Spices & Their Health Benefits
Top Spices And Their Benefits
People have been using spices on their foods as far back as 50,000 B.C. But, beyond adding flavor, these dried seeds, fruits, root or bark can also add years to your life.
Spices are rich in phytonutrients and other active ingredients that protect against disease and promote healing. In worldwide studies, spices have been linked to the prevention and treatment of chronic conditions such as heart disease, cancer, Type II diabetes, and Alzheimer’s. Unlike pharmaceutical drugs, spices can be used long- term without concern for side effects.
Here is a list of some spices and their nutritional and health benefits.
Cayenne pepper is a fantastic medicinal and therapeutic spice that can provide pain relief from ailments such as migraines, nausea, sore throats, sinus infections, heartburn, haemorrhoids, stomach aches, toothaches, and nerve, joint and muscle pain. Cayenne is high in vitamin C & beta carotene making it an excellent remedy for colds, flu, bronchitis, and any viral conditions. It also has the amazing ability to boost circulation and increase cardiovascular ability while at the same time regulating blood pressure making it a great choice for maintaining heart health. Cayenne also helps the body to create hydrochloric acid in the stomach and when taken with meals, it can actually help to rebuild stomach tissue and stimulate the peristaltic motion of the intestines which is essential for proper digestion and assimilation. Cayenne has the ability to destroy worms and parasites in the gut as well as protect against dysentery making it a vital resource when traveling abroad.
Cayenne is a great metabolic-booster, aiding the body’s ability to burn excess amounts of fats and it is a powerful anti-inflammatory to help decrease bloating and swelling. It is can also help to alleviate depression and uplift the spirit. Cayenne cream provides pain relief for neuropathy which is most commonly experienced by those who have had shingles, arthritis, diabetes, fibromyalgia, or surgery. Cayenne cream is also excellent for psoriasis and other itchy skin conditions. Used as a spice to add zest and flavour to your food, taken in capsule form as a supplement, or applied as a topical cream, Cayenne has a myriad of uses and benefits that make it a top choice for home
remedies and prevention.
Turmeric is a natural wonder in the healing world and has been used as a powerful anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antiseptic, and anti-depressant since ancient times. The main component in turmeric, curcumin, has phenomenal anti-cancer properties and has been known to help to inhibit prostate, skin, colon, mouth, oesophageal, lung, stomach, pancreatic, liver, and breast cancer.
Turmeric is also a known blood purifier and helps to soothe respiratory ailments, improve liver function, support the circulatory system, regulate menstrual cycles, prevent cognitive diseases such as Alzheimer’s, and heal gastrointestinal disorders.
Turmeric significantly decreases inflammation that is attributed to arthritis and other auto-immune disorders such as lupus, irritable bowel syndrome, fibromyalgia, and chronic fatigue syndrome.
Turmeric also helps the body to digest proteins and fats as well as to regulate blood sugar for diabetics. It’s antioxidant properties have beneficial anti-aging effects and its anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, anti-microbial properties aids in healing skin wounds and abrasions as well as inflammatory skin irritations such as psoriasis and eczema. Turmeric is available as a powder, capsule, tincture, tea, spice, and/or ointment. Supplementing with turmeric or adding it to your diet will provide benefit for your whole body and is one of the best things you can do for prevention, repair, and longevity.
Ginger is one of the world’s oldest and most popular medicinal spices. It is known to greatly aid in digestion and assimilation and is widely regarded to help prevent colds, flu, motion sickness, and vertigo. Ginger can also help to alleviate menstrual cramps, nausea, heart burn, migraines, sore throats, exhaustion, fatigue, and constipation and it is great in providing relief from the stomach flu and food poisoning. Ginger also contains potent anti-inflammatory compounds called gingerols and is a powerful
painkiller which makes it especially beneficial for those who suffer with joint, muscle, and nerve pain. Ginger has incredible immune-boosting and germ fighting abilities and has even been shown to help provide protection and relief from E.coli, Staph
infections, and Candida albicans. In ancient times, ginger was highly regarded as a spiritual cleanser and used before and during holy days as a way to awaken and purify the body, mind, and spirit.
