Way before pharmaceutical companies were synthesizing concoctions for medicinal purposes, spices were being served up to the sick to beat all kinds of diseases. Aside from vegetables and fruits, some believe that a diet rich in spices is the third key to beating diseases.
For the most part, spices are derived from a plant’s stem, leaves, root, fruit, bark, bud or seed. They come in a rainbow of colors ranging from brilliant red to orange, white, green, black, and brown. It doesn’t take much to reap the benefits; a teaspoon or two, a sprinkle or two. So spice up your life with these 5 healthy spices.
Ounce for ounce, herbs and spices have more antioxidants than any other food group ~ Michael Greger
I absolutely love this one. My early memories are of my grandmother picking the leaves off the tree we had in the back yard. She used them in various ways, but most memorable to me was the addition to porridge. Bay leaf is super rich in antioxidants and believed to be helpful in the treatment of type 2 diabetes, leukemia and cervical cancer, arthritis, bacterial infection, ulcers and poor digestion, wound healing and mosquito bites.
Considered the “King of Spices” in olden times, black pepper was a spice for the super rich. However, in present time it’s quite common in both rich and poor households. Its curative powers are associated with a host of diseases including, constipation, hearing loss, cancer, depression, vitiligo, Alzheimers, hypertension, memory loss and more. Among other benefits, it jump starts digestion by stimulating taste buds and triggering the pancreas to produce digestive enzymes.
The power property in black pepper is piperine, the compound that triggers sneezing, speeds up digestion and enhances the effectiveness of medications.
Used in China, India, the Middle East for thousand of years, ginger is a favorite in many 21st century households. It is rich in phytonutrients called gingerols, which are antioxidants, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antiviral – and anti-disease. Ginger’s healing benefits have been associated with morning sickness, motion sickness, asthma, rheumatoid arthritis, cholesterol issues, migraine, indigestion,
Also known as the “calming spice. “Lemongrass originates from Southeast Asia and is cultivated in the Caribbean, India, Sri Lanka, and Australia. It is said to aid in anxiety, type 2 diabetes, insomnia, cancer, Thrush (oral yeast ), lowering cholesterol and vaginal yeast infection.
In my childhood home, this spice was used on food galore. It was sprinkled on Christmas cream punch, baked in bread, sprinkled in stews and soups, hot cocoa, blended into ice creams, rubbing into the skin and more. The curative benefits of nutmeg include lowering cholesterol, maintaining skin’s elasticity and reducing wrinkles, anxiety, depression, increasing sex drive (it’s considered an aphrodisiac), diarrhea.
So these are just a few of the many spices that can help the body heal. Please note, if your desire is to take spices in pill form as a supplement, be sure to consult with your primary care provider, naturopathic doctor or a certified practitioner. Some spices, if over-consumed can have adverse side effects. In addition, some spices may not be recommended if you have certain pre-existing conditions or if you’re taking certain types of medication.
Dixie Lincoln- Nichols is a biological science educator, certified health coach and entrepreneur. Her work has been featured in media outlets like, Oprah Mag, SELF, Yahoo, Redbook, Natural Health, Instyle, Working Woman, Huffington Post, Essence Online, Tampa Tribune and more. She is currently the Chief Self-care Connoisseur and founder of I. O. Beauty Market, where she curates products that are free of toxic, harmful ingredients.