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Ten Herbs and Spices that are good for your health

For centuries herbs and spices have been flavoring food along with being used to treat various illnesses.  What many cultures have known through time is how well these herbs and spices improve health.

Many of these herbs and spices are included in extract form in a variety of our products here at PürMedica.  While sometimes used interchangeably, there is a slight difference between herbs and spices.  Herbs are leafy parts of a plant, they are either dried or fresh, whereas spices are harvested from a part of the plant other than the leaf, and are dried. Here is a list of some of the more popular herbs and spices and their health benefits.

1. Cinnamon

Cinnamon is one of the most well-known and oft used spices.  Cinnamon has potent antioxidant activity, which helps fight inflammation as well as lower levels of bad cholesterol and triglycerides in the blood.  However, cinnamon has a profound impact when it comes to blood sugar levels in the body.  Cinnamon lowers the blood sugar by lowering the speed at which carbohydrates are broken down, thus improves insulin sensitivity.  This can help you lose weight as well.  A dose of 1-6 grams daily will provide with you with these great benefits.  Cinnamon is also widely available in supplement form.

2. Turmeric

Turmeric is another spice that ranks high in popularity and for good reason. Turmeric contains several compounds that are medicinally helpful, the most important compound is curcumin.  Curcumin is an exceptionally strong anti-inflammatory, so powerful that it even matches the effectiveness of some anti-inflammatory drugs. Turmeric also can improve brain function, fight Alzheimer’s, reduce the risk of cancer and heart disease, and relieve arthritis.  Turmeric is commonly found in Indian cuisine, and is used as curry powder. Turmeric is a common supplement as well.

3. Ginger

Ginger helps improve digestion and control your appetite as well as relieve nausea and bloating.  Taking 1 gram of ginger has been shown to help control nausea and vomiting.  Ginger has strong anti-inflammatory capabilities as well and can treat conditions like rheumatoid arthritis.  Studies have shown that two grams of ginger each day significantly decreased inflammation associated with arthritis. Adding ginger to a smoothie, meal, or ginger tea is a great way to get the benefits of ginger.

4. Cumin

Cumin has been used as an anti-inflammatory.  Cumin is known to boost your immune system, and protect your body from harmful cell damaging molecules, lower cholesterol.  In addition, cumin makes you more active during the day by increasing your energy levels, which makes you burn more calories as a result.

5. Peppermint

Not only is peppermint a popular addition to various foods, but it also boost your health.  Peppermint is a great source of vitamin C and A, and helps soothe indigestion and relieve symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome.  It does this by relaxing the muscles in the colon, which stops the pain associated during bowel movements.  In addition, peppermint can help combat symptoms of nausea.

6. Sage

Sage has had a strong reputation for healing since all the way back to the Middle Ages.  This spice can lower your cholesterol, blood pressure, and reduce the risk of heart disease.  Sage is also very important towards brain function and memory.  It can reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s Disease.  Alzheimer’s occurs with a drop in of acetylcholine, a chemical messenger in the brain. Sage inhibits the breakdown of acetylcholine.

7. Ginseng

Ginseng is another common spice.  Ginseng boosts your energy level and speeds up your metabolism, which is the reason why it is often included in energy drinks.  A faster metabolism causes you to burn more calories and lose weight, especially if you are doing short, high intensity workouts.

8. Cayenne Pepper

Not only does cayenne pepper add spice to your food, it’s active ingredient is known as capacin, that helps you reduce your appetite and increase fat burning.  This is the reason why it is frequently included in weight loss supplements.

Cayenne peppers can improve your blood flow.  Along with allowing vital hormones and nutrients to flow through the body more freely.  In addition, cayenne peppers are good for your heart, they keep blood pressure levels normalized and help balance LDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels.  If you are not comfortable eating foods as spicy as cayenne peppers, crushed red pepper flakes are a less spicy option that give you many of the same benefits.

9. Chamomile

Chamomile reduces stress levels in the body, for many, reducing stress affects your life positively.  Chamomile is most commonly consumed by drinking tea. Drinking chamomile tea can have a wide variety of health benefits, including helping you limit cravings to eat at night, which helps you sleep better while also preventing you from gaining weight.  Chamomile can also help as an anti-inflammatory, working to stop inflammation in the body.

10. Garlic

The last beneficial spice on our list is garlic.  Most of the health effects can be traced to a compound in garlic known as allicin.  Not only is allicin responsible for the distinct smell of garlic but it also helps in a variety of other ways.  It helps  the common cold, heart health, and lower cholesterol and blood pressure.  If you frequently get colds, try and add more garlic into the foods you eat as this can be incredibly beneficial.