Advertisement Many herbs and spices contain plant compounds that have strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects against pain, infections and chronic diseases.
Currently, herbs and spices, such as garlic, ginger and rosemary, are primarily used to enhance flavors and aromas. However, the use of various herbs and spices can be traced back to traditional medicines that relied on the potency of natural ingredients to treat ailments.
Here are 10 delicious herbs and spices that possess potent medicinal properties: Garlic
Garlic contains 33 sulfur compounds that possess antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, such as allicin, alliin and ajoene. Garlic is also a powerful antibacterial agent against infections caused by common pathogens, including Escherichia coli and Staphylococcus aureus . As a potent natural remedy, garlic can treat colds, joint pain and toothaches. Sage
Sage is an excellent source of antioxidants that aid immune functions by stimulating the production of white blood cells. Several studies have also shown that sage can improve memory and regulate mood in healthy adults. Sage is also linked to a reduced risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, especially in at-risk individuals. Additionally, sage can be used to treat inflammations of the throat and mouth. Peppermint
Peppermint is a known remedy for irritable bowel syndrome, a disorder of the large intestine that causes abdominal pain, bloating, constipation and diarrhea. Its bioactive compounds work to relax the muscles of the colon, thereby relieving stomach aches and digestive disorders. Peppermint is also known to prevent nausea and induce relaxation. Turmeric
Turmeric contains several plant compounds that possess medicinal properties, such as curcumin, curcuminoid and polyphenol. Curcumin, in particular, is a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agent that can prevent cellular damage and chronic diseases caused by free radicals. Curcumin can also relieve joint pain caused by osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and gout. Cinnamon
Cinnamon contains the naturally occurring chemical known as cinnamaldehyde, which gives cinnamon its distinct taste and odor. Cinnamaldehyde also possesses powerful antioxidant properties that can regulate blood sugar levels and restore insulin sensitivity. Moreover, cinnamon reduces the amount of “bad” cholesterol in the bloodstream, thereby significantly lowering the risk of cardiovascular conditions. Basil
Basil leaves contain eugenol, a plant compound with known anti-inflammatory properties. It is known to support cardiovascular health by relieving inflamed blood vessels and arteries caused by cholesterol plaque. Basil also contains various antioxidants that strengthen the immune system against infections and diseases. Ginger
Ginger is a popular remedy due to its potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. It is commonly used to treat headaches, nausea and joint pain. Fenugreek
Fenugreek is an herb that is popularly used in Ayurvedic medicine. It contains plant proteins that can restore insulin sensitivity in diabetic individuals, thereby greatly reducing blood sugar levels. Fenugreek is also known to boost male libido. Cayenne pepper
Capsaicin, the main active ingredient in Cayenne pepper, is known to stimulate metabolism and reduce appetite. Several animal studies also suggest that capsaicin may possess anti-carcinogenic effects against certain types of cancer, including that of the lungs, liver and prostate. Rosemary
Rosmarinic acid, the primary active component in rosemary, has been shown to relieve allergic reactions and nasal congestion due to its anti-inflammatory properties. Meanwhile, another active component — carnosic acid — can protect the brain from cellular damage caused by free radicals. Clinical studies also suggest that carnosic acid can significantly promote eye health and prevent vision loss caused by macular degeneration. When consumed as an herbal tea, rosemary can regulate mood and improve brain functions, such as memory and concentration.
Herbs and spices are potent remedies against various ailments and conditions. Many of these can be easily cultivated in gardens, pots or planter boxes.