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The Medicine Cabinet in your Kitchen: 10 Herbs/Spices for better Health

Updated on March 15, 2017

Medicine in the Kitchen

There's a Medicine Cabinet in your Kitchen

Science has advanced exponentially since I was a kid. Growing up, the internet, Xbox's and cell phones hadn't been invented yet. My toys were a basketball, G.I. Joe and a bicycle. During my time kids actually went outside and played. Now everything has changed. Obesity has become a major problem all over the world partly do to the advancement of science, which produces gadgets of all kinds that simplify our lifestyles. Of course the other part of the obesity epidemic is our own perpetuance to continue with bad habits. Even with the dramatic advancement of science and all these get skinny quick scams, sometimes it still isn't enough to keep you fit and healthy. Recently the Ebola virus has wreaked havoc in some other countries. If not contained properly this deadly disease could threaten other people and countries. You would think that since we can send people into space, that curing diseases would be relatively easy, but it's not. Even when we do find a medication to combat an affliction, that medicine will also come with a multitude of side effects. Sometimes its not enough just to depend on science to make you fit or keep you healthy. You can assist yourself by cooking with natural herbs and spices that have medicinal capabilities, and they can be found right in your kitchen.

The Powers of Fenugreek

Fenugreek

Fenugreek is a plant that is known by several different names. Greek Hay and Bird's Foot are a couple of the more common ones. Normally found in the Mediterranean parts of the world, the seeds of the Fenugreek are used to produce medicines. When used specifically for the kitchen, Fenugreek is utilized for it's ability to imitate the flavoring in beverages, tobacco, maple syrup and other foods. Numerous spice blends also contain fenugreek in their ingredients. the Manufacturing industry also uses extracts of the super plant in many cosmetics and soaps. One of major health benefits to this taste improving spice is it's ability to assist in slowing down the body's absorption rate of sugars in the stomach and increase insulin. This is very advantageous to people suffering from Diabetes, as this aids in the lowering of blood sugar. Fenugreek is also helpful with several other health conditions such as improving digestion, aids in the treatment of asthma, bronchitis, and arthritis, kidney ailments, prevention of hardening of the arteries and lowering cholesterol levels. Fenugreek seeds have displayed estrogen like properties that have shown to augment libido and male potency, while reducing the mood swings and hot flash effects associated with menopause and PMS. Because it's a natural herb, fenugreek is generally considered safe to be taken in moderation, although some studies have shown reports of nausea, diarrhea and gas. Fenugreek can be found in a variety of different forms (capsules, powder, seeds) in health food stores or even in some grocery stores

Antibiotic Sage

Sage

Native to the Mediterranean, Sage belongs to the "mint" family of herbs. Other common mint family herbs are rosemary, oregano, lavender and thyme. Normally used as a condiment to add flavor to dishes, sage can also be added to a salad, fresh cut sage can be sprinkled over an omelet and fritatas, season tomato sauce or a pizza topping, for home made stuffing, or to add extra flavor to fish or chicken. The health benefits that come with adding sage in your kitchen are immense as it contains a variety of antioxidants and antioxidant enzymes. Contrary to popular belief, some herbs and spices like sage actually include a larger amount of antioxidants then any of the common fruit or vegetable sources. Antioxidants are produced in the body and protects the body from free radical damage and cancerous cell formation. Antioxidants are practically found in all plant foods. Other health benefits from sage are increasing the iron stores in the body, thus improving your energy levels, aids in the digestion of challenging protein rich fatty foods not easily digested, helps regulate menstruation cycle in women, relieves allergies, the antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties assist in the healing process of wounds and sores, and the abundance of vitamin A and calcium are imperative for the development of bones, skin, and teeth. The anti-microbial and anti- bacterial properties in sage fight microbial and fungal infections in different parts of the body such as the intestines, stomach, genitals and eyes. So as you can see, it would be very beneficial to your body to add some sage in that salad before you eat it.

