Here are 10 of the most beneficial herbs and spices for optimal health

More than just adding flavor to some of your favorite dishes, herbs and spices also provide numerous health benefits for your body.

In fact, many societies throughout history celebrated these herbs and spices more for their medicinal properties than for their culinary uses.

Even the most mundane spices, such as pepper, can provide you with a number of benefits.

This is because many of these herbs and spices are packed with potent nutrients and compounds that are beneficial to your overall health.*

Here are 10 beneficial herbs and spices that you should have in your pantry.

  1. Oregano

Oregano has been used for medicinal purposes since ancient times. This herb is known for helping maintain your immune defenses and sustaining your overall well-being.

In particular, oregano is rich in antioxidants, such as carvacrol and thymol. These can help neutralize free radicals that can damage the cells of your body. [1]

Besides antioxidants, oregano also contains plenty of essential nutrients, such as vitamin K. In fact, just one teaspoon of the herb can fulfill about 8% of your daily vitamin K needs. [2]

  1. Black Cumin Seed

Black cumin is another herb that has been used for medicinal purposes since ancient times. Mentions of the oil extracted from black cumin seed can be found in ancient Egyptian records and in the Bible.

The health benefits of black cumin seed and its oil come from their active components. These include sterols, which help support the heart and cardiovascular system.  [3]

Black cumin seed also contains carvacrol, t-anethole, 4-terpineol and thymoquinone, which all contribute to its potent antioxidant properties. [4]

  1. Rosemary

Rosemary is another herb that’s packed with essential nutrients and beneficial compounds.  This fragrant herb from the Mediterranean region is a good source of iron, calcium and vitamins A, B6 and C.

Rosemary is also a rich source of antioxidants and other compounds that help protect against free radicals and support the immune system. [5]

Just smelling rosemary can provide you with a number of mental health benefits. This herb’s aroma is said to improve mood, clear the mind and relieve stress.

  1. Cinnamon

Cinnamon has been highly valued by traditional healers for its medicinal properties for thousands of years. This spice contains a compound called cinnamaldehyde, which is responsible not only for cinnamon’s distinct smell and flavor, but also for its wonderful health benefits. [6]

Cinnamaldehyde is noted for its natural chelating properties. In particular, it can help fight bad breath and support dental health. [7]

Cinnamon is also loaded with antioxidants. In fact, cinnamon has been found to contain more antioxidants than other “superfoods” like garlic and oregano. [8]

  1. Echinacea

Echinacea has been used for centuries by Native American healers as an herbal remedy. Research shows that it contains a potent mix of health-promoting compounds.

Like many medicinal herbs, echinacea is rich in antioxidants, including flavonoids like chicoric acid and rosmarinic acid. [9]

Echinacea also contains compounds known as alkamides, which are known to support the beneficial effects of antioxidants. [10]

  1. Neem

Neem is an evergreen tree whose different parts have been used for medicine by traditional Indian healers since ancient times. Its uses go beyond just being consumed.

In particular, neem is known to support healthy teeth and gums. People in India have been chewing neem twigs as part of their dental hygiene for centuries. [11]

Like many of the items on this list, neem is also known for its high antioxidant content. Its leaves, in particular, are a rich source of phenolic compounds that possess antioxidant properties. [12]

  1. Elderberry

Elderberry – despite having the word “berry” in its name – is also considered a medicinal herb. This is because different parts of elderberry can provide you with health benefits.

For instance, its flowers – called elderflower – are rich in the antioxidant flavonoid quercetin. Elderflower, in fact, contains about 10 times more quercetin than the fruits of elderberry. [13]

Meanwhile, elderberry fruits are rich in anthocyanins, which give them their characteristic dark-purple color. Anthocyanins are well-known powerful antioxidants. [14]

  1. Nettle

Nettle, or stinging nettle, has been a staple of traditional medicine since ancient times. It was widely used by the Ancient Egyptians and Romans as a natural remedy for all sorts of ailments.

Nettle leaves and roots are packed with essential nutrients. These include vitamins A, C and K, and minerals like calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium and sodium.

According to studies, eating nettle or taking nettle extract can increase the amount of antioxidants in your blood. [15]

  1. Black pepper

Black pepper may seem like a pretty basic spice, but it’s actually rich in beneficial compounds that can support your health in different ways. In fact, black pepper has been an essential part of Ayurvedic medicine for centuries because of its many active components.

One very useful compound in black pepper is piperine. Studies show that piperine has potent antioxidant properties. [16]

Piperine has also been found to improve the body’s absorption of beneficial compounds from other herbs, which leads us to…

  1. Turmeric

Turmeric is a popular spice commonly used to make sauces and curry. A prized herb in Ayurvedic medicine, it is also known as a rich source of antioxidants and other nutrients.

Turmeric contains vitamins B1, B2, B3 and C, as well as minerals like calcium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium and zinc. Turmeric also contains curcumin, a very powerful antioxidant. [17]

One issue with curcumin, however, is that it is not very bioavailable – that is, it is poorly absorbed into the bloodstream. This means that you don’t get as much curcumin as you should from eating turmeric alone.

Luckily, there’s one compound that can help your body absorb more curcumin from turmeric: piperine from black pepper. This substance can actually enhance your body’s absorption of curcumin by 2,000%. [18]

When buying a turmeric product, make sure to also buy ground black pepper to go along with it. In this regard, the Health Ranger Store has you covered with both Health Ranger Select Organic Turmeric Root Powder and Health Ranger Select Organic Ground Black Pepper.

By combining these two products, not only will you gain all the health benefits of turmeric and curcumin, but you’ll also get to enjoy the benefits of black pepper.

Add oregano, black cumin seed, rosemary, cinnamon, echinacea, neem, elderberry, nettle, black pepper and turmeric to your pantry today.

These ten herbs and spices offer lots of flavor and health benefits, providing you with a host of essential nutrients and antioxidants. If you know of any other beneficial herbs or spices, share them in the comments below.

 

*These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA.

**These product is not intended to treat, cure or diagnose any diseases.

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Comments

Rui de Castro Guimarães Cardoso - August 14, 2020

Thank you Mike!

Victoria DeLacy - August 14, 2020

Since I’ve been using echinacea, the chronic sinus infections that naturally resulted from my allergies have practically vanished altogether. It is great protection!

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