Healthy herbs & spices from the ages

Green Lifestyle online

Take stock from the past, and consider these herbs to improve your health.


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Spices and herbs have been used for thousands of years, not only to add flavour to cooking but also for their health benefits. Here are five that are still used today.

1. Ginger
Ginger is the wonder spice that is derived from a root which has been shown to have powerful digestive and other health benefits. Studies have also shown that ginger is effective in helping to alleviate the symptoms of motion sickness, especially seasickness, by helping to calm the intestines, as well as stimulate digestion. Ginger also has strong anti-inflammatory properties in its raw form. Ginger is great to add to dishes or teas during the colder months to help support the immune system and assist in protecting against potential cold and flus.

2. Turmeric
Turmeric has been used for centuries as they key ingredient in curries which are the staple dish in the Indian diet. Known as the 'spice of kings', curcumin (the active compound found in turmeric) has been shown in research to have strong antioxidant capabilities and has been used for its medicinal benefits, however, its poor bioavailability means that it cannot be fully absorbed into the body, therefore limiting its health benefits.
In an Australian first, a patented form of pure curcumin, known as Theracurmin, has been discovered, with 27 times the bioavailability (and thus absorption) of regular curcumin. Studies have highlighted its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties which have been shown to help reduce joint inflammation, help reduce the oxidation of LDL cholesterol, help maintain healthy digestive function and emulsify fats in the digestive tract. Theracurmin is proving to be the game changer researchers have been searching for as the ‘next Omega’.

3. Garlic
According to Michele Wolff, Naturopath and Author of Digestive Solutions, garlic has been shown to help lower blood sugar levels as well as assist in healthy cellular glucose uptake in people with insulin resistance. Garlic may also assist to help prevent and reduce the severity of cold and flus due to the presence of allicin, an antimicrobial which helps to fight infection. Garlic also helps the body to eliminate toxins found in the body as wells as improves and aids the digestion and absorption of food. Garlic can be used in a variety of dishes, improving the taste as well as your health.

4. Cumin
Cumin is a rich source of iron and has traditionally been used to help heal and calm the gut, especially for those who experience nausea. Cumin stimulates the release of pancreatic enzymes which is vital for digestion and the absorption of nutrients.

5. Oregano
Oregano, an Italian cooking herb, is an important source of vitamin K which supports bone health. It is also known for its anti-microbial activities including potentially counteracting foodborne bugs such as Listeria. Studies have also found essential oils of oregano to be useful against certain Candida species.

The author, Stephanie Berglin (DBM, DipNut, BA Comms) is a herbalist, nutritionist and iridologist with 12 years of clinical experience. Founding her own successful practice, Stephanie is currently the Technical Editor at BioCeuticals, Australia’s leading provider of practitioner-only nutritional and therapeutic supplements.

When taking supplements, make sure to always read the label and use only as directed. Always speak to your healthcare professional when considering supplementation, and remember that vitamin supplements should not replace a balanced diet. For more info, go to www.bioceuticals.com.au/education/articles.