Spices That Give Health Benefits

Spices have been used in Ayurvedic medicine in India and traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) in China for more than 5,000 years.

The most obvious path to health and healing is spices that aid in digestion, which in turn boosts the immune system. Some spices can also offer pain relief from arthritis and chronic pain.

Let’s look at a few of the top spices in Mother Nature’s medicine cabinet. Note that with the exception of the first one, most of these can be eaten fresh rather than dried so you don’t lose any nutrients. Also note that dried herbs and spices can be three to seven times more concentrated in flavor than fresh, so add a little to start with when learning how to cook with them, and then use more if needed.

1. Cayenne

This spice comes from the pepper family and also offers a warming quality and pain relief. Many creams used for arthritis contain active ingredients found in this pepper. It is also good for blood circulation.

2. Turmeric

This bright yellow root is powdered into a spice that has a warming quality and is great for both digestion and pain relief. It is ideal in rice and chicken dishes and is one of the bases for curry powder.

3. Ginger

Ginger is a tasty root that can be used in sweet and savoury recipes. It is a staple of Indian and Chinese food and is used for digestion and pain relief. It can be used for skin conditions such as acne and eczema. It is also good for blood circulation.

4. Licorice Root

This root is used to regulate blood sugar and the hormone cortisol, which is associated with the ability to lose weight. It aids healthy digestion and can be a tasty treat for those who like black licorice.

5. Milk Thistle

This aids in overall digestion and is also commonly used as a liver detoxifier that relieves liver inflammation. The liver plays an important role in filtering harmful substances out of the body, but as a result, it can accumulate toxins and need to be cleansed. Milk thistle and ginger can also help heal stomach ulcers.

6. Peppermint

Peppermint is another tasty spice used to aid digestion. It soothes the stomach and supports gallbladder function. It can also help detox the liver. It is generally considered safe as long as it is not consumed in large doses, though pregnant women may wish to avoid it.

7. Cardamom

Cardamom pods are often used whole in Indian recipes. The little black seeds inside are ground up for Indian food, and for Scandinavian baked goods. It is known to ease heartburn and can offer relief for irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). It also encourages digestive enzyme secretion, so the food you eat is broken down more efficiently and the nutrients absorbed more rapidly.

8. Coriander

Coriander seeds and leaves are both used in Indian and Thai food, as well as in Mexican food. It has a pungent flavor and is full of healthful fatty acids. It is good for soothing the stomach and also has a lot of fibre to help with bowel health. Some have associated the antioxidants in coriander with helping to prevent colon cancer.

9. Cumin

Cumin is often paired with coriander in the same cuisines. It aids in digestion and encourages the secretion of digestive enzymes. It is also high in fibre and used to help naturally relieve hemorrhoids.