Herbs and Spices A Healthy Option

Herbs and Spices, Alternatives To Prevent Disease

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Throughout time herbs and spices have been more than just something added when cooking food to enrich and change the flavor of what we are eating.

Recent studies have been done that definitely show a link between disease prevention and cures for health and medical problems.

Healthy herbs and spices

In the Bible, the three wise men bring gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh to the infant Jesus. But why those two spices? Was it for the scent qualities they have or, was it for medicinal purposes?

Frankincense and myrrh also had medicinal uses. In the Papyrus Ebers of 1500 B.C., priests recommended both resins for the treatment of wounds. Other ailments they were once reported curing include hemlock poisoning, leprosy, worms, snakebites, diarrhea, plague, scurvy, and even baldness!

Recent studies suggest that frankincense may be beneficial to sufferers of asthma, rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s disease, osteoarthritis, and collagenous colitis. Researchers have also discovered the possible benefits of myrrh in the treatment of gastric ulcers, tumors, and parasites.

The use of foods for their medicinal purposes dates back hundreds of years. Ginger is known to help reduce nausea. Green tea may help protect against certain cancers. And flaxseed may also lower cholesterol. But are there foods that can help prevent or treat other chronic conditions such as diabetes and heart disease?

While numerous research studies have explored the benefits, there is strong debate within the healthcare community on whether now is the time for physicians to begin promoting food as an alternative medicine.

The interest in the use of natural products, such as herbs and probiotics, to stay healthy has seen considerable growth in recent years. In a 2007 National Health Interview Survey, which included a comprehensive survey on the use of complementary health approaches, almost 18% of American adults had used a non-vitamin/non-mineral natural product in the past year — with fish oil/omega 3s as the most commonly used product.

While interest in these natural products has spiked, experts agree that no one is suggesting that patients with diabetes or heart disease swap their prescribed medications for what’s in their kitchen cabinets.

In another study appearing in the January 2013 issue of Diabetic Medicine, researchers studied 22 men with type 2 diabetes to see whether adding a polyphenol-rich spice mixture to a hamburger before cooking would reduce postprandial lipid oxidation and endothelial dysfunction compared with a hamburger cooked with salt only. The men who ate the burger and spice mixture, which included cinnamon, ginger, oregano, and turmeric, had a reduction in urine malondialdehyde, an increase in urinary nitrate/nitrite, and improved postprandial endothelial dysfunction.

“Giving these hamburgers to people decreased their lipid peroxidation in urine by 30%,” says study author Susanne Henning, Ph.D. from the Center for Human Nutrition at UCLA’s David Geffen School of Medicine. “After we saw this effect, we were not surprised to also find a significant effect on endothelial function. However, the effect on endothelial function is most likely due to several mechanisms, not only a decrease in lipid peroxidation but also an increase in nitric oxide.”

Research clearly demonstrated a beneficial health effect of adding spices to your meat prior to frying, Henning adds. “A mixture of turmeric and/or oregano was the best among the ones tested in our research. The disappointment was that garlic didn’t reduce the generation of lipid peroxides. However, garlic has other health benefits such as the oregano-sulfur compounds.”

Ground cinnamon:

A spice associated with some improvements in fasting blood glucose, total cholesterol, and insulin sensitivity. Many, though, debate whether hard science exists. “There have been a number of studies that have shown cinnamon might have some small benefit of reducing blood glucose levels, but this a small effect,” says Saul. “It’s not the kind of reduction you would see with medication.”

Cinnamon does have a place in a diabetes meal plan, however. Saul says patients can use cinnamon as an adjunct to their medication. “The truth is, there’s very little harm in using cinnamon in our food. And it tastes good.”

They also have many impressive health benefits. Ongoing research is revealing the ultimate power of herbs and spices as weapons against illnesses from Alzheimer’s disease to cancer or diabetes. We are now seeing scientific proof of why civilizations have used spices medicinally for thousands of years. While herbs and spices may not directly cure disease there is strong evidence showing some spices actually help manage chronic conditions.

