Herbs and spices are many times used to add flavor to food. For a long time, however, they were also used for their medicinal qualities. Let’s take a look at some common herbs and spices and the health benefits that are associated with them.
Please note: This article is not coming from a magickal or metaphysical perspective. It is purely being explored from the viewpoint of how these herbs and spices can influence health.
Before we get into the individual herbs, realize that all the herbs in this article are believed to be powerful antioxidants. This means they are believed to help remove potentially damaging oxidizing agents and protect from such things as cancer and coronary heart disease.
Another way to think of it is that when our cells use oxygen they generate free radicals. These free radicals are by-products or what is left over. Free radicals can cause damage to our cells. Damage to our cells can cause a host of medical problems. In essence, an antioxidant hunts down and destroys free radicals as well as repair the damage which they have done.
So let’s look at some of these antioxidant herbs and see what other health benefits they are believed offer and if those beliefs appear to be valid or not.
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Basil is believed to help decrease inflammation. For those who don’t know, this is when a part of the body becomes swollen, red, or hot because of an injury or infection.
It is also said to help with acne, mental fatigue, head colds, gas, and kidney disorders. None of this has been proven clinically.
It’s normally added to Asian or Mediterranean foods.
Chili peppers are sometimes called capsicum. It is well known that the fruit of the capsicum plant is used to make medicine.
It has been proven to reduce the pain associated with rheumatoid arthritis, shingles, and diabetes when applied to the skin where the pain is located. It also has shown to be effective in helping back pain and fibromyalgia. Cluster headaches and runny noses have also successfully been treated with Chili peppers.
Though not proven, some say it can aid in weight management. They go well with Asian, Mediterranean, African, and Latin inspired cuisines.
Cilantro is also called coriander. Much research still needs to be done in order to understand the impacts of Cilantro on health.
Some claim that it serves as an excellent digestive aid and helps with constipation and irritable bowel syndrome. Others believe it can help prevent gas, diarrhea, and even measles. None of these haven been proven clinically.
It goes well with Asian, Middle Eastern, Latin, and Mexican style cuisines.
Dill is said to be an antimicrobial. It is believed to help colds, fevers, coughs, bronchitis, and sore throats. None of this, however, has been clinically proven.
Dill is also believed to help with gas, urinary tract problems, liver problems, and gallbladder problems, Again, these claims have not yet been proven in clinical testing.
Mediterranean and American style cuisines are the best places to add dill.
Garlic is said to lower cholesterol and blood pressure. In fact, it’s estimated that people with high blood pressure can reduce their blood pressure by as much as 8% by consuming garlic daily.
Garlic can prevent cerebral aging and blood clotting. It’s also well known for its ability to boost the immune system. Additionally, research indicates that garlic may be effective for reducing the risk for colon, rectal, and stomach cancer.
It is used throughout the world and can be added to most styles of food.
Ginger is believed to be an anti-emetic (prevents vomiting), antimicrobial (destroys pathogenic microorganisms), and anti-inflammatory (reduces inflammation) herb. It is also said to boost the immune system. .
Since it is an anti-emetic, Ginger is believed to help reduce nausea and vomiting as well as dizziness. Additionally, ginger can help relieve the pain associated with menstrual cramps and arthritis.
In Ayurvedic medicine ginger is considered to be a universal therapeutic. It is typically found in Asian inspired food
Not a lot is known about the healing properties of lemongrass and much research still needs to be done.
Lemongrass is said to have anti-cancer properties. It also said to act as an anti-inflammatory. It further is believed to help with stomach spasm and high blood pressure. None of these have been tested though.
Lemongrass goes well with Asian style cuisine and most seafood.
Marjoram is said to be antimicrobial. As such, it is believed to help with coughs, colds, runny noses, stomach cramps, and colic. It is also said to be useful in helping with gallstones, headaches, diabetes, relieving menopause and nerve pain. None of this has been yet proven in clinical testing.
Early clinical testings does, however, indicate that Marjoram may be effective in helping people to improve lung functioning.
Marjoram is typically found in Mediterranean, African, Middle Eastern, and American style food.
Oregano is said to be antimicrobial. As such it is believed to help with coughing, the flu, and headaches. It is also believed to help with hemophilia and healing wounds. None of these have been proven in clinical testing.
It has, however, shown clinically to be helpful with high cholesterol and in killing intestinal parasites.
Oregano is often found in Mediterranean style cuisines.
Parsley is said to be an antimicrobial. It is believed to help with coughing, digestive problems, urinary tract problems, menstrual cramps, liver disorders, and asthma. None of this has yet to be proven in clinical testing.
Parsley is also supposed to help with kidney stones, bruises, tumors, cracked skin, and insect bites. Again, this has not been proven clinically.
Parsley is found in cuisines throughout the world.
Rosemary is believed to be an anti-carcinogen and anti-inflammatory. It is additionally said to inhibit bone resorption. It is also said to be useful in helping with gas, indigestion, gout, cough, headache, toothaches, and high blood pressure. None of these have yet to be proven clinically.
Early clinical trials suggests that rosemary may be helpful in improving hair loss when the essential oil is applied to the scalp. There is also some early evidence to suggest that Rosemary can help improve the quality of memory in healthy adults. Additionally, there is some evidence that this herb will help decrease pain associated with arthritis.
It is often added to Mediterranean style food.
Thyme is said to inhibit bone resorption. It is also believed to help with agitation, ear infections, tonsil inflammation, sore throats, and bad breath. These claims have not been proven in clinical testing.
What has been proven is that Thyme is great for improving the symptoms associated with bronchitis including coughing and fever. Coughing associated with colds and upper respiratory infections also seems to decrease with the use of Thyme. This herb, in essential oil form, has even been proven to help with hair loss when applied to the scalp.
Thyme is typically added to Mediterranean style foods.
Remember, to consult your doctor, a good homeopathic practitioner, or someone knowledgeable in herbs before attempting any sort of major treatment of yourself with them. Adding these herbs and spices to foods, however, should be fine for most healthy adults.