Miebakagh, a trained historian and computer geek, is interested in alternative medicine. A health enthusiast, fond of food and nutrition.
Medicinal Herbs and Spices
Herbs and spices are as old as mankind and even older. They’re food for man and a complement to any food servings.
Nowadays, they’re used to flavored or garnished foods-meat, fish, tea, salad greens, porridges, soups, stews, and even more.
Herbs and spices when used in a safe combination enhance good health. And, when sicknesses and diseases strike, provides a remedy for healing.
In this article, I’ll show you that using natural organic spices and herbs benefits heart health. Our daily use of herbs and spices can significantly prevent many diseases of the heart.
- Herbs and spices and their uses as foods.
- Herbs and spices everyone should use.
- Medicinal properties of herbs.
- 10 Herbs and spices every kitchen should have.
- Safety measures.
- Herbs and spices health benefits.
Herbs and Spices and Their Uses as Foods
Did you know that herbs and spices are foods? It’ll come to some as a surprise. Food provides energy that nourishes the body. This energy also helps the body in fighting and preventing diseases. Garlic bulbs, ginger roots, cayenne or chili pepper, and onions can be combined to make a light snack. It’s an herb and spices recipe for weight loss.
They provide an essential level of energy or remedy for health. Are you really taking note of that? While they seem to release immediate energy, even in the long run, and so should be used with great caution.
Critically, you were aware of the heat or energy in a bit of raw ginger, garlic, or chili. You feel the heat at once. Isn’t it? That heat is energy.
They’re too much heat in 0.1 g of ginger or cayenne pepper, that if you had to eat 5 g of the herb or spice at once, without a combination of your regular carb or cereals, you’ll go nuts or crazy. That said, you need a cooling-down effort.
Scientists have made a special study and measure the heat in 'Scoville' heat units(SHU), in honor of Wilbur Scoville, a pharmacist.
Sprinkle Your Fruit Salads with Herbs and Spices for a Zest
Herbs and Spices Everyone Should Use
Herbs and spices have been used to treat sicknesses and diseases from time immemorial. Some books of ancient scriptures point to searchlights on these 2Kings 20:7. For example, garlic, ginger, turmeric, and cinnamon are regularly used in homemade remedies or Ayurveda medicine.
The below 10 herbs and spices should be handy always with you.
- Cayenne or chili pepper.
- Black pepper.
- Basil or sweet basil.
These 10 seasonings are good for heart health should be our talk later.
Difference Between Herb and Spice
The difference between herbs and spices is not confusing. simply put, herbs come from the green parts or leaves of shrubs. For example, sweet basil, parsley, and thyme.
On the other hand, spices are the roots, stem, bark, bulb, and seeds of the same shrub or others, for example, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, and pepper.
You either use fresh or dried items. Or you can combine a mixture of dried and fresh herbs and spices. The dried form has more potency than the fresh ones.
Medicinal Properties of Herbs and Spices that Everyone Should Have in the Kitchen
The active ingredients in the herbs and spices are medicinal. They possess curative and preventive properties. I’m amazed that herbs and spices are more than foods or superfoods.
According to Monica Aulander Moreno, ‘Herbs and spices fight inflation and reduce damage to your body cells. That’s because each one is rich in phytochemicals, which are healthful plant chemicals’.
They’re ‘antiseptics, antibiotics, and antioxygenic and antiviral'. They make foods tastier while boosting your health. ‘You should be cooking with herbs and spices regularly and if possible, using several at a time’, Moreno says further.
Likewise, they’re antioxidants and full of flavonoids. You should know what all these means.
Now, let’s get on our talk on the 10 herbs and spices. Shall we? Yes.
Healthy Spices and Herbs
Chilli or Cayenne Pepper
‘Cayenne pepper’, writes Ryan Ramam, a registered dietician, may ‘help boost the stomach’s defense against infections, increased digestive fluid production and help deliver enzymes to the stomach, aiding digestion'.
Have you ever thought that you can’t eat a soup, stew, or porridge that has no pepper in it? Not only pepper gives the soup or stew flavor or savory. It enhanced the eating process.
