Ginger is known as a 'super spice' thanks to its broad and effective use for a variety of ailments. It has traditionally been used to treat a number of digestive and abdominal pain, such as diarrhea, IBS and menstrual cramps as well as nausea caused by movement, pregnancy, chemotherapy, rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis. Ginger's rich content of both vitamin E, vitamin B6, vitamin B3, vitamin C and the vital minerals; manganese, iron, selenium and magnesium, stimulates appetite and facilitates digestion. Other benefits may include pain relief from upper respiratory tract infections, cough and mild respiratory problems, bronchitis and even headaches.
The small black berries from the shelf tree have been used in traditional medicine for centuries because of their health-promoting properties. Studies have shown that elderberries can strengthen the immune system thanks to their antibacterial and infectious ability. They can even reduce the pain associated with autoimmune diseases, as well as the rate certain cancers develop at. Elderberries are rich in antioxidants, which can help regulate insulin and glucose levels that support digestion and help treat diabetes. Elderberries have also been used to help with weight loss, allergies such as hay fever and as a laxative.
Cinnamon has a long history as traditional medicine and is appreciated for its characteristic taste, aroma and medicinal benefits. The bark of the cinnamon tree is rich in essential minerals, including manganese, iron and calcium, and is assumed to have antibacterial, antifungal, anti-inflammatory and anticoagulant properties. Traditionally, cinnamon bark has been used to treat a number of health problems, including digestive problems, diarrhea, menstrual pain and heavy menstruation. Some studies show that cinnamon can also help prevent excessive bleeding, remove blood impurities and improve blood circulation as well as regulate blood sugar levels. Other benefits are the relief of stiffness in muscles and joints, and the cinnamon's ability to treat infections, colds, headaches, sore throats and flu.
Through ancient Egypt, Greece and Rome, the dried fruit from the anise plant was used as spice and medicine. Its sweet and aromatic taste made it a popular breath-fresher, and it was also appreciated for helping digestive disorders. Today, aniseed is a natural remedy for treating stomach disorders and intestinal gas as well as coughs and colds. Studies have found aniseed to be beneficial in calming symptoms of mild indigestion, including bloating and gas in the stomach. It can also act as an appetite stimulant and a diuretic. Women can benefit from using aniseed to increase their milk flow during breastfeeding, as well as to relieve pain during the period, facilitate childbirth and increase sex drive. Men may find aniseed beneficial for symptoms of the male menopause. Aniseed is also useful for treating insomnia.
As far back as 7000 f. Kr . the ancient Asian and Middle Eastern cultures are assumed to have used barley grass as an ingredient in their food and medicine, to exploit the plant's properties to treat a range of skin, liver, blood and gastrointestinal disorders. Packed with vitamin A, vitamin B1, vitamin B2, vitamin B3, vitamin B6, folate, vitamin C, vitamin E and vitamin K, barley grass is today considered a superfood. It contains a wealth of electrolytes, including magnesium, phosphorus and potassium, as well as the essential minerals zinc, iron and calcium. Barley grass is also a rich source of strong antioxidants, essential amino acids and enzymes that may explain why this barley grass is assumed to exert a rejuvenating effect on the whole body, promote physical agility, reduce signs of aging, protect the skin from UV damage and optimize cognitive abilities. It can protect human cells from carcinogens, thanks to its ability to neutralize free radicals, detoxify the body, strengthen the immune system and regenerate damaged cells and tissues. Several studies have also shown that barley grass lowers blood sugar levels, blood pressure and cholesterol, while helping to maintain an optimal acid alkali balance.
The carcass seed, also called carve seeds, has been used medicinally for centuries, while its pungent taste makes the coming a popular culinary spice. It helps treat digestive disorders, such as heartburn, bloating, gas, constipation, loss of appetite and mild abdominal spasms. Caring is also traditionally used to relieve menstrual pain and to stimulate milk production during breastfeeding.
Cardamom is considered the queen of spices and has long been a beloved ingredient in traditional Chinese and Indian medicine. The aromatic seeds of this exotic plant contain a lot of vitamins and minerals, including niacin, pyridoxine, riboflavin, thiamine, vitamin A, vitamin C, sodium, potassium, calcium, copper, iron, manganese, magnesium, phosphorus and zinc. Cardamom is one of the most common herbal medicines in Ayurveda and is used to treat dental problems, throat and upper respiratory infections, gastrointestinal diseases and urinary tract infections. It can help relieve nausea and vomiting, intestinal spasms and gas. Cardamom is also thought to have aphrodisiac properties and can be used to treat impotence, erectile dysfunction and premature ejaculation.
