herbs and spices

Years ago (before the baby-boomers were born), people were more or less in charge of their own health.  They used what they had on hand to deal with what ever medical problem they had.  These remedies had been passed down for generations, and many of them were effective then and are still effective today.   I will be sharing some of these on this blog.  Enjoy!

Here are some of the most effective herbs and spices that are used around the world for maintaining good health.

Chile Peppers

They are not only delicious and warming when added to dishes in the winter, they are also said to boost one’s metabolism.  They contain capsaicin which has been shown to increase the body’s metabolic rate and help ward off hunger.  Cayenne and Chipotle can be added to  tomato juice and when taken one half hour before eating, can cause one to eat less but still feel satisfied.  Milder hybrid peppers are now being produced for those who like a little less punch.  These contain the same amount of capsinoids as the common varieties.  Even our  old stand-by, Paprika, can have a positive effect.  Another advantage of capsaicin is that it may also lower the risk of ulcers increasing stomach cell resistance to infection caused by bacteria.  Capsaicin may even help the heart by restricting the ability of LDL cholesterol to turn into the artery-clogging variety.


Ginger has been used for stomach issues for centuries.  It is great for relieving upset stomach. Studies have shown it effective in relieving nausea caused by morning sickness, surgery and chemo-therapy.


Cinnamon has been reported to help people with type 2 diabetes stabilize blood sugar when it is taken in capsule form, although some studies have had less promising results.


Turmeric is not only a beautiful golden plant, but has therapeutic qualities as well.  It has been and still is used in India to help wounds heal, when applied as a paste.  Curcumin, which is found in turmeric, can now be found in most health stores.  It is commonly suggested for use in inflammatory conditions such as arthritis, Fibromyalgia and other inflammatory conditions.  It is a powerful anti-oxidant and is being studied for its potential in preventing or managing heart disease, diabetes and Alzheimer’s.  Some researchers are concluding that there is a positive  relationship between curcumin and slowing of cell growth in cancer as well as suppressing enzymes that activate carcinogens.


Saffron is not just used to make a delicious rice dish or tea. A study has found it helpful in relieving symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS) and depression.


Some scientists have found that parsley can inhibit breast cancer-cell growth. Apigenin, is a compound abundant in parsley and celery that has been found to be helpful in boosting resistance to cancerous tumors.


Can sage help in preserving memory?  It has been  shown to be effective in at least one formal study.  Students who took sage before taking memory tests, performed better.  Early research on it’s connection with improving brain function in the early stages of Alzheimer’s have been promising. 

Sage has also been used to help with sore throat pain.  A liquid form can be sprayed into throat for cooling relief.


Rosemary is another herb that is said to enhance mental focus.  It has long been used in marinading meats and poultry, which not only give a delightful taste, but may also help provide help in killing bacteria found in food.  It is now used in hamburger meat to help prevent the formation of heterocyclin amines (HCAs)-cancer causing compounds that develop when grilling or frying meat.