I hope you found the first part of the blog interesting enough for you to come back and read Part 2. Herbs and spices have always been used by our ancestors and grandmothers as home remedies. They have found cure for any ailment purely through herbs and spices. Today, slowly and steadily we are getting back to our roots. This is one of the reasons why I got down to researching on herbs and spices. In this Part two we will talk of herbs and spices such as Mint, Himalayan salts, Parsley, Paprika to name a few…
- Dill: Dill has much more to offer than just serving the ornamental purpose in the gardens. Due to its anti-bacterial nature, helps in killing harmful intestinal bacteria, E.coli. The seeds also contain substantial amounts of calcium, and regular intake of dill seeds may help to boost bone strength and prevent One outstanding use of dill is in treating hiccups. Hiccups occur for various reasons, but most likely, they occur due to trapped gas and repeated upward movement of gases through the food pipe. It can also be caused due to certain allergies, hypersensitivity, hyperactivity and nervous malfunctioning. Dill helps the expulsion of gases and also reduces gas formation at the same time it helps to calm down hiccups due to allergies, hyperactivity, or nervous disorders.
- Fennel Seeds : It’s most popularly used as a breath freshener but has many health benefits attached to it. They are highly beneficial in relieving digestive problems such as indigestion, bloating, flatulence, constipation, colic, intestinal gas, heartburn, and even irritable bowel. Also, Fennel is excellent for combating obesity as it suppresses the appetite and creates a feeling of fullness. Phytoestrogens present in fennel seeds helps to deal premenstrual syndrome, menstrual pain and menopausal disorders. Apart from these, fennel is traditionally used as a galactagogue to promote lactation in nursing mothers.
- Himalayan Salt : Gorgeous pink colored salt is much more beneficial over regular table salt. These light pink crystals are full of minerals. In fact, they come packed with over 80 minerals and elements that have shown to create an electrolyte balance within your body, strengthen bones, lower blood pressure, prevent muscle cramping, and improve circulation. On the other hand common table salts are stripped of any extra minerals. Adding to other crucial benefit, Himalayan salt is also lower in sodium than regular table salt which is one of the deadly nutrients when it comes to heart disease.
- Mint: Mint, the well known mouth and breath freshener, is an herb that has been used for hundreds of years for its remarkable medicinal properties. The menthol present in it activates digestive system, helps to calm stomach cramps, beat acidity and flatulence. Mint has a very strong smell that has ability to open up nasal passages and airways to allow relaxed breathing. It is also an expectorant and helps the expulsion of phlegm. Its anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties help relieve inflammation along the respiratory tract. Since mint leaves purify the blood and have an anti-spasmodic effect on the soothe muscles of our body, it is a great remedy to relieve the pain of menstrual cramps.
- Mustard Seeds: Mustard seeds have been valued for their therapeutic effects in curing cold and sinus It is a wonderful decongestant and expectorant which helps in clearing the mucus in the air passages. A decoction made with mustard seeds helps in cleansing the body especially in the poisoning caused by narcotics and excess intake of alcohol.
- Nutmeg: It has been considered to be a useful medicine in a number of Asian societies. It induces the secretion of various gastric and intestinal juices that ease the digestive process. The fiber content of nutmeg can bulk up the bowel movement; it reduces the frequency and discomfort of constipation and other intestinal issues. Since olden days, nutmeg has been recommended as a home remedy for sleeplessness and insomnia. A pinch of nutmeg in warm milk before sleeping always seemed to help in better sleep quality. Nutmeg has a high content of magnesium which stimulates the release of serotonin and hormone responsible for relaxation. This serotonin is changed to melatonin in the brain, which is a sleep inducer.
- Oregano: This warm aromatic herb boasts several medicinal qualities. This marvelous herb is an excellent source of minerals like potassium, calcium, manganese, iron, and magnesium. Potassium is an important component of cell and helps control heart rate and blood pressure caused by high sodium. Magnesium and calcium are important minerals for bone metabolism. Oregano also being a rich source of dietary fiber helps to control blood cholesterol levels. The major components of oregano, carvacrol and thymol, are wonderfully anti-viral, anti-bacterial, anti-parasitic, and anti-fungal. Presence of powerful antioxidants in this herb makes it great for immune system. Also, Consuming 2 tsp of oregano daily during menses reduces cramps this is because carvacrol and thymol present in the herb relaxes uterine muscles and prevents painful contractions.