Fresh ginger is one of the most potent ways to receive its health benefits. Try making a liter of ginger water everyday by adding freshly grated ginger in water and let steep for 10-20 minutes. Adding some raw honey and fresh squeezed lemon juice will enhance its flavour and add to its protective and healing properties. Fresh ginger is also excellent juiced with apples and celery for an energizing and immune boosting drink. Using fresh ginger in any of your cooking or preparing of food will also provide healing benefits and should be added whenever possible. If you find fresh ginger too strong for your liking, then try using ginger in powder, capsule, tea, or tincture form.
Cumin is one of the best spices to therapeutically use for digestive disorders such as indigestion, dyspepsia, stomach cramps, gastritis, bloating, constipation, nausea, and flatulence. Cumin seeds contain good amounts of vitamins E, A and B-complex and is an excellent source of minerals such as zinc, selenium, iron, copper, calcium, and manganese. Cumin helps the body absorb and assimilate nutrients much more efficiently. It also contains anti-cancer and anti-tumour properties and have been shown to significantly reduce the risk of stomach, colon, and liver tumours. It has also been shown to detoxify the body by boosting liver and kidney function. It is known to help benefit colds, flu, insomnia, asthma, pneumonia, chronic bronchitis, muscle spasms, and arthritis.
Many of the health properties in cumin seeds are found in their essential oils which include cumin aldehyde and thymol. These compounds help to support healthy immune, respiratory, circulatory, reproductive, lymphatic, and digestive systems. For pregnant woman and new mothers, cumin has been known to help relieve morning sickness and to strengthen milk production for breast feeding. Cumin is also excellent for weight loss as it can help to boost the metabolism and energize the body. In biblical times, cumin was highly valued for its digestive properties and were used during times of ceremonial fasting to help cleanse and purify the body. Topically, cumin powder can
be mixed with coconut or olive oil and be applied to boils, scrapes, burns, and insect bites to help disinfect and soothe the skin.
Garlic is one of the world’s oldest medicines and is an incredibly potent spice that can ward off a variety of illnesses and diseases. It has amazingly high levels of vitamins and minerals including vitamin C and B-6 and minerals such as selenium, calcium, copper, and iron. Garlic also contains very strong antibiotic, anti-fungal, anti-cancer, and anti-viral properties. One raw crushed clove of garlic contains the antibiotic equivalent of 100,000 units of penicillin and has been proven to be more effective than both penicillin and tetracycline in suppressing certain types of disease carrying agents.
Garlic contains a compound called allicin which has been shown to help significantly lower cholesterol and blood pressure by inhibiting the HMG-CoA reductase enzyme within the liver cells and blocking platelet clot formation in the blood vessels. Garlic is also very good for the digestive tract and has a strong ability to eliminate toxic matter from the lymphatic system. Garlic’s anti-inflammatory properties make it vital for autoimmune disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis, COPD, lupus, fibromyalgia, Lyme disease, bursitis, shingles, and chronic fatigue syndrome. It is also particularly beneficial for ear infections, candida, bronchitis, respiratory infections, food poisoning, herpes, coronary artery disease, stroke, colds, flus, urinary tract infections, and weak immune systems.
