Herbs and spices have been used since the dawn of time. Many herbs and spices were used for their medicinal value before they were used for flavor. Today’s science has shown that many of them carry great health benefits. Here are a few of the healthiest herbs and spices and their values:
- Peppermint – Peppermint has a long history of use in medicine and aromatherapy. Studies have shown that peppermint oil can improve pain management in irritable bowel syndrome or IBS. Studies have shown that it works by relaxing the smooth muscles in the colon, which relieves pain during bowel movements. It also helps to reduce abdominal bloating, a common problem with digestive symptoms. In a study of over 1,000 women, peppermint aromatherapy caused a reduction in nausea.
- Cinnamon – Besides the fact that cinnamon adds a wonderful taste to food and desserts, it lowers blood sugar levels and has a powerful anti-diabetic effect. Cinnamon contains a compound called cinnamaldehyde which is responsible for cinnamon’s medicinal properties. Cinnamon can lower blood sugar by several mechanisms, includes slowing the breakdown of carbs in the digestive tract and improving insulin sensitivity. Studies have sown that cinnamon can lower fasting blood sugars by 10-29% in diabetic patients. The effective dose is typically 0.5-2 teaspoons of cinnamon per day.
- Turmeric – This spice contains curcumin, a substance with powerful anti-inflammatory effects. Curcumin is a powerful antioxidant helping to fight oxidative damage and boosting the body’s own antioxidant enzymes. This is important because oxidative damage is believed to be one of the key mechanisms behind ageing. Curcumin is strongly anti-inflammatory, to the point where it matches the effectiveness of some anti-inflammatory drugs.
- Holy Basil – Not to be confused with regular basil, but studies have shown that holy basil can inhibit the growth of a range of bacteria, yeasts and molds. Holy basil is also linked to reduced blood sugar levels before and after meals, as well as treating anxiety and anxiety-related depression. It is important to note that these studies of basil was relatively small and more research is likely needed for more recommendations.
- Ginger – Ginger can treat nausea and has anti-inflammatory properties. If you have ever eaten Chinese food, you probably know that it is regularly used. Ginger also appears to have strong anti-inflammatory properties, and can help with pain management. One study in which subjects at risk for colon cancer found that 2 grams of ginger extract per day decreased markers for colon inflammation in the say way as aspirin.
- Rosemary – Rosemary can help to prevent allergies and nasal congestion. The active ingredient in rosemary is called rosmarinic acid. This substance has been shown to suppress allergic responses and nasal congestion.
- Garlic – Throughout ancient history, garlic has mainly been used for its medicinal properties. The compound Allicin is responsible for giving garlic its distinct smell. Garlic is known for fighting sickness, including the common cold and if you get colds often, adding more garlic to your diet. In regard to garlic and high cholesterol, it appears to reduce the total LDL cholesterol by about 10-15%. Additional studies regarding high blood pressure indicate that garlic was the cause of significant reductions in their blood pressure.
- Excerpts of this information was obtained from https://www.healthline.com