Herbs, including basil, parsley are from plants and plants parts while spices often come from the seeds, berries, bark or root of plants. On the other hand, seasonings such as cinnamon, often lead the lists of commonly eaten foods with the highest antioxidant levels of activity.
Medical science research findings have proven that common herbs and spices, may help protect against certain chronic conditions such as cancer, diabetes and heart diseases. ” Many different herbs and spices offer health benefits ” says David Heber MD., PhD, professor of medicine and director of the UCLA Center for Human Nutrition. Most of the evidence exists for cinnamon, chilipeppers, turmeric, garlic, oregano, basil, thyme and rosemary.
A type of plant compound called polyphenols, provides one of the main health benefits associated with herbs and spices. Polyphenols are also abundant in certain fruits and vegetables, tea and red wine.
Herbs and spices are too many to name here. However, we will examine some important ones in this article that can help build a strong immune system.
Garlic is a wonderful seasoning to add taste, aroma and added nutrition to your dishes. Garlic is very beneficial to your immune system because it offers three functions; it is antibacterial, anti-fungal and antiviral. Dr. Mercola and Dr. Ann Kulze suggest that you should be eating garlic everyday to boost your immunity and improve your health.
Unlike synthetic antibiotics, one of the best things about garlic is that viruses, bacteria and yeast build up no resistance to it.
Garlic contains allicin, a chemical that is anticarcinogenic. It has also been shown to lower blood pressure, lower LDL, lower total cholesterol and reduce your risk of blood clots and stroke. It even prevents insect bites. It has ORAC score of 5346.
For optimal benefits, ” garlic should be eaten fresh, since the active ingredient is destroyed within one hour of smashing the garlic cloves ” says Dr. Mercola.
2. Honeysuckle and Chrysanthemum
This is a powerful modern herbal formula designed specifically to treat conditions that have skin symptoms such as shingles, herpes, simplex or genital herpes.
These herbs have strong antiviral properties that help to relieve pain and to resolve the heat and toxicity that cause the skin outbreaks. However, these statements have not been evaluated by the F.D.A.
Multiple health benefits of artemisia have been known for centuries in many regions of the world. This herb is now largely known for its antimalarial actions and thus have the potential to work as a malaria remedy. In addition, the herbs activity stimulates the production of bile in the liver.
Antibacterial properties of artemisia are applied for treating such conditions as parasitic and bladder infections without damaging intestinal flora. It is also effective against river blindness.
Andrographis is also known as ‘ king of bitters ‘. It is used extensively in China and India. It has history of traditional use in wide variety of conditions including fever, gastrointestinal diseases such as hepatitis, dysentery, stomach ulcers, respiratory diseases, allergies, venomous snake and scorpion bites.
Essentially, it is antiviral and helps modulate inflammatory response.
Licorice has been used in food and as medicine for thousands of years. It is also known as ‘ sweet root ‘ because it is 50 times sweeter than sugar. It buffers the inflammatory response by increasing steroid output by the adrenal glands; a good buffer if your immune system is over responding to the flu.
Turmeric has a peppery, warm and bitter flavor and a mild fragrance slightly reminiscent of orange and ginger. It is a general immune system booster due to its high antioxidant capacity and an anticancer agent as well; turmeric is five to eight times stronger than vitamin C and E and even strong enough to scavenge the hydroxyl radical. It has an ORAC score of 159277
Oregano is an important culinary and medicinal herb that has been used in medicine and cooking for thousands of years. It’s active agent is rosemarinic acid, a strong antioxidant. One tablespoon of oregano has the antioxidant capacity of one medium size apple. It has an ORAC score of 13,970
Cinnamon is a delicious spice with impressive effects on health and metabolism. It is a powerful antimicrobial agent – found to kill E-coli and many other bacteria.It also has anti-inflammatory compounds. It has an ORAC score of 267,536
Cloves are one of the highly prized spices, widely recognized all over the world for their culinary and medicinal qualities. Cloves contains engenol: its mild anesthetic benefits are useful for toothaches and sore throats. It also has anti-inflammatory compounds. It has an ORAC score of 314,446, the highest of all foods tested.
10. Black Pepper
Black pepper is a condiment that has been salt’s partner on western tables for hundreds of years. It comes from a climbing vine, the first of which – small round berries – ripen from green to red and finally to brown. Black pepper increases the bio-availability of just about all other foods – herbs and other things.