When we don’t feel good, most of us might turn to the medicine cabinet. As it may have pain relievers for sore muscles or a headache, stomach ache, fever or even diarrhea.
The medicine cabinet and what it may offer to you in times of failing health is only temporary. Why not look to your kitchen to relieve your aches and pains?
It is no coincidence that so many healing herbs and plants are also foods that provide nourishment and vital nutrients for the health of your body.
Your kitchen can and should be the primary source of the best medicines for you and your family.
Here are a few of those healthy spices and what they can do for you.
The Use Of Cayenne Pepper As Medicine
Cayenne is a red chili pepper that is valued as a spice to flavor food. The pepper makes an excellent preservative and has been used traditionally to prevent food contamination from bacteria.
The red pepper also has medicinal value.
Cayenne contains vitamin E, vitamin C, vitamin K, carotenoids, and the complete B complex family of vitamins. It is also a good source of organic calcium, potassium, manganese, as well as dietary fiber.
Look at the many ways cayenne pepper can benefit your health.
Cayenne pepper helps to increase blood circulation. It equalizes the blood circulation in the arterial and venous system, and produces natural warmth in the body. It does this by regulating the flow of blood from the head to the feet, so that the pressure is equalized.
It influences the heart immediately as it gradually extends its effects to the arteries, capillaries, and nerves.
Cayenne also helps to boost your body's immune system. The pepper contains beta-carotene which gives protection against invading pathogenic bacteria by helping the development of healthy mucous membranes in the nasal passages, lungs, and urinary tract.
Because the pepper aids in digestion and absorption of nutrients, it can reduce excess appetite that is due to malabsorption, a common condition in many overweight people.
Cayenne also stimulates the production of saliva, an important component of digestion and according to the American Dental Association saliva helps to maintain optimal oral health.
UCLA Louise M. Darling Biomedical Library says that cayenne pepper is helpful for relieving intestinal gas. It stimulates intestinal peristaltic motion, aiding in both assimilation and elimination.
Other health properties of cayenne pepper include:
- Clears Congestion
- Anti-Fungal (can effectively suppress development of 16 different fungal strains)
- Migraine Headache Prevention
- Joint Pain Relief
- Anti-Bacterial Properties
- Remedy for Toothache
- Supports Heart Health
Source: "Astounding Cayenne." Pilgrims Rest, Andrews University, Jan. 2011
The Benefits Of Ginger As Medicine
The active phenolic compounds found in ginger are gingerol, paradol and shogoal.
Natural Product Communications an International peer-reviewed Journal for Reviews and Communications - covering all aspects of Natural Products, says that the compounds found in ginger have shown to exhibit a variety of biological activities including anticancer, anti-inflammation, anti-oxidation, anti-angiogenesis and anti-artherosclerotic properties.
Chemically speaking, gingerol is a relative of capsaicin found in chilli peppers and piperine found in black pepper.
Ginger is also a cousin spice of the anti-cancer spice turmeric. Like turmeric, ginger has also shown to have the ability to shrink tumors. It is even more effective than many cancer drugs. Could that be possible?
Scientists have shown that drugs used in cancer therapies are not only severely ineffective at permanently shrinking tumors, but they actually make tumors grow larger and eventually the patients die sooner than expected.
George State University says that non-targeted chemotherapy is the most common therapeutic strategy available for colon cancer patients.
This treatment method though, is unable to distinguish between cancerous and healthy cells, leading to poor therapeutic effects on tumor cells and severe toxic side effects on healthy cells.
According to scientists at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, the premium priced drugs for shrinking tumors and riding the patient of cancer are little more than a death sentence for many patients.
The Journal Complementary & Integrative Medicine reported a study using ginger powder on glycemic markers in patients with type 2 diabetes. The journal reported on the method of the study as a double-blinded, placebo-controlled, randomized clinical trial with 20-60 year-old patients who had type 2 diabetes and were not receiving insulin.
Glycemic indices, total antioxidant capacity (TAC), malondialdehyde (MDA), C-reactive protein (CRP), serum paraoxonase, dietary intake and physical activity were measured at the beginning and end of the study, and after 12 hours of fasting.
