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Culinary Herbs and Spices

I love culinary herbs and spices. Not only do they add wonderful flavor to food but they have potential health benefits. Lets explore some of my favorites.


Turmeric was first used as a textile dye, it soon transitioned to culinary and healing use in traditional Indian medicine. Marco Polo wrote about it during his travels. Today, scientists worldwide are writing about it in medical research.

Possible Health Benefits

1. Actually, the interest is in its active ingredient, curcumin. A potent antioxidant, it is being used as an anti-inflammatory agent.

2. Research is showing significant potential in promoting heart health, as a remedy for arthritis, and for combating cancer, diabetes, digestive issues, Alzheimer’s disease, and depression.

3. It isn’t easily absorbed by the body; so if you add black pepper it is believed to be a transporter so our bodies can benefit from the health properties. This is because black pepper contains the polyphenol piperine, which increases the absorption of curcumin by a whopping 2000 percent.


Garlic, also known as “the stinky rose,” has been used for its medicinal properties for thousands of years. Soldiers in the Greek and Roman armies ate garlic before and during battle. Europeans regularly included it in their diets during the plague years, and soldiers used it as an antibiotic. The herb’s antiseptic properties were later confirmed by chemist and microbiologist Louis Pasteur. The compound allicin is garlic’s active agent. Allicin is responsible for the bulb’s odiferous scent and a number of its healing properties.

Possible Health Benefits

1. Garlic has historically been valued medicinally for a variety of illnesses and complaints. Today, garlic consumption is highly regarded as a preventative against heart disease, high blood pressure, and stroke, and is considered an important ingredient in many diet plans.

2. Garlic is attributed with lowering “bad” cholesterol (LDL) and raising the “good” (HDL). This helps to prevent plaque buildup in our arteries, as well as the formation of blood clots, which are leading causes of heart attacks and strokes.

3. Freshly cut or pressed garlic emits hydrogen sulfide, a disinfectant that helps to kill germs in the body. Once garlic is consumed, our body absorbs it into the bloodstream, then carries it to various organs and avails our skin, intestines, urinary, and respiratory systems with its healing properties.

4. The essential oils in garlic are thought to include strong antiviral, antifungal, and antiseptic properties used to help treat of colds and bronchitis.


This root is pungent and aromatic and has been used throughout history for its distinctive flavor in cooking, and for its medicinal properties as well. Its heat-generating quality is due to the high concentrations of its active constituent, gingerol which is similar to capsaicin and piperine, the compounds that give chili peppers and black pepper their characteristic spicy heat.

Possible Health Benefits

1. A favorite for treating upset stomachs, nausea, and motion sickness. Ginger also has antiseptic properties and offers high levels of antioxidants.

2. As with other members of the Zingiberaceae family like cardamom and turmeric, ginger may also help to improve blood flow and circulation.

There is a lot of research worldwide that supports herbs and spices contain compounds that fight oxidation and inflammation; two processes underlying many chronic diseases. This is exciting and can be available right in your own kitchen. It is unfortunate that many food pyramids don’t include them. Eat foods close to their natural source and hopefully from your own kitchen. If you would like more information, contact Ken or Colleen at 772-231-5555. Go ahead, get spicy! Stay tuned. There are more culinary herbs to include in our pantry. We will discuss the difference between cassia and Ceylon cinnamon in our next blog.


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