Different herbs and spices have been a staple in several types of foods from across the world for centuries. These priced commodities have often been at the centre of trade, wars and conquests. In fact, the era of colonialism traces its routes back to the rapid increase in demand for spices in European markets. With increasing globalisation, herbs and spices that were once endemic to certain regions are now available practically in any part of the world. In recent years, herbs and spices are coveted commodities not only for their ability to augment taste of food, but also for the health benefits they offer. Furthermore, previously unknown health benefits of these substances are continuously being uncovered through advances in research. A few of the top health benefits of herbs and spices include:
Herbs and spices are known to boost the human body’s immunity due to a combination of factors. Several herbs contain Vitamin C, which is a crucial ingredient to improve the body’s immunity against diseases. Some herbs and spices that are exceptionally rich in vitamin C include turmeric, thyme, parsley, dill and cilantro. Besides Vitamin C, most herbs also have strong anti-oxidant properties. Some such herbs include oregano, clove, peppermint, saffron, cinnamon, rosemary, vanilla, honey and sage. Anti-oxidant properties help boost immune responses by preventing oxidation of cells in the body that takes place due to the presence of free radicals; such oxidation of cells can potentially block the body’s immune response mechanisms.
Often, the term inflammation and swelling are used interchangeably in cases of visible inflammations on the surface of the skin. However, inflammations in internal part of the body can potentially have much more harmful effects than those visible externally. Furthermore, the effects of such inflammations are a lot more severe in the case of patients who suffer from health conditions such as arthritis; frequent inflammations are often also an enduring symptom of a few health conditions. Several herbs and spices offer anti-inflammatory properties that can help soothe the body and reduce inflammations and redness. In cases of those with health conditions, this can also enable reduction in chronic pain. Some such herbs and spices include ginger, cinnamon, clove, garlic, black pepper and cayenne.
Helping control blood pressure
Blood pressure related issues and heart conditions often go hand-in-hand, especially in elderly people. Furthermore, instances of high blood pressure and heart conditions have seen a steady rise over the past several decades due to lifestyle changes that have made day-to-day life more strenuous. Certain herbs and spices have proven to be adept at lowering blood pressure and consequently improving heart health. Some such herbs and spices include basil, flax seed, hawthorn, cinnamon, cardamom, garlic, celery seed and ginger.
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Conclusion: All around benefits
The above-mentioned lists are neither exhaustive in terms of the health benefits nor in terms of the respective herbs and spices that impart the said benefits. This is since herbs and spices are packed with vitamins, minerals and other such substances that hold key health benefits in various aspects of body health. Going by experiences from the past four or five decades, it can be said with near certainty that a vast majority of these benefits are yet to be discovered. As a result, herbs and spices are recommended regularly and in healthy doses for people of all ages and from all walks of life.