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Herbs and Spices to Boost Your Health

herbs and spices

Herbs and Spices to Boost Your Health

It is coming to that time of year again when it is not quite cold enough to put on your winter coat but it is also not warm enough to discard your cardigan.  This is why you have to be careful not to catch a cold or get sick.  Cooking with herbs and spices are a clever way of ensuring your body receives the nutrients it needs, to enhance and maintain good health.

Here are some herbs and spices to help improve your health.

Garlic boosts your leucocytes (white blood cells) which are needed to support your immune system. It contains compounds which have antibacterial and antiviral effects. It is an anti-inflammatory so it is beneficial for arthritis.  It helps to maintain good cardiovascular health.

Ginger is a warming herb which helps circulation, eases tired, aching muscles and soothes an upset stomach.  It is great for boosting your immune system and easing congestion.

Cinnamon is helpful for curbing your sugar cravings and reducing your risk of diabetes.  It enables the body to absorb glucose from the blood.  It is delicious sprinkled over porridge or cereal in the morning.  It is a perfect flavouring for your soup, stew and herbal teas.

Oregano contains antiviral and antibacterial agents which are beneficial for relieving asthma, bronchitis, coughs and colds.  It is helpful for digestive problems such as bloating and heartburn.

Onions contain phytochemicals which help your body to utilise Vitamin C more effectively, this enhances your immune system. Onions also contain chromium, which balances your blood sugar levels.  Quercetin which is a compound found in Onions has proven to be effective in preventing cancer.

Chili contains about seven times the amount of Vitamin C as an orange.  It is a decongestant, aids digestion, relieves migraines and alleviates muscle pains.  It is considered a powerful metabolism booster, so it can contribute to weight loss.  Only take chili in small doses though as it can cause a burning sensation to the mouth, tongue and throat, if it is taken in large quantities.  If this sensation does occur it is best to eat yoghurt or drink milk to help to counteract the heat.

Remember to rinse your hands after chopping chillies because if you rub your eyes it will sting.  If this does happen it is best to rinse your eyes in cold water to reduce the irritation.

Sage is helpful for painful menstrual cramps, balancing increased milk flow when breastfeeding, and also for relieving hot flashes during the menopause.  It is beneficial for oral health; gargling with sage tea will help gingivitis, sore mouths, throats and tongues.  It eases cold sores by applying it directly to your skin.  Sage is useful for digestive problems and loss of appetite.  It has found to be effective in reducing excessive perspiration and saliva. It may relieve memory loss and depression.

Dandelion is effective for detoxifying the liver and gall bladder.  It helps to stimulate your appetite and it relieves kidney and bowel problems.

Peppermint is helpful for digestive problems by relieving constipation, diarrhoea, nausea and morning sickness. It helps to support the function of the liver by encouraging the bile flow from the liver to the gallbladder.  Improved bile flow reduces bad cholesterol. It eases bad breath and refreshes the mouth. It is useful for treating infantile colic.   Peppermint oil is soothing for headaches and helps to boost your memory.

Thyme is beneficial for bronchitis, swollen tonsils, sore mouth, bad breath, whooping cough, sore throat, colic, arthritis, diarrhea, bedwetting, a movement disorder in children (dyspraxia),and skin disorders. It is also used to increase urine flow (as a diuretic), and as an appetite stimulant.

N.B     Due to the detoxifying effect of herbs, they are not always safe to take on certain medications.  It is always best to check with your doctor or a pharmacist if you are taking medication, because certain herbs can counteract their effects.

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