There is something to be learned from the age-old practice of using herbs and spices.

These herbs and spices are actually super foods that add on interesting flavors to our dishes, cut down our need for the notorious salt, and even carry time-honored health punches.

While they are not scientifically proven to cure diseases, herbs and spices got antioxidants, nutrients, and other properties that may nip certain diseases in the bud and help our bodies stay in tip-top shape.

Herbs and Spices:

Turmeric

This golden spice, used in almost every meal in India is very valuable.”It is a very powerful healer. It prevents growth of cancer cells and thus can prevent cancer,”says Mumbai-based nutritionist Naini Setalvad. Frequent use of turmeric can lower rates of breast, prostate, lung and colon cancer. Turmeric reduces the risk of childhood leukemia. It improves liver function. It increases cardiovascular function which helps limit the possibility of heart attack or stroke. Turmeric lowers cholesterol. This spice protects against Alzheimer’s Disease. It treats Inflammatory Bowel Disease. Last, but not least… Turmeric relieves the painful joint inflammation caused by Rheumatoid Arthritis.
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Cinnamon

Herbs cinnamonOften used in coffees and other desserts, cinnamon is said to have the ability to reduce blood sugar levels.”This spice contains antioxidants that help lowering levels of bad cholesterol,”says Naini. More good news for women- including this spice in your diet will also ensure less painful cycles. Cinnamaldehyde (also called cinnamic aldehyde) has been well-researched for its effects on blood platelets. Platelets are constituents of blood that are meant to clump together under emergency circumstances (like physical injury) as a way to stop bleeding, but under normal circumstances, they can make blood flow inadequate if they clump together too much. The cinnaldehyde in cinnamon-spice helps prevent unwanted clumping of blood platelets.

Cinnamon’s essential oils also qualify it as an “anti-microbial” food, and cinnamon-spice has been studied for its ability to help stop the growth of bacteria as well as fungi, including the commonly problematic yeast Candida. Cinnamon’s antimicrobial properties are so effective that recent research demonstrates this spice can be used as an alternative to traditional food preservatives.

Blood Sugar Control ~ Seasoning a high carb food with cinnamon can help lessen its impact on your blood sugar levels. Cinnamon-spice slows the rate at which the stomach empties after meals, reducing the rise in blood sugar after eating.Researchers measured how quickly the stomach emptied after 14 healthy subjects ate 300 grams (1.2 cups) of rice pudding alone or seasoned with 6 grams (1.2 teaspoons) of cinnamon.  Adding cinnamon to the rice pudding lowered the gastric emptying rate from 37% to 34.5% and significantly lessened the rise in blood sugar levels after eating.

Cinnamon’s Scent, Boosts Brain Function ~ Not only does consuming cinnamon-spice improve the body’s ability to utilize blood sugar, but just smelling the wonderful odor of this sweet spice boosts brain activity!

Calcium and Fiber Improve Colon Health and Protect Against Heart Disease ~In addition to its unique essential oils, cinnamon is an excellent source of the trace mineral manganese and a very good source of dietary fiber, iron and calcium.
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Ginger

Herbs gingerGood ol’ginger candy has always been an instant cure to motion sickness or has curbed a feeling of nausea. The spice does more than that. Naturally Freshens Breath. Stimulates Digestion. Relieves Nausea, Including Dizziness from Motion Sickness. Helps Lower Cholesterol. Relieves Gas and Bloating. Soothes Common Cold Symptoms, Including Respiratory Infections. Eases Menstrual Cramps. Relieves Headaches. Helps Stop Diarrhea. Believed to Have Anti-Cancer Properties. Swollen Tonsillitis. Boost Immune System. Good for who suffers from arthritis or rheumatism. Ginger can lower cholesterol levels.
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Basil

Herbs basilHoly basil or tulsi is said to be a great de-stressor as it”reduces levels of serotonin,”Maithili says. Try a tea made of basil leaves and ginger for relief from indigestion, headaches and fever. Chewing on leaves of basil could also reduce symptoms of bronchitis and asthma. It is used as an expectorant for the treatments of diseases like asthma, flu, cold and bronchitis. The leaves are also good for keeping diabetes under control. Leaf extract is used to reduce throat pain and high body-temperature. The extract is also used as an anti-venom for snake bites. It is used along with honey for the treatment of cataract. Holy Basil leaves are used in Ayurvedic medicines. The leaves of these plants are used to prepare “Basil Tea” which helps to prevent diseases like Dengue and Malaria. The tea also treats several health disorders including constipation, diarrhea and indignation. The essential oil is used in the treatments of migraines, headaches and allergies. Massaging with this essential oil extraction reduces arthritis.
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Garlic

Herbs garlicThis condiment lowers your chances of getting cancer. Other than that, according to Naini,”it helps in lowering bad cholesterol and keeping your blood pressure in control.”It also has anti viral properties and helps in clearing your sinuses.”It helps to digest iron and protein,”says Maithili. Garlic is also a powerful antioxidant that protects your body against damage from free radicals. emedy for the common cold and, more remarkably, as a weapon in the fight against MRSA, and even a “performance enhancer” for men in the bedroom. This month, the South African health minister caused controversy by claiming that garlic can help fight Aids. So what does it really do?

Heart diseaseaccording to the latest research, presented at the American Heart Association meeting in Washington DC by scientists from the University of Medicine in Berlin, garlic can reduce the risk of heart disease. In laboratory tests, it was shown to reduce dramatically the build-up of fatty deposits in the arteries.

MRSA (Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) allicin, a compound derived from garlic, which has antibacterial properties, has been used to treat patients with the deadly superbug.

Cholesterol~numerous studies in Europe and America have shown that garlic reduces harmful cholesterol in the blood; garlic supplements can reduce bad cholesterol levels by a tenth.

In the bedroomgarlic helps to improve the flow of blood to the extremities. Dr Gunter Siegel, who headed a research team in Berlin, says: “Garlic can help with impotence caused by heart disease. A good flow of blood to the groin means that a man should not have a problem with sex.”

Stomach ulcersstudies suggest that garlic helps to protect against the bacterium Helicobacter pylori, the leading cause of stomach ulcers. And, individuals who eat lots of garlic have a lower incidence of stomach cancer.

Coldsresearch has confirmed what our grannies always knew, that people who regularly eat garlic suffer from fewer colds. Anecdotal evidence shows that taking large amounts of garlic at the onset of a cold can reduce the time taken to recover. A traditional remedy is to crush a clove of garlic in to warm milk.

Pregnancy~gynaecologists at the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital have found that mothers-to-be who eat garlic boost the birth weight of small babies. They also discovered that it cut the risk of pre-eclampsia.

Toothache~for centuries, garlic has been used to ease the pang of toothache. Traditionally, a clove is crushed to release the allicin, and is then placed next to the tooth. Sometimes the garlic is used in conjunction with cloves or clove oil.

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