Herbs and spices have long been appreciated in various cultures for their colors, flavors, and food preservation properties. They’ve been used for thousands of years for their medicinal properties, and are still used in certain cultures today. Sophisticated research also supports what our ancestors new to be true, and gives us evidence as to why we should use herbs and spices frequently and generously to maintain health.In this article, we’ve honed in on the 6 Powerful Healing Herbs & Spices with the most significant health benefits.
You can easily boost the nutritional value of your meal by spicing it up a bit – without adding a single calorie. Herbs and spices are rich in vitamins and minerals. Due to their nutrient density, they are also thermogenic (metabolism boosters). But even more significant is their high ORAC scores. ORAC is a standardized measurement to quantify the total antioxidant capacity in different foods. The higher the ORAC score, the more effective a food is at diffusing harmful free radicals.
Like many other gifts from nature, there is a wide assortment of herbs and spices, ranging from common flavors like oregano and cinnamon, to more exotic flavors like turmeric. Your spice rack is more than just beautiful décor – it contains a plethora of natural healing ingredients. So bust out your spices, and experiment with those unfamiliar to you, to enhance the flavors and health benefits of your meals.
6 Powerful Healing Herbs & Spices
Cinnamon, the first of the 6 Powerful Healing Herbs & Spices, has an illustrious past in almost every culture, revered for its sweet taste, pleasant aroma, and powerful healing abilities. In fact, cinnamon was so highly esteemed that it was considered more precious than gold. This antioxidant powerhouse has been shown to have incredible medicinal qualities including:
- Regulates blood sugar
- Reduces cholesterol levels
- Aids digestion
- Relieves Sinus congestion
- Relieves joint pain
- Relieves muscle stiffness
- Reduces inflammation and arthritis
- Prevents tooth decay and gum diseases
- Improves blood circulation
- Relieves menstruation cramps
- Promotes neurological health
Cinnamaldehyde is an active component in cinnamon that has been studied to block the release of inflammatory agents on the cell membrane. Even the scent of cinnamon has been shown to stimulate areas of the brain responsible for attention span and memory.
As little as one teaspoon a day has the antioxidant potential of a bowl of blueberries, and is plenty to get the amazing benefits from cinnamon.
Sprinkle tons of this amazing spice on sweet potatoes, fruit, homemade eggnog, grilled meats, smoothies, etc. One of our favorite ways to get a good dose of cinnamon is to put unpeeled bananas on a medium-hot grill for 4-5 minutes, or until bananas are darkened and slightly soft. Remove them from the grill and allow the bananas to cool until easy to handle to the touch. Peel the bananas, and sprinkle with a generous amount of cinnamon. It’s a quick, easy, delicious desert – perfect for the summer.
Ginger, the second of the 6 Powerful Healing Herbs & Spices, is a potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory spice. Emerging research isshowing ginger’s ability to aid the liver in detoxifying the body and prevent tumors. Ginger is also touted for its ability to alleviate nausea and morning sickness. There is also compelling research regarding ginger’s other medicinal properties in the following areas:
- Ovarian cancer treatment
- Colon Cancer prevention
- Morning sickness relief
- Motion sickness remedy
- Reduces pain and inflammation
- Heartburn relief
- Migraine relief
- Menstrual cramp relief
- Cold and flu prevention
- Stroke and heart disease
- Joint support
It is slightly hot and biting while also sweet, warm, and somewhat woody in flavor. It’s predominantly used in Asian dishes, savory dishes, and sweet desserts. We like to add ginger to all of our stir-fry dishes. Another simple recipe is hot ginger tea: cut a couple tablespoons of fresh ginger, add to a mug, and pour boiling water over it.
The third of the 6 Powerful Healing Herbs & Spices is garlic. Hands down – garlic is one of the most popular spices and it deserves to be. It’s a staple in almost every cuisine around the world. But its use far extends its ability to pump up the flavor of food.
Garlic has a long history of both treating and preventing many ailments. In fact, an Egyptian writing dating back to 1500 BC recorded use of garlic for 22 health challenges. It is a potent herb and one of nature’s antibiotics. Garlic is a triple threat; it has antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal properties. Like most other herbs and spices, it is also a powerful antioxidant. Daily consumption of this powerful immune booster is perhaps one of the best defenses against infection and inflammatory-based disease. Uses for garlic include:
- Lowers cholesterol levels
- Lowers sugar levels
- Cures toothaches
- Aids digestion
- Reduces arthritic pain
- Prevents hypertension
- Treats coughs and flu
- Combats allergies
- Inhibits cancer
- Aids in weight loss
- Strong anti-bacterial properties
Garlic is easy to incorporate into your daily diet. You can add it to everything from scrambled eggs, meats, soups, sauces, dressings, vegetables, rice, quinoa, and more. It can be used in practically everything but dessert.
