Culinary Herbs with Health Benefits

By Staff
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The two most popular mints are peppermint (Mentha ×piperita) and spearmint (M. spicata). They have calming effects on the gastrointestinal tract.

If you’re looking for herbs with health benefits, just check your pantry: Many culinary herbs offer healing powers. Whether you would like to learn how to cure a sore throat, soothe an aggravated muscle or heal minor wounds, some of the most common herbs and spices might hold the answer. Here’s a look at a few of them and the health benefits they offer.

Mint leaves lend healing and stimulating properties to flavorful teas and fragrant bath blends. When enjoyed as an infusion, peppermint leaves can help reduce gas and aid digestion, as peppermint relaxes the muscles that allow painful digestive gas to pass. This herbal favorite has also been said to treat colds, fevers and headaches.

Thujone, a powerful compound that dries lactation and controls perspiration, is found in garden sage. A delicious cup of sage tea is a popular home remedy for sore throat and gums. This beverage has also long been valued for sharpening the memory and treating insect stings and skin infections. Today, research is being done to investigate the antioxidant properties of sage and its ability to treat or prevent Alzheimer’s disease.

Warning: If you are pregnant or a nursing mother, avoid taking sage internally. The herb should not be taken internally in large amounts due to the side effects of thujone. For the same reason, avoid taking it internally for extended periods.

Ginger is a traditional remedy for bronchitis, as well as a popular “muscle spasm cure.” Use this warming herb to treat digestive complaints and rheumatism. It is most popular for reducing motion sickness symptoms. The fresh rhizome is analgesic and antispasmodic.

Warning: Don’t use ginger if you suffer from inflammatory skin conditions, high fever or digestive-tract ulcers.

Employ garlic cloves in both the kitchen and the medicine cabinet. This culinary favorite possesses antiviral, antibiotic, antiseptic and antifungal properties.

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