Pepper stimulated the circulatory system. The capsaicin, the active ingredient in the pepper does the job, while you eat it in your teas, avocado, or fresh coconut meat. And of course, any food can go with the pepper. Chili pepper benefits your heart health.
Dr. Edward said that capsaicin triggers nitric oxide production in the body. So your arteries relax to carry blood to the heart and keep the blood pumping round through the very tiny vessels, to the skin, heart, and reproductive organs.
Capsiate is another compound found in the pepper that tasks sugars and bad fats. It de-clog the arteries and preventing heart diseases, for example, high blood pressure.
Green Cayenne Pepper
Garlic is reputed to be first among herbs and spices. Its scientific name is Allium Satisvum. It’s a species of the onions family. For thousands of years, it’s been used in traditional medicine, in treating cardiovascular diseases. If you eat garlic regularly, you’re welcoming a 'lowered cholesterol and blood pressure', according to Victoria Taylor, a dietician. This means you’re preventing or retarding heart disease.
Allicin is the active force in spiced garlic. To retain this compound in your cooking pot, mince or chop them, and boil for only 30 to 60 seconds to prevent Allicin from evaporating.
Google Scholar had it that ‘garlic is most commonly used for conditions related to the heart and blood system’.
And, according to Tim Newman, garlic is linked to the blood system and heart, including atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), high cholesterol, heart attack, coronary heart disease, and hypertension.
It’s not good to let these conditions occur and then treat them. But preventing them is sane and wise. Garlic antioxidant Allicin is really heart-friendly.
Use it regularly in your stews, soups, and other dishes, and you're on your way to prevent any heart-related diseases. Heart disease is still number one on the list of sickness causing death.
I regularly spiced my stews with turmeric, in addition to adding garlic, ginger, chili, clove, and cinnamon. Remember that putting a single spice or herb in a cooking pot will not do you much good. You’ve to combine more at least three to get the maximum benefit. Turmeric is a heart-friendly spice.
The flowering part of the shrub-seeds, leaf, tender system is the herb. The root informs the spices. Turmeric, like ginger, is a root. It’s anti-inflammatory. Turmeric is one of the heart-friendly herbs that has been sung about for thousands of years, in Africa, Asia, and Europe. It’s a respected herb all over the world.
As a heart-friendly herb, it can protect the heart. And it can prevent many heart-related illnesses. A peanut size of the herb is all that is needed to flavor a pot of soup or stew. Too much I think would be detrimental to the taste of the food.
Turmeric is a medicine. In African or Chinese traditional medicine or Ayurveda, it’s used to treat circulatory diseases. However, modern medicine has not provided any evidence-based treatment in the application of spice.
Adding Spices and Herbs to Foods
There're many varieties. But the true or Ceylon(cassia) cinnamon is the most popular. Cinnamon is a spice sprinkled on toast and lattes. That's what it practically is. Otherwise, you'll lose many of its many health benefits, if you boil it in your soups and stews.
The shrub leaves, fruits, roots, and flowers are also useful medicinal ingredients. It has been used in traditional medicine for thousands of years all over the world. Its use in baking and cooking will depend on how long you heat it.
Cinnamaldehyde, the chemical in the spices impart flavor to the diet and contain health benefits for the heart. A half teaspoon or 2 grams. or less in powder form is all that you need to sprinkle on your diet or salad green. Above this benchmark is toxic.
Don't use it if you're allergic or had a liver problem. Breastfeeding mothers, pregnant women, and children should be very cautious. It's a potential drug.
Coumarin is another active ingredient in spices. This agent thin the blood. So, smaller amounts contribute to the health of the heart and the cardiovascular system.
Cardamom is one of the spices that are evidence-based or backed up by science in its many heart-related properties.
It's a spice that will make the eyes red or pop up with its 'expensive' budget. It comes after saffron and vanilla in terms of cost.
Its antioxidant, diuretic, and inflammatory properties make the spice heart-friendly.
According to Lizzie Streit, a registered dietician, 'The seeds, oils, and extracts of cardamom have impressive medicinal and have been used in traditional medicine for centuries'.
Its heart-healthy functions include lowering blood pressure.
You can ground the seeds and ponds into powder, and use the products in curries, desserts, and meat dishes. Add a little of the powder into your teas and coffee as you add powder chili into a cup of black tea.