The Antioxidant Rosemary

Rosemary

Like Sage, the Rosmarinus officinalis, the botanical name for Rosemary also belongs to the mint family of herbs (usually found close to water) and is known for it's plethora of health benefits from it's antioxidants, essential acids and phyto-nutrients that it is comprised of. In the kitchen, most Italian dishes will be topped with the rosemary, needle like leaves, but it is often used to flavor soups, meats such as veal, steaks, pork, chicken, salmon, lamb, beans and tomato sauces. As for the health benefits that come along with the herb, studies have shown rosemary to have memory enhancing properties (carnosic acid) that protect against Alzheimer's disease. The anti-carcinogenic, anti-inflammatory and antioxidants found in the herb boost the immune system, fights bacteria that causes ulcers and staph infections, treats digestion issues such as constipation, indigestion and upset stomach, and is a common ingredient in anti aging creams, stimulating cell regeneration and increasing blood flow to the skin. The essential oil of rosemary can be applied topically for the treatment of sore muscles, joint pain, and arthritis as it impedes the production of nitric oxide, a main precursor in the inflammation process, and for better circulation. A naturally mild diuretic, rosemary aids in the reduction of water retention, bloating, improved urine flow and augment kidney function. Simply breathing in the sent of rosemary oil can aid in your respiratory health and it can also be used as a natural mouth wash.

Anti-Microbial Clove

Clove Buds

A Clove is basically an unopened pink flower bud of the evergreen clove tree. These buds are then generally hand picked and dried until the change to their brown color. The clove is commonly known for it's sweet, aromatic taste, high nutritional content and distinct medicinal benefits. The clove is usually added into beans, chili, stews, soups, gingerbread, pumpkin pies and spiced teas. As for the health benefits of this super plant, the anti-inflammatory properties impersonates a platelet inhibitor and hinders the formation of blood clots, it's an anti fungal that is capable against several fungal diseases, indigestion, the common cold and flu. The flavonoids and the compound eugenol that is found abundantly in cloves can also act as in anesthetic. Research has shown that simply placing a single clove over a tooth, can help in alleviating toothache. Some studies have even implied that consuming cloves are advantageous in averting and diminishing the risk of skin and lung cancers. Just like everything else in life, caution should be taking when consumed in large amounts. Reports of seizures, vomiting, sore throat and kidney failure have been made when cloves have been eaten in substantial amounts. If you suffer from some type of bleeding disorder, it would not be a good idea to consume a lot of cloves. Cloves stored improperly can easily become contaminated which can cause many other health concerns. Moderation is always the best rule of thumb with anything.

Stomach soothing Oregano

Oregano

You have to think that the people that actually live in the Mediterranean area are some of the most healthiest individuals on the planet. Just like Sage and Fenugreek, Oregano is also found in this same area. Commonly known as the "pizza herb", it's widely used in Italian and Mexican cuisine. Dried oregano is used in snack foods, meats, milk products, relishes, condiments and alcoholic beverages. You can always use it as a topping for your scrambled eggs or salad as well. Containing an abundance of vitamin A, C, K, omega 3 fatty acids, calcium, manganese, iron and fiber gives oregano one of the highest level of antioxidants of any food or spice. Studies have shown that on a per gram basis, oregano has displayed 45 times the antioxidant activity than that of apples and 15 times of an orange. The oils carvacrol and thymol found in oregano give it the anti viral and anti bacterial fighting abilities and have shown they fight infections such as Staphylococcus aureus, measles, typhoid, skin infections, food poisoning and treat Giardia Lamblia. A good source of fiber that assists the body in binding bile salts and removing cancer causing toxins from the body, thus diminishing the risk of colon cancer. The body's cells are protected from free radicals by the powerful antioxidants in this super herb. The antioxidants safeguard the body from all kinds of degenerative diseases such as arthritis, diabetes, cancer, heart disease, and Alzheimer's disease. Now your thinking a little oregano never sounded so good.

