Herbs and spices are traditionally used as culinary agents. However, many have medicinal properties and carry noteworthy health benefits.
This spice has an intense but sweet flavor and is used to treat bad breath and prevent cavities. Cardamom health benefits are due to its antioxidant and diuretic properties, which aid in lowering blood pressure. This spice is also seen to enhance the action of natural killer cells (a type of white blood cells) to fight cancer cells, preventing tumor growth. Various compounds in cardamom are seen to aid airflow to the lungs, thus improving breathing. When used in aromatherapy, cardamom increases your body’s capacity to utilize oxygen during exercise. Moreover, cardamom relieves gastric disorders and is seen to prevent or reduce gastric ulcers.
Turmeric health benefits are due to various compounds with medicinal properties, out of which curcumin is the most important one. Oxidative damage by free radicals is one of the key mechanisms for aging and many health ailments. Curcumin is a powerful antioxidant, which fights this oxidative damage, preventing many diseases. Inflammation plays a major role in many chronic diseases like Alzheimer’s, diabetes, cancer, and heart diseases. Anti-inflammatory nature of curcumin is seen to prevent these conditions.
This popular spice contains a compound called cinnamaldehyde that is accountable for its medicinal properties. Cinnamon is a potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agent that lowers blood triglyceride and cholesterol levels. It is also seen to lower the blood glucose level by improving insulin sensitivity and slowing the breakdown of carbs. According to research, cinnamon lowers fasting blood glucose levels in diabetics by 10-29%. You can add cinnamon to your tea or coffee.
Holy basil or Tulsi is considered to be a sacred herb in India. This herb is seen to inhibit the growth of various bacteria, molds, and yeasts. Holy basil boosts the functioning of the immune system by increasing immune cells like cytokines and natural killer cells. It is also seen to lower blood sugar levels both before and after meals. Moreover, holy basil combats anxiety and anxiety-related depression.
Ginger is a popular spice commonly used in Ayurveda. Ginger can treat nausea related to chemotherapy, morning sickness, and seasickness. Ginger aids in pain management due to its anti-inflammatory properties. It also helps in managing colon inflammation and osteoarthritis.
Fenugreek contains a plant protein 4-hydroxyisoleucine that improves the functioning of insulin. Insulin is a hormone essential for body cells to utilize glucose. In the absence of insulin, the body cells are unable to utilize glucose and its level in the blood increases. Consuming 1 gram of fenugreek extract per day is seen to lower blood glucose levels. In Ayurveda, fenugreek is commonly used to enhance libido.
Since ages, garlic has been used for its medicinal properties. Allicin, a compound, is responsible for the health effects and its distinct smell. Garlic is seen to lower the frequency of common cold. If you often catch a cold, garlic can be helpful for you. It also lowers bad (LDL) and total cholesterol levels. Lastly, garlic can cause a significant reduction in blood pressure in individuals suffering from hypertension.
This herb has a long history of use in aromatherapy and Ayurveda. Peppermint oil is seen to manage the pain associated with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) by relaxing the smooth muscles of the intestine. It is also seen to lessen abdominal bloating. Moreover, peppermint in aromatherapy can help in managing nausea.
The beauty of these spices and herbs is that they are readily available. Try and add some of them to your diet and spice up your life in a healthy way.