Chamomile flowers are an ancient agent used by the Egyptians, Romans and Greeks. Traditionally, chamomile was used in herbal medicine to treat anxiety and insomnia, as well as minor gastrointestinal problems such as bloating, travel sickness, colic, stomach disturbances and diarrhea. Chamomile is a natural tonic that can reduce blood pressure, fibromyalgia and menstrual cramps. It has antiseptic and antibiotic properties, and can be used locally to cure mild skin irritations, ulcers, minor inflammations (such as sunburn), superficial ulcers and small abscesses.
Cloves are the dried buds from the subtropical flowering tree, Syzygium aromaticum. They contain the minerals calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium and zinc, as well as vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin D, vitamin E, vitamin K, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, thiamine, riboflavin and niacin. Along with the high levels of antioxidants give cloves a boost to the immune system, and in Chinese medicine they are even thought to have aphrodisiac properties. Nelikke extract has been shown to reduce pain and contains valuable antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, making them a popular natural treatment for toothache, mouth diseases, bad breath and headaches. Cloves can stimulate the secretion of digestive enzymes, thus helping digestion as well as reducing gas in the stomach and nausea, while their levels of phenols can be beneficial for maintaining bone density.
Both the stem and root of this common flower are edible and have long been used in traditional Chinese, Arab and Native American medicines. Dandelion leaves are a rich source of vitamin A and vitamin C, as well as the minerals iron and calcium. Their diuretic properties can help the body eliminate toxins and treat urinary tract disorders. In addition to increased urine production, dandelions also stimulate the pancreas to produce insulin, which can be useful to manage diabetes. Detoxification, diuretic, stimulating and rich in antioxidants - dandelion is a good treatment for acne, weight loss, high blood pressure, anemia and optimal liver health.
Greek mountainte uses the dried flowers, leaves and stems of the Greek plant Sideritis (also known as Greek mountain sage). It was first brewed as a tea by Greek shepherds while fitting their flocks on the mountainside, and is now widely used in herbal medicine as well as for herbal teas. In ancient times, the herbs were used topically to treat battle ulcers and have long been considered a remedy for colds, indigestion and a general boost to the immune system. In addition to having a deliciously sweet, floral taste, Greek mountainte is packed with natural antioxidants and has antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties. It can thus help with pain relief, allergy treatment, respiratory problems and mild stomach discomfort.
Lavender plant's fragrant flower has been used for centuries to calm and cleanse the mind and body and promote a general sense of well-being. In traditional herbal medicine, the sedative effects of lavender make it a useful treatment for insomnia, stress, anxiety and depression; it can even relieve pain. Lavender is also considered to be beneficial for indigestion, including loss of appetite and nausea.
Lemon balm is a member of the mint family, and is considered to be a soothing herb. Since the Middle Ages it has been used to promote relaxation and reduce anxiety. It is also thought to ease indigestion, stomach air and menstrual cramps, stimulate appetite and lift the soul. Some people use lemon balm locally and find its antiviral properties useful for treating cold sores.
Lemongrass is not just an aromatic spice that is popular in Asian cuisine. It has traditionally been used as natural herbal medicine due to its antibacterial, antifungal and anti-inflammatory properties. It helps treat throat inflammation, colds, fever and respiratory infections, and has a painkiller effect that can relieve headaches, minor sprains, rheumatism and back pain. Some studies have also shown anti-carcinogenic activity due to the powerful antioxidants that can be found in lemongrass. Its diuretic properties help with detoxification and in treating gastrointestinal disorders. Lemongrass is a rich source of several vitamins and important minerals, and tends to have a refreshing effect on the whole body.
The South American plant, lemon vebena, is a natural remedy for a variety of digestive diseases, including colic, stomach air, diarrhea and constipation. It can increase metabolism and regulate appetite, making it useful in weight loss programs. High in antioxidants, lemon vebena boosts the immune system and can reduce muscle pain after exercise, as well as help reduce joint pain associated with rheumatoid arthritis or damage. Its calming properties relieve chronic stress.
Used in everything from toothpaste to antibiotics for its refreshing mint taste, peppermint-infused tea is a delicious way to boost your health thanks to its natural antibacterial properties. Perhaps best known as an aid to digestion, peppermint can stimulate effective digestion, relieving bloating, stomach cramps and constipation. Its antispasmodic and analgesic properties can cause relief of symptoms of diarrhea, IBS and nausea caused by illness or travel sickness, as well as calming respiratory irritations, coughs and colds. The menthol, which is integrated into peppermint, also has a cooling effect on the body, which can help lower the fever and relieve stress or anxiety.