Heart Healthy Cayenne

Cayenne

I don't know about you, but personally I absolutely love spicy food. Really can't eat with out a little kick. Cayenne pepper is one of those things I frequently sprinkle over pretty much everything. The potassium, beta carotene, calcium and vitamins A, B complex, C and E found in the pepper make it capable of many internal and external health benefits. Cayenne replenishes the heart with necessary nutrients, raises the body temperature and metabolism, thins the blood which improves the circulation and removes toxins from the blood. You can alleviate a heart attack by simply drinking a cup of cayenne and water. It regulates and equalizes blood pressure and removes blockage, meaning it automatically lowers the risk of hypertension. Cayenne disposes the body of LDL (the bad cholesterol), improves digestion problems like gas and cramps, heals abdominal and intestinal ulcers and the capsaicin in the pepper gives it the ability to fight and kill cancer cells and relieve pain caused by arthritis. Cayenne also has anti-fungal properties that aid in combating fungal and respiratory infections, control allergic reactions, stop the bleeding and heal wounds, minimizing scaring, cures heart burn, sore throats, prevents blood clots and did I mention it helps you lose weight? So yeah...Add a little spice to your life.

Cancer Fighting Tumeric

Turmeric

I recently learned of all the awesome health benefits of turmeric and began cooking with it, using it as a natural liver detox, but there are many other benefits that come along with it other then a detox. History has shown that the spice has been used in India for over 2000 years for its medicinal properties and as a dye. It's a natural anti-inflammatory without the side effects, painkiller and co-2 inhibitor which allows it to treat afflictions such as arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, and many other inflammatory conditions. The natural antiseptic and anti-bacterial properties disinfects and heals wounds, burns and helps rebuild broken, damaged skin. Research has shown that turmeric can support the prevention of prostate cancer, remove plaque build up in the brain hindering the progression of Alzheimer's diseases and prevents metastases from forming in cancers like leukemia, pancreatic cancer and impedes the new vessel growth in tumors. Turmeric also assists in weight management and fat metabolism. You can easily add this spice to your kitchen, as it is found in pretty much any grocery or health food store. Next time your eating an egg salad, sprinkle a little turmeric over it.

Dill can relieve Heartburn

Dill Weed

When you hear the word "dill", your first thought is probably of a pickle. Actually the dill weed is a herb that is grown all over the place. In the kitchen, dill is used for its unique flavoring. It can be used in salads, eggs, curries, meat dishes, soups or as a garnish. In fact, it's the dill weed that gives ranch dressing it's great taste. As for the health benefits of dill, dill seeds contain iron, magnesium, manganese, calcium and is an excellent source of fiber. It's calcium helps lessen the bone loss in women that occurs after menopause. The oil in dill is in antitoxin, neutralizing carcinogens and bacterial growth. The calming effect of dill has been used to treat insomnia, ease stomach symptoms, treat digestive disorders and flatulence. Muscular cramps, chronic cough, flu, bad breath and stomach pains have all been cured by a form of dill. Studies have also shown dill to boost breast milk in lactating mothers and and inhibit colic in babies.

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Cinnamon assists in Lowering Blood Pressure

Cinnamon

The health benefits to cinnamon are pretty amazing. This doesn't mean you should start pouring obscene amounts down your throat, as large doses can be toxic. Cinnamon has long been known for its powers to enhance energy, augment circulation and battle colds, cramps and indigestion. Cinnamon has also displayed the ability to manage the production of insulin, controlling blood sugar levels, which helps with losing weight, reduce LDL (bad cholesterol), relieves arthritis discomfort, increases memory and cognitive function, includes an anti-clotting effect on blood and naturally soothes headaches and migraines. Unless your allergic to it, the aroma of cinnamon can be intoxicating. Sprinkle a little cinnamon in that coffee or tea, maybe even over some of your favorite dishes and reap the health benefits and it's great taste.

