Herbs and Spices For Good Health
Herbs and spices have been used to treat various diseases and ailments for thousands of years. There is now much renewed interest in these altenative medicines, with many new medicinal uses coming to light. For the purpose of this article, both spices and herbs will be referred to as herbal remedies.
First, what are herbs and spices? Spices are derived from the roots, bark, buds and fruit of plants. Herbs are usually taken from the leaves of various plants. Both of these retain their potency for long periods if they are stored properly.
Both herbs and spices are excellent antioxidants, which work to neutralize attacks made by free radicals against the body. Spices also contain phytonutrients, which may prevent the mutation on healthy cells into cancerous cells.
A great advantage that the use of herbal remedies have over commercial drugs is the reduced side effects, since the concentration of active ingredients is much lower. It should be noted that individuals who suffer from various allergies, children and women who are pregnant or nursing should always have a consultation with a physician before using any type of herbal treatment.
Some herbal remedies have the same active ingredients as those used in commercial drugs. Herbal medicines come in several forms. They may be obtained in pills, capsules, liquids (tinctures or extracts) or in their natural form as obtained from plants.
For fastest relief, herbal extracts are the best choices since they are absorbed very quickly into the body. These must be measured, which makes them slightly less convenient than the pill or capsule forms, yet results are seen almost instantly. For long-term treatment and effects, capsules and tablets are the most practical and convenient form. Also widely available are herbal powders, which may be made into teas.
Although there are hundreds of different herbs and spices used for health purposes, some of the more common ones are listed below, along with their uses.
Thyme Thyme is an ancient herb majorly used for seasoning.
Cloves for flavour and health Cloves are known for their exceptional aroma. It is an ancient spice which holds an important portfolio in every kitchen.
Health benefits of SAGE: Sage is used to cure variety of conditions like sore throats, mouth inflammations, coughs, liver disorders, and upset stomach.
Health benefits of Cumin:Cumin is a spice that is available in every kitchen. It is an important ingredient in seasoning food. It is also very well known for its curative properties.
Health benefits of Rosemary:Rosemary is known for its culinary and curative properties from ancient times. It is a perenial herb which was primarily used for flavouring food.
Oregano Uses Oregano is a perennial herb. It is mainly used for flavouring food.
Ginger Ginger is an ancient spice which is an integral part of every kitchen. It is known for its curative properties and flavour.
Garlic is one of the best-known and widely used herbal medicines. Garlic is a strong weapon against infection and a natural antibiotic. It has been found to reduce cholesterol and high blood pressure and is sometimes used to treat yeast infections.
Chamomile is often used as a tea for its mild sedative effects. It is also used to soother digestive ailments and to reduce fever. It may also be applied topically to soothe skin irritations and diaper rash.
A common household spice, nutmeg is a natural stimulant to the cardiovascular system. It is also used to relieve the joint inflammation associated with gout. This spice should be used carefully since large doses can be toxic. It is not to be used by pregnant women or children as a herbal remedy.
This spice may also be used as an antiseptic agent when crushed and applied to clean cuts and abrasions. As a tea, it calms the stomach and can reduce the pain of menstrual cramps. Thyme may also be used as a treatment for colds.
Ginger has many medicinal uses. It is a very effective treatment for motion sicknesss and general nausea. It is also use to treat menstrual cramps and the nausea associated with chemotherapy.
This pungent herb is used as a remedy for colds, sore throat and other respiratory ailments, as well as urinary tract problems. It has been used to control some symptoms of diabetes.
Fennel is a herb used widely to treat infant colic and gas. It is also a strong liver detoxifier and diuretic.
Fenugreek is used by many women who suffer from the symptoms of menopause--hot flashes, night sweats, etc. It is also used to reduce cholesterol and relieve constipation. It has been discovered that fenugreek binds with wholesterol in the intestine and encourages the excretion of cholesterol from the body.
Cloves act as a wound antiseptic by killing harmful bacteria. It is also used to treat indigestion and diarrhea. Cloves also acts as a deterrent to free-radical damage to the body.
Rosemary is another herbal remedy which calms the digestive system. As an oil, it is used to help relieve sore muscles and increase circulation when applied to the skin.
This spice has been used to treat arthritis, dysentery and heart disease. It is also believed to lower the risk for certain cancers by attacking free radicals.
CAYENNE (RED PEPPER)
Cayenne may be taken or used topically. It contains capsaicin, a substance which is also used as an active ingredient in many commercial pain medications. Cayenne also aids in digestion.
This spice is also used to treat heart disease, high blood pressure and to reduce cholesterol.
Another digestive calmant, coriander is used to treat colic and general nausea.
This spice is used to ocntrol the level of blood sugar for diabetics. It is also used to relieve the symptoms of urinary tract infections and yeast infections.
This is a powerful detoxifier and is used to relieve sore throat, gum inflammation and yeast infections.
Used to relieve various respiratory problems, oregano may also relieve digestive upset and yeast infections.
Licorice root is a remedy to relieve menopausal symptoms. In some instances, it has been found to have as much effect as hormone replacement therapy in women.
Studies have shown saffron to be instrumental in destroying the cancer cells that cause leukemia.
Curcumin is being studied as a treatment for HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.
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