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Health Benefits of Herbs and Spices


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Why himalayan salt?

Table salt, stripped of minerals and bleached, is a freak of nature. Your body sees it that way, too. Sea salts, unfortunately, are becoming more and more polluted as the oceans fill up with toxins. Real Salt, mined from ancient sea beds, is untainted by toxins and provides a rich source of 60+ trace minerals. Himalayan salt is also mined from ancient sea beds, so it is pure from modern environmental toxins. It provides a whopping 84 trace minerals.

Sea Salt and Detoxification

What Are the Health Benefits of Himalayan Salt? Sea salt. Photo Credit Viktor Fischer/iStock/Getty Images

Himalayan salt has been used to help detoxify the body in the form of a brine treatment. Most commonly done in the form of a bath, brine baths purport to detoxify the body through osmosis. As the sodium binds the water to the outer layer of your skin, moisture is preserved. Toxins are released from your body, while your skin absorbs the healthy minerals from the sodium into your body. It is recommended that the brine bath be as close as possible to normal body temperature, around 97 degrees Fahrenheit, and that you use 2.2 lbs. of Himalayan salt for approximately every 26 to 32 gallons of water.

Turmeric

What is Turmeric?  Tumeric is a super-spice that has a high antioxidant value and boosts the immune system. It is a powerful anti-inflamatory and is popular among those with arthritis and joint problems for this reason. Tumeric is antiseptic and kills yeast and parasites when used internally.

It is a member of the ginger family and it is what gives many Indian Foods their yellow color. It is used in curries and in mustard. There is some evidence that it supports brain health

How to Use Turmeric:

  • It can be used externally in poultices to sooth skin and reduce inflammation. It is often used in lotions or preparations for skin with eczema or psoriasis.
  • When incorporated into the diet it can be helpful for reducing inflammation in those with arthritis. Tumeric can be made into a paste with water or honey to make a skin scrub that cools inflammation and helps stop acne.
  • Externally, a paste of tumeric and aloe vera gel can ease pain and itching from burns, bites, chicken pox, poison ivy, or eczema.
  • In a soothing. Tumeric Tea to sooth during illness or improve sleep. This is one of my favorite uses! See my recipe below.
  • It is wonderful to add to grilled foods, vegetables, mashed cauliflower, sauces, and spice blends. I add a pinch to my eggs in the morning and to most dishes that I cook.  Tumeric's  high antioxidant content makes it beneficial for the skin and it is used in some natural sunscreens and bronzers. A paste of Turmeric and strong brewed black tea will temporarily darken the skin and there is some evidence that it might also provide some sun protection. 
  •   Tumeric is said to be great for the skin and can be used in facial washes and scrubs to sooth skin and even out skin tone. Turmeric can cause hair to become less thick so it is often used my Indian women on unwanted facial hair but should be avoided on the head or by men on their faces.                       Tumeric is a wonderful spice to add to soups and stews as it gives them a rich, warm flavor and a beautiful color. 
  • Many people take it as a supplement to help reduce inflammation and pain, especially those with arthritis or other inflammatory conditions.

    This article is from the WebMD Feature Archive.

    This content has not been reviewed within the past 2 years and may not represent WebMD's most up-to-date information. To find the most current information, please enter your topic of interest into our search box.

    Everyday herbs and spices may do more than enhance the flavor of food.

    Common herbs and spices may help protect against certain chronic conditions, such as cancer,diabetes , and heart disease.

    Herbs, including basil and parsley, are from plants and plant parts. Spices often come from the seeds, berries, bark, or roots of plants.

    Seasonings, such as cinnamon, often lead lists of commonly eaten foods with the highest levels of measured antioxidant activity.

    “Studies show that many different herbs and spices offer health benefits,” says David Heber, MD, PhD, professor of medicine, and director of the UCLA Center for Human Nutrition. Most of the evidence exists for cinnamon, chili peppers, turmeric, garlic, oregano, basil, thyme, and rosemary, Heber tells WebMD.

    Polyphenols, a type of plant compound, provide one of the main health benefits associated with herbs and spices. Polyphenols are also abundant in certain fruits and vegetables, tea, and red wine.

    Certain herbs and spices curb inflammation in the body, which may give rise to heart disease and cancer. For example, antioxidants in cinnamon have been linked to lower inflammation, as well as reductions in blood glucose concentrations in people with diabetes.

    Savor the Flavor, Reap the Rewards

    Liberally seasoning your food with herbs and spices may also help if you use them in place of other flavor boosters.

    “Using herbs and spices expands your palette without extra calories and may decrease the amount of salt, fat, and sugar you use without sacrificing flavor,” says Kate Geagan, MS, RD, author of Go Green,Get Lean: Trim Your Waistline with the Ultimate Low-Carbon Footprint Diet.

    The proposed Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010 suggests that adults limit their sodium intake to 1,500 milligrams a day to manage high blood pressure and reduce the risk of developing the condition. If the guidelines are adopted, nearly all Americans will need to find alternatives to salt and other sodium-based additives.

    Seasonings may even play a part in weight control.

    “Tastier foods are more satisfying than bland ones, which you tend to eat faster, and with less fulfillment,” Heber says. If you’re not satisfied, you’re more likely to overeat.

    According to Heber, dihydrocapsiate, a compound in chili peppers, boosted fat-burning capacity when people ate it three times a day during a study.  

     

    Why Spices in our diet?

    • Spices contain an impressive list of plant-derived chemical compounds that are known to have disease preventing and health promoting properties. They have been in use since ancient times for their anti-inflammatory, carminative, anti-flatulent properties.

    • The components in the spices have been found to have anti-clotting action (prevent clogging of platelets in the blood vessels) and thus help easing blood flow, preventing stroke and coronary artery disease.

    • The active principles in the spices may help in smooth digestion through augmenting intestinal tract motility as well as increasing the digestion power by stimulating excessive secretion of gastro-intestinal enzymes inside the gut.

    • Throat gargling with tepid thyme water can help relieve sore throat and bronchitis symptoms. Thyme is also being used as an anti-septic mouthwash in the treatment of caries and gingivitis.

    • Decoction of certain healthy spices is taken by mouth for the treatment of colds, influenza, mild fevers, indigestion, stomach upset, and painful menstruation.

    • Spices are also known to have natural anti-helminthes (control worm infestation) function in traditional medicines.

    • The essential volatile oils in certain spices (cloves, peppers, etc.) may work as a rubefacient (soothes skin around the site of application and improves the local blood circulation), increasing the flow of blood to make the skin feel warmer. They are being applied as a popular home remedy for arthritis and sore muscles, and used either as poultice or in hot baths.

    • Spice's essential oils are being used in the aromatherapy as well as de-odorants in the perfume industry.

    • Spices contain a good amount of minerals like potassium, manganese, iron, and magnesium. Potassium is an important component of cell and body fluids that helps in controlling heart rate and blood pressure. Manganese is used by the body as a co-factor for the antioxidant enzyme, superoxide dismutase

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