Cinnamon is a spice that is used in all sorts of recipes. Cinnamaldehyde is a compound that is found in cinnamon and is the reason for its medicinal properties (Leech, 2017). Cinnamon helps fight inflammation, lowers cholesterol and triglycerides in the blood, but it excels in the effects it has on blood sugar levels. Cinnamon can lower fasting blood sugars in diabetic patients and the dose is up to 2 teaspoons per day (Leech, 2017).
Sage was known for its healing properties in the middle ages and was used to prevent the plague. According to Leech’s (2017) article 10 Delicious Herbs and Spices with Powerful Health Benefits, research shows that sage may be able to improve the brain function and memory in people with Alzheimer’s disease. People with Alzheimer’s disease that have been given sage have shown a drop in the level of acetylcholine which is a chemical messenger that it breaks down (Leech, 2017).
Peppermint oil can relax the muscles in the colon for those that suffer from irritable bowel, which will then lessen the pain during bowel movements. Peppermint oil is an effective alternative to drugs like Buscopan for reducing colonic spasms (Mercola, 2014). Peppermint can cause a significant reduction in nausea (Mercola, 2014). Peppermint oil acts as an expectorant and decongestant, and because of this it can help clear other respiratory issues, like: colds, asthma and allergies. Inhaling the aroma of peppermint can offer some stress relief. Peppermint oil may also help relieve the pain of tension headaches when you massage it onto your temples and forehead. (Mercola, 2014)
Turmeric was being used as an herbal medicine to help people in ancient times who suffered from digestive disorders. Turmeric stimulates the gallbladder to produce more bile that aids in fat digestion. Our liver work hard trying to break down substances such as alcohol. The liver accumulates a lot of toxins that are harmful to the body. Turmeric is a natural detoxifier that flushes toxins and bacteria out and helps the liver perform optimally (James, 2018b). Curcumin is a compound found in turmeric, which is a substance that has powerful anti-inflammatory benefits. Curcumin is a powerful antioxidant that helps the body to fight oxidative damage and to boost its own antioxidant enzymes. This is important, because oxidative damage is believed to be one of the major causes behind ageing and many diseases (James, 2018b). Curcumin is linked to a variety of other health benefits, such as: improving brain function, fighting Alzheimer’s, reducing the risk of heart disease and cancer, relieving arthritis, fighting inflammation, neutralizing free radicals, stopping blood from clotting, supporting healthy skin, improving digestion, supporting liver health and fighting fungi and viruses (James, 2018b).
Cayenne pepper contains capsaicin and this ingredient has been shown to help reduce appetite and increase fat burning. This has made cayenne pepper a common ingredient in many weight loss supplements. One study found that adding 1 gram of red pepper to meals reduced appetite and increased fat burning in people who did not regularly eat peppers, but there was no effect in people who eat spicy food. This indicates that a tolerance to the effects can build up and no longer work (Leech, 2017).
Ginger is known for its anti-nausea aspects. It also is a broad-spectrum antibacterial, antiviral, antioxidant, and has anti-parasitic properties (Mercola, 2014). Ginger is a popular spice used in several forms of alternative medicine. It is one of the best natural remedies available for motion sickness or nausea. Ginger appears to have strong anti-inflammatory properties, and can help with pain management. One study found that 2 grams of ginger extract taken per day decreased the colon inflammation in those that have colon cancer markers (Leech, 2017). A mixture of ginger, cinnamon, mastic, and sesame oil decreased pain and stiffness experienced by those with osteoarthritis (Mercola, 2014). Ginger reduces the severity of migraine headaches, just as well as the migraine medication Sumatriptan, but with fewer side effects (James, 2018c). Ginger also shows promise for fighting diabetes, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, asthma, bacterial and fungal infections. Ginger is also a must-have if you struggle with indigestion, and it does more than simply relieve pain. Ginger contains protein-digesting enzymes that help to stimulate the emptying of your stomach, and it’s an antispasmodic agent, which explains its beneficial effects on your intestinal tract (Mercola, 2014).
Fenugreek has been shown to improve the function of insulin, leading to significant reductions in blood sugar levels. It contains the plant protein 4-hydroxyisoleucine, which improves the function of the hormone insulin. Studies have shown that at least 1 gram of fenugreek extract per day can lower blood sugar levels, particularly in diabetics (Mercola, 2014). Fenugreek gives relief from anemia, loss of taste, fever, stomach disorders, respiratory disorders, mouth ulcers, sore throat, inflammations and insomnia. It is also shown to reduce cholesterol levels and protect heart health, while simultaneously boosting the immune system and protecting against flu and various infections (OrganicFacts, 2018a).
