Spices may be looked upon as something to enhance a main dish but that doesn't mean to say that their health benefits can be underestimated or ignored. They can be used to prevent and combat a vast catalogue of illnesses. Then there's the ability of spices to act as a way of detoxifying the body. Whether it's the demands of everyday life; coping with stress, having to deal with a range of chemical or environmental toxins, harmful microorganisms… spices can certainly help when it comes to coping and maintaining optimal health and healing.
Here are my 10 examples of just some of those wonderful health promoting spices.
From immune system building, helping to fight infection to cancer prevention/reversal, garlic has a wide range of health benefits. Other properties include reducing bad cholesterol, lowering high blood pressure and aids controlling blood sugar.
Cloves help reduce pain such as toothache and inflammation. It can also serve as a digestion aid.
Nutmeg helps promote healthy blood circulation. It can help you cope with stress and fall asleep more easily. It has also been known to help enhance memory, act as an anti-inflammatory agent and an antibacterial.
Turmeric is said by some to be the 'world's healthiest spice!' It's the bright yellow spice that's in curry. It can also be used as a supplement. Its powerful bioactive compounds (curcuminoids) have potent medicinal properties. It has powerful anti-cancer, anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory effects.
Ginger contains ayurveda giving it medicine cabinet status! Clearing up sinuses, reducing muscle and joint pain, helping with digestion problems such as nausea, promoting absorption and assimilation of nutrients… are just some of the health benefits.
Generally spices contribute to circulation and the body's metabolic function. Peppercorn is no exception. It's also good for applying on small surface cuts and scuffs, acting as a cleansing agent.
7. Red clover
It has been advised that red clover is not to be used during pregnancy and breast feeding, or by those with bleeding disorders. However, it has been used for pain relief, having anti-inflammatory properties. It has been said that the pain relief is due to red clover containing the compounds eugenol, myricetin and salicylic acid found in the flowers.
Thymol is the main oil ingredient if thyme. This is what gives its health benefits. It helps increase healthy fats such as omega-3 in cell membranes belonging to vital organs like the heart, kidney and brain. This can have the effect of reducing ageing. Thyme also contains flavonoids contributing to its antioxidant properties.
Rosemary is good source of calcium for maintaining bone health and vitamin B6 for nervous function, mood enhancement and energy production. Rosemary also helps with circulation, memory enhancement and digestion aiding beneficial gut bacteria.
How about making sweet potato and turnip mash then adding sage butter! Sage also mixes well with parsley, rosemary and thyme (remember the Simon and Garfunkel song?!). Sage has been known to serve as a memory aid and soothe sore throats.
It is hoped that this limited list has encouraged the reader to look further into the benefits of spices for optimal health and healing.