Anise seeds provide a sweet taste similar to that of black licorice when used in foods. They can calm an upset stomach and help with coughs and runny noses. Thanks to presumed estrogen-like properties, anise may increase milk flow in breastfeeding mothers, treat menstrual symptoms and boost libido, according to WebMD.
Anise seeds are also a good source of fiber and calcium, among other nutrients, and a very good source of iron, with 2.4 milligrams in just one tablespoon.
Burdock It’s possible to cook and eat the root of this plant as food, but, along with its leaves and seeds, it’s also used in supplement form, mainly to fight bacteria and inflammation and to “detox” the body.
Calendula The petals of this flowering plant (a relative of the garden-variety marigold) are full of the plant-based antioxidants known as flavonoids, which fight germs and inflammation, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. Calendula is often used to help ease upset stomachs, but when applied directly to the skin, may help heal burns, cuts and bruises. It has also been used to treat a sore throat, as its anti-inflammatory properties seem to decrease the swelling there, according to WebMD.
Cilantro is high in vitamin K, reports Livestrong. And that, in turn, improves bone strength and helps the blood clot.
Cinnamon research to suggest that cinnamon may lower blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes and reduce cholesterol levels. It’s also a very good source of fiber, with 4 grams per tablespoon, and, because of that warm, sweet flavor, it might also satisfy your cravings for treats without adding calories or fat.
Cumin like cinnamon, cumin may help people with diabetes keep blood sugar levels in check. But it also has powerful germ-fighting properties that might prevent stomach ulcers. Cumin is also a very good source of calcium, iron and magnesium.
Dandelion greens have been used in Native American and eastern medicine to help with liver, kidney and spleen problems, though there isn’t any clinical research data to support those claims. Still, according to the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, traditional or folk uses of dandelion include use as a liver or kidney ‘tonic,’ as a diuretic, and for minor digestive problems.
Fennel, native to the Mediterranean area, has a similar flavor to licorice, just like anise. And while both made our list, it’s for different health benefits. Fennel can help with bloating, gas and other digestion issues, according to WebMD, and may be particularly useful in quelling heartburn.
Ginger This popular, spicy root is a well-known nausea remedy for pregnancy-related illness, as well as chemotherapy and motion sickness. There is some limited evidence that it might be an effective painkiller too: treating arthritis, joint pain and muscle soreness.
Ginseng There are a number of different types of this healthful root. American ginseng has been shown to decrease blood sugar levels in people with Type 2 diabetes, slow colorectal cancer cell growth, shorten how long that cold lingers and boost immunity. Asian ginseng also seems to boost immunity, as well as improve mental health and reduce stress. It’s what’s known as an adaptogen, which helps the body balance the natural stress response. The ancient (and well studied) root has been used for more than 5,000 years for memory, energy and to combat depression.
Holy Basil This type of basil is often used to treat high cholesterol (although the research isn’t conclusive). What’s more, according to WebMD, some limited research shows many other benefits from the herb, including upper respiratory infections, asthma, diabetes and more. Researchers believe that this is because compounds in holy basil decrease pain and swelling. It is also used to alleviate the effects of stress.
Lavender is well known calming and soothing effects of this plant help ease stress and promote sleep.
But there are some lesser known benefits of lavender. Eating it, as part of a spice mix, can help beat bloating. Thanks to its antioxidants known as polyphenols. And, in oil form, it can stop itching and swelling when applied to the skin.
Nutmeg This common baking spice is a good solution for stomach problems and seems to fight off bacteria and fungi, according to WebMD. It’s a solid source of fiber, and, thanks to anti-inflammatory properties, could help smooth blemishes when applied directly to the skin.
Oregano has both antibacterial and antifungal properties that make it effective against some forms of food borne illnesses and even some antibiotic resistant infections. It has also been found to be effective against yeast based infections like vaginitis and oral thrush.
Rosemary This popular garden herb is rich in rosmarinic acid as well as many other antioxidants, making it fantastic against inflammation. There’s also some evidence that it stimulates the production of acetylcholine, which in turn helps boost learning and memory.
Thyme This common garden herb is full of antioxidants, like thymol, lavonoids apigenin, naringenin, luteolin, and thymonin. Antioxidants prevent cellular damage that can boost overall health and help prevent cancer, inflammation, signs of aging and more.
Tumeric, the main spice in curry and a relative of ginger, is used to treat everything from depression to liver disease to skin ailments, according to the National Institutes for Health. Like many folk remedies, there isn’t conclusive research on how effective the spice is against many of these maladies. But some good research shows that tumeric has helped patients with arthritis and with heartburn.
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