After 3 months the results of the study showed that the differences between the ginger and placebo groups were statistically significant as follows:
Serum Glucose decreased in the intervention group by 18.83 mg/dL verses 4.28 mg/dL in the group receiving the placebo.
HbA1c percentage decreased in the intervention group by 0.88% verses 0.16% in the group receiving the placebo.
Insulin Resistance decreased in the intervention group by -16.38 ± 19.2 verses 0.68 ± 2.7 in the group receiving the placebo.
The study concluded saying this study has shown that with 3 months of supplementation with ginger powder improved glycemic indices, TAC and PON-1 activity in patients with type 2 diabetes.
How To Cure says that ginger has shown to reduce the risk of blood clot formation in the body. It also aids in blood thinning and decreases LDL (bad cholesterol) by preventing plaque build-up on arterial walls.
Using Turmeric As Medicine
Turmeric is an ancient spice that’s been used for thousands of years for healing a multitude of different ailments. Today, over 5,000 different studies have linked this powerful medicinal plant to over 600 positive health benefits.
Extensive research has demonstrated turmeric to be a potent free radical scavenger. Through this and other mechanisms, turmeric may support colon health, promote joint comfort, support healthy neurological function, and help to maintain a healthy cardiovascular system
In the book Phytochemicals: Mechanisms of Action James A. Duke Ph.D an ethnobotanist says that turmeric is effective in the prevention and treatment of several types of cancer. Including colon cancer, breast cancer, prostate cancer, and oral cancer.
Turmeric passes through the membranes of free radicals, and neutralizes them. This prevents the free radicals from spreading and creating more oxidation throughout the body.
The spice contains anti-inflammatory compounds, including COX-2 inhibitors. COX-2 is an enzyme responsible for pain, and inflammation. And preventing or blocking the enzymes activity is necessary for pain relief.
The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews says that curcumin or turmeric is effective for maintenance of remission with patients that have ulcerative colitis. The study reported that curcumin was administered orally in a
dose of 2 grams per day for six months.
The researchers conclusion of the study stated that curcumin may be a safe and effective therapy for maintenance of remission in ulcerative colitis when given as adjunctive therapy along with mesalamine or sulfasalazine.
The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health mentions studies that have shown turmeric to be effective as a dietary supplement for inflammation, arthritis, stomach, skin, liver, and gallbladder problems among many other health issues.
Turmeric has been shown to actively protect the liver against toxic damage, and even regenerate damaged liver cells. It also boosts the natural production of bile, shrinks engorged hepatic ducts, and improves overall function of the gallbladder, also a purifying organ of the body.
Powerful Medicinal Properties Of Cinnamon
There are three active chemical compounds found in cinnamon which offer this spice’s unique healing abilities – cinnamaldehyde, cinnamlyl alcohol and cinnamyl acetate.
The distinct smell and flavor of cinnamon is due to these active compounds.
The African Journal of Biochemistry Research noted that cinnamaldehyde and eugenol in cinnamon bark oil was identified as the most active antibacterial component.
Oils of the cinnamon bark showed significant inhibitory activity against selected strains of pathogenic bacteria and fungi.
The journal also said that due to its antimicrobial and antioxidant activities cinnamaldehyde could serve as a preservative compared to α-tocopherol, BHT and BHA.
Cinnamon has also been identified as a a carminative agent as it can relieve symptoms of indigestion. Carminative agents help to relieve intestinal spasms.
Besides the intestinal spams, cinnamon can also relieve the problems due to premenstrual syndrome or PMS. Cinnamon has potent antispasmodic and anti-inflammatory properties. This offers pain relief. Drink cinnamon tea regularly especially before the start date of your menstrual cycle.
Because of cinnamon’s positive effects on sugar metabolism it can help support heart and circulatory health.
The Irritable Bowl Experts say that cinnamon has been used for centuries by people that have stomach disorders. It is known for its medicinal effects at helping to calm an irritated stomach.
Cinnamon is a natural disinfectant which is why it is able to help cure Irritable Bowl Syndrome or IBS. It is also an excellent source of fiber, with trace amounts of manganese.
The German Health Authorities (Commission E) have approve cinnamon bark as a natural medicine for mild gastrointestinal spasms, to stimulate appetite and relieve indigestion.
