Way, way back in the day, before this whole vaccine controversy – before vaccines even existed – medicine was a much more dubious art. There was a period of time where it was actually attached to sideshows, and the ingredients could be anything from chloroform to cocaine.
But some of the better things have lasted, and that includes certain elements of botany. There are many herbs and spices that we used today that were used hundreds of years ago by doctors and midwives to treat daily ailments.
Anything from nausea, upset stomachs, pregnancy, headaches – there was a cure and if you knew what you were looking for, it was pretty simple.
A lot of these remedies are still around today and with the growth of the organic/natural market, they’re coming back into frequent use. We’re going to go through a few herbs and spices that can be added to your cabinet and your meals or beverages depending on what’s been bothering you or what you’d like to stave off.
Turmeric is a plant within the ginger family, and native to India and Southeast Asia. It’s been making a comeback in the health market now in the form of daily shots, teas, and supplements.
The flavor has been described as warm, slightly bitter, and just a little spicy. When combined with black pepper, your body can absorb it even more easily.
Turmeric is great for inflammation and allergies, so if either of those things bother you try adding this root into your diet.
It can be used fresh or dried in soups, teas, rice, salad dressings, and even on eggs. If you’re not a fan of the taste there are ways to incorporate it that will hide its slight bitterness.
Ginger is another spice that has been huge in Asian cuisine. Like turmeric, it’s a root that can be used either fresh or as a powder.
Ginger tea is a great way to start your morning – one of the biggest uses of ginger is for nausea and calming stomachs, so you can start things off on the right foot. It’s a great option for expecting mothers who need some help getting through the morning sickness.
You can use ginger the same way that you’d use turmeric, although the flavor is much more palatable. It’s warm and spicy with a little sweetness and makes for a great soda as well.
Used most often in American cuisine as a powder, chili derives from a pepper native to Mexico.
It’s hot, so this option isn’t going to be for everyone. In its powdered form chili is added to seasoning mixes and made in to pastes. It can also be used fresh in curries and sauces. Chilis are also a main ingredient in beloved hot sauce, which some people go so far as to put on their eggs.
A chemical in chili called capsaicin is actually used in topical ointments and nasal sprays, so you might already be using it without realizing. But if you want to add chili to your dishes at home, here’s how it benefits you: helps form red blood cells, clears congestion, promotes weight loss, and works as an anti-fungal and antibacterial.
4. Black Pepper
You’re bound to have this one in your cabinet already.
Black pepper is the most common spice on our list. Pepper is made from a dried fruit that is ground into a powder, and it has that pleasingly spicy bite that has earned it a permanent place on our dining tables.
Pepper has been widely used to treat inflammation and is full of antioxidants as well as vitamins and minerals. When paired with turmeric and other nutrient-rich foods, pepper helps the body to absorb the nutrients.
Next time you need to re-stock keep an eye out for whole black peppercorns in a grinder. Use it in any dish you like, as you most likely have been for years, and reap the benefits!
5. Oils and Vinegars
We could base a whole other article on varieties and uses of oil and vinegars, but we’re going to lump them all together here and tell you very simply that they’re a smart addition to any diet.
You can never go wrong with extra virgin olive oil. It’s easy to cook with and add to salads or soups. Olive oil is best known for reducing the risk of heart disease, and it’s also packed with antioxidants. It’s also rich in fats – the good ones that help maintain a healthy blood pressure.
The most popular vinegar at the moment is apple cider vinegar, derived from fermented apple juice. It’s used in side dishes, salads, and shots. Vinegar lowers blood sugar and lowers cholesterol, fighting heart disease alongside olive oils.
This is just the start of healthy herbs and spices – if you feel like researching more on your own, we support that effort!
Keep in mind that many spices, when dried and turned into powders, can be used in homemade seasonings. Look into what seasonings your favorite restaurants, such as Hooter’s and KFC, use when making their wings and dry rubs. That way you can keep your cravings healthy and tailored to your tastes!