The healing powers of herbs and spices are known throughout the world across various continents, religions and ethnicities. Many of which were celebrated for their strong medicinal qualities before they were used in cooking to add flavour.
Here are ten of our favourite herbs and spices to promote wellbeing.
Starting with a basic spice that most people have in their pantry, cinnamon is heralded as a potent antioxidant that fights inflammation and has been known to lower cholesterol and blood sugar – improving insulin sensitivity.
For an effective dose, try adding half-2 teaspoons of cinnamon per day. Sprinkled over coffee, in porridge or in your morning smoothie is a delicious, and nutritious way of bringing cinnamon into your life.
Peppermint oil has been known to improve pain management in those who suffer from irritable bowel syndrome. The soothing oil can also assist in reducing abdominal bloating and digestive issues. As well as these, the potent herb can also be a powerful anti-nausea medicine.
The beautiful, fragrant herb is commonly used in Ayurveda. It has also been shown to improve the function of insulin, significantly reducing blood sugar levels, which makes it particularly useful for diabetics.
One of the most common herbs, rosemary’s active ingredient Rosmarinic acid has been known to suppress allergic responses as well as nasal congestion.
Researchers have found that sniffing rosemary can dramatically increase memory by almost 60-70% in participants – compared to those who had not been exposed to the oil.
5. Star Anise
With a similar flavour profile to licorice when used in cooking, anise has been used in everything from treatment for coughs and runny noses, to boosting libido and treating menstrual symptoms.
Dandelion has been used in traditional and complementary medicine as a liver and kidney tonic for many years. The herb, traditionally consumed in a tea, is also known to curb digestive problems.
With a similar flavour profile to anise or licorice, fennel can help with a number of digestive issues, from bloating to gas. According to WebMD the refreshing herb can also be used as a natural treatment for heartburn.
Sage has long had a strong reputation for various healing properties. Studies have shown that incorporating sage oil into your diets can significantly improve immediate recall.
A traditional herb, lavender is known to provide calming properties from assisting with sleep, to quelling anxiety. Ingesting lavender can also help with bloating and gas, and in oil form, can calm itchy and swollen skin.
A common baking spice that lives in the back of most people’s cupboards, nutmeg has powerful antibacterial properties. As well as a fragrant source of fibre, the anti-inflammatory abilities of nutmeg can help calm blemished when applied directly to the skin in a paste.