Herbs & Spices
The Healing Powers of Herbs and Spices
Use plenty of spices and herbs in cooking. Spices and herbs can turn an ordinary dish into a feast for the taste buds, and they also possess immense medicinal healing properties. In Ayurveda, spices and herbs are used because they are high in antioxidants, prevent cancer, lower cholesterol and blood sugar, improve memory, flush out toxins, enhance digestion, and most of all they are irresistible because they add flavor and color to food. Sprinkle some freshly cracked black pepper on your salad and it helps you absorb the nutrients readily. A pinch of turmeric in your soup adds not only color but also works as an excellent anti-oxidant. Combined in the right proportions, spices lend their synergy to everyday meals.
Spices are the key to strengthening agni (digestive fire or metabolism). For this reason, the heavier foods you eat the more necessary it is to have proper spicing.
• Black Pepper (Herb or Essential Oil)
Black Pepper helps carry nutrition across the blood brain barrier. Since the brain is over 50% fat, it is nourished by high quality oils and fats. Sauteeing fresh ground pepper in extra virgin olive oil or ghee is recommended for brain nourishment.
Pepper is very stimulating to the digestion, however, pepper is quite heating and potentially Pitta aggravating in nature and must be used sparingly. Black pepper helps correct digestive disorders and its vital component called piperine strengthens immunity and the functioning of the heart and kidneys.
• Cinnamon (Herb or Essential Oil)
Cinnamon improves blood glucose, triglycerides, LDL and total
cholesterol, and enhances cognitive functions and memory. It can also help to prevent snoring. The active components are not destroyed by heat. Studies have shown that just 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon per day can lower LDL cholesterol.
Cinnamon has a regulatory effect on blood sugar, making it especially beneficial for people with Type 2 diabetes.
In some studies, cinnamon has shown an amazing ability to stop medication-resistant yeast infections.
In a study at Copenhagen University, patients given half a teaspoon of cinnamon powder combined with one tablespoon of honey every morning before breakfast had significant relief in arthritis pain after one week and could walk without pain within one month.