Awesome healing herbs and spices: Herbs and spices have been used for thousands of years for their healing properties. Today, modern science is discovering that the healing properties in certain herbs and spices have valid medicinal properties and health benefits when properly consumed. Below we have put together some top herbs and spices with the healthiest benefits supported by modern science research.

Healing Herbs

Basil: Benefits include reducing inflammation, and is said to have antibacterial and anti-aging properties.

Basil is very popular in Italian cuisine, but is also common in Thai, Indonesian, and Vietnamese cuisine as well. Basil contains a broad range of essential oils that are rich in phenolic compounds, and natural polyphenols such as flavonoids and anthocyanins. Basil can help with treating arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease.

There are many types of basil and they all have healing properties, but there is one type of basil called "Holy Basil" that has been getting all the attention because of it's special antioxidant phytochemical compounds. It may help prevent certain types of skin, liver, oral, and lung cancer. It also helps with inflammation, swelling, and has been said to have anti-aging properties.

Thyme: Health benefits for it's ability to relieve stress, reduce respiratory issues, boost immune system, improves circulation, and protects heart.

Thyme with it's scientific name Thymus vulgaris, is an herb native to the Mediterranean region and parts of Africa. Thymol is the active ingredient in thyme which gives it a wide range of effects on the body. Thyme has anti-fungal as well as antioxidant protection, and is an overall health booster.

Sage: Assists in lowering cholesterol and blood glucose, helps relieve Alzheimer's.

With an extensive history dating back o the Egyptians, sage has been used by herbalists for treating many conditions such as for asthma, sprains, swelling, healing of ulcers, helps stop bleeding wounds. Later studies have shown that it helps with lowering cholesterol, alleviates menopausal symptoms, and help with Alzheimer's disease systems.

Rosemary: Since ancient times rosemary has been used to alleviate muscle pain, boost immune system, improve memory, and promote hair growth.

Rosemary is a good source of iron, calcium, and vitamin B-6. It has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compounds to boost the immune system and improve blood circulation. It also improves digestion, enhances memory and concentration, and protects against brain damage.

Parsley: One of the worlds most popular herb to promote optimal health and protection against free radicals.

Parsley is a rich source of anti-oxidant nutrients and volatile oils and flavonoids. It is an excellent source of vitamin C and a good source of vitamin A, and folic acid which is one of the most important B vitamins. Parsley is great for heart health and protects against Rheumatoid Arthritis.

Healing Spices

Cinnamon: Lowers blood sugar levels, lowers cholesterol, is a potent antioxidant, and helps with inflammation conditions.

One of the most popular spices found in all kinds of recipes and baked goods. A compound called (Cinnamaldehyde), is what gives cinnamon its flavor, odor, and medicinal benefits. (The essential oil of cinnamon bark is about 50%-90% Cinnamaldehyde).

Cinnamaldehyde has been shown to be affective to treat respiratory tract infections and inhibits the growth of certain bacteria. Its antibacterial properties have been know to help reduce infections, fight tooth decay, and bad breath.

When purchasing cinnamon for health benefits it is best to by Ceylon (true cinnamon), rather than the Cassia variety cinnamon. Cassia variety cinnamon contains larger amounts of (coumarin), which can be harmful in large amounts. Ceylon cinnamon is much lower in (coumarin), than the cassia variety. You can usually find Ceylon cinnamon in the health department of your favorite supermarket. If not, your health and nutrition store will have it.

Tumeric: This spice contains Curcumin which is a powerful anti-inflammatory fighter.

Curcumin is a powerful anti-inflammatory compound that many call the remedy of the century. Curcumin has the unique ability to block an enzyme that causes inflammation, while combating free radical damage to vital organs like your liver, brain, and heart. Tumeric and it's active compound Curcumin have proven health benefits, such as the potential to prevent heart disease, Alzheimer's, and cancer.

Ginger: A popular spice for treating nausea along with it's anti-inflammatory properties.

For those at risk of colon cancer, ginger can help decrease colon inflammation the same way as aspirin. Ginger has been shown to help combat the pain and stiffness of osteoarthritis. Studies have shown that as little as 1 gram of ginger can also treat nausea caused by morning sickness, chemotherapy, flight and sea sickness.

Cayenne: A type of chili pepper that contains Capsaicin, which has anti-cancer properties while reducing your appetite.

Cayenne pepper is usually used to prepare spicy dishes in cooking. It's main ingredient "capsaicin" has been shown to reduce appetite, boost your metabolism, and increase fat burning in the body. Cayenne pepper can also help lower blood pressure, aid in digestion, relieve pain, improve psoriasis, and may reduce cancer risk.

Black Pepper: The most popular used spice that was considered more valuable than gold in the middle ages.

Black pepper contains an active ingredient called Piperine, that has been shown to aid in digestion, prevent certain cancers, helps lower blood pressure, and helps prevent arthritis.

Saffron: The worlds most expensive spice and is worth it's weight in gold.

It takes an average of 80,000 blue saffron crocus flowers and a quarter million dried stigmas to produce one pound of Saffron. There are two major compounds in saffron called crocin and saffranal, that preserve levels of dopamine, seratonin, and norepinephrine in the brain. Studies have shown that it might help protect against Alzheimer's disease, atherosclerosis, anxiety, depression, insomnia, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's disease, and many forms of cancer.

Bottom line, there are many herbs and spices that can help overall health in the human body if used in the proper way and on a regular basis. Do the research and always go for fresh organic herbs and spices when possible. Better yet, grow your own then you know what you are eating is the best available. Nothing like breaking off a fresh leaf of basil, or a sprig of thyme and adding it to your next favorite recipe.

Peace,
Bart

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