Mainly used for culinary purposes, over a hundred of herbs and spices also have a place in the prevention and treatment of many conditions and diseases. They contain special chemicals called antioxidants, which protect the cells from harmful effects of free radicals thus preventing cancer and other illnesses. Raspberry, flaxseed and comfrey are known to prevent nausea or vomiting, while black cohosh and hawthorn berry strengthen the heart. Apart from acting as blood purifiers, gotu kola, comfrey and alfalfa also help clean the liver, spleen, kidneys and bowels, and optimize digestion and glandular function. Cooking herbs and spices in olive oil guarantee the maximum exploitation of their beneficial properties.
If suffering from high blood pressure and cholesterol, than garlic is the herb to use. It also prevents the formation of blood clots, improves digestion, and reduces gases and nausea provoked by motion sickness as well as the aging of the brain. Poor circulation is successfully improved with the use of cayenne pepper, which is also known to burn fats and speed up the body’s metabolism. Cayenne pepper is valued for its high contents of the anti-oxidant beta-carotene, which the body transforms into Vitamin A. Like garlic, ginger reduces high blood pressure and bad cholesterol and improves circulation, while other benefits include the prevention of vomiting and motion sickness, regulation of digestion and bowel disorders, reduction of muscle pain and headaches. Ginger tea helps relieve the symptoms associated with menstrual bleeding including cramps and spasms. Conditions such as arthritis, sciatica, sinus congestion, colds, hoarseness, toothache and swelling can be treated with syrup made of horseradish, which abounds in minerals and vitamins like iron, folic acid, beta-carotene, potassium and vitamin C.
Peppermint can be used for dizziness, migraines, rheumatism, muscular spasms, menstrual cramps, diarrhea, insomnia and poor appetite. Studies have shown that Pau d'arco displays antibiotic, anti-viral, anti-bacterial and anti-cancer characteristics, so it helps fight allergies, ulcers, tumors and cancer. Turmeric is a powerful spice that helps in prevention of the development of cancer, leukemia in children and even Alzheimer’s disease. Goldenseal boosts the immune system by killing germs and bacteria, and it helps in the treatment of diabetes, ulcers, liver problems, ovarian tumors, colds, asthma, and chicken pox. Rich in iron, manganese and fiber, cinnamon works against colds, flu and diarrhea, lowers bad (LDL) cholesterol, improves circulation and regulates blood sugar. Echinacea, with its antibacterial and antifungal properties, boosts the immune system by stimulating B and T-cells, but it also cures colds, sore throat and flu and is often compared to vitamin C. Spearmint relieves menstrual cramps and spasms, painful and suppressed urination and treats fever in children.
Although displaying the multitude of health benefits, some herbs and spices can also cause damage to your health, which is why caution is particularly advised to pregnant women and in conditions such as hepatitis B. Ephedra can cause cardiac problems due to the presence of toxins, while germander also leads to complication of the heart. Toxins in poke root lower blood pressure and induce breathing problems, and skullcap can be liver-damaging, as well as pennyroyal, which can also induce abortion. Chaparral and borage are also detrimental to the liver, whereas wormwood leads to convulsions, hallucinations and fainting.