Most of us in the field of holistic medicine could spend hours discussing different approaches to food and diet. However, I think that we often overlook the power that a diet varied in an abundance of spices can provide. The history of spices is simply fascinating. Did you know that wars were fought over spices and kingdoms were lost over them? And the truth is that even back in 2600 BCE, spices were already recognized as powerful medicine. Not only do they add interest to our plates and palates, but they promote health in incredibly powerful ways. Here are some spices that are worth adding to your culinary undertakings.
Ginger is rich in phytonutrients called gingerols. Studies support the antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antiviral, and antibacterial effects of gingerol. It's useful against arthritis, migraine, asthma, heart disease, heartburn, cancer and nausea.
Black pepper is one of the most commonly used spices, and believe it or not, in the Middle Ages it was considered more valuable than gold. Piperine is the active ingredient in black pepper, and it has been shown to jumpstart digestion, prevent certain cancers and heart disease, improve vitiligo, lower blood pressure, and prevent arthritis.
Oregano is a great spice to grow on your windowsill and keep on hand. The major components of oregano, carvacrol and thymol, are wonderfully antiviral, antibacterial, anti-parasitic, and anti-fungal. Aside from its ability to curb infections, studies have shown that oregano can help calm colitis, support the liver, prevent and ameliorate metabolic syndrome, and suppress inflammatory cytokines TNF-alpha, IL-1beta, and IL-6.
Star anise is a beautiful 8-pointed star made of slender pods and seeds. Shikimic acid and anethole are two of the compounds that give star anise its powerful infection fighting properties. Star anise has been found to inhibit Epstein-Barr virus (the virus that causes mononucleosis), herpes simplex 1, hepatitis B, tooth decay and even HIV.