Rosemary contains an active ingredient called rosmarinic acid. This substance has been shown to block allergic responses and nasal congestion. In a study with 29 individuals, both 50 and 200 mg doses of Rosmarinic acid were shown to suppress allergy symptoms (Leech, 2017). Rosemary increases the blood flow to the head and brain, improving concentration. It stimulates mental activity and is a good remedy for depression and can relieve some of the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease. Rosemary oil is often used for indigestion, flatulence and stomach cramps, as seen in those with irritable bowel syndrome. Rosemary can be added to meat dishes because it helps in digesting them, especially lamb, beef and pork. It does this by causing the gallbladder to produce greater quantities of bile. Another health benefit of rosemary extract is an ability to protect the body from certain carcinogens such as aflatoxin and help defuse carcinogens through the liver (Stan, 2009-18). Research is also being carried out to study its potential in treating various types of cancers including colon, stomach, breast and lung cancer. Rosemary has also been shown to protect DNA from cancerous-causing chemicals (Mercola, 2014). A daily dose of rosemary extract in liquid form can improve kidney function significantly. Other claimed health benefits of rosemary oil include its usage for disorders in menstrual cramps, peptic ulcers, urine flow, prostrate problems, gall bladder, intestinal issues, cataracts, heart and sperm mobility. Rosemary also acts as a fungicide by killing candida yeast and destroying any yeast-infected cells (OrganicFacts, 2018b).
Garlic has been used throughout ancient history for its medicinal properties. These health benefits are due to a compound called allicin, which is also responsible for garlic’s distinct smell (yourwellness.guide, ND). Garlic is great for battling sickness, including the common cold. There is also convincing evidence for beneficial effects on heart health. The allicin content of garlic helps in regulating the levels of triglycerides in the blood and also indirectly lowers the total cholesterol level in the blood. Human studies have found that garlic supplementation lowers the blood pressure in people that have high blood pressure (Leech, 2017). Garlic is a natural antifungal and a strong antimicrobial. This has been supported by various studies conducted on the effects of garlic to fungus and microbes, such as Athlete’s Foot (Leech, 2017). Garlic contains a compound known as “ajoene” from the Spanish word “ajo” which means garlic. This content is found to be very effective against a number of fungal infections. Garlic regulates the glutathione in the body. Glutathione are enzymes that help with the elimination of toxins in the body. Increased garlic intake can lead to an increase in the levels of glutathione in the body. This will then help in detoxifying the liver. It also has antiviral and antibiotic properties. Garlic contains vitamin C and a set of enzymes (Mercola, 2014).
Thyme’s health benefits include improving mood and well-being, acting as a natural anti-fungal, reducing inflammation and pain, supporting the health of the brain and improving respiratory function. Thyme consists of numerous compounds, one of which is named carvacrol, which has been found to have positive effects on mood improvement if consumed consistently for 7 days. It does this by increasing levels of serotonin and dopamine, neurotransmitters involved with regulating motivation, drive and overall mood (Mercola, 2014). Carvacrol inhibits both the proliferation and movement of cancer cells to other parts of the body. Halting this spread of cancer is good for a cancer patient, since it becomes exponentially harder to treat once it does spread (James, 2018a). Thyme is effective at killing bacteria and is also a useful anti-fungal. One of the main chemical mediators for our body and brain to feel pain is an enzyme named cyclooxygenase. Thyme is able to suppress the majority of this enzyme (abbreviated as COX) which greatly reduces the pain and tenderness we feel (James, 2018a). Thyme is loaded with anti-oxidants that can help preserve brain health. Thyme has traditionally been used as an aide to proper lung function and helping reduce symptoms of bronchitis. Bronchitis is an inflammation of the tiny structures within the lungs known as bronchioles, which makes breathing deep and labored. Thyme exerts anti-inflammatory effects in the lungs, helps thin mucus secretions and also fights microbes which may be the cause of an underlying infection (Mercola, 2014). Thyme possesses anti-bacterial effect as well, so it should be used by anyone suffering from respiratory disorders. Thyme is a mild natural diuretic that gently promotes the release of urine (James, 2018a).