One German study showed that cinnamon completely suppresses the cause of most urinary-tract infections and the fungus responsible for vaginal yeast infections.
Benefiting From The Medicinal Properties Of Garlic
Wow, look at the many benefits of garlic as medicine.
Garlic helps with blood circulation, lowers cholesterol, and stops heart disease. It slows atherosclerosis, the hardening of arteries, which can lead to a heart attack or stroke.
Nutritional researcher Yu-Yan Yeh of Penn State found that garlic appears to lower blood lipids, which reduce cholesterol and triglyceride levels. He says that the Aged Garlic Extract supplements reduced total cholesterol by 15% and lowered triglycerides by 30%.
Garlic can help lower systolic blood pressure. Garlic works as a vasodilator, helping to widen blood vessels allowing blood to circulate better.
How To Cure (noted earlier in the article on ginger for heart health) says that the garlic is considered a common natural cure for hypertension. And that garlic has blood thinning properties and helps with improving overall cardiac health.
Reduces Arthritis Pain
It also has diallyl disulfide that helps deactivate enzymes that can hurt cartilage.
To soothe the pain of arthritis, including swelling and aching joints, consume garlic daily either fresh or in supplement form.
Garlic supplementation is known to boost the function of the immune system.
Garlic has vitamin-C and B-6, along with the minerals manganese calcium, selenium and magnesium. These nutrients help the immune system work better. They also help the body take in minerals. It also has antioxidant and antimicrobial properties. These help the body guard against pathogenic bacteria.
Because garlic kills pathogenic bacteria and viruses, it is a great cure for cough and cold. It can also help to reduce the severity of upper respiratory infections as well.
A 12 week double-blind, placebo-controlled study found that a daily garlic supplement reduced the number of colds by 63% compared with placebo.
The average length of a cold was also reduced by 70%, from 5 days in placebo to just 1.5 days in the garlic group.
Another randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study found that a high dose of garlic extract, about 2.56 grams per day, can reduce the number of days a person is sick with cold or flu by 61%.
The Science Of Eating writes that Hippocrates the "Father of Medicine" promoted the use of garlic for treating respiratory problems.
Fights Fungal Infection
Raw garlic is a powerful anti-fungal that does not destroy beneficial bacteria in the gut.
It does, however, kill pathogenic bacteria, viruses, and fungi. Garlic can cure infections that cause ringworm, athlete’s foot, and jock itch.
It is effective in killing 24 out of 26 strains of Candida.
Because garlic kills viruses and brings down swelling, it can help the body fight different types of allergies. It can also lessen swelling in the airway caused by allergic rhinitis.
Garlic keeps the stomach running smoothly, which helps with digestion. It also helps the stomach make gastric juices which help digestion.
Garlic can stop the body from getting cancer, mainly in the digestive system and lungs. It can also stop tumors from getting bigger, and can help to shrink some tumors. This is because it has allyl sulfur that can slow cancerous cells from growing.
The European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) is an ongoing multinational study involving men and women from 10 different countries. This study is investigating the effects of nutrition on cancer. In the study, higher intakes of onion and garlic were associated with a reduced risk of intestinal cancer.
Several population based studies have show an a link between increased intake of garlic and reduced risk of certain cancers, including cancers of the breast, stomach, colon, esophagus, and pancreas.
The protective effects from garlic is due to its antibacterial properties or from its ability to block the formation or activation of cancer-causing substances. Garlic has shown to also enhance DNA repair, reduce cell proliferation, or induce cell death.
Eating garlic daily is important, as it can help lower your risk of getting many types of cancers. The World Health Organization’s (WHO) guidelines for consuming garlic is a daily dose of 2 to 5 grams of fresh garlic or approximately one clove.
Garlic supplements are not as effective at preventing cancer as raw or cooked garlic are. The active compounds present in garlic lose their effectiveness with time, handling, and processing.
Keep this in mind...
Studies have proven the effectiveness of these spices and herbs as medicine. But to get their full effects don't wait until you are sick with an illness or infection.
Include them either in fresh whole form or as a supplement or both, as part of your daily diet in-take. Doing so will help to keep your immune system on high alert and protect you from the adversities of an illness.