Spices and herbs have been part of history, commerce, and culture.
Many of them were celebrated for their medicinal properties before they were used for culinary purposes.
Modern science in many cases is separating the myth and reality within the history of herbs and their medicinal use.
These are 5 of the world’s healthiest herbs and spices, according to research.
Sugar levels are lowered by cinnamon, and it has an anti-diabetic effect
Cinnamon is a popular spice used in all kinds of recipes and baked goods.
Cinnamaldehyde (1) is the compound that gives cinnamon its medicinal properties.
Cinnamon is an antioxidant, helps reduce inflammation, and has been shown to lower cholesterol and triglycerides.
Cinnamon can lower blood sugar by a variety of mechanisms, including slowing carbohydrate digestion and improving insulin sensitivity.
Cinnamon can lower fasting blood sugar by 10-29% in diabetics, which is a significant reduction.
Sage Improves Brain Function and Memory
Salvere, to save, is the root of the word Sage.
In the middle ages, it was widely regarded as having healing properties and was even used to prevent the plague.
Sage may improve brain function and memory which are two challenges in Alzheimer’s patients.
The mechanism of this action is through the lowered level of acetylcholine in the brain that happens with Alzheimer’s disease. Sage seems to inhibit the breakdown of acetylcholine. (2).
According to a 4-month study of 42 individuals with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease, the sage extract significantly improved the function of their brains.
Peppermint May Reduce Nausea and Pain in IBS
Folk medicine and aromatherapy have long used peppermint.
It is the oily component of many herbs that is responsible for their health effects.
Peppermint oil has been shown to reduce pain in people who suffer from irritable bowel syndrome, or IBS. 3
In addition to reducing abdominal bloating and pain associated with bowel movements, it relaxes the smooth muscles in the colon.
When 1,100 women in labor were studied, peppermint aromatherapy significantly reduced their nausea.
The active ingredient of turmeric, curcumin, carries powerful anti-inflammatory properties.
Curcumin helps the body fight oxidative damage by boosting the body’s antioxidant enzymes.5
Oxidative damage seems to be a major factor in aging and disease..
It is also strongly anti-inflammatory, to the point that it is comparable to some anti-inflammatory drugs.
Given that chronic, low-level inflammation plays a major role in almost every chronic Western disease, it is no surprise to see curcumin linked to a variety of health benefits.
It has been shown to improve brain function, fight Alzheimer’s, reduce heart disease and cancer risks, and relieve arthritis, among others.
5- Holy Basil
Holy Basil Fights Infections and Boosts Immunity
Holy basil is not regular basil or Thai basil.
Studies have shown that holy basil inhibits the growth of bacteria, yeasts, and molds.
It was also found in a small study that it could boost the immune system by boosting certain immune cells in the blood.6
Holy basil seems to help reduce blood sugar levels before and after meals. It may also help with the treatment of anxiety.