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The phrase “health benefits of herbs and spices” may sound like I am trying to convince you that a particular fast food restaurant with a similar sounding catch phrase is actually healthy. However, that is not the case! Your regular ol’ herbs and spices really do have lots of health benefits, and with many of these already found in your spice rack, why not utilize them to enhance both your culinary creations and your health and wellbeing?! For thousands of years’ spices have been an integral part of cooking and health, with many cultures having already had an emphasis on “food as medicine” for far longer than we have in the Western world. So get ready to add a little flavor and a whole lot of benefits to your life!
With its beautiful colors and aroma, turmeric has probably already weaseled its way into your heart! Did you know it also has excellent natural anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, and studies have also shown that turmeric may help lower cholesterol too! All you need to do to utilize the healing properties of turmeric is add some to your diet – it is amazing in tea!
A “jack of all trades” in the natural health world, cinnamon, can be used to help treat muscle spasms, vomiting, diarrhea, infections, the common cold, and loss of appetite. A simple cinnamon remedy is to mix a tablespoon with a little warm water and take as a syrup.
This common cookery herb can also be used as a natural remedy to treat respiratory tract disorders, gastrointestinal disorders, menstrual cramps, and urinary tract disorders. You can also apply oregano oil topically as a cream to help treat a number of skin conditions, including acne and dandruff. To consume the health benefits of oregano simply add it to your diet, or you purchase an oregano oil from your local natural health store.
A very powerful herb, valued for its ability to boost memory, improve mood, reduce inflammation, relieve pain, protect the immune system, stimulate circulation, detoxify the body, protect against bacterial infections, and heal skin conditions. Rosemary smells amazing! The Greeks have had the right idea for thousands of years when adding rosemary to meals, and to see these health benefits all you need to do is add some rosemary to your next meal! It tastes amazing with roast potatoes!
The antiseptic properties of cumin can help fight the flu by boosting your immune system. A cup of water boiled with cumin seeds, ginger, and basil leaves can provide you with great relief. cumin helps control stomach pain, indigestion, diarrhea, nausea, and morning sickness. In Moroccan culture, it is common practice to eat cumin seeds to cleanse the palate for a meal.
Another “all-rounder” spice, cardamom eases belching, flatulence and indigestion; treats respiratory conditions like coughing, asthma, and loss of voice; helps in the removal of toxins through your skin. All you need to do is stir a few freshly ground pinches of cardamom pods into a shot of orange juice, your morning fruit salad, or mix it with your rice before you boil it.
Nutmeg can be used to improve digestion; ease the symptoms of menstruation; induce calm and sleep. Be careful not to consume more than one nutmeg per day because too much of this potent spice can cause stomach pain, double vision, and other uncomfortable reactions.
If unsure about anything, please see your health care practitioner!
Green Monsters, what are your favorite spices to use? Tell us!
Image source: Jessica Spengler/Flickr