Herbs and spices have been used for centuries for both their culinary and medicinal benefits. Your cupboard probably contains natural remedies that our ancestors relied on, which means you could be healing with herbs and spices you already have. For example, that garlic you use for cooking has been used medicinally for generations.
Here are some common spices that can be used as medicinal herbs.
ANISE – Digestive aid. Relieves gas. Expectorant. Chew on seeds or brew as a tea.
BASIL – Digestive aid. Relieves gas, constipation, anxiety and headaches. Rub on bee stings to prevent pain and swelling.
BAY LEAF – Lowers blood sugar. Helps process insulin. Good for indigestion.
CARDAMOM – Relieves gas and excess stomach acid. Good for muscle and joint pain. Natural breath sweetener.
CHERVIL – Diuretic, Expectorant, Stimulant. Can help to lower high blood pressure.
CHIVES – Digestive aid, Diuretic, Expectorant. Can help to lower high blood pressure and cholesterol.
CORIANDER– Aids digestion. Used in flavoring of cough syrups. Chew on seeds or brew as a tea.
CUMIN – Relieves gas and bloating. Stimulates digestion.
DILL – Relieves gas, indigestion, and colic. Increases milk production for mothers. Relieves internal spasms. Chewing seeds improves bad breath.
FENNEL – Appetite suppressant. Treatment for gastritis. Increases milk production in humans and animals. Eases symptoms of menopause. Good for liver and kidney stones.
GARLIC – Good for colds, heart health, and cholesterol. Antiviral, antibiotic, and antifungal.
GINGER – Treatment for nausea, vertigo, and arthritis. Helps lower cholesterol. Reduces inflammation.
HORSERADISH – Good for head colds and sore throat. Opens nasal passages. Diuretic.
MARJORAM – Used to treat asthma, colds, indigestion, anxiety, rheumatism, and much more.
ONION – When eaten regularly, helps control blood pressure. Good for the heart and cholesterol.
OREGANO – To make an arthritis rub mix with a carrier oil and rub onto joints and muscles. To make a disinfectant add to a spray bottle.
PARSLEY – Great diuretic to use during weight loss. Best herb to treat kidney problems. Use as hair rinse to clear up dandruff. Natural breath freshener.
ROSEMARY – Stimulant. Helps blood pressure and digestion. To make an arthritis rub mix with carrier oil and massage into joints and muscles.
TARRAGON – Relieves cramps and many gastric disorders. Good for detoxification and relaxation.
THYME – Expectorant, Antiviral, Antifungal. Great astringent. Relieves bites and strings. Do not over ingest as that can stimulate the thyroid and lead to poisoning.
TUMERIC – Astringent. Anti-inflammatory that is stronger than hydrocortisone. Strong antibacterial when exposed to light. More antioxidant power than Vitamin E. Improves liver function. A traditional remedy for jaundice in Ayurvedic and Chinese herbal medicine. Use as a poultice for eczema and psoriasis.
It wasn’t that long ago that our grandparents and great grandparents grew these herbs in a garden right outside the kitchen door. At that time most houses had a small herb garden used for both cooking and healing. The herbs were used fresh when necessary or dried for later use. They were made into cough syrups, and tinctures to preserve the herbs. When someone got sick, Grandma knew just what herbs were needed. Herbal remedies were passed down, mostly by the woman of the house.
These herbs are just as effective today. Next time you don’t feel well, instead of looking in the medicine cabinet, look to your spice rack for all-natural alternatives. Learn more about herbs on our herbal encyclopedia.