Oregano, the fourth of the 6 Powerful Healing Herbs & Spices, is one of the most powerful therapeutic herbs ever studied. Oregano is the ultimate natural antibiotic, without the risky side effects of prescription drugs. Two powerful compounds (carvacrol and thymol) found in oil of oregano have powerful antibacterial and antifungal properties. In fact, thymol is great for improving digestion and destroying harmful microbes. It’s also the third highest ranking herb on the ORAC charts, with an impressive score of 175,295. Oregano has four times the antioxidant power of blueberries, 12 times that of oranges, and 42 times greater than apples.
To demonstrate just how powerful oregano is, let’s look at the research. Oregano oil has been found to be more effective than the 18 antibiotics currently being used to treat MRSA staph infections. The Journal of Medicinal Food also published a study on oregano showing it’s significant anti-bacterial properties against five species of harmful bacteria, with the highest activity being against E. Coli. Pakistani researchers also published a study in the Journal Revista Brasileira de Farmacognosia proving oregano oil’s ability to kill various types of cancer cells.
Oregano has been found to be useful in the treatment and prevention of the following ailments:
- Colds and Coughs
- Ringworm and Parasites
Because oregano oil is so powerful, we recommend taking it for short durations (2 weeks). If using oregano essential oil, dilute with water or coconut oil.
Oregano is often used in Mexican, Greek, and Italian dishes. We personally enjoy using it in pasta sauce, and in our Hearty Chili.
Turmeric, the fifth of the 6 Powerful Healing Herbs & Spices, is arguably the most powerful herb on the planet at fighting and reversing disease, with thousands of peer-reviewed articles published in a wide range of medical journals. The most powerful anti-inflammatory compound within turmeric is curcumin. Curcumin has been shown to be a powerful suppressor of chronic inflammatory mediated disease processes.
Some of turmeric’s medicinal benefits include:
- Powerful antioxidant
- Powerful anti-inflammatory
- Cancer fighting properties
- Immune booster
- Liver detoxifier
- Lowers cholesterol
- Improves gut healing and skin conditions
- Proven to help prevent Alzheimer’s
- Supports diabetic conditions
- Improves blood flow
Turmeric is an essential ingredient in curry powder, giving curries their yellow color and distinctive flavor. It is used extensively in Indian dishes. We also add about ½ a teaspoon to our chicken bone broth soup and sprinkle it on cooked veggies, like summer squash and zucchini. Be sure to add it after cooking to avoid damaging the precious antioxidants. For optimal absorption, consume it with coconut oil or olive oil.
If you’re looking to supplement with turmeric, 600-1000 mg daily is a good daily amount.
Parsley, the sixth and final of the 6 Powerful Healing Herbs & Spices, is a tender leafy green with remarkable healing andblood purifying benefits.Like most other herbs, this aromatic herb is rich in antioxidants. Parsley is also rich in chlorophyll. Chlorophyll is an energy producing substance found in plants that helps to alkalize the body and purify the blood. Parsley can be eaten in the quantities necessary to provide enough vitamin K to positively affect bone health.
In addition to the above benefits, parsley is also useful for:
- Anemia prevention
- Digestive aid
- Bad breath treatment
- Natural diuretic
- Bladder infection prevention
- Great source of beta carotene, Vitamin C, K and A
- Kidney health
- Indigestion soother
- Gas reduction
This luscious herb is great added to soup, marinara sauce and salad dressings. It is often used as a garnish to foods. One excellent way to use parsley is to juice it with cucumbers, celery, and a granny smith apple.
There are many other herbs and spices with compelling research to support positive health benefits, such as peppermint, red pepper, cloves, nutmeg, natural salt, thyme, and sage. The associated health benefits alone provide ample reasons to be adventurous with adding spices to your food. Expanding your spice repertoire will keep your meals exciting and flavorful and your body healthful. So go ahead – spice up your life!
Do you have a favorite recipe that includes two, three, or more of these herbs and spices? Please share it with us.