28 October, 2020
Herbs and spices in the kitchen
Approximate reading time: 3 minutes
There are so many herbs around us, especially in the kitchen! These herbs & spices do a lot more then just enhance taste and act as a culinary addition to food. In fact, most of our herbs or spices will also have medicinal actions.
Here is a list of the most common herbs and spices you will find in most Aussie kitchens:
- Garlic: when freshly crushed, a compound called allicin is released from the garlic which contains antibacterial and antiviral compounds. Bye colds and flus!
Add freshly crushed garlic to all your meals and when you feel a cold coming on I always find eating a clove of garlic raw will do the trick in preventing sickness.
- Thyme: this aromatic herb dilates the airways and reduces spasm in the bronchioles or lungs. Great for persistent coughs!
Add thyme sprigs to 1tbsp honey and use as a soothing demulcent for the throat.
- Sage: has been shown to be useful in reducing hot sweats including those associated with menopausal symptoms. Make a cold infusion: mix a few sage leaves with boiling water and let the leaves steep in the water for 10 minutes, then refrigerate and you have ice-sage tea the following day.
- Ginger: this pungent herb has a range of benefits, ginger boosts your circulation, provides nausea relief so is a great for morning sickness. Regarding muscle and bone health, it provides warming effects so is great for those with cold extremities, and gingers antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits make it a great one for arthritic conditions as well.
Freshly slicing and adding to hot water to DIY ginger tea is a go to for me.
- Cinnamon: provides lipid lowering benefits which makes it helpful in those with high LDL cholesterol and reducing risk of cardiovascular disease.
Cinnamon sprinkled on top of rolled oats, in fact cinnamon sprinkled on top of most breakfast options is great, otherwise cinnamon & orange tea is also quite tasty.
- Turmeric: the active ingredient curcumin has been shown to reduce inflammation in a range of health conditions including osteoarthritis, Alzheimer’s disease, cardiovascular disease, metabolic syndrome, obesity, diabetes, depression, and respiratory illness such as bronchitis and asthma. The combination of curcumin and black pepper has been shown to increase absorption of the curcumin so always remember to have these two spices together!
Turmeric lattes are a current hit with millennials but you can also just add turmeric and black pepper to cooking – soups, stir frys, curries and so much more.
- Peppermint: is extremely cooling for the body, so is great in overheated people or inflammatory and hot muscular conditions due to its ability to constrict blood vessels and assist with muscle recovery. Think sore muscles post-workout!
Peppermint has also exhibited benefits in reducing pain in those with Inflammatory Bowel Syndrome symptoms, so if you have an unhappy tummy try a cup of peppermint tea after meals.
All these herbs/ spices can easily be grown in your backyard. They are staples to Australian households! So next time you see any of the above symptoms come up, think about those happy herbs you have all around you and give them a go 😊
- There are an abundant of medicinal herbs available under our noses, in most Aussie kitchens
- They do a lot more then add flavour to food
About the Author
Alexandra is our resident naturopath at Body and Brain Centre. She generally treats female health concerns and digestive issues with majority of her clients. Alexandra believes that natural medicine is a fundamental part of our lives whether we realise it or not, and that gave her the inspiration of writing this article.
Similar articles you'll enjoy:
- Alammar, N., Wang, L., Saberi, B., Nanavati, J., Holtmann, G., Shinohara, R. T., & Mullin, G. E. (2019). The impact of peppermint oil on the irritable bowel syndrome: a meta-analysis of the pooled clinical data. BMC complementary and alternative medicine, 19(1), 21. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12906-018-2409-0
- Ankri, S., Mirelman, D. (1999). Antimicrobial properties of allicin from garlic, Microbes and Infection, 1(2), 125-129, ISSN 1286-4579, https://doi.org/10.1016/S1286-4579(99)80003-3.
- Begrow, Frank & Engelbertz, Jonas & Feistel, Bjoern & Lehnfeld, Romanus & Bauer, Katrin & Verspohl, Eugen. (2009). Impact of Thymol in Thyme Extracts on Their Antispasmodic Action and Ciliary Clearance. Planta medica. 76. Doi: 311-8. 10.1055/s-0029-1186179.
- Bode, AM., Dong, Z. (2011) The Amazing and Mighty Ginger. Herbal Medicine: Biomolecular and Clinical Aspects. 2nd edition. Chapter 7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK92775/
- Dadfar, F., & Bamdad, K. (2019). The effect of Saliva officinalis extract on the menopausal symptoms in postmenopausal women: An RCT. International journal of reproductive biomedicine, 17(4), 287–292. https://doi.org/10.18502/ijrm.v17i4.4555
- Hamidpour, Rafie & Hamidpour, Mohsen. (2020). Cinnamon inhibits platelet function and improves cardiovascular system. Journal of Medicinal Plants. 19. 1-11. Doi 10.29252/jmp.1.73.1.
- Hewlings, S. J., & Kalman, D. S. (2017). Curcumin: A Review of Its Effects on Human Health. Foods (Basel, Switzerland), 6(10), 92. https://doi.org/10.3390/foods6100092