Thursday, June 5, 2014

More on the Medicine Cabinet in Your Kitchen

If our first  Medicine Cabinet in Your Kitchen article whetted your appetite to learn more about how common kitchen spices and herbs benefit your health, you’ll want to bookmark this article as well. 

Yes, it’s true; the kitchen spice rack can be a logical extension of your medicine cabinet, in thanks largely to polyphenols, the plant compounds present in many common kitchen spices and herbs. Consequently, common spices offer numerous health benefits. The benefits of the four spices we feature here include anxiety relief, improved digestion, better brain function, anemia relief,  repelling insects, reducing inflammation, and even fighting cancer and reducing tumors.

Four kitchen herbs and spices with health benefits

In this article, we explore the many health benefits of clove, coriander, cumin, and garlic.

The health benefits of cloves

Cloves – a staple in many recipes, such as ginger bread, pumpkin pie, soups, and chili – are jam-packed with bioactive elements, such as tannins, the antioxidant eugenol, and terpenoids, that aid health.

Studies on mice suggest that cloves contain cancer prevention properties that can change cellular detoxification processes for the better. Scientists believe that the cloves’ eugenol serves as an antimutagen (reducing the frequency of cell mutation) and blocks carcinogen-induced actions that damage the genetic information within a cell.  One study suggested that clove extracts can decrease colon carcinogenesis. Other benefits of clove include:
  • Inflammation relief: Clove’s eugenol and flavonoids function as anti-inflammatory substances.
  • Bug repellent: Clove oil, applied to your skin, repels mosquitoes even more effectively than citronella.
Cloves are nutrient dense – an excellent source of manganese, vitamin K, and dietary fiber.  As an added convenience, cloves can be grown year-round.

The health benefits of coriander

Not all parts of the coriander herb plant are edible, but fresh coriander leaves and dried coriander seeds are a wonderful addition to your recipes. As for your health, coriander contains lots of linalool, a compound that has been shown in studies to support the liver.

Other benefits of coriander:
  • Reduce bad cholesterol. Coriander’s good acids – linoleic, palmitic, ascorbic, and oleic – not only attack the LDL cholesterol in your blood but also elevate your good (HDL) cholesterol.
  • Reduce skin inflammation. Coriander’s essential oil cineole and its linoleic acid are known for their ability to reduce swelling caused by rheumatoid arthritis. And because coriander can induce urination, it can also reduce swelling from anemia or kidney malfunction.
  • Relieve diarrhea. Coriander’s essential oils borneol and linalool help digestion in general and bowel health in particular. One coriander study even showed that coriander can heal infectious forms diarrhea due to its antibacterial properties.
  • Clear up skin issues. Dry skin and skin fungal infections can be mollified by coriander’s antiseptic, disinfectant, antioxidant, and antifungal properties.
Also make sure to add fresh coriander leaves to your salads or appetizer dishes – coriander’s digestive properties can improve your entire meal’s assimilation.

The health benefits of cumin

Cumin seeds – a popular addition to spice racks -- are a rich and natural antioxidant source.  Research on cumin also shows that, thanks to its compound thymoquinone, cumin can suppress tumor cell proliferation. It has shown positive benefits on such cancers as colorectal, breast, skin, pancreatic, ovarian, and leukemia.  Other benefits:

  • Relieve flatulence. Cumin can prevent the formation of gas in your gut and facilitate gas expulsion. So, consider adding some cumin to your favorite bean dishes!
  • Boost blood. Studies show that, because cumin is a rich source of iron, cumin increases red blood cell count, including your blood’s hemoglobin, which aids in oxygen transportation throughout your body. Adding cumin to your daily diet can help with anemia and reduce fatigue and anxiety.
  • Enhance mental focus and improve cognition. The same hemoglobin-boosting properties that make cumin good for anemia also boost brain function, and may even aid in preventing cognitive disorders such as dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, according to this cumin research.
As if this isn’t enough, other cumin medical research shows it to be beneficial for removing toxins, preventing diabetes, increasing healthy phlegm production, boosting the immune system, and lactation support.

The health benefits of garlic

Garlic is one of the most popular kitchen spices, and it’s also one of the most medicinal.  We’ve previously featured a full article on garlic health benefits and history. Compelling garlic research shows that its components may lower the incidence of breast, colon, skin, uterine, esophagus, and lung cancers.
As well, garlic’s hydrogen sulfide is an effective antioxidant. Another study on garlic’s health benefits suggests that it can prevent the common cold and reduce the longevity of the cold.

Spread the word – share your recipe!

Though the free FamilyWize drug discount card can cut your pharmaceutical costs by as much as 75 percent, why not take also advantage of your spice rack to let nature do its part in preserving your health and supporting your health recovery?

If you’ve got a good recipe that uses any of the healthy spices we featured in this article – garlic, cumin, coriander, or cloves – please use the comments feature below to share with our readers.

Ric Moxley
Contributing Writer

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