blog postby Marla Brodsky RD, LD, CNSD
Luscious Life Nutrition, Inc
The ancient Middle Eastern civilizations utilized all types of plant, animal and mineral products to treat disease. The Ebers Papyrus, which was written in Egypt about 1500 B.C., mentions the use of several spices as medicines, including coriander, cumin, fenugreek and mint. Today, we are still researching and using spices to treat many illnesses.
Most spices and many herbs contain more antioxidants than fruits and vegetables.
Each different spice or herb is valuable for the functioning or treatment of different conditions. Most of these have fewer or no side effects compared to drugs. Several spices are potent anti-inflammatory agents and help to reduce progression of inflammatory conditions such as autoimmune diseases or other inflammatory conditions. Other spices act as Cox-2 inhibitors similar to Celebrex and other drugs. Many spices actually contain salicylates which are also found in aspirin and therefore can help with pain.
Below is a list of some of the medicinal uses for culinary spices/herbs. In order to improve health, it is therefore important to not only think about choosing healthy food, but to think about spicing it up to make it both delicious and boost its health value.
Spice/Herb / Medicinal value
Turmeric (curcumin= key ingredient) antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and cancer prevention properties. shown to inhibit virtually every biomarker tested.
1629mg.salicylic acid(aspirin)/100gm. Helps with digestion and used for colds and fever.
Potent anti-inflammatory. Used for nausea.Chewing on
fresh ginger relieves sore throat and horseness
Known to reduce blood pressure and help prevent heart disease. Contains antiviral and antibacterial properties.
1 clove/day helps lower cholesterol
Relieves diarrhea and colic. Aphrodisiac
Carminative which relieves gas and indigestion
Diuretic, reduces cholesterol, allergies, inflammation
Increases appetite and stimulates production of gastric
juices. Mustard oil used to treat arthritis. Stimulates
Antibacterial and useful for treating digestive disorders. A
remedy for headache when applied to temples. Effective
in treatment of liver, urinary and uterine dysfunction.
CHILI PEPPER (CAPSAICIN)
Increases gastric acid flow thereby reducing stomach
pain and ulcer. Reduces arthritis pain when used
topically in capsaicin cream. Contains vitamin A and
more vitamin C than citrus fruits.
1 tsp./day helps lower blood sugar in diabetics. Used as a
liniment to soothe headache, rheumatic pain and
Inhibits breakdown of brain neurotransmitters to enhance
memory. Used to stimulate hair follicle growth. Cox-2
Many use as a corticosteroid alternative. Reduces
inflammation. Used to relieve stomach, throat, intestinal
pain It has estrogenic and other steroidal properties and
is used to normalize and regulate hormone production.
Glycyrrhizin, a major component of licorice root, is
structurally similar to adrenal cortical hormones. It has
proven especially helpful in treating adrenal exhaustion,
infertility due to hormonal imbalance, menopausal
dysfunctions, and Addisons disease. Deglycyrrhizinated
licorice will not raise blood pressure.
Improves appetite, aids digestion, and combats fatigue.
Has antibacterial properties. Has been used as an
aphrodisiac and for depression. High in antioxidants
Potent antibacterial. Active ingredient in Listerine
mouthwash to “kill the germs that cause badbreath”