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We all know that enhancing our recipes with herbs and spices can add great flavor to what we‘re cooking, but did you also know that many herbs and spices have great health benefits as well?
Whether you grow your own herbs or purchase spices from your favorite grocery store, be sure and stock up on a wide variety. Researchers have found that spices and herbs, beyond their powerful taste, also have some significant health benefits.  Some herbs and spices are believed to be a powerful defense against certain ailments, including cancer.

Additionally, Capsaicin may arouse the brain chemicals that make us feel full. Studies also suggest that Capsaicin may assist in enhancing the stomach’s capability to ward off infection that can lead to ulcers, as well as keep bad cholesterol at bay. When bad cholesterol levels are in check, LDL cholesterol is less likely to become artery clogging.


Oregano is an herb that is used in many sauces, such as tomato sauce. Oregano is loaded with bioflavonoids, a wonderful antioxidant. A member of the mint family, oregano is also useful in clearing congestion due to the common cold, flu or other upper respiratory infections. It has also been utilized in the combat of intestinal parasites. To help with respiratory congestion, heat the oregano and thyme in water. As the mixture begins heating it will produce steam. Remove the ingredients from the heat and gently inhale the warm vapors.


Also a member of the mint family, basil is used in conjunction with oregano in many recipes and sauces. Basil is an antioxidant, thought to promote healthy cell growth. Basil is also an anti-microbial and an anti-viral and its essential oils can ward off infectious bacteria. Additionally, basil is believed by many to be an anti-inflammatory. Much like Aspirin, the anti-inflammatory effect helps to block certain body enzymes that may cause swelling.


In India turmeric is made into a paste and applied to wounds to promote rapid healing. Turmeric may also be brewed into a tea that helps combat respiratory ailments and the common cold. Curcumin, a component found in turmeric, is known for its anti-inflammatory assets, as well as antioxidant properties. Studies show that curcumin is beneficial in relieving pain associated with wounds and arthritis. Currently the benefits of curcumin are being researched in association with heart disease and diabetes. Additionally, certain studies suggest that curcumin may be helpful in the treatment of certain cancers.


Parsley is often used in recipes and as a garnish for dishes. The medicinal benefits of parsley are abundant. Parsley may be used in the treatment and prevention of kidney stones and urinary tract infections. Parsley is a healthy herb, containing many vitamins such as Vitamins B, C and K. Parsley is sometimes used as a treatment for intestinal distress and bloating. Recent studies suggest parsley may slow cancer-cell growth in women suffering from breast cancer. Experts recommend adding a bit of fresh parsley to your food every day.


Sage is an herb that is often used in chicken dishes, soups and stews. Sage tea is  recommended for the relief of sour stomach or pain from a sore throat. Early results from various studies suggest that sage may be helpful in the prevention of enzymes thought to produce symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. Additionally, a paste made of sage and rhubarb can be quite helpful in the treatment of cold sores.

Using herbs and spices in your cooking not only adds flavor, but may have some health benefits as well. While no one herb or spic is said to cure any illness, certain components may be useful in the treatment of some symptoms.  In India, where spices are used in abundance, researchers have noted that certain diseases are relatively low when compared to western civilization. So add spices to your food, brew herbal teas and enjoy the taste as well as the health benefits.