Nature is beautiful in that it provides for us plant-based substances that contribute to human health. Spices are at the forefront, being used historically and widely for both food preparation and medicinal use.
Spices as Natural Medicine
Spices have been harvested and used for thousands of years, both as food additives and as a means to good health. The use of spices in food preparation has long been valued because of the powerful aromas and tastes spices provide. However, the use of spices for health and medicinal reasons is just as long standing. Early civilizations throughout the Eastern world, as well as south and central America, used spices for health reasons.
In recent years, spices have come to be recognized in Western medicine for their medicinal value. The bioactive ingredients contained in spices are recognized by many Western scientists for their therapeutic and/or pharmacological properties. The bioactive ingredients in spices include terpenes, polyphenols, sulfides, and more.
Spices and herbs are often considered together, but it’s helpful to differentiate them. Spices are dried seeds, fruit, or other parts of a plant, while herbs are fresh parts of a plant. Spices can be consumed for a variety of different health benefits. They are often most useful when taken in the context of modern medicine, where necessary.
Five Spices Worth Supplementing With
Here is a look at five spices which can provide health benefits and even function as a remedy at times. The health value of these is such that adding them to your food is probably not enough; Taking them in concentrated form is the best way to get the benefits, hence why they each make for a worthwhile oral supplement.
Cayenne is a type of red pepper which contains a variety of flavonoids and other antioxidant compounds, as well as vitamins A, C among other nutrients. The antioxidants in cayenne combat oxidative stress, and reduce the effects of aging. Cayenne can also support digestion by stimulating enzyme production and the manufacture of gastric juices. Yet another benefit is cayenne’s ability to reduce inflammation as well as support healthy blood vessels and blood pressure, all of which contribute to long term heart health.
Cinnamon has been used for at least 3,000 years for its benefits to human health. It has antimicrobial, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory properties. Some studies show that cinnamon can help regulate blood glucose, such that it can reduce blood sugar levels. Cinnamon bark contains a substance called CEppt which could improve cognitive functioning, and it is being studied for its potential to treat Alzheimer’s disease.
Curcumin is the most active ingredient in turmeric. As expected, turmeric supplements contain curcumin, and extracted curcumin can also be found as its own supplement. A foremost benefit of curcumin is that it combats inflammation. This benefit has been most prominent in those experiencing Alzheimer’s and depression. Another prominent benefit of curcumin is its ability to reduce the symptoms of arthritis, namely pain and swelling in joints.
Fenugreek is a spice which has been shown to help regulate blood sugar. It does this by supporting the work of the hormone insulin, which is especially beneficial if you are diabetic. To see a healthy drop in blood sugar levels, it is recommended that you take at least 1 gram of concentrated fenugreek daily.
Ginger has been useful in mitigating gastrointestinal issues in a variety of ways. Firstly, ginger can be taken to help relieve nausea, whether it’s due to motion sickness, morning sickness, or other causes. It can also help with digestive issues. Separately, ginger has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties which support the body in other ways.
Spices are valuable natural medicines which can help with digestion, the effects of aging, blood sugar levels, and more. Consider how supplementing with concentrated doses of these spices could help you. It’s recommended that you first talk to your healthcare provider before taking a supplement for the first time.