Scientific Studies:

For example, a small MSI-funded study published in 2012 in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics reported that adding 6 grams of ground cinnamon to 50 grams of instant farina breakfast cereal lowered blood glucose in both normal-weight and obese participants.

Fast Forward through Time:

It is now 2019 and we are finding out through scientific research, that we may have a medical cabinet in our kitchens. We are just not aware of the potential that these herbs and spices actually have in the healing properties to, cleanse, detoxify, prevent health problems, and be considered useful in curing disease. I am going to try to cover the common herbs and spices used in today’s world.

Note: Please Be Advised of The Importance of Consulting With Your Doctor First.

Top 10 Herbs Used in Herbal Medicine:

When you click on any herb, there is a link that will provide you with a choice of which particular brand you would like to purchase. Delivery is fast, and you choose the product that suits your budget. Diagnosis

1. Raw Garlic

Garlic contains vital nutrients, including flavonoids, oligosaccharides, selenium, allicin, and high levels of sulfur. Consuming cooked or raw garlic, by adding it to food or taking a capsule, can help treat diabetes, fight inflammation, boost the immune system, regulate blood pressure, fight cardiovascular disease, relieve allergies, fight fungal and viral infections, and improve hair loss.

Studies show an inverse correlation between garlic consumption and the progress of cardiovascular disease, the leading cause of death in the United States. Research published in the Journal of Nutrition shows that garlic reduces cholesterol, inhibits platelet clustering, reduces blood pressure, and increases antioxidants

2. Ginger

Ginger is the most widely used dietary condiment in the world today. The therapeutic benefits of ginger come from gingerols, the oily resin from the root that acts as a highly potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agent. Gingerol, among other bioactive agents present in ginger, is able to relieve indigestion and nausea, boost immune and respiratory function, fight bacterial and fungal infections, treat stomach ulcers, reduce pain, improve diabetes, prevent malabsorption, and may even inhibit the growth of cancer cells.

According to a 2013 review of evidence published in the International Journal of Preventive Medicine, the anticancer potential of ginger is well-documented, and its functional ingredients like gingerols, shogaol, and paradols are valuable ingredients that can prevent various cancers. Researchers also found that ginger has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties for controlling the aging process.
There are several ways to use ginger. It can be eaten raw, taken in powder or supplement form, consumed in liquid form by making tea, or used topically in oil form.

3. Turmeric

Turmeric is a plant that has a very long history of medicinal use, dating back nearly 4,000 years. Modern medicine has begun to recognize its importance, as indicated by the over 3,000 publications dealing with turmeric. This powerful plant can be added to any recipe or taken as a supplement. There is a range of turmeric benefits, including its ability to slow and prevent blood clotting, fight depression, reduce inflammation, relieve arthritis pain, manage diabetes, treat gastrointestinal issues, regulate cholesterol, and fight cancer.

Several studies indicate that turmeric has potent antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antimutagenic, antimicrobial, and anticancer properties. As an antioxidant, turmeric extracts can scavenge free radicals, increase antioxidant enzymes, and inhibit lipid peroxidation.

Best taken with black pepper for best results.

4. Ginseng

Ginseng is one of the most popular herbal medicines in the world, and it’s been used in Asia and North America for centuries. Native Americans used the root as a stimulant and headache remedy, as well as a treatment for infertility, fever, and indigestion, for instance.

A study done at the Brain Performance and Nutrition Research Centre in the U.K. was conducted to gather data about ginseng’s benefits and its ability to improve mood and mental function. It involved 30 volunteers who were given three rounds of treatments of ginseng and a placebo, and the results found that 200 milligrams of ginseng for eight days slowed the fall in the mood but also slowed the participants’ response to mental arithmetic. The 400-milligram dose improved calmness and improved mental arithmetic for the duration of the eight-day treatment.

