Herbs and spices can be used in so many different ways to support the health of our body. They can be consumed as food, in teas or supplements, or they can be absorbed externally through the skin in creams/lotions. Many can also be inhaled through steam vapors. Here are some examples of some healing herbs. Consider adding some of them to your kitchen routine or medicine cabinet!
Ginger - very effective in alleviating symptoms of gastrointestinal distress; helps eliminate intestinal gas, also works to cleanse and clear your digestive tract. Ginger is a safe and effective herb to be used for feelings of nausea and/or motion sickness. *Ginger is listed as an herb in many culinary recipes while others classify it as a spice. Some call dried ginger powder a spice while calling the fresh root version an herb. Try this spicy pork bowl with veggies for dinner this week!
Cilantro - also known as coriander, is an herbal plant that is often used in cooking as well as herbal medicine. It is known for its antioxidant effects due to its carotenoids, it also has anti-inflammatory benefits as well as antimicrobial. Cilantro is also a heavy metal chelator, meaning it will help pull heavy metal toxins out of your body. Try this guacamole recipe to get more cilantro in your diet, it can be added to smoothies too!
Holy Basil - Protects your body against unwanted bacterial growth, it is high in beta carotene which helps with cardiovascular health by preventing cholesterol from oxidizing in the bloodstream. Holy basil has also been shown to help reduce blood sugar levels before and after eating. Try using holy basil as your garnish with this shrimp fra diavolo.
Parsley - Widely used as a fresh culinary herb or dried spice. Parsley's bright green color and mild, bitter flavor pairs well with many recipes. It has also been used to treat conditions like high blood pressure, allergies, and inflammatory diseases. Try this delicious chimichurri sauce the next time you grill a steak or serve a fish dish!
Turmeric- an anti-inflammatory agent that has been shown to support a wide variety of conditions. Turmeric is the spice that gives curry its yellow color. It contains several compounds with medicinal properties, the most important of which is curcumin. Because of Curcumin’s powerful antioxidant properties as well as an anti-inflammatory it has been shown to improve brain function, reduce the risk of heart disease and cancer, relieve arthritis, to name a few. Add this yummy curry recipe to your monthly recipe calendar!
Garlic - is a natural antibacterial as well as an antifungal and antiparasitic, which makes it a great immune booster, daily garlic has also been shown that consuming 1-2 cloves of garlic per day decreases the risk of colon cancer by 30% and stomach cancer by 50%. For those with high cholesterol, garlic supplementation appears to reduce total and/or LDL cholesterol by about 10-15%. Try this garlic grilled shrimp to get more garlic into your kitchen or this chicken fajita marinade.
Cinnamon - A popular spice, that contains a compound called cinnamaldehyde, is responsible for cinnamon’s medicinal properties. Cinnamon has potent antioxidant activity, helps fight inflammation and has been shown to lower cholesterol and triglycerides in the blood. Cinnamon also has been shown to lower blood sugar by several mechanisms, including by slowing the breakdown of carbs in the digestive tract and improving insulin sensitivity. Try the first variation of sweet potatoes fries with cinnamon!
Cayenne Pepper - Cayenne pepper is a type of chili pepper used to prepare spicy dishes. The active ingredient in it is called capsaicin, which has been shown to reduce appetite and increase fat burning in many studies. Try this homemade taco seasoning recipe the next time you are prepping for Taco Tuesday!