Heathy Hints with Herbs and Spices

Throughout history spices have played a major role in our daily food preparation and have long been considered medicinal. Spices, not only enhance the flavor of food, they also aid digestion, fight parasites, act as diuretics, antibiotics, anti-inflammatories, antioxidants, and much more.

In honor of the official observance of Herb & Spice Day, this June 10, we have compiled a list of our favorite spices.

Cayenne Pepper
Cayenne Pepper can be used on almost everything. The capsaicin can help veins and arteries regain their elasticity, which can normalize blood pressure levels helping blood flow through your body, especially the extremities.

Cinnamon has a centuries-old tradition of healing, providing antioxidants and aiding against arthritis, urinary tract infections, sinus congestion, tooth decay and gum disease and more. Recent studies have suggested that it may also help manage insulin response. Cinnamon can improve blood sugar regulation by significantly increasing your glucose metabolism and having insulin-like effects in the body and changing the insulin-signaling activity of your fat cells.

Garlic is considered antimicrobial and anti-fungal and has been attributed with cholesterol reducing properties, lowering bad cholesterol (LDL) and raising good cholesterol (HDL). Studies have also suggested that It may protect against heart disease by thinning the blood and reducing hypertension. Simply add raw or cooked garlic cloves to flavor almost any dish.
Ginger Root
Ginger has been shown to increase the production of saliva, calm the digestive tract, and help eliminate bloating and gas. It helps to reestablish the digestive function of the intestines, and is said to have antibacterial properties. Ginger also promotes bile flow, and may have blood thinning and cholesterol lowering properties. Add grated or thinly sliced ginger to the hot oil just before stir frying vegetables or meats or green tea.
Avoid ginger if you suffer from gallstones. If you are currently using blood thinners or aspirin consult your health professional before using ginger.

Oregano has a distinctive, mildly bitter taste and is widely used for indigestion and as a topical antiseptic. Some of its beneficial actions in diabetes prevention may be due to its high antioxidant and antimicrobial properties. Add dried or fresh oregano to stir-fried or grilled vegetables and cheese dishes or use in tomato sauces and stews.

Sage is an ancient and popular garden herb whose Latin name translates into “to heal”traditionally used as a tonic and to reduce excess milk flow in young mothers, it is well-known for its use for indigestion, anxiety, or depression. Research indicates strong antibiotic, anti-fungal, antispasmodic, and astringent properties. Use a moderate amount of rubbed, dry sage (or a couple of fresh sage leaves) on white meats, poultry, potato dishes, and in vegetable soups. Avoid using sage during pregnancy, if you experience seizures, or if you are on CNS regulating prescription drugs.

Turmeric is part of the family of the ginger plants, traditionally used to aid digestion and as an effective natural antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, antibiotic, and as a general pain reliever. Add ground turmeric to yogurt, salad dressings, soft cheeses, herbal butters, or eggs.