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7 Health Boosting Herbs & Spices You Need To Know

Whether you’re struggling with anxiety, menstrual cramps, tiredness, fatigue, lack of focus, or you keep getting sick & don’t know why – a sprinkle of herbs and spices into your favorite recipes may just be the level-up you need. Here are 7 health-boosting herbs & spices to upgrade your nutrition & keep you healthier for longer.

The medicinal properties of herbs and spices have been used for centuries long before they were another ingredient in your latest recipe, but their healing superpowers shouldn’t be underestimated. From anti-aging to stress-busting, gut-healing to energy-boosting, their anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant properties help you to live healthier for longer. Let us guide you through the super league of herbs and spices.

Healing herbs & super spices

First, a science lesson: nutrition educator, chef, and founder of The Eggcellent Breakfast Co,
Loena Rodgers, tells us what makes herbs and spices so magical. “Herbs
are made from the leaves of the plants, and spices are made from the
plant’s accents such as its roots, rhizomes, stems, bark, flowers,
fruits, and seeds of plants. 

“With the natural bioactive
compounds, these herbs and spices penetrate your body and can expedite
its healing little by little when you take them. It aims to bring your
body back to its most natural state called “homeostasis”, aka your body’s healthiest state.” 

1. Turmeric

The sunshine spice, turmeric, is the
gold standard of healing herbs – now used in everything from cooking to
healing and beautifying. As an Ayurvedic favorite, it provides powerful
anti-inflammatory properties, and is antimicrobial, antibacterial, and
loaded with antioxidants, thanks to its high levels of curcumin. So what
does this mean for your health? 

It can help to remove harmful free radicals which can damage otherwise healthy cells resulting in premature aging, plus has collagen-boosting properties.
This, paired with its calming and detoxifying nature means glowing,
healthy, age-defying skin. It can even help to heal wounds, prevent
breakouts (and lessen active ones), fight eczema and psoriasis, reduce
acne scarring, and brighten dark circles – the all-round glow factor! 

With
inflammation being the leading cause of many of our modern illnesses
and diseases, it’s a powerhouse for healing including reducing arthritis
pain, easing depression, and even preventing and treating Alzheimer’s
and some cancers. Turmeric isn’t easily absorbed by the body, but
pairing it with a sprinkling of black pepper increases the chance of it
being absorbed easily to gain all its juicy benefits. Why not swap your
daily caffeine fix for a delicious, frothy turmeric latte blend for a
golden boost of goodness? 

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2. Ashwagandha

Known as the “Prince of Herbs” in
Ayurveda (an ancient holistic healing way of life), Ashwagandha is known
for its balancing and regenerative powers. Its wide-ranging health
benefits make it the ideal herb to boost general health and vitality. As
an adaptogen, it helps your body to manage stress caused by a hormone
imbalance. 

“In a world where it is near impossible to completely
eradicate stress, ashwagandha is incredibly useful, as it increases our
bodies resilience towards it, thus reducing these knock-on effects that
cause such widespread damage in the body,” says Lily Canetty-Clark at Wunder Workshop. 

Chronic
stress – caused by lack of sleep, and feeling like you can’t switch off
with increased pressure at work and social media – can often leave us
feeling depleted. Ashwagandha can help us to cope with these modern-day
pressures. It’s been proven to reduce inflammation, oxidative stress
(which can cause premature aging) with strong antioxidant properties. It
can also boost brain function including memory, and lower blood sugar
and cortisol levels, which could reduce anxiety and depression. 

Struggling
with procrastination or focus lately? Try adding ashwagandha to your
diet for an increase in energy and improved concentration levels. Its
ability to stabilize the adrenal and thyroid glands suggests that
Ashwagandha can even regulate reproductive health and metabolic function
to boost sex drive, improve fertility in men and help to increase
muscle size and strength – an all-over power-up for your mind and
body.  

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Organic Ashwagandha

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3. Cinnamon

Known to fight diabetes and balance blood sugar levels, this sweet
spice, traditionally associated with Christmas, should be a staple in
our food cupboard all year round. Antiviral,
antibacterial, and antifungal properties mean it can detoxify your body
of any nasties. It also fights inflammation and oxidation against
external aggressors like UV rays, pollution, and blue light that can
damage cells and cause premature aging. 

