What's in your cupboard that can help your health?

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Herbs and Spices

Everyday we eat, it’s a simple fact. To make what we eat taste good, we add herbs and spices to it. While you use them every time you cook, you may not realise how they help your body. Below is a list of herbs and spices we find in our cupboards and how they can help your body out.



Historically Ginger has been used as both food and medicine since ancient times. Records have shown Ginger was a highly valued article for trade and in 13th and 14th century one pound of it was worth the same as one sheep.  Its main action includes antiemetic, carminative, anti-inflammatory, circulatory stimulant, antiplatelet, diaphoretic, pungent and an aromatic digestive. This means Ginger is extremely versatile and can assist in many different conditions. It can help with nausea as well as travel sickness and morning sickness; many different digestive problems like dyspepsia and abdominal bloating; assist in fighting the common cold and fevers as well as acute and chronic bronchitis; and both osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.


Garlic is a tasty herb that adds flavour to food, it has also been used as medicine since antiquity. Legend has it, garlic was used in ancient Egypt to increase workers’ resistance to infection and externally to prevent wound infection. Its main actions are focused towards hypocholesterolaemic, hypotensive, antiplatelet, antioxidant, anthelmintic, antifungal, antibacterial and antiparasitic. Garlic can assist with the prevention of cardiovascular disease as well as help with hypertension and elevated triglycerides; treat hay fever, common cold and sinusitis; and can assist in the modification of bowel flora.


Rosemary is grown in many parts of the world including some of our gardens. The ancient Greeks used this herb to stimulate the brain and strengthen memory function. Its main actions include carminative, antioxidant, circulatory stimulant, spasmolytic, antimicrobial and hepatoprotective. Rosemary can help improve your memory, concentration or mental performance; assist in the detoxification of your liver; assist in the treatment for a tension headache; and can also be used topically for wound healing and neuralgia.


For centuries, Thyme has been used as a spice in cooking as well as medically for the treatment of common infections, coughs, bronchitis and asthma. Its main actions are expectorant, antibacterial, antifungal, spasmolytic, antioxidant and antimicrobial. This means Thyme can assist in the treatment of acute bronchitis, pharyngitis, laryngitis and the common cold; help with coughs and asthma; and assist with diarrhoea and dyspepsia.



Sage has been used since ancient times for various conditions in traditional medicine. Its main actions include antioxidant, spasmolytic, antihyperhidrotic, antimicrobial and astringent. Sage can help with menopausal symptoms including excessive sweating and hot flushes; help improve memory and concentration; and assist with dyspepsia and flatulence.  



The written record of mint has been dated back to an ancient Greek myth involving the Greek God Pluto. Generations have been using peppermint medically for carminative and digestive purposes. Its main actions are carminative, spasmolytic, antiemetic, antimicrobial, antitussive, cholagogue, mild sedative, diaphoretic, antipruritic and analgesic. Peppermint is used both internally and topically in herbal medicine. It can assist with irritable bowel syndrome, dyspepsia, flatulence and infantile colic; helps with nausea and morning sickness; in treating the common cold, influenza, cough and sinus headache. Topically peppermint can help with tension headaches and osteoarthritis.  


Cinnamon has been used for a variety of things since ancient times. It was a common ingredient in cooking in medieval Europe, often used together with Ginger. The main actions for it are carminative, antidiabetic, stomachic, mild astringent, spasmolytic and aromatic digestive. Cinnamon can assist in the management of diabetes, metabolic X syndrome and insulin resistance and help with digestive weaknesses as well as nausea and diarrhoea.  


Turmeric was most likely cultivated as a dye first and then as both a condiment and cosmetic and is yellow in colour. It has been used throughout history for a variety of different health conditions. The main actions of Turmeric are anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, hypolipidaemic, antiplatelet and choleretic. This herb/spice can help with the treatment of both osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis; assist with detoxification of the liver; and peptic ulcer and dyspepsia.   


NB// The herbs mentioned above may have contraindications with other herbs, conditions or medications. Please consult a professional before taking them.