- Parsley: Most people are familiar with parsley as a food garnish and often discard the herb used for decoration without realizing the health benefits. Myricetin, a flavonol found in parsley and other plants, has been shown to have chemopreventive effects on skin cancer. A natural chemical found in parsley (apigenin ) has been found to decrease tumor size in an aggressive form of breast cancer and will play a promising role in treating cancer in future. Parsley also acts as a natural diuretic and helps in body cleansing.
- Paprika: Warm and spicy flavor of this herb has much more to offer apart fro imparting color to the meals. Capsanthin present in Paprika promoted increased activity of an enzyme involved in production of HDL (good) cholesterol. The presence of capsaicin has also attributed to lower blood pressure levels in the body. Vitamin B6 present in it stimulates the production of melanin, a pigment that lends hair its colour hence it’s a boon for spice lovers as it helps prevent premature greying of hair.
- Rosemary: This herb packs a powerful punch in the form of rosmarinic acid, carnosic acid and carnosol. It’s incredibly anti-carcinogenic, and has been found to significantly decrease levels of dangerous heterocyclic amines when cooked with meats at high temperatures. It’s also been shown to be effective in improving dermatitis, cognitive stimulant, enhancing memory and focus, protecting the liver (detoxification) and alleviating arthritis pain. The Eucalyptol present in this herb helps to loosen the chest congestion making phlegm easier to expel plus Rosemary is rich in anti-inflammatory tannin which helps to soothe a sore throat.
- Saffron : This is the world’s most expensive spice. Active components of Saffron i.e. crocin and safranal, helps preserve levels of dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine in the brain thereby helping in treating depression. Saffron may help protect against Alzheimer’s disease, anxiety, insomnia, multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s disease. Saffron can function as an effective energy booster and can increase body’s metabolism by increasing blood circulation. Consuming a pinch of saffron with a spoonful of honey can be an effective remedy for heavy periods. It’s also known for it’s ability to beautify your skin. Wearing a saffron face mask can help clear up acne and blemishes, brighten dull skin, and give you a glow.
- Sage: Sage is an herb native to the Mediterranean. Sage has a long history of medicinal use for ailments ranging from mental disorders to gastrointestinal discomfort. It boosts brain function, improves memory and concentration, helps in easing alzheimer’s symptoms. Also, Sage helps prevents arteries from hardening and thereby reducing risk of heart attack. Another promising role which is heart healthy, Sage helps in maintaining the healthy lipid profile.
- Turmeric: Turmeric was once called a poor man’s saffron, but now we know how incredibly healing and powerful this spice truly is. Curcumin is the active compound in turmeric that is powerfully anti-inflammatory as well as rich in antioxidants. I have written a blog focusing on health benefits of turmeric, it would be worthwhile to read that, it’s accessible on http://goqii.com/blog/why-should-we-all-eat-more-turmeric
- Thyme: Thyme is an herb more native to Mediterranean and French cuisine. It has a long history of use in natural medicine in connection with chest and respiratory problems including coughs, bronchitis, and chest congestion. The volatile oil present in thyme are believed to increase the content of omega 3 fatty acids in brain. Thyme has decent number of flavonoids and is proven to posses’ cancer preventing properties. Thyme is also believed to relieve pain of difficult menstruation better than ibruprofen. An ounce (28g) of the herb is steeped in two cups water is consumed after straining and sweetening (optional) for optimal benefits.
Phew !! Now that was pretty exhaustive list. Isn’t it amazing that these sparingly required ingredients can have such a huge impact on our health?? Now that you know about some of these amazing key benefits, go ahead, spread the word and try out a new recipe using one of the spices above.
Be sure to comment below and letting me know what you’re going to cook up !