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Spices as Medicine: 8 Spices with Healing Powers

By Edited Aug 5, 2016 2 0

Spices as Medicine

When we get sick, we rely on pharmaceutical products to get better. Nowadays, using natural remedies have become popular. One primary reason for this is because natural products offer minimal side effects. Plus, these products are usually found in our homes.  Take spices as an example. Did you know that most of the spices you use for cooking can also be used to treat certain ailments?

There are several herbs and spices with healing powers. But, for now, let’s focus on the common spices that you can use as medicine. With that said, here is a list of spices with healing powers that can help treat your discomforts and ailments.

1. Cardamom


Known as the “queen of spice,” cardamom is commonly used in the Indian cuisine. But, this spice is so popular that it is now used all over the world. This is not only to add a floral-like flavor to your recipes. You can also make an herbal infusion using this spice. In fact, if you want to use this spice as medicine, cardamom tea is one way to reap its therapeutic benefits. So, what are the healing properties of cardamom?

If you’re an avid reader of topics about Ayuverdic medicine, you’ve probably encountered cardamom. One reason for this is because this spice is traditionally used to relieve stomach aches. But, this is not just a folk remedy. Science can actually back-up this claim. According to studies, the “queen of spice” contains methanolic. This specific compound is responsible for cardamom’s healing power against gastrointestinal disorders.

Cardamom can also help in treating bad breath and cavities.[10] This is due to cardamom’s ability to fight certain strains of bacteria in our oral cavity. To do this home remedy, all you have to do is to chew cardamom seeds.

You can also use this spice as a home remedy for sore throat. To do this, just boil cardamom seeds and use the water to cleanse your mouth and throat. You can also add some cinnamon. It can strengthen the efficacy of the solution.

2. Cayenne Pepper

Cayenne Peppers

A hot and spicy dish is appealing for a lot of people. The burning sensation we feel in our tongue is something we want to experience once in a while. Cayenne pepper is infamous for this burning sensation. But, did you know that this spice can also offer therapeutic benefits?

As one of the spices with healing powers, you can use cayenne peppers for certain ailments. This is due to its capsaicin contents. So, what are the therapeutic benefits of capsaicin?

One of the most popular therapeutic benefits of cayenne pepper is pain relief. Basically, capsaicin can deplete the amounts of substance P. It is a neurotransmitter that sends pain signals to our brain. When using cayenne pepper for pain, you can make a homemade topical cream. You can also buy commercialized products. This cream can relieve arthritis symptoms, headaches and muscle pain.

If you’re experiencing nasal congestion, cayenne pepper can help you breathe more comfortably. This is because it can help loosen the congested mucus in our nasal cavity. In addition to that, capsaicin can make you sweat. This activates our immune system. Through this, we can easily beat the common colds. So, eating a hot and spicy dish is a good home remedy for respiratory problems.

You can also use cayenne pepper to aid in your weight loss journey. Basically, capsaicin can help you lose weight in various ways. First, it can suppress hunger. As a thermogenic food, it can also boost your metabolism and increase your fat burning process.

Other kinds of chili peppers also contain capsaicin. Thus, you can use other kinds of chilies as an alternative for cayenne pepper. As a reminder, keep in mind that consuming too much chili can cause harm. Excessive consumption of hot and spicy foods is evidently linked to stomach cancer. For this reason, it is best to moderate our intake of chilies.

3. Cinnamon


One of the most well-liked spices all over the world is cinnamon. We often use it to flavor our drinks and for baked goods. But, most of us also use this sweet and spicy product as a natural remedy for various conditions.

There are several ways to use cinnamon to mediate certain illnesses. One in particular is insulin resistance. As you know, insulin is vital for the proper functioning of our body. If it cannot do its job, this can lead to certain medical conditions such as obesity and type 2 diabetes. The good news, this flavorful spice can help insulin do its job. Through this, cinnamon can also regulate blood sugar levels.[7] Thus, cinnamon may help diabetics.

One popular remedy today is the combination of cinnamon and honey. This is because both natural products complement each other.  By mixing the two, you’re creating a powerful duo that can combat various ailments. Keep in mind that both products have antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties. Thus, you can use this remedy to relieve sore throat and beat the common colds. You can also use this mixture for acne problems.

When buying cinnamon, it is highly recommended to pick Ceylon and not the Cassia variety. This is because the Cassia variety has high amounts of courmarin. This compound can cause harm when taken in large amounts. Ceylon also has courmarin, but at lower dose. For this reason, it is best to use cinnamon with precaution.

4. Cumin and Black Cumin Seeds


Cumin’s popularity can be dated back in the biblical times. This seed is actually mentioned many times in the Bible. This is not surprising since it can offer various benefits. Not only does it bring forth an earthly favor to your meat recipes, it is also one of the few spices with healing powers.