Ginseng is also used to reduce stress, help with weight loss, treat sexual dysfunction, improve lung function, lower blood sugar levels, boost the immune system, and reduce inflammation. Ginseng is available in dried, powdered, tea, capsule, and tablet forms.

5. Milk Thistle

Milk thistle extracts have been used as traditional herbal medicine remedies for almost 2,000 years. Milk thistle contains high levels of lipophilic extracts from the seeds of the plant, which act as bioflavonoids that increase immunity and slow down oxidative stress. The herb is also used for its anti-inflammatory properties. It can aid digestive function, increase bile production, boost skin health, fight the appearance of aging, lower cholesterol levels, and help detoxify the body.

A review of clinical trials evaluating the safety and efficacy of milk thistle found that the herb has protective effects in certain types of cancer, and data shows it can also be used for patients with liver diseases, hepatitis C, HIV, diabetes, and hypercholesterolemia. Milk thistle extracts, which are commonly sold in capsules, are also known to be safe and well-tolerated.

6. Feverfew

For centuries, feverfew has been used for fevers, headaches, stomachaches, toothaches, insect bites, infertility, and problems with menstruation and labor during childbirth. Feverfews pain-easing effect is said to come from a biochemical called parthenolide, which combats the widening of blood vessels that occurs in migraines. The herb is also used to prevent dizziness, relieve allergies, reduce arthritis pain, and prevent blood clots.

Several impressive human studies show the positive effects of using feverfew to prevent and treat migraines. A systematic review completed by the School of Postgraduate Medicine and Health Science in the U.K. compared the results of six studies. Researchers found that feverfew is indeed effective in the prevention of migraine headaches and does not pose any major safety concerns.

Feverfew is available in capsule form, like tablets and liquid extract. Supplements should be standardized to contain at least 0.2 percent parthenolide. The leaves of feverfew can be used to make tea, but they have a bitter taste and may irritate the mouth.

7. St. John’s Wort

St. John’s wort has been used as a medicinal herb for its antidepressant and anti-inflammatory properties for over 2,000 years. It produces dozens of biologically active substances, but hypericin and hyperforin have the greatest medical activity. St. John’s wort uses come from its antidepressant activity, the ability to relieve PMS symptoms, improve mood during menopause, fight inflammation, relieve skin irritations, and improve symptoms of obsessive-compulsive disorder.

A study done at the Institute of Psychological Sciences in the United Kingdom included 36 women aged 18–45 who experienced regular menstrual cycles and were diagnosed with mild PMS. The women were randomly assigned to receive either St. John’s wort tablets at 900 milligrams a day or identical placebo tablets for two menstrual cycles; then the groups switched doses for the next two cycles. Symptoms were rated daily throughout the study, and the women reported feelings of depression, aggression, hormone balance, and hormonal stimulation. The trials showed that St. John’s wort was superior to placebo in improving the physical and behavioral symptoms of PMS.

8. Ginkgo Biloba

Ginkgo biloba, which is also known as maidenhair, is an ancient plant extract that has been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine to heal various health ailments for thousands of years. Current research shows that it’s linked to improvements in cognitive function. When researchers from the Beijing University of Chinese Medicine reviewed evidence from 14 randomized controlled trials involving brain injury patients, it was reported that Ginkgo Biloba extract had positive effects on patients’ neurological impairment and quality of life in nine of the trials.

Other ginkgo Biloba benefits include its ability to improve concentration and memory, reduce the risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, fight anxiety and depression, help maintain vision and eye health, relieve ADHD symptoms, improve libido, and fight fibromyalgia.

Ginkgo biloba is available in capsule, tablet, liquid extract, and dried leaf form. The standardized extract form contains 24 percent to 32 percent flavonoids and 6 percent to 12 percent terpenoids.

