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Your Spice Rack as a Medicine Cabinet: 5 Hidden Healers in Your Kitchen

Elizabeth Renter
March 3rd, 2013
Updated 05/08/2014 at 6:03 pm
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spicesandherbs 265x165 Your Spice Rack as a Medicine Cabinet: 5 Hidden Healers in Your KitchenYou don’t have to be a chef to know that some herbs and spices taste good in certain dishes. Likewise, you don’t have to be a professional herbalist to use many of these same spices and herbs to treat and prevent illness and disease. Your kitchen should double as your medicine cabinet, as you’ll often find what you need without having to hit the drug store or the pharmacy.

While we could write a book on healing herbs and spices (many such books have been written), we’ll just give you a brief run-down of some of the more commonly overlooked herbs and spices with healing properties. Here are 5 healers that can be found in your kitchen.

1. Sage

Common sage is often used in meat dishes and in cooking with root vegetables. But sage has many health benefits. Made in a tea, you can use the herb sage for sore throat relief, to soothe digestion, calm a cough, and even boost memory. One study found consuming sage can improve scores on memory recall tests. Maybe best of all, you can grow your own.

2. Turmeric

The many benefits of this golden yellow spice are really no secret, unless you haven’t been following natural health news at all in recent months. It’s a powerful antioxidant, can be used to detox the liver, and even relieves pain. There is evidence that turmeric can protect against Alzheimer’s disease and even prevent breast cancer. Perhaps the most documented benefits of turmeric is in its ability to fight cancer cells.

3. Oregano

You might put it on your pizza or in your pasta dishes, but what you probably didn’t realize is how oregano could be benefiting your health. Oregano and the oil derived from it has been shown to encourage weight loss, promote healthy digestion, treat sinus infections and even sooth toothaches. It is an anti-bacterial, antioxidant, anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory, and anti-histamine herb. And like sage, you can easily grow your own to experience oregano benefits.

4. Cinnamon

Everyone should be getting some cinnamon in their daily diet. This spice is great on everything from desserts to teas. And it’s good for managing diabetes, promoting a healthy heart, fighting Alzheimer’s disease, arthritis, cancer, and PMS.

5. Basil

More and more you can find fresh and actually live basil plants in the grocery store produce section. This isn’t only good for your salads and pesto sauce, it’s great for your health. Basil can improve circulation, reduce cholesterol oxidation, reduce inflammation, and boost immunity. It can also treat stomach cramps, nausea, and headaches. Check out some information on sweet basil, one of numerous basil varieties.

There are numerous other herbs and spices in your kitchen right now that are great for your health and can double as medicine. What are your favorite spice-rack healers?

From around the web:

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  • Al Thompson, R.E.A., C.E.I.

    Did you notice placed in the center of the photo of the spice rack is the bright yellow/orange color of Turmeric (curcumin)?

    "Turmeric (curcumin) may have the most health benefits of any (single) natural herb on the planet", according to decades of world-wide clinical studies. However, turmeric by itself has relatively poor bioavailability (absorption into the body) unless it has a catalyst, like piperine (the active compound found in black pepper), to "charge" and unleash turmeric's (curcumin's) multiple health benefits. Turmeric-Plus ™ is turmeric that is fortified with piperine (850 mg vegicaps) for superior bioavailability. Google: "turmeric, curcumin, piperine – health benefits" and learn about "India's 'super herb' for over 4,000 years".

    For more information on Turmeric-Plus, you can also contact Al Thompson @ Y3Kusa, developer and manufacturer of Turmeric-Plus at (email)

  • David Sheridan
  • Teri

    Ceylon can be found in most natural health food stores and typically can be purchased in bulk as well.

    • Anonymous

      Ceylon can also be easily obtained in the Mexican foods isle of your local grocery – they are the #1 importer from Sri Lanka.

  • cpmt

    YOU FORGOT THYME. Thyme is antibacterial, anti fungal, anti inflammatory…. very good herb as good as oregano.

  • Elle

    use cinnamon bark, then you know you are getting the real stuff……

    • cpmt

      how do you know the difference? color? shape? or..?

  • Victoria

    Where can you get the true "Ceylon Cinnamon"?

  • guest

    Regarding Cinnamon; what is available in the US is Cassia AKA 'Chinese cinnamon' not true or 'Ceylon cinnamon'. The cassia contains higher amounts of coumarin which can damage the liver in high dosages. Even the pharmacists are ignorant of the fact that the supplements available in drugs stores are not true cinnamon.

    • comt

      thrue cinnamon is the Mexican cinnamon, not the Asian. It is true that they Ceyland its the best specially for diabetes. but difficult to find or know which is which. Yes, coumarin can be toxic, (like turmeric if you eat too much) you should use only 1/4 tsp. to 1/2tsp. no more and better if you pass it thru a coffee filter or dissolved in lots of water/oil in cooking.