Jun 6, 2014

Super Spices

Very interesting that many spices, which have been around for years are only recently 'discovered' to have beneficial health properties. Here are a few.

Cayenne pepper has been used as a healing spice for hundreds of years. Capsaicin, which gives the spice its kick, can boost metabolism, helping to burn extra calories, and increase enzyme production. It is thought to act as an anti-inflammatory and is so powerful that capsaicin can be found as the active ingredient in both over the counter and prescription ointments for arthritis and muscle pain. It can be used to stop nosebleeds by mixing one half teaspoon of cayenne pepper into a glass of warm water and drink it. Cayenne has the ability to ease upset stomach, ulcers, sore throats, spasmodic and irritating coughs, and diarrhea. It can ease the digestive tract by increasing gastric juices. It is also good to put out in the yard to keep away squirrels and rabbits.

Cinnamon benefits, which I have written about before, continue to be added to. According the American Diabetes Association, regular consumption of between one and six grams of cinnamon helps reduce blood glucose, triglyceride and total cholesterol levels in people with type 2 diabetes. It can also help manage short-term spikes in blood sugar. That makes it good to add to high carbohydrate foods such as oatmeal and rice pudding, which tend to spike blood sugar levels. It also contains strong antiviral, antibacterial, and antifungal properties making it an excellent addition when trying to fight a cold. Try sprinkling some in your coffee or even using it in a face mask combined with a little coconut oil to help fight acne. Sprinkle some on cookies or doughnuts for an extra beneficial kick.

Clove is usually the spice we think of to kill pain and sooth toothaches. Gently bite on a whole clove to release the oils and move them around to a sore tooth. Clove tea can help reduce, or even prevent, colds while also working as a natural expectorant to get rid of excess phlegm. Cloves used to be put in cigarettes, but are now outlawed in the US. Cloves stuck in oranges have been long used to add a pleasant odor to a room and are often used for decorative aromatherapy. In Chinese medicine, cloves are considered acrid, warm, and aromatic, entering the kidney, spleen, and stomach and their ability to warm the middle, also to treat hiccoughs. Other findings concluded that cloves can also boost insulin function in the body.

Curcumin was first isolated a few hundred years ago and numerous therapeutic activities have been assigned to turmeric for a wide variety of diseases and conditions, including those of the skin, pulmonary, and gastrointestinal systems, aches, pains, wounds, sprains, and liver disorders. Extensive recent research has proven that most of these activities are due to curcumin. Curcumin has been shown to exhibit antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal, and anticancer activities and has a potential against various malignant diseases, diabetes, allergies, arthritis, Alzheimer's disease, and other chronic illnesses. Turmeric is the name of the spice we use that is derived from the plant Curcuma longa, is a gold-colored spice is commonly used in India for health care, for the preservation of food, and as a yellow dye for textiles.

Ginger is best known to help soothe a queasy stomach and help reduce pain and inflammation. It is also useful for arthritis, migraines, or menstrual cramps. It might also help reduce pain. Fresh ginger is more potent than the powdered variety and can be added to herbal teas, baked goods, and added to fruit or vegetable juices.

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