Cumin is typically used as a natural remedy for respiratory disorders. This is due to its various healing properties. First, it has antiviral effects. If you’re suffering from nasal congestion, cumin can loosen the mucus in your respiratory tract. Aside from that, you can also use cumin as an expectorant. So, if you’re suffering from a cough with thick and slimy phlegm, drinking cumin tea may also help clear your lungs and airways.

Cumin is also a natural remedy for indigestion. Basically, cumin has several components that all work together to ensure proper digestion. First of all, cuminaldehyde stimulates our salivary glands. Thymol, another component of cumin, aids in secreting enzymes, acids and bile. Due to its carminative properties, you can also use cumin for stomach aches.  

What about black cumin? By now, you’ve probably read or heard about the amazing capabilities of black cumin seeds to treat various illnesses. This black colored spice is actually linked to various illnesses. Studies have shown its effectiveness against asthma.[12] This is mainly because it can act as a potent bronchodilator. Furthermore, another study shows that this spice is valuable for diabetic patients. This is due to its ability to lower blood sugar levels.[11]

5. Garlic


Like me, you probably include garlic in a lot of your recipes. As one of the most popular spice all over the world, garlic has become a staple in most recipes. But, garlic can offer more than just flavor and aroma. You can also use this spice as medicine. 

Since the ancient times, garlic is used throughout the world as a natural remedy. Most of its healing powers come from its component known as allicin. So, what are some of the therapeutic benefits of garlic?

One of the most popular healing properties of garlic is its antimicrobial property. Basically, this flavorful spice can hinder and beat various kinds of infections. This is because it posses antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal properties.[2] A basic example is the common colds.  You can chew two or three cloves of garlic twice a day to fight the infection. Plus, garlic is also known to boost the immune system. So, you’ll feel better in no time.

Studies have also shown that garlic is capable of lowering high blood pressure for those with hypertension.[1] Garlic can lower blood pressure by relaxing our blood vessels. This can happen in various ways.  One in particular is when garlic stimulates the production of hydrogen sulphide and nitric oxide.  

Eating raw garlic is universally considered the best way to get its medicinal properties. To effectively use garlic, you can crush or chop garlic and allow it to sit for about 10 minutes. This is typically done to ensure that allicin is available. Keep in mind that allicin is not readily available in garlic. By chopping, crushing or chewing, the enzyme that produces allicin can do its job. If you’re not a big fan of garlic’s strong flavor, you can also add it in your favorite veggie juice recipe. Just remember to eat it in its raw form. 

Aside for the undesirable bad breath, consuming moderate amounts of garlic is considered safe. But, it is best to consult your physicians before using this spice as medicine. This is strongly recommended if you’re planning to take garlic for hypertension. This is to ensure safety and efficacy.

6. Ginger


Ginger is one of the few spices loved by a lot of people. This is not surprising since it offers a likeable flavor. But, that’s not all. It can also offer numerous health benefits. For now, let as focus on using this spice as medicine.

In my article about drinking ginger tea for arthritis, I’ve discussed one of ginger’s healing powers. This is its ability to relieve pain and swelling. There are many studies that can attest to this claim. One study showed that this yellow root is as effective as ibuprofen and mefenamic acid in relieving menstrual cramps for women.[4] This is mainly due to its gingerol contents. Basically, gingerol is known to provide antioxidant, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory effects.    

Ginger’s medicinal properties would be incomplete without highlighting its potency in relieving digestive problems. Drinking ginger tea is traditionally done to relieve tummy aches and indigestion. But, that’s not all. This healthful root can also be used as a natural remedy for vomiting. If you’re pregnant, you can also drink ginger tea to relive your morning sickness.

Although ginger tea may work as a natural remedy, there is a more potent way to use ginger. According to studies, ginger oil is the most effective way to use this spice as medicine.[5] This is especially true for those who wants to use ginger for arthritis and muscle soreness. Typically, its therapeutic dose would range from 2 to 3 drops.

7. Onion


In this list of spices with healing powers, onion is probably the least popular. Most of you would probably prefer other options than a product that will make you cry. Nonetheless, onion can definitely offer therapeutic benefits.

One of onion’s healing powers is it can combat allergies. This is due to its quercetin contents. Studies have shown that it can reduce the amounts of histamine produce by the body. Not only can it act as an antihistamine, onions can also be used as a bronchodilator. For those with asthma, onions may help open your airways, which may lead to an easier breathing. One way to use this spice to relive allergy symptoms is to drink onion water. It is made by infusing onions in water for about 8 to 12 hours. You can also add honey to improve its flavor.

