You probably already use these ingredients in your home,but they can do more than just making meals tastier. Here are some common foods that do double duty as effective herbal treatments with impressive health benefits.
Fits in nicely with the organic gardening tips and recipes in the book, Grow Your Own Pharmacy.
1. Turmeric. Ever treated a head cold with a hot Indian meal? Turmeric is one of the best healing herbs available. It contains the anti-inflammatory curcumin, which may function in the same way as some pharmaceutical arthritis drugs.
The next time your joints are aching, researchers recommend a daily serving of 400 mg each day.
2. Ginger. Many people around the world use ginger as a mild pain reliever.
Ginger may also be an effective means of controlling ovarian cancer cells, according to a 2006 study by the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center.
3. Cinnamon. Diabetics could decrease their blood sugar by up to 10% just by taking a cinnamon extract daily. A study found that cinnamon may help to lower cholesterol as well.
Since cinnamon can be toxic when taken in very large quantities (much more than you would probably be able to eat at once), experts recommend that you use a cinnamon extract rather than actual cinnamon.
4. Garlic. A 2006 study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that high doses of garlic lead to low instances of several types of cancers.
Garlic is useful against bacteria, even those that are resistant to antibiotics. It has antifungal and antiviral properties and may even help to lower cholesterol and prevent strokes.
5. Rosemary. If you have to choose just one herb to help you avoid several different types of cancer, rosemary may be it. Rosemary can actually help to prevent carcinogens that you ingest from binding with your DNA. This can help to prevent the formation of tumors and the eventual development of cancer.
6. Honey. Honey is commonly used as a digestion aid and to soothe sore tummies and throats. The hydrating qualities of honey are well-known all around the world, and desert travelers have been known to carry honey and water to quench their thirst on long treks.
Honey helps to soothe the pain of a burn while limiting inflammation and retarding infection.
7. Chili Peppers. Hot peppers are an amazing food that can help you treat any number of common conditions. At home, you can eat them to to clear up a congested head and as a natural pain reliever.
An exciting and often-publicized use for chili peppers is as a metabolism boost. Adding chili peppers to your meals can help you burn more calories, and it is believed that chili peppers can even help you feel fuller after a meal.
8. Olive Oil. This delicious and exotic-tasting oil may help to save your life some day. With regular modest consumption, olive oil can help stop plaque from forming in arteries, thus reducing your risk of heart attacks.
9. Onions and related plants are also a hugely effective treatment for lung disorders such as pneumonia and chronic bronchitis. They have outstanding anti-inflammatory properties and can be used as antibiotics and antivirals.
10. Lemon. Lemon has a multitude of medicinal uses and has been a prized part of the medicinal kitchen for many generations. It is a general clarifier and purifier, and can be taken to cleanse the body of impurities. It has also been used to treat headaches, arthritis, and pneumonia.
Although it seems counterintuitive (or just plain painful), applying lemon juice to cuts and scrapes is great for preventing infections. The natural antiseptic properties of lemon juice will keep infections at bay and can even reduce the appearance of bruises.
11. Cloves. Clove oil is used by many cultures as a natural painkiller and anti-inflammatory. It is used in many modern toothache remedies to dull the pain and swelling.
12. Horseradish. Like its relative mustard, horseradish is a fantastic tool for fighting digestive disorders. It can be used to treat constipation. It is also a great immune system booster, giving the liver increased power to filter out harmful substances from foods.