I’m an herbs and spices lover, and I’ve been using them in my specialty recipes. However, the health benefits of herbs and spices are beyond the flavour it gives to our foods. Herbs and spices have been there from the beginning of time. They have integrated into our rich tradition and culture, no matter what country we come from across the world. Herbs and spices are plants or parts of plants used for cooking, medicine and pleasure around the world. They number in thousands and belong in almost every plant family we know, that’s why it’s difficult to generalise their properties and uses.
Herbs and spices don’t only add flavor to our foods, but also prevent diseases. Luckily, the world is more aware now about health benefits of herbs and spices, and it’s so amazing how we can integrate them into our lifestyle. What’s also great is that herbs can be planted together in small gardens alongside with its companion plants. For example, I grow basil in my garden alongside with tomatoes, chives with carrots and oregano to almost all vegetables. That’s why I want to share with you the amazing health benefits of herbs and spices.
Health Benefits of Herbs and Spices
Turmeric is considered to be the most powerful herb on the planet. We know it as part of the ginger family. If you have read medical books, you will agree that turmeric is frequently discussed because of its’ benefits. Turmeric has antiplatelet, anti-depressant, and anti-inflammatory properties. It is the main ingredient of the turmeric-flavoured tea that I love to sip every time I’m so stressed out. The tea calms out my senses every time I get to drink it. Furthermore, it’s also useful in managing your arthritis, diabetes, regulate your cholesterol, treat cancer naturally, and cure chronic inflammation of the eye. Turmeric has gained popularity as a natural medication because of the lack of side effects it gives to people.
If you have experienced sore throats, then you might also have drunk warm water mixed with ginger powder to calm your throat. I do this every time my throat hurts. Aside from this, ginger has a lot of benefits it gives to people who want a natural remedy. It can treat morning sickness, reduce muscle soreness, reduce menstrual pain, lower cholesterol levels and fight infections. Fun fact: ginger prompted the opening of herbs and spices trade around the world.
Besides being a symbol of fidelity in Europe, rosemary and its active ingredient called rosmarinic acid has a lot of benefits. If you have nasal congestion and allergic responses, look for an alternative medicine that has a rosmarinic acid in it. Moreover, rosemary can improve mood and stress, stimulate blood flow, detoxify the body and strengthens your immune system. Finally, it also has antibacterial properties and can become a breath freshener, pain reliever, and anti-aging medicine.
Who doesn’t love garlic? I use it in almost every dish that I cook. There’s no wonder why it’s popular and used in nearly every cuisine around the world. In history, it has been given and fed to labourers and workers to improve production. However nowadays, aside from the distinct flavours, it gives to foods, it has many health benefits too. Garlic has anti-fungal, antibacterial and antiviral properties that can treat infections. Moreover, it’s ideal for curing coughs, and is a remedy for nasal congestion.
When we think of cinnamon, we certainly imagine those good-smelling cinnamon breads in the bake shop. Cinnamon is indeed a tasty spice and also readily available at nearby supermarkets. Besides that, it’s been popular for its health benefits since Ancient Egypt. Cinnamon can lower blood sugar levels, cut the risk of heart disease, fight fungal and bacterial infections and has a powerful anti-diabetic effect.
The next primarily used spice in cuisines around the world in nutmeg. It contains nutritive contents of minerals, vitamins, and compounds related to essential oils. These include manganese, dietary fibre, magnesium, vitamin B6, copper, and thiamin. Furthermore, nutmeg also promotes brain and digestive health, lowers blood pressure and circulation and detoxifies the body. You can also use nutmeg to treat leukemia and insomnia.
Sage is not only known for its beautiful flowers and purple colours, but also for its healing properties. Rosemary and sage are sister herbs because of their resemblance. For centuries, sage has been used for protection against evil, as snakebite treatment and for boosting female fertility. In modern medicine, it’s also used as anti-inflammatory and antioxidant. Furthermore, sage helps eliminate cognitive disorders, helps in diabetes management and assists in digestion.
Oregano is popularly known as food enhancer, specifically a “pizza herb”. Aside from being a good flavoring, it also offers a lot of health benefits. Oregano is a good source of several minerals and vitamins. For example, it contains magnesium, zinc, potassium, calcium, iron and vitamins A, C and E complex. In addition, oregano treats the common cold, relieves menstrual cramps, improves heart health and kills intestinal parasites.
In Indian subcontinent countries, cumin is popular as a spice or condiment. It’s a flowering plant from Mediterranean region to India and Pakistan. Aside from its seeds being used in cookeries, it can also improve immunity, assist in digestion, treat cancer, insomnia and respiratory disorders.
10. The Holy Basil
When I first encountered basil, I mistook it as a flower because of its beautiful colours. However, then I learned that it’s one of the top medicinal herbs. In fact, basil is also known as a treatment for asthma, fever and heart diseases.
To sum it up, those are the health benefits of herbs and spices, at least of the 10 most popular ones. Not only are they good for flavouring food, but also bringing significant health benefits. Most of us have an herb or a spice at our homes. Why not? They are perfect for improving the flavours of our foods and also enhance our health at the same time.
Centuries ago, herbs and spices were exclusive to monarchs and elites only because they were expensive and rare. One had to travel countries to enjoy the flavours and health benefits of herbs and spices. Today we are privileged because of the liberty to grow them in our homes without traveling faraway places. I encourage you to start growing herbs and spices in your gardens or balconies to expand their benefits.
About author: I am Jane – a housewife. I live in a warm family with my husband and lovely kids. Two years ago, I started making my backyard into a garden, which supplies significant veggies for my family. I created this blog – puffycarrot.com in order to share my experience and what I’ve learned in gardening. Hope you will find something helpful for your own here.