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The use of herbs and spices has been important through the course of history. Modern scientific research has shown that many herbs and spices offer various health benefits and are known for their medicinal properties even before they were used for cooking.
- Cinnamon: Helps in regulating blood sugar levels. Cinnamon is widely used in various types of culinary creations, particularly baked goods. Cinnamon is rich in a compound called cinnamaldehyde, which endows the herb with its medicinal properties. This spice contains the highest level of antioxidants than other spices, which helps in fighting inflammation and has been proved to lower down levels of triglycerides and cholesterol in the blood. Many studies have also shown that cinnamon can lower down your blood sugar level by slowing down the breakdown of carbohydrates as well as improving insulin sensitivity.
- Sage: Helps in improving memory and brain functions. The name “sage” is derived from the Latin word Salvere, meaning “to save.” In recent times, several researches have been conducted that show the efficacy of sage in improving functions of the brain and memory, particularly in individuals who are suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. Other studies have indicated that sage can improve the function of the brain, both in young and old.
- Peppermint: Aids in reducing nausea. Peppermint is well known for its medicinal usage, which makes it a critical component of aromatherapy. Many studies have shown that use of peppermint oil helps in alleviating the pain caused by irritable bowel syndrome. There are some studies that indicate peppermint can also help in fighting the problem of nausea among women in labour.
- Turmeric: Endowed with anti-inflammatory properties. Turmeric is a popular spice that is used for giving the yellow colour to the curry, but it also contains several medicinal properties. Turmeric is rich in curcumin content, which is an anti-oxidant that not only helps in preventing damage from oxidation, but also boosts the body’s own antioxidant enzymes. It also has strong anti-inflammatory properties, which can match to that of many anti-inflammatory drugs.
- Holy basil: Helps in fighting infection. Basil, one of the sacred herbs in India, is known for inhibiting the growth of numerous bacteria, molds and yeasts. It can also reduce the blood sugar levels, both before and after meals. Holy basil also aids in fighting anxiety and depression.
- Cayenne pepper: Aids in controlling appetite. Those individuals who are looking to lose weight can use the cayenne pepper as it not only helps in controlling appetite, but also increases the amount of fat burned. This is the primary reason why it has been included in many commercial weight loss supplements. Some animal studies have indicated that the capsaicin content in cayenne pepper also helps in fighting liver, lung and even prostate cancer.
All the herbs and spices come from different parts of the plants such as flowers, fruits, barks, seeds, leaves, and roots as well. These essential parts of the plant not only make the dishes taste better, but also aid in preserving them for a longer span of time. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult an ayurveda.