The influences of Thyme

Thyme

The last, but definitely not the least super herb or spice on this list is thyme. More than likely, you already have this herb in your cabinet.Thyme is easy to grow, extremely versatile and comes in a variety of different forms. In the kitchen it's normally used in soups, stews, casseroles, bread doughs, broths, meats, poultry or roasted vegetables. What you probably didn't know is all the health and medicinal advantages that come with it. Thyme has a long history of being used for respiratory problems like asthma and bronchitis. Adding a little thyme to your tea can soothe menstrual cramps associated with PMS, aid in the digestion process and remove parasites from the body. the disinfectant properties of thyme are strong, added to a solution it can disinfect and clean hard surfaces, killing bacteria. Anti-microbial properties can protect leftover foods, allowing them to last longer and mixed with honey can block infection in wounds. A recent study indicated that thyme tea prevented nightmares in children.

They say an apple a day will keep the doctor away, well adding these herbs and spices to your arsenal will definitely help you live a longer, healthier life and make your food taste better as well.

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    • carter06 profile image

      Mary 2 years ago from Cronulla NSW

      Have to say this is a super article..I do use a lot of herbs in cooking and grow quite a few of my own including thyme, rosemary, sage & oregano..and do use a lot of cinnamon & Tumeric only in tablet form but will now include dill for medicinal use..thanks for pointing out both the use of the herb in cooking and for medicinal use..will share & tweet this..Cheers

    • Marie Flint profile image

      Marie Flint 2 years ago from Jacksonville, Florida USA

      Great topic. I love the herbs in my garden. Rosemary is particularly fragrant, and my sage had the beautiful purple blossoms that lasted four or five months. (It's now going through a dormant stage.)

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 2 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Fantastic and well done. I have them all but by this time next year I will grow them all. Powerful stuff here.

    • dwelburn profile image

      David 2 years ago from Chesterfield, UK

      Thanks for this great list of herbs and spices. I agree with what you are saying; computers and mobile phones have advanced to a level we would not have though possible 30 years ago, but medicine is still in the dark ages.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Isaac Weithers 2 years ago from The Caribbean

      I hate clove buds, but after reading your article I've put them on my shipping list for their anti-inflammatory properties. Thank you so much for this enlightening article.

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 2 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      I make sure to have as many different herbs as possible. I enjoy the unique flavors.

    • diana1000 profile image

      Diana Harvey 2 years ago from Philippines

      Thank you so much for the fantastic article it was superb.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 2 years ago

      I do use the majority of these herbs on a regular basis and love the benefits as you list for each. I have not tried fenugreek but I am going to check it out next visit to the health food store.

    • Alphadogg16 profile image
      Author

      Kevin W 2 years ago from Texas

      Thank you all for the read and compliments, That's awesome of those of you who are using these herbs and actually growing them yourselves.

    • nurse240 profile image

      Carol Ann Sherwood 2 years ago from Jackson, Mi.

      I am a favorite of herbs, spices, Holistic remedies, and alternate medical practices versus a lot of medicines on the market today that cause untold side effects. Great article and information.

    • Linda Pogue profile image

      Linda Pogue 2 years ago from Missouri

      I have studied herbs and their medicinal uses for several years, now, and I agree with everything in this article. However, there is one caution I would add. Nursing mothers should not use sage. It will dry up milk production.

    • HeatherBlesh profile image

      Heather Gomez 2 years ago from Monterey, CA

      A very informative hub about all these herbs. I have all of them in my spice cabinet! :-) Not only are these herbs beneficial to your health, but adding them to your recipes give that extra zing of flavor that makes your dishes irresistible.

    • Cynthia Hoover profile image

      Cynthia Hoover 2 years ago from Newton, West Virginia

      Voted up! Awesome, interesting, and useful! I am all about natural remedies and plant uses! Love this article! Very well researched!

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