Any metabolic syndrome can lead to heart diseases-high blood pressure, hypertension, and high cholesterol, which are signs that your heart is not in a good state of health.
If you take 1/2 gram of cardamom daily, it'll prevent these conditions. And if you had the challenge, the spice will checkmate or retard them.
A study that was done on rats, and later volunteering humans was reputed to improve the blood cholesterol, lower cholesterol, and triglyceride levels.
So, whatever your diet is, garnish or flavor it with a little cardamom as you did with common salt.
Cardamom is a good source of iron, magnesium, selenium, zinc, and manganese. Plus calcium, potassium, and vitamin C, and a B-complex unit. (These nutrients are likely to combat the coronavirus disease that is endemic these days).
Blend Spices for all Purpose Cooking or Dish
This spice is also associated with the ginger family. It's a bright-oranges-yellow plant product. It's used mainly as a food flavor and coloring.
It's a complex chemical and evidence of medicinal use has not been confirmed in the laboratories and research work.
It's yellow coloring matter or pigment is found in turmeric.
Although it has its use in Ayurveda or alternative medicine, it's significant to note why the United State government gave a grant of $150 million for research into its many health benefit.
It has the potential of enhancing heart health.
It's reasonable that turmeric derived its potential from curcumin. The chemical curcuminoids contain curcumin. It's the main active ingredient in turmeric. And so, curcumin is a species for heart-related disease.
But its bioavailability in the body makes it to be consumed along with black pepper. Eating a single herb is of no avail at least. Three or four combination is best.
Bioavailability is the rate of absorbing nutrients by the body. Our digestive system is a poor indicator of this. Black pepper contains a chemical called piperine. It enhanced the absorption rate of curcumin by 2000% according to clinical trials by humans.
Curcumin has the potentials to lower heart disease.
The endothelium is the lining of the blood vessels. when it dis-function, it can't regulate your blood pressure and blood clotting. Curcumin helps the heart to improve.
Oregano, Oreganum Vulgare or wild marjoram, or sweet marjoram, meaning 'brightness of the mountain', or 'joy of the mountain'. It's most commonly used as a flavoring in meats, barbecues, salads, and fish dishes.
It's even used as a supplement and as an aromatic oil.
More than five antioxidants including thymol and limonene give the herb its aromatic flavor and scent.
The herb is mostly associated with Mediterranean cuisine. But people all over the world now used it as a supplement to the diet or dishes 'to boost overall health' according to Yvette Brazier.
They're evidence that it could fight inflammation and regulate blood sugar, a disease that is circulatory and can lead to heart degeneration.
Free radicals as we all know are toxin substances. They should not be in the bloodstream. Dietary oregano helps the body fight free radicals.
Powder Spices and Herbs
Herbs and Spices for Heart Health
This is the tender stem, buds, and flowers of the Myrfaceean Syzygium aromaticum shrub. It originates in Indonesia, according to Britannica and Wikipedia, and it's a spice that's good for heart health.
It's an evergreen shrub blossoms throughout the seasons in different countries. It's used as spices in Africa, Asia, Mediterranea, and many the Middle East and Latin American countries.
It leads flavor to meats, curries, and marinades.
Cloves may be used as spices for fruits-apples, pears, teas, and coffees. You can add the grounded powder to your lemon drinks or sweet beverages.
The chemical eugenol is the main active compound in the spice. Others are eugenol accetate, and gallic acid.
Paired it with 'cinnamon, allspices, vanilla, red wine, basil, onion, citrus peel, star anise, and peppercorns' says Wikipedia. That has got much to do with your circulatory system. And so your health always improves.
Although the Food and Drug Administration has not approved its use as a medicine, traditionally, it has a long history of alternative medicine in treating heart diseases. 'Cloves are full of antioxidants. These compounds help your body to fight free radicals, which damage your cells and can lead to diseases. By removing free radicals from your systems, the antioxidants found in cloves can help reduce your risks of developing heart disease' according to the WebMD. Antioxidants will reduce oxidative stress in the body system.
In a recent study to determine the content of polyphenol and antioxidants of plant-based 100 spice nutrients, cloves of all spices took the upper hand.
