REAL, FRUGAL, HEALTHY, and FUN!!!
Herbs and spices can be so fun. They can bring so much flavor to a dish. Switching up your herbs and spices can keep your dishes fun, flavorful and interesting. However, the benefits of adding herbs and spices goes far beyond flavor! Consider your spice cabinet, your natural medicine cabinet. Next time you’re seasoning your beef, don’t be stingy! Get the most out of those spices. Here’s some motivation!!!
Basil – Basil supports cardiovascular health. It is high in beta-carotene and flavonoids and can help prevent cancer. It is used to treat skin problems, such as acne and psoriasis, as well as joint problems, like arthritis. It can actually provide quick relief from uncomfortable gas, cramps, indigestion and constipation. It is also great for fighting infections, colds, and the flu. Here’s a great tip for using basil; washing produce with 1% basil essential oil is an effective way to kill off any bacteria. Basil is delicious sprinkled on a salad or even sliced, salted tomatoes. You can rub it on chicken. It’s great in Italian dishes and adds flavor to soups.
Cinnamon – Cinnamon is great for oral and digestive health. It is used to treat inflammation, rheumatism, colds, nausea, vomiting, and sometimes even menstrual problems. It supports balanced blood sugar and healthy cholesterol levels. When added to food, it actually slows spoiling by slowing the growth of bacteria. Cinnamon is amazing in baked goods. You can also add it to coffee or hot cocoa. It also adds flavorful depth to meat rubs.
Cumin – Cumin supports healthy digestion from the salivary glands, to the stomach, all the way to the intestines; relieving uncomfortable gas and stomach pain. Because of its laxative and healing properties, cumin can heal and prevent hemorrhoids. It can provide relief from insomnia, respiratory disorders, and even the common cold. Cumin supports lactation, and because of its iron content, is also great for those with anemia. It combats brain fog, skin disorders, and even some cancers. Cumin is wonderful in Indian, Middle Easter, and Mexican dishes. It’s great in hummus and chili.
Cardamom – Cardamom provides digestive relief from constipation, heartburn, loss of appetite, bloating, and nausea. It cleanses the urinary tract, and detoxes the kidneys. It’s great for oral health and can even combat bad breath. Cardamom lowers blood pressure and prevents clots. It’s been shown to help fight cancer. It has anti-inflammatory properties, particularly effective in the mucous membranes, mouth, and throat. It gets rid of hiccups better than holding your breath or being scared. Last but not least, it’s ooh la la…an aphrodisiac. Cardamom is great in Indian food.
Cilantro – Cilantro is known for it’s effectiveness in toxic metal cleansing. This is great for those who have been exposed to mercury. It relieves anxiety and insomnia. It helps lower blood sugar and is a great herb for those with diabetes. It also has antioxidant properties. Mix cilantro into Mexican dishes and salads.
Dill – Dill supports digestive health, including hiccups, constipation, dysentery, and diarrhea. It relieves insomnia and menstrual problems. It helps with respiratory disorders and aids with oral care. Dill helps prevent cancer. It’s great for the immune system and prevents bone degradation. It’s also great for joint health. Dill adds flavor to fish, chicken, veggies, stews, and stir-fries.
Garlic – Garlic improves circulatory health by lowering bad cholesterol. Like an antioxidant, garlic protects blood vessels from free radicals. In addition to treating viral and fungal infections, it’s also been used to treat nasal congestion, among other cold symptoms. It can also help lower blood sugar levels and can be helpful in treating respiratory conditions. While garlic is great in sauces, marinades, and rubs, I have to ask, “What isn’t it good in?!” Add it to dips, veggies, potatoes, etc….
Ginger – Great for digestion. Stimulates saliva and bile flow, as well as gastric secretions. Also great for reducing inflammation. Ginger is best known for its use in the relief of nausea, whether from motion sickness, pregnancy, anxiety, or whatever else. Ginger is great in Asian and Indian food. It’s also great in sauces, marinades, dressings, and desserts.
Mustard – Mustard is great for fighting and preventing gastrointestinal cancer. It provides relief from constipation and hemorrhoids. Mustard also relieves symptoms of asthma. It boosts metabolism and slows ageing. It’s anti-inflammatory properties make it handy in dealing with arthritis and other muscular pains. It helps lower bad cholesterol. Here’s a crazy one, mustard speeds hair growth! Interesting. It also helps fight skin infections. Mustard is good in Indian food, pasta, on chicken, and in marinades.
Oregano – Oregano fights everything from bacterial and viral infections, to parasites, and even asthma. Compared to other foods and spices, ounce for ounce, oregano has one of the highest levels of antioxidants. This makes oregano a powerful source of protection against cancer, heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, macular degeneration, Alzheimer’s, and so much more. Oregano is essential for Italian dishes and yummy on salads.
Parsley – Parsley reduces allergic response, similar to an antihistamine. In the urinary tract, it shows antiseptic properties. It also stimulates uterine muscles. Parsley is used to treat indigestion, gallstones, kidney stones, urinary infections, asthma, and coughs, among other things. Parsley is great on potatoes, fish, soups, stews, and Italian foods.
Rosemary – Rosemary relaxes the smooth muscles of the gastrointestinal tract. It minimizes the risk of Alzheimer’s, and is used to treat colds, flu, rheumatic pain, aching muscles, indigestion, headaches, depression, and so much more! In fact it’s even been added to shampoo to fight dandruff, thinning hair, and balding. Who would have thought?! Rosemary makes a great addition to stews, dips, chicken, turkey, pork, carrots, and potatoes.
Sage – Sage helps treat herpes, both genital and oral. It is used to treat hemorrhoids, insomnia, and hepatitis. It rosmarinic acid, which is a readily absorbable anti-inflammatory, particular useful against harmful inflammation. Because of it’s memory boosting and cognitive supporting properties, it is a great protectant against Alzheimer’s. Sage eases sweats and hot flashes during menopause. Sage gives ground beef a sausage-like flavor. It’s also great on chicken, turkey, soups, stews, and butternut squash.
Tarragon – Tarragon actually stimulates appetite, providing relief from some anorexic symptoms. Like oregano, tarragon ranks very high in antioxidant levels when compared to other foods. It relieves dyspepsia, gas, hiccups, and insomnia. It also helps lower blood pressure. Tarragon is great added to chicken or eggs. It’s also delicious in a salad.
Turmeric (Curcumin) – Turmeric was originally used as a dye, but it is continually amazing us with it’s natural medicinal value. It is a powerful antioxidant (comparable to vitamins C and E), powerful anti-inflammatory (strong enough to rival hydrocortisone), and has strong antibacterial properties. It’s actually from the same family as ginger. Turmeric protects the liver and helps breakdown fats. It is used to treat upset stomach, cramps, digestive disorders, arthritis, skin conditions, heart disease, high cholesterol, Alzheimer’s, and even cancer. Just a little tip so you can get the most benefit, the curcumin in turmeric is best absorbed when combined with black pepper. Turmeric is wonderful in Indian dishes, on chicken, turkey, and squash.
Disclaimer: Always read labels when you buy spices. Some companies like to sneak unnecessary ingredients in. This is especially important if you can’t have gluten for health reasons. Not all spices are gluten-free. Always check your labels. I can’t stress that enough.
S. Foster and R. L. Johnson, Desk Reference to Nature’s Medicine, National Geographic, 2006