10 Popular Herbs And Spices That Have Been Used In Herbal Medicine
Garlic is native to Central Asia and north-eastern Iran and has been used as a seasoning in food and in medicine for thousands of years. It has been studied worldwide and it has been shown to have antifungal and antimicrobial properties.
Garlic is believed to be especially effective against yeast and fungi. There are also suggestions that it may hold antiviral, antibacterial, and anticancer properties and aid the cardiovascular system. When looking to take of these properties, some people chew one or two cloves of raw garlic a day and others crush it into their salads.
Oregano comes from temperate Western and Southwestern Eurasia and the Mediterranean region. The plant’s leaves are usually dried and ground for culinary purposes. This herb is believed to contain antioxidants and have anti-bacterial properties. Hippocrates used it as an antiseptic.
Oregano oil has been shown to have antimicrobial properties which may be used against respiratory tract disorders and urinary tract disorders. It has also been used topically to treat some skin conditions such as acne and dandruff.
Mint is a worldwide plant. Although most mints are native to Europe and Asia, some are from North and South America, South Africa, and Australia. Most mint species have been shown to promote digestion and help soothe stomach discomfort.
This herb’s scent activates salivary glands in our mouths and glands which secrete digestive enzymes. It is a popular remedy for heartburn, indigestion, and nausea. People usually drink mint teas.
Chamomile is native to western Europe, India, and western Asia. This is another herb that is sought out for tummy troubles.
Chamomile teas have been used through the ages to help relieve heartburn, indigestion, and colic.
It is also a mild relaxant and sedative, so it is a popular drink to have before bed if someone has difficulty sleeping.
Christopher Columbus brought cayenne back to Europe from the New World and it soon became a popular culinary and medicinal spice there.
This spice has been used to relieve toothaches and alleviate pains.
Capsaicin is the ingredient which helps relieve pain and it sometimes appears in arthritic pain ointments.
Ginger originally comes from the tropical forests of Southeast Asia. For over 3,000 years it has been used in herbal medicine. Powdered ginger has been used in treating arthritis, and ginger tea is good for head and chest congestion, but what this root is most popular for is curing stomach problems, especially nausea. It’s considered anti-inflammatory, anti-nausea, and it may be anti-diabetic. There are some studies suggesting ginger may help prevent cancer and lower cholesterol levels.
Parsley is native to the central Mediterranean region. It is widely used in different cuisines and is a popular garnish.
Some people also like to drink parsley tea as a diuretic.
Research shows that its flavonoids and antioxidants may help prevent cancer. The high percentage of Vitamin K in this herb may also help improve bone health.
Nutmeg is from the Banda Islands in the Moluccas, one of the “Spice Islands.” Ancient Romans used nutmeg to fumigate their houses, but the Byzantines used it as a medicine. In the Middle Ages it was considered a magical spice that could comfort your nerves and stomach and stimulate circulation.
Today it is also a popular ingredient in some spice blends for Asian cuisine. Modern research has shown nutmeg contains antioxidants and has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. Most people use small amounts of nutmeg while cooking sweet or savory dishes or sprinkle it over warm drinks.
Cinnamon originally came from Ceylon (Sri Lanka). Cinnamon is referenced in the Bible and ancient Egyptian papyri. And the ancient Romans once considered cinnamon more precious than gold. It is a very popular spice in sweet dishes and also in spice blends for some savory dishes.
It is especially popular in Turkish and Persian cuisine. Studies show that Ceylon cinnamon can help control blood sugar levels, decrease cholesterol, lower blood pressure, improve memory, and acts as an antimicrobial.
Turmeric comes from the Indian subcontinent and Southeast Asia. It has been used in traditional Chinese medicine and Ayurveda for thousands of years.
Turmeric is also a key ingredient in many savory foods and some sweet Asian dishes. The most popular food associated with turmeric is probably curry.
Curcumin is the main active ingredient in turmeric, and it has powerful anti-inflammatory effects and is also an antioxidant. Research has shown that turmeric may help in the treatment of depression, Alzheimer’s disease, and arthritis.