In another work, the main phenolic compounds in 26 spices were studied. chromatography performance plus in vitro antioxidant activity analysis shows that clove presents the highest antioxidant and polyphenol content. That makes clove a 'radical scavenger' in the bloodstream.
Black Pepper Benefits
Black pepper or piper nigrum of the Piperaceae family is the 'King of Spices'.
It can act synergically with other drugs and many nutrients.
The main active ingredient in black pepper is pepperine. It's an important antioxidant.
Black pepper has anti-inflammatory properties. Therefore, it factors in combating circulatory diseases, specifically heart disease.
So use 1/2 teaspoon to season your pot of soup or stew. Use only a pinch to flavor your prepared salads, meat, fish, poultry, and pasta dishes. Black pepper is a very powerful compound and a big use can result in negative side effects, for example, headache.
You can add it to fruits, vegetables, scrambled eggs, avocado, and much to give it a kick. The spice goes well when paired with turmeric, garlic, onion, cumin, cardamom, and chili pepper.
Also known as peppercorn, a test-tube study shows that the king of spices resisted at most 93% of free radicals damages stimulated in a fat experiment.
Free radicals will almost result in a poor or unbalanced diet. Exposing your skin to extra sunshine after 11.30 AM to 4.30 PM will result in free radicals being form in the body cells. Smoking and much exposure to pollutants are other factors. So keep your lifestyle very healthy, to contain free radicals in the bloodstream.
But unlike other herbs and spices, black pepper will help the absorption of drugs into the stomach walls. But not much than1/4 of a teaspoon should be taken in your salad greens. And if you can't stand the vim, lessen it.
The spice was an important ingredient in traditional medicine. Though laboratory studies have proved its benefits in rats and test-tube studies.
Sweet Basil Chicken
Is basil good for the heart? Yes. The herb is an evergreen shrub, that grows throughout the Tropics and sub-tropics.
Three well-known types used in everyday life are basil, sweet basil, and cinnamon basil. All these three deliver good nutrition and health impact.
But it should be noted that the herb has 150 varieties.
Basil is good for cooking. It blends well with garlic. It goes well in the cooking pot with fish, goat meat, poultry, grains and cereals like white beans and rice, root tubers like potatoes and African yams, cocoyam, and eggs.
You can add it to soups and stews. You can chew a single tender leaf of the herb to keep your mouth and breath fresh. It leaves, flowers. seeds, tender stalks are used as foods. Cultivated for over 5,000 years, it impacts the heart with its many health benefits.
Its anti-inflammatory properties due to its powerful chemical-eugenol, citronellol, and linalool help fight heart diseases. Furthermore, the herb has a very low Glycemic Load(GL) and helps to cut down on triglycerides and cholesterols which are heart-related diseases. Just add half a teaspoon fresh or dried to your salad greens for a kick.
Herbs and Spice Blends
Some spices and herbs can be made into a blend. This synergistically maximized its potency and flavor. The best known is the Indian blend of garam masala. It consists of more than 6 spices and herbs combined. Here are some of the ingredients: nutmeg, cumin seeds, black cardamom, green cardamom, curcumin pod, bay leaves, black and white peppercorns, mace, green or red chili, and coriander seeds.
There's also the wet form in which coconut milk, vinegar, or water is mixed with 'nuts, onions, garlic' and blended with the above items.
You can make yours's and go beyond and above.
Spices and herbs were used primarily for medicine or medical use for 'holy oils, unguent, and aphrodisiacs'.
Later, records were made in ancient herbals (documents) that identify plants in preparing medicines or remedies for diseases.
The herbs cure or prevent coughs, colds, fever, flu, headache, and many more. But here in this article, I have shown that circulatory diseases, specific heart diseases were not left out in the treatise. Use the spice and herb regularly in small doses and keep your heart safe and healthy.
- The Bible (KJV) Genesis1:29; 2Kings 20:7.
- Cinnamon reduces cardiovascular disease.
- Herb leaves.
- Spice foods.
- Spice, spice seeds, and herbs.
- Garam masala.
- Influence of piperine.
This content is for informational purposes only and does not substitute for formal and individualized diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed medical professional. Do not stop or alter your current course of treatment. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.
© 2022 Miebakagh Fiberesima