Also known as red bush tea, Rooibos is often drunk as a substitute for tea, thanks to its lack of caffeine, low tannins and delicious robust flavors. Rooibosblade is a rich source of vitamin C and antixoidants as well as the vital minerals iron, calcium, potassium, copper, manganese, zinc and magnesium. It can help strengthen the immune system and combat headaches, insomnia and senility. Rooiboste also acts as a bronchodilator, eases breathing difficulties and reduces high blood pressure.
Rosehips have a very high content of vitamin C, and are therefore often found in vitamin supplements as it has a natural approach to strengthen the immune system and fight the flu and colds. The rosehip head itself also contains a host of other valuable vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, all of which contribute to optimal health. The iron content of the fruit helps prevent anaemia and improves blood circulation in the body, and is also known to be diuretic. Furthermore, the rosehip fruit has anti-inflammatory effects which can improve health as well as soothe symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis and other rheumatic diseases.
Besides being a popular culinary spice, sage has been cultivated for its healing powers since ancient times. Its name even comes from the Latin word 'salvere', which means 'to heal'. It has anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties which make it useful to treat gastrointestinal problems, arthritis and general inflammation of the cardiovascular system. Some studies have shown that ingestion of sagete improves memory and concentration, and can even delay the onset of cognitive disorders, such as Alzheimer's and dementia. Traditionally, sage was used to increase female fertility, and to relieve menstrual pain and hot flashes during menopause.
Green mint contains less menthol than peppermint, and this makes green mint have a milder taste. However, green mint still has many valuable health benefits that make it popular as a natural remedy. The mint is primarily useful for treating digestive diseases and can act as a mild tonic to calm the upset stomach, including nausea from pregnancy and IBS. Its soothing, anti-inflammatory properties and refreshing aroma are beneficial for respiratory health - relieves congestion and clears sinuses. High levels of iron and potassium in the green mint leaves help increase blood circulation, prevent anemia and maintain healthy blood pressure. Green mint also has antibacterial and antimicrobial properties that can tackle infections and prevent chronic diseases.
Nettles were a popular diuretic in medieval England, and are still valued today for their cleansing properties for treating urinary tract infections, prostate problems and insect bites. Although the leaves of this common weed cause a stinging sensation, they actually seem to have an anti-inflammatory effect when ingested, possibly because they interrupt the body's existing pain signals. This may also explain why nettles are a traditional means of pain and joints, as well as arthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Some studies have found that nettles can reduce allergic reactions, and can be beneficial in treating respiratory problems, including hay fever, asthma and other seasonal allergies. Nettles contain high levels of vitamin C and iron that boost the immune system and blood circulation and can help fight anemia. They can also be useful for stimulating milk production during breastfeeding and for relieving PMS and vigorous menstrual periods.
The fruit from the wild fennel plant, also known as fennel seeds, has traditionally been used to treat gastrointestinal problems and can calm heartburn, bloating, stomach air, IBS and menstrual pain. Fennel is assumed to stimulate digestion, facilitate the absorption of nutrients from the food and act as laxatives. In India it is common to chew fennel seeds after a meal to promote optimal digestion and eliminate bad breath. Anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties in fennel seeds make them a useful natural remedy for treating coughs and colds, and it can help expel mucus. Some studies have found that fennel extracts inhibit the growth of tumors and help prevent certain strains of liver and breast cancer. Fennel is a rich source of potassium, and can reduce high blood pressure and optimize brain function. It can also increase estrogen production and the secretion of breast milk during breastfeeding, as well as balancing female hormones, regulating menstruation and relieving PMS.
Besides being a popular culinary herb, thyme has a higher concentration of antioxidants than any other herb. It can help neutralize the free radicals that are natural byproducts of cellular metabolism. It has antibacterial and antifungal properties, which explains why thyme oil was an antiseptic favourite agent during the first world war, and is still often used as an ingredient in mouthwash. Thyme is beneficial for respiratory hygiene, helps combat sore throats, congestion, blocked sinuses, chronic asthma, bronchitis and whooping cough. It contains high levels of vitamin C and is also a source of vitamin B6, which can help relieve stress.
Closely related to the ginger family, turmeric is also known to be a super-spice. It is thanks to its varied and powerful healing properties. With a warming, bitter taste, turmeric has long been used in Asian medicine to relieve abdominal pain, constipation, stomach cramps and IBS (irritable bowel syndrome). One of its main active ingredients, curcumin, contains potent anti-inflammatory properties. As well as helping with gastrointestinal problems, it also helps reduce muscle pain and arthritis. Studies have shown that curcumin can combat depression, anxiety, stress and mood swings and increase cognitive abilities. Turmeric can also improve liver function and stimulate the lymphatic system.