9. Saw Palmetto

Saw palmetto supplements are some of the most commonly consumed supplements by men with prostate cancer and benign prostatic hyperplasia. Saw palmetto has been shown to slow the production of the enzyme 5-alpha reductase, which converts the male hormone testosterone into dihydrotestosterone (DHT), a sex steroid and androgen hormone. While DHT is important because it plays a role in male development, it also contributes to many common health issues in men, such as loss of libido, an enlarged prostate, and hair loss.

A 2003 study published in American Family Physician demonstrates the effectiveness of saw palmetto in reducing symptoms associated with benign prostatic hyperplasia. Saw palmetto appeared to have efficacy similar to that of medications like finasteride, but it was better tolerated and less expensive.

Aside from its ability to relieve conditions triggered by DHT, saw palmetto is also known to fight inflammation, boost immune function, treat respiratory conditions, and promote relaxation.

10. Aloe Vera

In traditional Indian medicine, Aloe Vera is used for constipation, skin diseases, worm infestation, and infections, and as a natural remedy for colic. In Chinese medicine, it’s often recommended in the treatment of fungal diseases, and in the Western world, it has found widespread use in the cosmetic, pharmaceutical, and food industries. Aloe Vera is considered to be the most biologically active of the Aloe species; astonishingly, more than 75 potentially active components have been identified in the plant, including vitamins, minerals, saccharides, amino acids, anthraquinones, enzymes, lignin, saponins, and salicylic acids. It provides 20 of the 22 human-required amino acids and all eight of the essential amino acids.

Studies have proved the antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, antiviral, and antifungal properties of Aloe Vera. The plant has also proved to be non-allergic and very good at building up the immune system. One study reported in the Journal of Research in Medical Sciences found that 30 milliliters of Aloe Vera juice twice a day decreased the level of discomfort in 33 patients with irritable bowel syndrome. Flatulence also decreased for the participants, but stool consistency, urgency, and frequency remained the same.

Other Aloe Vera benefits include its ability to soothe rashes and skin irritations; treat burns and cold sores; moisturize the skin, hair, and scalp; provide antioxidants, and reduce inflammation. Aloe Vera can be used topically or orally, and it’s available in most health food stores.

Final Thoughts on Herbal Medicine

Natural plant products have been used throughout human history for various purposes. In fact, written records of the use of herbal medicine date back more than 5,000 years.

Herbal medicines, or botanicals, are naturally occurring, plant-derived substances that are used to treat illnesses within local or regional healing practices.

Today, herbalism is being noticed for focusing on overall wellness and prevention rather than treating a disease or ailment once it arises.

Herbal medicine is more cost-effective than modern medicine, it’s easier to obtain and it has several health benefits that are comparable to modern pharmaceuticals.

Some of the most well-known and most-used herbs include garlic, ginger, turmeric, saw palmetto, St. John’s wort, and Aloe Vera.

While research suggests that herbal products have fewer adverse side effects than conventional medications, it’s important that consumers choose pure, high-quality products. If you’re planning to take herbal products for an extended period, see a herbalist or health care provider for guidance.

On a more personal note any prescription drug I get, I research them for side effects. The idea of taking something for depression that may cause you to have suicidal thoughts just doesn’t make sense to me.

I suffer from depression and anxiety and have been taking prescription drugs for several years. I still suffer from the same ailments. Quitting taking these drugs at once is not recommended. You have to gradually cut the dosage down preferably with the use of a Doctor.

In Conclusion:

I will always seek Mother Nature’s way. There are so many herbal alternatives that have worked for me, I really do not want to get some pharmaceutical company experimenting on my head or body. Yes, I always see a doctor and follow his treatment, unless I find that the negatives are far more than the positives.

Healing Herbs and Spices

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Thank you for reading,


Comments are welcome.

14 thoughts on “Herbs and Spices A Healthy Option”

  1. Finding natural solutions to health problems especially when it is not some critical condition I think should be the way to go for everyone. Nature provides so many plants with healing abilities that we should never go straight for chemical medicine. If we could make this our way of life I think we would be able to greatly improve our health and our lifestyle.

