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Medicinal Herbs - Power in your pantry!

Before there were drugs, pretty much every culture used herbs as medicine. In fact, many modern day pharmaceuticals are still based on herbal derivatives or their actions.


Complementary and alternative health practitioners still use herbs in traditional ways for treatment, prevention and management of many health conditions – both chronic and acute.


Traditional Chinese Medicine and Ayurveda (the traditional Indian healing system) have used specific herbs and spices to treat and prevent disease for literally thousands of years.


Some of the most powerful herbs used in these traditions are selected for their anti-inflammatory effects; an effect mimicked by many modern day pharmaceuticals.


The best thing about medicinal herbs is that they often perform not only one function – like reducing inflammation; they exert multiple health and healing functions with very few, if any, side effects (Yatoo, 2018).


You might find it interesting that some of these healthy herbs and spices are sitting in your pantry!


Your fridge and spice rack is loaded with healthy medicinal compounds. Remember, all food is just a collection of chemical compounds. Like drugs, foods can stimulate or suppress certain functions in the body. They’re powerful. And they’re wonderful.


Of course, this works both ways. You can eat foods that block unhealthy activity in your body, or you can eat foods that cause unhealthy activity. Foods that prevent or cause inflammation is an excellent example.


When it comes to herbs (and spices!), many are potent activators of healthy action.


Here are some of the amazing medicinal herbs in your kitchen, and how they can contribute to your health…


Ginger – Well known for soothing digestive issues such as nausea, vomiting, morning sickness and motion sickness. As part of your diet, ginger supports ongoing gut health because it soothes and protects; ginger is naturally antibacterial, helping keep ‘bad’ gut bacteria, fungi and yeasts at bay, while also being anti inflammatory, helping reduce pain and bloating in the gut.


Garlic – Like ginger, garlic is also antibacterial and anti-inflammatory. It has antiviral, anti fungal and antioxidant properties too. This makes garlic another effective herb for protecting the gut from overgrowth of harmful bacteria. Garlic is frequently linked to better heart health and reduced risk of chronic illness, mostly due to its gut supportive, antioxidant and anti inflammatory activity.


Cinnamon – Another anti inflammatory, anti microbial and antioxidant food. Cinnamon’s special benefit is helping regulate glucose metabolism – the way we process and use sugars. With so many modern health issues caused by excess sugar consumption, cinnamon is one spice we should all be eating more of.


Curcumin – Or turmeric; these represent the same food compound. Curcumin has gained a lot of attention in the last few years for its beneficial impact against inflammation in the body. It’s frequently used to address joint pain and swelling, but it’s also effective because it helps stimulate liver detoxification, and – no surprises – is also good for limiting bad gut bacteria.


Notice a common theme?


All of those foods/ herbs have antibacterial and anti inflammatory properties. They all have a beneficial impact on your gut health and reducing systemic inflammation.


That's a recipe for better health, and the ingredients are right there in your pantry!


 








REFRENCES & FURTHER READING:


Bongiorno, P., Fratellone, P., & LoGiudice, P. (2008). Potential Health Benefits of Garlic (Allium Sativum): A Narrative Review. Journal Of Complementary And Integrative Medicine, 5(1). doi: 10.2202/1553-3840.1084


Gruenwal, J., Freder, J., Armbruester, N. (2010). Cinnamon and Health, Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition, 50, 822-834, DOI: 10.1080/10408390902773052


Parham, S., Kharazi, A., Bakhsheshi-Rad, H., Nur, H., Ismail, A., & Sharif, S. et al. (2020). Antioxidant, Antimicrobial and Antiviral Properties of Herbal Materials. Antioxidants, 9(12), 1309. doi: 10.3390/antiox9121309


Yatoo, M., Gopalakrishnan, A., Saxena, A., Parray, O., Tufani, N., & Chakraborty, S. et al. (2018). Anti-Inflammatory Drugs and Herbs with Special Emphasis on Herbal Medicines for Countering Inflammatory Diseases and Disorders - A Review. Recent Patents On Inflammation &Amp; Allergy Drug Discovery, 12(1), 39-58. doi: 10.2174/1872213x12666180115153635


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