Advertisement Herbs and spices contain active plant compounds that have potent antioxidant effects against pain, inflammation and chronic conditions. Powerful medicinal compounds like gingerol, quercetin and allicin can be found in various kitchen staples like onions, garlic and ginger.
Here are 10 medicinal herbs and spices that deserve a space in your pantry as remedies for a host of ailments. Cinnamon
Cinnamon owes its distinct taste and aroma to a naturally occurring chemical known as cinnamaldehyde. It acts as an antioxidant to regulate glucose levels and restore insulin sensitivity in diabetic individuals. Plus, cinnamon reduces the amount of low-density lipoproteins or “bad” cholesterol. Sage
Sage is commonly used as a fresh addition to pasta, omelets and meat dishes, but the fragrant herb can also protect against degenerative cognitive conditions like dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. It also promotes blood circulation in the brain, which leads to improved brain functions like memory and concentration. Peppermint
Peppermint contains menthol, an active compound that acts as a natural antihistamine. As such, peppermint is commonly used to relieve nasal congestion and sore throat. Additionally, peppermint has anti-inflammatory properties that make it a potent natural remedy for allergic reactions, asthma and inflammatory bowel disease. Turmeric
Turmeric is a popular medicinal spice used to relieve joint pain caused by arthritis. Curcumin, the main active compound in turmeric , has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that can prevent cellular damage and chronic diseases caused by free radicals. It can also lower glucose levels and blood pressure. Holy basil
Not to be confused with the regular basil, holy basil is hailed as the “queen of herbs” in Ayurvedic medicine due to its potent immune-boosting and antibacterial properties. As a medicinal herb, holy basil is commonly used to prevent infections caused by bacteria and fungi. Consumption of holy basil leaves can also stimulate the production of white blood cells that combat disease-causing pathogens. Cayenne pepper
Capsaicin, an active ingredient found in hot peppers, is a natural appetite suppressant and metabolism booster. If you’re looking to shed a few pounds, consider incorporating cayenne peppers into recipes. Additionally, capsaicin is observed to have anti-cancer properties that can inhibit the growth of cancer cells. Ginger
Ginger is a popular remedy for minor ailments like headaches, nausea and sore muscles. Gingerol, an active ingredient in ginger, has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that can also relieve stiffness and joint pain caused by osteoarthritis. Fenugreek
Like the holy basil, fenugreek is also popularly used in Ayurvedic medicine. It contains the plant protein 4-hydroxyisoleucine that can restore insulin sensitivity and improve glucose levels in diabetic individuals. It is also commonly used to boost male libido. Rosemary
Rosmarinic acid, the main active compound in rosemary , acts as a natural antihistamine to treat allergic reactions and nasal congestion. But rosemary can also be used to improve vision and brain functions thanks to the active compound known as carnosic acid. When consumed as an herbal tea, rosemary can also improve mood, minimize stress and relieve anxiety. Garlic
Bulb vegetables like garlic contain sulfur-rich compounds that have antioxidant and antibacterial properties. In particular, the compound known as allicin acts as a potent antibacterial agent against infections caused by the Escherichia coli bacterium. Garlic can also fortify the immune system against viral infections like the common cold and the flu.
Many herbs and spices have medicinal properties that can protect against infection and disease. A balanced diet that includes various immune-boosting plants can significantly contribute to overall health and well-being. Be sure to always have natural medicines on hand so you’re prepared to treat various ailments and conditions.