As a probiotic, it’s good
for your gut too. It can help ease any discomfort from digestive
issues and boost your immune system. With your gut now considered your
‘second brain’ by experts, it’s worth looking after it! 

The
sweetness of cinnamon means that you can add it to dishes to sweeten
them up in place of refined sugars – a much healthier alternative! Try
sprinkling some on your oatmeal or pancakes for a sweet hit that won’t
cause your blood sugar levels to spike. 

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4. Ginger

Look to spicy ginger to soothe and calm an upset stomach including
menstrual pain, morning sickness, and motion sickness. As a prebiotic,
it reduces feelings of nausea, supports your digestion, and with 70% of
your immune system residing in your gut, it also helps to boost
immunity. The B6 vitamins and vitamin C in ginger give your body a boost
to protect against illness and disease. 

Its antioxidant and
anti-inflammatory properties mean it’s also great for reducing pain,
especially for sore muscles, and even preventing long-term health
conditions. Just like our other toxin-fighting herbs, it helps to ward
off bad bacteria and protect against disease. Healing experts advise
sipping warm ginger tea or tonic first thing in the morning to get your
digestion off to a healthy start. 

5. Garlic

Garlic has been used for centuries for its immune-boosting medicinal
properties. It’s full of nutrients like manganese, vitamin B6, vitamin
C, selenium, and fiber, for protection against the common cold and flu. 

It
can boost heart health by lowering high blood pressure and cholesterol,
and in turn, prevent heart attacks, heart disease, and strokes. On top
of that, oxidative stress from free radicals can cause premature aging.
As an antioxidant, garlic fights these aggressors helping you to look
younger, and stay healthier for longer. The combination of these can
even go on to help prevent brain diseases like Alzheimer’s and
dementia. 

The sulfurs in garlic (mainly allicillin) produced when
you cut, crush, or chop it could protect organs against heavy metal
toxicity. Adding this pungent herb to recipes can transform the flavor
too. Add it to your next meal to protect against more than vampires!  

6. Green Tea

Green tea is one of the healthiest drinks you can add to your diet
for its fat-burning, antioxidant-fighting, focus-enhancing properties.
The compounds like ECEG contain powerful antioxidants to protect against
the formation of free radicals in the body, protecting cells and
molecules from damage like premature aging and fighting bad bacteria in
the mouth for better oral health. Younger-looking skin and fresh breath?
Yes, please! Its bioactive compounds can even protect against diseases
like type 2 diabetes, hypertension, strokes, and brain disorders. 

Containing
caffeine, green tea keeps you alert, but it can also help with brain
function. What makes green tea special, however, is its star component,
the amino acid l-theanine. The synergistic effects of caffeine and
l-theanine make the ultimate tag team helping to increase concentration
and reduce anxiety. The smaller amount of caffeine in green tea compared
to coffee, along with l-theanine, means that you gain from a boost in
productivity without the crash! Try sipping it with a slice of lemon or
sprig of fresh mint to enhance its flavor.

7. Raspberry Leaf

Finally, a lesser-known herb of the bunch, raspberry leaf, can
help to ease menstrual pain, and boost cellular processes and immunity.
Red raspberry leaves are full of a compound called fragarine. It works
to inhibit uterine activity and tighten the pelvic region. This, along
with the magnesium it contains, strengthens the walls of the uterus and
makes cramps less painful, but is also good for women preparing for
pregnancy. 

It contains calcium and antioxidants meaning it
eliminates harmful toxins from the body to support overall health. It’s
also a great source of potassium, known for boosting heart health by
reducing high blood pressure. It can ease abdominal bloating with its
diuretic properties and provide a source of iron for those with
deficiencies. Try a spoonful of the fluffy stuff or a raspberry leaf tea
one to three times per day to ease cramps. 

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Ancient healing for modern times

Whether you’re taking a sip of herbal tea, spicing up your recipes, or
sprinkling over your smoothies, adding a touch of natural healing from
herbs and spices could be the remedy you’ve been missing to ease pain
and boost energy now, and extend your general health and wellbeing for
the future.