The Health Benefits of Spices and Herbs

Spices have been around since the beginning of time. They were among the most valuable items of trade during ancient and medieval times.  Spices were used by Egyptians to flavor foods and food preservatives. They were also used in cosmetics and embalming.  As people began traveling, the use of spice spread from east to west.  Spices were as valuable as gold during the Middle Ages, which helped drive the world economy.

Spice uses for Medicinal Purposes

Spices and herbs were used to replace traditional teas when tea became unpatriotic in Colonial America. Hippocrates viewed as the father of Western Medicine, prescribed garlic to treat a variety of medical conditions. Many of the health effects were recently confirmed by modern science.

Garlic combat sickness including the common cold

Proven Health Benefits of Garlic:

  • Contains compounds of Potent Medicinal Properties
  • Allicin is a compound in fresh garlic for a short period after it’s been cut or crushed.
  • Diallyl disulfide, sallyl cysteine are also compounds that play a role in garlic health benefits.
  • The sulfur compounds from garlic enter the body from the digestive tract and travel throughout where it performs a healing effect.
  • It’s nutritious with very few calories
  • One ounce serving of garlic
  • Manganese: 23% of the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA)
  • Vitamin B6: 17% of the RDA
  • Vitamin C: 15% of the RDA
  • Selenium: 6% of the RDA
  • Fiber 0.6 grams
  • Amounts of calcium, copper, potassium, phosphorus, iron and vitamin B1

Garlic supplements are known to boost the immune system. One study showed that a daily garlic supplement reduced the number of colds by 63%. Although one review concluded that the evidence was insufficient and more research was needed. I have proof that it does work. Three cloves of garlic in a cup of hot water. Drink three to four times daily get rid of your sore throat. Bear in mind that our bodies are different and it may work for one person and not another. Therefore if it does not work in your case does not necessarily mean it’s ineffective.

Active Compounds in Garlic can Reduce Blood Pressure

High Blood Pressure generally leads to cardiovascular diseases like heart attacks and strokes which are the world’s biggest killers. Studies have shown that garlic supplements have a significant impact on reducing high blood pressure. 600 -1,500 mg of aged garlic extract was just as effective as the drug Atenolol in reducing blood pressure over a 24-week period.

Garlic Lowers Cholesterol Levels

Garlic is also known to lower total and LDL cholesterol. Garlic supplements appear to reduce total and/or LDL cholesterol by 10 to 15%. It has no reliable effect on HDL. High triglyceride levels are also a risk factor for heart disease, however, garlic seems to have no significant effects on triglyceride levels (1315)


Health Benefits of Coriander:

Coriander or cilantro has multiple health benefits.  It’s a great source of dietary fiber, manganese, iron, and magnesium.  The leaves are rich in Vitamin C, Vitamin K, and protein.  They also contain small amounts of calcium, phosphorous, potassium, thiamin, niacin, and carotene.  Although it has numerous health benefits, it isn’t good for everyone with kidney problems.  Due to its high potassium and high phosphorus content. In that case, before adding or eliminating coriander from the diet of someone with kidney disease, consult a doctor.

Although they are from the same plant, cilantro and coriander have different nutrient profiles tastes and uses.  Cilantro leaves have much higher levels of vitamins, but lower levels of minerals. Coriander seeds on the other hand have lower levels of vitamins but much more minerals.  Fresh cilantro is 92.2% water and coriander seeds are only 8.9% water.


Health Benefits of Coriander

  • Coriander lowers bad cholesterol (LDL). It increases the levels of good cholesterol (HDL).
  • Coriander promotes liver functions and bowel movements.
  • It helps diabetics by stimulating insulin secretion and lowering the blood sugar levels.
  • It contains Vitamin K which is good for Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Vitamin A protects lung and cavity cancers. (The fat-soluble vitamin and antioxidant-Vitamin A)
  • It is good against inflammatory diseases such as arthritis.
  • Its antiseptic properties help to cure mouth ulcers.
  • Its antioxidants prevent eye diseases; it’s a good remedy in the treatment of conjunctivitis.
  • The coriander seeds are also good for menstrual flow.
  • It’s also a good herb in promoting the nervous system. It can stimulate the memory.
  • It helps anemic patients. It contains high amounts of iron, which is essential for curing anemia.

The Benefits of Cumin:

Benefits of Coriander

Cumin is a leafy plant that grows from the ground in China, the Middle East, the Mediterranean region, and the West Indies. The fruit of the plant is popular all over the world as a spice. Research has shown that it has a variety of health benefits including digestion, immune system, and circulation. Some benefits of cumin can be demonstrated with clinical studies, while some remain difficult to prove.

  • Cumin seeds contain antioxidants.
  • Antioxidants help you feel healthier and more energetic.
  • They help keep your skin from looking aged.
  • Cumin has anti-cancer properties.
  • According to some experiments, cumin has the ability to keep cancer cells from multiplying.
  • In one study, rats that were fed cumin were protected from colon cancer.
  • In another study, researchers found that out of nine popular herbs and spices, basil and cumin were the most powerful anti carcinogen plants.
  • Cumin has been recommended for the treatment of diarrhea.
  • It has helped people with diabetes to manage their condition.
  • It fights bacteria and parasites.
  • The active ingredients in the seeds have an anti-inflammatory effect.
  • Cumin powder can be mixed in yogurt can help to reduce cholesterol.
  • It also aids in weight loss.
  • Cumin is known to improve Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS).
  • Cumin stimulates the central nervous system to be more effective. It helps the memory.
  • Cumin has a variety of benefits ranging from helping to improve your digestion to boosting your memory. Cumin may also prevent cancer cells and help reduce pain with its anti-inflammatory properties.

The Benefits of Cardamom:

What is Cardamom?

Cardamom is an herb in which seeds are used to make medicine.

  • It’s used for digestion problems, heartburn, intestinal spasm, and liver complaints.
  • It’s also used for common cold, cough, and bronchitis.
  • This herb contains chemicals that appear to treat stomach and intestinal spasms and gas.
  • It increases the movement of food through the intestine.

Although cardamom is used for the above ailments, there’s not sufficient evidence to prove its effectiveness. It’s used as a spice in many parts of the world.


On the whole, spices are concentrated sources of antioxidants according to Diane Vizthum, M.S., R.D., who is a research nutritionist for Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. There are approximately more than 100 common spices used in cooking around the world.      Many of which are used for their therapeutic properties.

Turmeric Fights Inflammation

This spice is used mostly in Indian curry dishes. One of its components is a substance called curcumin. Research suggests that it may reduce inflammation in the brain which has been linked to Alzheimer’s disease and depression. In a study of adults, over 50 of those who consumed curcumin supplements had improvement in memory test scores. The brain scans indicated significantly fewer markers associated with cognitive decline. It’s also effective in reducing pain and swelling in people with arthritis. Animal studies indicate curcumin could have powerful anti-cancer properties.

Healthiest Ways to Use Spices

Frying or grilling food with spices decreases the antioxidants. But microwave cooking, simmering, or stewing foods with spices actually heightens the antioxidant levels of spices.  Commercial supplements aren’t strictly regulated,  meaning that you can’t be certain what the pills actually contain.  Certain third-party organizations do testing to verify the quality and contents of supplements.  If you’re thinking about taking a supplement. talk to your doctor or dietitian about what form and amount are right for you.


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