Garlic can help eliminate lead and other heavy metals from the body. It is also a good remedy for removing parasites and worms from the colon. Garlic can be juiced with vegetables for a powerful immune boosting drink. When feeling under the weather consider eating 1-4 cloves of raw garlic a day by adding it to guacamole, soups, hummus, or crushed on toast with a little olive oil. If the flavour of garlic does not appeal to you, odour-free garlic capsules can be a great alternative and a way to still get the health benefits of this natural wonder
Cardamom is a wonderful medicinal spice that has similar health properties as those of cinnamon and ginger. It is rich in minerals such as iron, manganese, calcium, and magnesium. It also contains antiseptic, aesthetic, antispasmodic, antiviral, and antioxidant properties. Cardamom is an excellent spice for the respiratory system and works as a natural expectorant in relieving congestion and phlegm from the lungs and sinus passages. Cardamom is also great for the digestive system and stimulates the appetite as well as ease gas, nausea, indigestion, and cramping. It also helps to kill off any food borne bacteria in the digestive tract which helps to protect against food poisoning and gastric distress. Cardamom pods contain a compound called limonene which is usually found in citrus peels and is known to dissolve cholesterol containing gallstones, relive heartburn and gastroesophageal reflux (GERD), and prevent against breast, colon, liver, and stomach cancer.
Cardamom also contains several compounds that helps to prevent blood clots from forming in the blood stream, making is an important medicinal for those concerned with deep vein thrombosis, lupus, strokes, or pregnancy. It is also a highly beneficial spice for cardiomyopathy, fibromyalgia, vertigo, tinnitus, halitosis, asthma, urinary tract infections, and spasms or convulsions. Cardamom works well as a diuretic and can reduce bloating, water retention, swelling, and oedema. Cardamom pods can be chewed on in order to relieve tooth and gum pain and prevent infection. Cardamom can be found as whole pods or powdered.
Cinnamon is a highly prized spice that has been used since ancient times for its medicinal and healing properties. It has the highest antioxidant strength of all the food sources and is several hundreds more potent than any fruit or vegetable. Cinnamon is a great source of vitamins A and B-complex and minerals such as chromium, iron, zinc, and calcium. It is particularly good for helping diarrhoea, nausea, vomiting, indigestion, flatulence, and arthritis. Cinnamon is known to help prevent and shorten the duration of the flu as well to eliminate congestion and mucus from the body. It is also very beneficial for lowering cholesterol and to help regulate blood sugar. It is known to help increase circulation and contains anti-clotting compounds which makes it highly beneficial for helping to prevent strokes and coronary artery disease. It is also very good for reducing inflammation in the body making it helpful for people with autoimmune disorders such as fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome. Cinnamon also has the amazing ability to stop yeast infections, candida, and menstrual cramps. Cinnamon has anti-cancer properties and has been known to reduce the growth of leukemia and lymphoma cancer cells within the body. It is commonly used in gum and dental treatments due to its pain relieving and antiseptic properties.
Cinnamon helps to boost memory and cognitive function, just smelling cinnamon spice or its essential oil can help make you more alert and focused. Cinnamon oil is also one of the most antimicrobial essential oils and is a potent disinfectant around the home and office.
Cinnamon contains anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, and anti-viral properties that kill microorganisms such as staph, botulism, aflatoxin mould, E. coli, and cold and flu germs. Consider adding a couple of pinches of cinnamon every morning to morning tea, cereal, smoothie, or juice. Try making a raw apple sauce recipe with 2 apples, 3medjool dates, and a pinch of cinnamon. Place in a food processor and blend until smooth for a fresh and nutritious apple sauce. Comes in the form of cinnamon powder, cinnamon sticks, or cinnamon extract supplements.
Star anise is a powerful culinary and medicinal spice that has been used for thousands of years and is rich in vitamin C, calcium and iron. It contains potent anti-viral, antibacterial, and anti-fungal properties and is particularly good for treating the flu. In fact, star anise contains a compound called shikimic acid which is used to make the common anti-viral drug Tamiflu. Star anise is known to effectively remove mucus and congestion from the body due to its strong expectorant properties. It is also commonly used as a digestive aid and can help to relieve gas, constipation, cramping, bloating, heartburn, and indigestion. Star anise is highly beneficial in the treatment of asthma, bronchitis, rheumatism, back pain, shingles, herpes, halitosis, and sinus infections. It also has sedative properties and is helpful to take before bed to ensure a good night’s sleep. Star anise is known to support the health of the female reproductive system and is often used by lactating mothers to increase the flow of breast milk.
