Top 10 healthiest spices and herbs on the planet
For centuries, our ancestors collected wild herbs and spices and used them to make elixirs and potions to cure ailments and diseases, but it is only fairly recently that medical science has begun to take herbs and spices a bit more seriously and take a closer look at why they might be beneficial for our health. Most people have a collection of herbs and spices in their kitchen for cooking, but few people realise the full potential of these products. Herbs and spices can do a lot more for you than add flavour to your food, so, read on, and find out more about ten of the healthiest herbs and spices on the planet.
Sage has had a reputation for its ability to heal for a long time and it was thought, in the middle ages, that it could help ward off the plague. Whilst its ability to fight the plague might be debatable, modern science has found that sage can improve the functioning of the brain and memory. Sage inhibits the breakdown of a chemical messenger in the brain called acetylcholine, which has been found to be lacking in patients suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. In one study, it was found that, patients with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s, showed a noticeable improvement after taking sage extract, over a four month period.
Another one of the healthiest spices on the planet is turmeric. Used extensively in Indian cuisine, turmeric is said to have a whole range of amazing health benefits, ranging from lowering cholesterol and healing wounds, to relieving arthritis, treating acne and helping prevent cancer. What is known about turmeric is that it contains a powerful anti-inflammatory compound called curcumin, which is stronger than some prescribed anti-inflammatory drugs, and it is believed that inflammation plays a role in many chronic diseases including cancer and heart disease. (Feel free to read more about wonderful benefits of turmeric for beauty and health here).
Basil is known to be a carminative, which can be used to treat stomach disorders and gas, and basil also contains a compound called eugenol, which eases muscle spasms. Another, of the many properties of this herb, is its ability to be used as an expectorant to ease the symptoms of colds and bronchial infections.
Oregano is another one of the herbs that has multiple health benefits. One of the biggest benefits of oregano is its antioxidant properties that fight the damage caused by free radicals, which contribute to many diseases, including cancer and the effects of ageing. Oregano is also one of the strongest herbal antifungals and antibiotics.
One of the best known properties of ginger is its ability to soothe the stomach and reduce nausea. It can be used effectively to reduce the symptoms of morning sickness and travel sickness, as well as general stomach complaints. Ginger also contains a powerful anti-inflammatory substance called gingerol, which has been proven in studies to be an effective treatment for people with arthritis. (Feel free to read more about fabulous health benefits of ginger root and ginger tea here).
Cloves may be tiny, but they certainly pack a punch when it comes to health benefits. For a start, they are a powerful analgesic and clove oil can be used to treat the pain of things such as toothache. Cloves also have powerful anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties and they have been proven to be very effective at making the body use insulin more efficiently, which can help people who are suffering with diabetes.
Another one of the healthiest spices is thyme. The health benefits of thyme have been very well documented and many of them are due a compound called, thymol, which thyme contains, along with a variety of flavonoids, including naringenin, luteolin and apigenin. Thyme also has powerful antibiotic properties and it is often used to treat skin infections. It can also be useful for treating colds, the flu, and sore throats.
Cloves of garlic contain an amino acid called allicin, which research has proven is effective at lowering cholesterol and reducing blood pressure. Garlic is also known to reduce the risk of developing blood clots and it can also help prevent hardening of the arteries. Garlic has strong anti-bacterial properties and it can kill the bacteria and viruses that cause flu, colds and other infections. (Feel free to read more about powerful health benefits of garlic here).
Parsley is a diuretic, so it is particularly good for keeping fluids flowing through the body, which helps prevents bladder infections and kidney stones. Parsley is also a rich source of vitamins, including vitamins A, B12, C and K, which makes it very good for keeping the immune system working efficiently.
Our list of the healthiest spices and herbs wouldn’t be complete without mentioning cinnamon. Cinnamon is extracted from the bark of a tree and it contains a chemical called cinnamaldehyde that works as an anti-bacterial agent that can kill bacteria, such as e-coli and salmonella. Cinnamon has been proven to be at stabilising blood sugar levels by reducing the rate at which the stomach digests food. (Feel free to read more about health benefits of cinnamon here).
What are your favorite healthiest spices and herbs?