Used to treat: Inflammation
Uses: The common denominator seems to be the plant’s potent anti-inflammatory properties that can be as effective as some pharmaceutical drugs. Research confirms that turmeric and its active ingredient curcumin is effective in the treatment of inflammatory bowel disease like Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis. Clinical studies show that people suffering from rheumatoid arthritis, an inflammatory condition, find relief when they use the spice regularly. There’s also some very good evidence that turmeric may prevent cancer development. The spice can inhibit the growth of skin cancer and slows the spread of breast cancer. It can also make cancer cells more vulnerable to chemo and radiotherapy.
Used to treat: Cardiovascular disease & inflammation
Uses: It’s clear that garlic has a measurable benefit on our cardiovascular system.
It can significantly lower our blood triglycerides and total cholesterol, protect the lining of our blood vessels from damage, fights inflammation, lowers blood pressure, and prevents our blood from forming blood clots. Garlic’s powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties also affect other systems, primarily the respiratory and musculoskeletal system. Asthma and other allergic airway inflammation, and arthritis are therefore improved when treated with garlic. Eating garlic every day has been associated with a significantly lower risk of virtually all forms of cancer (except prostate and breast). But if you eat it only a few times per week, it seems that it only protects you from colorectal and renal cancer.
Uses: For maximum benefits, make sure to always purchase fresh garlic rather than garlic flakes, powder, or paste. Avoid garlic that is soft, shriveled, and moldy or that has begun to sprout. Don’t overcook your garlic – too much heat will reduce the activity of the health-promoting compounds inside. It’s best to add them towards the end of the cooking time. The more raw the garlic, the better it is for your health.
Used to treat: Colds, infections and inflammations
Uses: Basil seems to provide protection to human white blood cells at the cellular level. Two powerful antioxidant compounds found in basil protect the cell’s chromosomes from radiation and oxygen-based damage. This allows your immune system to function optimally. To help out even further, basil has potent bacteria-fighting compounds in its natural oils. Lab studies show that basil oil can restrict the growth of numerous pathogenic bacteria including many who have become resistant to commonly used antibiotic drugs. And if you still somehow manage to catch a cold or infection, basil oil can help speed up the healing process through its anti-inflammatory effect. It does this in the same manner as many non-steroidal over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications such as aspirin and ibuprofen: it inhibits the enzyme responsible for causing pain, swelling, and inflammation.
Dose: Opt for fresh basil rather than the dried form since it’s superior in flavor and medicinal properties. Store fresh basil in the fridge wrapped in a slightly damp paper towel. Since the oils in basil are highly volatile, it’s best to add the herb near the end of the cooking process. Add it to soups, salads, healthy stir-fries, or make your own pesto with basil, pine nuts, and parmesan cheese. It doesn’t matter whether basil signifies love or hate – just eat it and reap its benefits.
Used to treat: Diabetes & high blood sugar
Uses: Cinnamon slows the rate at which the stomach empties after meals, and reduces the concentration of blood sugar that rises after meals. For people who suffer from type 2 diabetes, cinnamon is very useful because it improves their ability to respond to insulin. This helps them maintain a normal blood sugar level. Cinnamon’s ability to enhance insulin activity is significant – its ability to use glucose is increased about 20-fold. So potent is cinnamon in regulating blood sugar levels, that animals fed high-fructose corn syrup maintained the same blood sugar concentrations as that of animals on a normal control diet
Dose: Keep ground cinnamon in a tightly sealed container in a cool, dark and dry place, and it’ll stay fresh for about six months. Cinnamon sticks will keep for about a year. Smell it first before using it: if it no longer smells sweet, it’s no longer fresh. Not much is needed to reap the benefits of the spice. Less than half a teaspoon per day of cinnamon reduces blood sugar levels in type 2 diabetes. Even very low amounts, 1 gram per day, can produce a 20% drop in blood sugar levels.
Used to treat: Nausea & digestive upset
Ginger has a long-standing folkloric reputation as a motion-sickness antidote. Fisherman at sea would chew on a slug of ginger to ward off bouts of seasickness. And it’s not just folklore. Studies show that powdered ginger was more effective than common anti-nausea medicines. It most likely works by blocking the feedback between the stomach and the part of the brain that affects nausea, dizziness, vomiting, and cold sweating. It also helps that ginger is able to increase stomach activity and absorb stomach acids. Ginger’s anti-vomiting action has been beautifully demonstrated in a group of people known to vomit more often than anyone else – pregnant women. In a double-blind study, ginger root brought about a significant reduction in both the severity of nausea and number of attacks of vomiting in most women in early pregnancy. Unlike anti-vomiting drugs, which can cause birth defects, ginger is extremely safe and only a small dose is required.
Dose: Choose fresh ginger root whenever possible. Make sure it’s firm, smooth, and free of mold. To prepare ginger, remove the skin with a peeler or a paring knife. Try some ginger tea by boiling it in water, or add some to your lemonade. Sprinkle grated ginger on salads, rice dishes, and sautéed vegetables.
Used to treat: Mental fatigue, depression, and stress
Uses: One of the “hormones of happiness” is called serotonin. It’s a neurotransmitter that makes us feel content and at ease, but it also has a role in regulating smooth muscle contraction, temperature regulation, appetite, pain perception, behaviour, blood pressure and breathing. Too little or too much serotonin causes abnormal mental states like depression. In areas where one is deprived of adequate sun over prolonged period of times, rhodiola is a boon. It enhances the transport of serotonin precursors into the brain and boosts one’s mental state. Randomized clinical studies in humans showed evidence that the herb may be helpful for enhancing physical performance and alleviating mental fatigue. It may evenextend your lifespan. That alone might be something to reduce your stress levels.
Dose: Not many plants are considered adaptogens. Unlike other adaptogens like ginseng and Siberian ginseng , which take weeks to be effective, rhodiola begins to take effect after only a single dose. The effective dose hasn’t really been determined, but one study showed that half a gram (500 mg) of the extract helped treat mild to moderate depression. During the cold dark winter months, rhodiola may be just the thing to help you make it through stress free. Hell, if it worked for the Vikings, it’ll probably work for you too.
Written By AskMen