polyps, too
Long held as a cure for pain, this common healing herb contains a chemical known as curcumin has powerful anti-inflammatory effects on the body, making it a great choice for those suffering from arthritis, tendonitis, and other auto-immune conditions. Also connected as a potential healer of ailments such as Alzheimer’s disease and colon cancer.
This healing herb is just now beginning to get the recognition it deserves as beneficial for things like stress.Holy basil in particular (the kind you use in pesto) contains compounds that stimulate adrenaline and noradrenaline production, while decreasing serotonin—all effective ways to reduce feelings of stress.
Others have studied basil for its possible benefits in inhibiting breast cancer. And some even recommend basil essential oil (in a water mixture) as a formulation for sterilizing produce naturally. It can also be used to alleviate nausea.
Used in all kinds of cooking for centuries, ginger comes in many forms—powdered, fresh, candied, minced, and more.
A classic home remedy for nausea (whether you’re pregnant or experiencing motion sickness), ginger has also been implicated as a powerful antioxidant capable of banishing free radicals.
It may also be able to help lower blood pressure, reduce cancer risks, regulate blood flow, relieve pain, and even ease arthritis.
One of the powerful healing herbs, cinnamon has been used for hundreds of years in cooking and home remedies.
Today, scientists are exploring its role in helping regulate blood sugar in diabetics and lowering cholesterol in heart patients.
Get rid of persistent flatulence with this healing herb. Fennel is a great remedy reducing digestive air movement and can be taken in many forms (extracts, capsules, oils) of supplements as well as cooked into tasty dishes.
One of the potential cancer fighting herbs, rosemary is a fragrant, savory choice for all kinds of delicious dishes. Cooking red meats at high heat can create heterocyclic amines (HCAs) which are carcinogenic.
But pair rosemary which has two big-name antioxidants, and you could help to fight off cancer. Rosemary has also be suspected as a breast cancer-fighter.
Cinnamon is a nutritional powerhouse, with antioxidant properties that keep cells safe from oxidative stress and dangerous free radicals. Antioxidants help fight such diseases as cancer, Alzheimer’s, diabetes, and Parkinson’s syndrome.
That burning sensation in your mouth when you eat foods spiced with cayenne (red) pepper comes from capsaicin, the oily compound behind most of the health benefits of cayenne and its peppery cousins. Capsaicin is the active ingredient in many prescription and over-the-counter creams, ointments, and patches for arthritis and muscle pain. Over time, it short-circuits pain by depleting nerve cells of a chemical called substance P, which helps transfer pain signals along nerve endings to the brain. It’s also used for treating shingles pain and diabetes-related nerve pain.
Cloves, an aromatic spice common in Indian cooking, contain an anti-inflammatory chemical called eugenol. In recent animal studies, this chemical inhibited COX-2, a protein that spurs inflammation (the same protein that so-called COX-2 inhibitor drugs such as Celebrex quash). Cloves also ranked very high in antioxidant properties in one study. The combination of anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties spells heaps of health benefits, from boosting protection from heart disease to helping stave off cancer, as well as slowing the cartilage and bone damage caused by arthritis. Compounds in cloves, like those found in cinnamon, also appear to improve insulin function.
Coriander seeds yield cilantro, also known as Chinese parsley, a staple herb in Mexican, Thai, Vietnamese, and Indian cooking. The seeds have been used for thousands of years as a digestive aid. Try making a strong tea from crushed seeds (strain before drinking). The herb can be helpful for some people with irritable bowel syndrome, as it calms intestinal spasms that can lead to diarrhea.
Mustard is made from the seeds of a plant in the cabbage family – a strongly anticancer group of plants. Indeed, mustard seeds contain compounds that studies suggest may inhibit the growth of cancer cells.
Like cloves, nutmeg contains eugenol, a compound that may benefit the heart. It was one of the key spices that give the Spice Islands their name, and some historians link its popularity in the spice trade to the hallucinatory effects that result from ingesting large amounts. The euphoria, which is due to nutmeg’s active ingredient, myristicin, is described as similar to that caused by the drug ecstasy. Don’t worry about your teens raiding your spice drawer for a quick high, however; it also packs some nasty side effects, and nutmeg poisoning is a very real risk.
Perhaps it’s no coincidence that ‘sage’ describes a wise person; the herb is a known memory enhancer and has been shown in some lab studies to protect the brain against certain processes that lead to Alzheimer’s disease. In at least one human study, a sage-oil concoction improved the mood of participants, increasing their alertness, calmness, and contentedness. In a British study, healthy young adults performed better on word recall tests after taking sage-oil capsules.
Taking advantage of the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects of spices and herbs is an excellent way to boost your body’s health. Herbs have low calorie content, increase the medicinal value of your food and allow you to use natural forms of lowering blood pressure. Mix them up with your soups, salads, fish and meat and vegetable dishes. It’s a healthier and cheaper alternative to keeping bottles of prescription drugs and synthetic supplements.