By Tammy Stokes, Founder Cafe West Express
Hippocrates proclamation of “let food be thy medicine” holds great truth especially when it comes to these powerfully potent herbs and spices. These ten medicinal plants have been used for centuries with a long history of use for their healing properties. Not only can their regular consumption improve your health, but their intense flavors will awaken your palate.
1. CINNAMON- cinnamon contains a high level of antioxidants which help to fight inflammation, but where cinnamon really shines is in its capacity to help lower blood sugar levels. Try adding cinnamon to your morning oats. It makes breakfast taste savory and may even help to reduce your cholesterol.
2. OREGANO- oregano acts as a natural antimicrobial destroying viruses, bacteria and fungus. Oregano is popular in Mediterranean cuisine and may be one of the many reasons that the Mediterranean diet is revered as one of the healthiest. Try amping up your eggs and salad dressings with this antioxidant packed herb.
3. GINGER- ginger has been used as a universal remedy for centuries. It plays and important role in Ayurvedic (Indian) medicine. It’s healing properties are known for treating nausea and digestive disorders. Ginger also serves as an energy enhancer and immune booster. Try drinking it as tea or adding it to your smoothies.
4. CAYENNE PEPPER- cayenne contains a potent active ingredient called capsaicin. Capsaicin is a powerful pain reliever and excellent for circulation. Cayenne peppers are rich in vitamin C helping to boost immunity and fight off infections. Their heat and ability to increase blood flow also boosts your metabolism. That’s why we add it to our SKINNY Water at Cafe West Express. Try adding it to your favorite lemonade recipe.
5. ROSEMARY- rosemary is another staple in the Mediterranean diet and has been used in traditional medicine for thousands of years. It’s beloved for having an extremely high level of potent antioxidants and for improving memory, soothing digestive issues and boosting the immune system. It’s delicious on roasted vegetables.
6. TURMERIC- turmeric is a staple of Ayurvedic medicine and may be one of the oldest known plant medicines in human history. It’s a powerful natural anti-inflammatory and since most diseases are a result of chronic inflammation, turmeric has been popularized in many forms. Ground turmeric works great in soups increasing health benefits and boosting flavor. Try it mixed with other spices like cinnamon and nutmeg in warmed plant milk for a healing tonic.
7. GARLIC- garlic contains compounds with potent medicinal properties scientifically proven to help lower your risk of disease. Because garlic’s properties help to reduce blood pressure and improve cholesterol it is associated with lowering your risk of heart disease. It’s also a great antiviral helping you to fight off colds and flu. Tis the season to amp up your garlic intake. Make homemade garlic bread with fresh minced garlic or add it to your steamed vegetables with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.
8. ONION- onions contain anti-cancer properties and their especially potent when combined with turmeric. Studies have shown this combination is effective in detoxifying carcinogens. Onions also help combat asthma because they have an antihistamine effect from an antioxidant they contain called, quercetin. Chop raw onion into your salads and guacamole and be sure to add a sprinkle or two of turmeric.
9. MUSTARD SEED- mustard seeds contain selenium, a nutrient shown to help reduce cancer rates, severity of asthma and decrease the pain of arthritis. Mustard seeds or powder can be used to make a healthy condiment. Add Dijon mustard to your favorite vinaigrette or try ground mustard on wild caught salmon.
10. PEPPERMINT- peppermint is a soothing remedy for treating stomach disorders and indigestion. Those who suffer from IBS may find it helpful in relieving symptoms. Not only is it good for your health it’s a natural breath freshener. Try adding a few leaves to your water. We love it in our OXYGEN Water at Cafe West Express.