    • Thank you very much Stratos for your feedback. Much appreciated. I so agree with you that us running for that chemical fix, which in most cases have side effects. We should look into in more depth the herbal remedies. Just imagine how much big Pharma would be losing.

  2. I think this post has researched the importance of herbs and spices in our diets and also how they can help improve your overall health. 

    It seems in modern day we think we know best but perhaps our ancestors did !!

    My favourite herbs and spices to use are mint, turmeric and cinnamon which I use on various meals.

    I also find ginger sprinkled into herbal tea is very good when I have a sore throat.

  3. This is a great post! It makes sense that the food you eat will directly affect your health, I suppose that’s why people say you are what you eat, right? It is pretty interesting to see how adding spices to meat prior to cooking can reduce lipid peroxidation because usually spices seem small and insignificant but in reality, they are very powerful.

    I think that herbal remedies have worked through the centuries and will continue to work because mother nature knows best! I think that if more health care practitioners studied natural medicine as opposed to the artificial versions (that have scary side effects sometimes) we would see an amazing truth.

    Like you I believe that mother nature holds the elements necessary to prevent these terrible diseases rather than just curing them. People are starting to realize this by themselves as time goes on.

    Do you think that we will see more natural medicines available and being prescribed by healthcare professionals in the next 5 years?

    Thanks for sharing this!

    • Hi Renton, thank you for your feed back. At the bottom of the web page there is a link, just right click

      on it and search. This will take you to a Printerest site with a lot more information.

  4. Hi Michael Mortimer,

    This is good quality content article with all necessary information about herbs and spices for a healthy option. I believe this article will helps many people to understand the benefit of those natural herbs and spices. I have some experience of taking raw garlic, ginger and turmeric and I have strong confidence for using those. I want to know all natural process of using those herbs and spices. Thanks for sharing.

    • Hi mzakapon, thank you for your feed back. I am glad you are using those herbs/spices. When using

      turmeric make sure you also use black pepper with it. I did list a Printerest site of mine at the bottom of my web page. all you have to do is right click on it and search….. 

  5. Thanks for sharing this article on herbs and spice, I do know most of the spices and herb mentioned in this article  but didn’t know they had such significance in the human body, like the garlic that does reduces cholesterol and reduces high blood pressure which has been my major issue right now. Thanks alot much appreciated.

    • Thanks Seun, appreciate your feed back. Please check out the link at the bottom of the page. Just right click and search. There is a lot more information there. You may need a Printerest accout though

  6. Hi Michael, thanks for such an indepth article.

    Some of the technical bits lost me, but i can gather that the medical world is finally waking up to the fact that ‘granny knew best’. Some of the old treatments outdo modern medicine.

    I wonder whether anyone has done a study of local herbs being best for people. so western herbs for western people and eastern herbs for eastern people. Just a thought as people would not ave had access to exotic herbs until the trade routes were opened.

    I see black pepper is missing, along with the humble onion and potato. the water of which if consumed will help fight colds. the other fact that cooks exposed to the steam from the cooking in the kitchen never used to get colds or coughs while the rest of the household suffered.

    reading some of the books on natural health shows how far removed we have become from the health benefits of our food, rather going for convenience over health.

    sorry to go on.

    but i now make my own tumeric capsules up for anti inflammatory, headaches, starts of colds and add a bit of black pepper , as the pipperine is supposed to improve the absorbtion of the tumeric.

    but lots of technical reports to verify the facts, it would be nice to have links to some of them.

    so again thanks for sharing the information and good luck coming off the medication and finding a natural replacement.

    It might be worth having a browse in the database at Greenmedinfo

    • Hi Phil, thank you for your feedback. I know there is a lot missing there, that is why I put a link at the bottom.

      All you have to do is right click on it and search. It will take you to a printerest site which has a lot more stuff.

  7. Please let me know if you’re looking for a writer for your blog. You have some really great articles and I believe I would be a good asset. If you ever want to take some of the load off, I’d really like to write some articles for your blog in exchange for a link back to mine.


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