Aside from its antihistamine effects, onions also have antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. Thus, you can also use onions for respiratory ailments. Onion is also considered an excellent expectorant. A mixture of onion juice and honey is actually considered a powerful cough remedy.  

One important note to remember is to be careful when peeling onions. Most of onion's phytonutrients and healthful compounds are located in its outer layers. For this reason, over peeling should be avoided. 

8. Turmeric


If you’re a fan of Indian cuisine, you’ve enjoyed the woody yet exotic taste of turmeric. But, turmeric is more than just a common spice in the Indian cuisine. It can also offer various health benefits.

Know as the “spice of life,” turmeric is universally used as a natural remedy for various illnesses. This is due to its curcumin contents. Basically, this compound is known for being a powerful antioxidant and ant-inflammatory agent.[6] As such, you can use turmeric as a natural remedy for arthritis. In addition to that, you can also use turmeric for burns.

As of today, turmeric is one of the few spices that has been the center of countless researches. Studies have shown that this spice can help treat illnesses like depression, high cholesterol, cancer and diabetes. The good news is that most of these researches have positive results. So, turmeric has a promising future in the health industry.  

This golden-colored spice is also popular in the beauty department. As I’ve mentioned in my article about natural anti-aging remedies, turmeric is one of the few healthful products you can use to give your skin a youthful appearance.

The problem with turmeric is that its curcumin contents are low. Most researches have used high doses of curcumin. If you’re planning to use curcumin to mange arthritis symptoms, a 100% extract is highly recommended. Aside from that, turmeric is fat soluble. So, if you want to get its health benefits, it is highly recommended to consume it with a fatty meal.  

With that, if you want to know more about turmeric, you can watch the video below.

The Health Benefits of Turmeric

Important Notes to Remember

Spices with Healing Powers

Using these spices with healing powers to treat some of your ailments is a convenient approach. But, as always, it is best to discuss this matter with your physicians. Keep in mind that some of these spices can contraindicate with certain medications. An example for this is ginger. This spice can also lower blood sugar levels. If you’re taking diabetes medication, a combination of the two may result to a very low blood sugar level. This is not normal. Thus, your physician may adjust the dosage of your medication. They can also provide more information about using these spices as medicine.

Another important note to remember is dosage. One primary reason some herbal remedies fail is because of low dosage. For a natural remedy to be effective, you need to use the right amount. An example for this is cinnamon. According to studies, its effective dose will range between 1 to 6 grams. However, if you’re planning to use cinnamon on a daily basis, it is best to consult your physicians. This is because of courmarin. As I’ve mentioned above, this compound can cause harm when taken continuously and in large amounts.

If you’re experiencing minor ailments, using these spices can help you feel more comfortable. But, remember, you can also get other health benefits from these natural products. As you know, these spices also contain healthful compounds. So, adding these spices in your daily recipes will also increase your meal’s overall nutrient value. 

Ginger Root Essential Oil From Majestic Pure, Therapeutic Grade, Pure and Natural, 4 fl. oz.
Amazon Price: $24.50 Buy Now
(price as of Aug 5, 2016)
Ginger is infamous for its healing powers. It is said that the most potent way to use ginger as a medicine is through ginger oil. This is because it contains the highest amounts of gingerol.
Amazing Herbs Cold-Pressed Black Seed Oil - 16oz
Amazon Price: $27.81 Buy Now
(price as of Aug 5, 2016)
Several researches have shown that black cumin oil can help treat various ailments. It has two compounds that can offer therapeutic benefits. First is Nigellone. It is an anti-histamine. Another is Thymoquinone, which is an anti-inflammatory agent.


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  2. Peyman Mikaili, Surush Maadirad, Milad Moloudizargari, Shahin Aghajanshakeri and Shadi Sarahroodi "Therapeutic Uses and Pharmacological Properties of Garlic, Shallot, and Their Biologically Active Compounds." US National Library of Medicine - National Institutes of Health . 26/07/2016 <Web >
  3. "Garlic and Organosulfur Compounds." Oregon State University . 26/07/2016 <Web >
  4. Ozgoli G, Goli M, Moattar F. "Comparison of effects of ginger, mefenamic acid, and ibuprofen on pain in women with primary dysmenorrhea.." US National Library of Medicine - National Institutes of Health . 26/07/2016 <Web >
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  9. "Onion." University of Michigan . 26/07/2016 <Web >
  10. Ratika Sharma "Cardamom Comfort ." US National Library of Medicine - National Institutes of Health . 26/07/2016 <Web >
  11. Bamosa AO, Kaatabi H, Lebdaa FM, Elq AM, Al-Sultanb A. "Effect of Nigella sativa seeds on the glycemic control of patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus.." US National Library of Medicine - National Institutes of Health . 26/07/2016 <Web >
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