Star anise has a flavour similar to that of licorice and cloves and is often used as a flavour enhancer to both sweet and savoury meals including smoothies, deserts, soups, and stews. Star anise tea is a wonderful and healing medicinal beverage that can significantly boost the immune system and help ward off any viral or bacterial infection. Star anise oil can be found in creams and lotions as is an excellent topical remedy for insect bites, eczema, psoriasis, acne, scabies, and lice. Star anise can be found in whole, powder, capsule, tea, extract, oil, and cream form.
Cloves are a highly prized medicinal spice that have been used for centuries in treating digestive and respiratory ailments. Cloves contain good amounts of vitamins A, C, K, and B-complex as well as minerals such as manganese, iron, selenium, potassium, and magnesium. They also contain powerful antiseptic, antiviral, anti-inflammatory and aesthetic properties making them tremendously useful in helping to heal a wide variety of illnesses and health conditions. Cloves are particularly beneficial for the digestive tract and are great for indigestion, gas, constipation, bloating, nausea, and countering the effects of heavy, rich food. They are excellent for relieving muscle
spasms, headaches, and nerve pain. They are also often used to disinfect gums, teeth, kidneys, liver, skin, and bronchi. Clove oil contains eugenol which is a powerful aesthetic and natural pain reliever and is commonly used to help relieve toothaches
and to numb gums in dentistry. Clove oil is also beneficial for the circulatory system and is a potent platelet inhibitor which prevents blood clots.
Clove oil is also excellent for athletes foot and for healing cuts, bruises, burns, rashes, and psoriasis. Essential oil of Clove is an effective decongestant and should be used in a vaporizer, humidifier, or aromatherapy machine to help disinfect the air and to help benefit respiratory conditions such as sinusitis, tuberculosis, bronchitis, asthma, colds & coughs. Cloves are often combined with other herbs to create seasonings such as Curry Powder and Garam Masala in India, Chinese Five Spice in China, and Worcester Sauce in Great
Britain. They are also the ideal addition to deserts, fruit salads, smoothies, and savoury dishes alike. Clove tea is helpful for strengthening the immune system and detoxifying the body. Steep 2 tsp of whole cloves in two cups of hot water for at least 10 minutes, sweeten with honey if desired. Cloves can be found whole or powdered in you local supermarket or health food store. Capsules, extract, tincture, tea, and topical oils & creams can all be found.
Nutmeg is a fragrant medicinal spice that has been used therapeutically for thousands of years. Nutmeg is rich in antioxidants and vitamin C, folic acid, riboflavin, and beta carotene. It also is an excellent source of minerals such as copper, calcium, iron, zinc, and magnesium. Nutmeg contains anti-depressant, anti-fungal, and digestive properties that are highly beneficial for the neurological, cognitive, immune, and digestive systems. Nutmeg is commonly used for abdomen pain, liver and spleen disorders, gas, diarrhoea, and general weakness. A pinch of fresh ground nutmeg in a teaspoon or two of raw honey is a wonderful natural remedy for nausea, indigestion, and gastritis. It is also great for kidney infections and for helping to dissolve kidney stones.
Nutmeg oil contains several health promoting compounds including myrsiticin, safrole, and eugnol. It is known to be good for supporting the adrenal glands and can help support the nervous system to overcome neuralgia, chronic fatigue, exhaustion, and frigidity. Nutmeg oil is also used topically for toothache relief and to support circulation thereby aiding muscles, joints, arthritis, rheumatism, and gout. Nutmeg oil is also known to be an effective remedy for menstrual cramps and can be massaged over the abdomen during times of pain and discomfort. Nutmeg powder is a wonderful addition to smoothies, teas, soups, and stews. Consider purchasing whole nutmeg kernels and grating them fresh for a nutritional and medicinally superior powder