Herbs have been used in traditional medicine around the world for centuries. Many herbs have high concentrations of phytochemicals that can be effective in boosting general health and immunity.
Herbs That Improve Health
Here is a brief list of herbs you can add to your diet to help fight conditions such as weak immunity, high cholesterol levels, and free radical damage. (1)
Turmeric is widely used in Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine for its beneficial properties. It contains an active compound called curcumin. Curcumin has potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant qualities.
Curcumin, along with other antioxidants in turmeric, is an effective management agent for high cholesterol levels, type 2 diabetes, inflammation, arthritis, high blood pressure, wounds, liver diseases, and even some types of cancers. (2)
Curcumin supplements are also available, and you may consume these daily after consulting your doctor.
Cilantro, or coriander, is used as a topping for many traditional dishes. However, this herb is more than just food décor – it contains many antioxidants and lipids. Its essential oil, linalool, has anti-inflammatory and antidepressant qualities.
Some studies have shown that adding cilantro to meat when grilling or frying can help reduce the amount of HCAs (heterocyclic amines) released from it. HCAs are believed to be carcinogenic. (4)
Cilantro is also rich in vitamins A, C, and E. (1)
Ginger contains many antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties. It is an effective cure for nausea such as that experienced during pregnancy and seasickness. It also has pain-relieving qualities.
You can drink ginger tea or add grated ginger to stir-fries, soups, and other main dishes.
Basil contains antimicrobial and antioxidant qualities. Vicenin and rientin, two important phytochemicals found in basil, help boost the immune system. The high antioxidant content of basil also helps fight aging and cell damage. (6)
Basil can be used as a seasoning for soups, roasts, and curries.
Rosemary is widely used in cooking for its flavor and aroma. It is also useful for its medicinal properties.
Dried oregano leaves can be mixed with salt and chili flakes to make a seasoning powder. You can also consume oregano tea by steeping fresh or dried oregano leaves in water.
Peppermint is known for its soothing effects on the digestive system. It helps relieve nausea and symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome and acidity. Peppermint tea is said to have anti-inflammatory properties and can also help improve mood. (10)
Sage is another herb from the mint family with medicinal properties. It can improve mood and cognitive abilities. Sage also helps lower cholesterol levels and blood glucose levels. It is useful in respiratory issues such as bronchitis and asthma. (11)
Garlic helps lower cholesterol levels and blood pressure. It protects the heart and cells from free radical damage. It also has antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory qualities.
However, garlic can act as a blood thinner and should not be taken along with blood-thinning medicines such as warfarin. (12)
Ginseng can have mood-alleviating and aphrodisiac qualities. However, it can cause high blood pressure or high blood glucose. Hence, people with hypertension or diabetes should not use it. (13)
Chamomile is well known for its soothing quality. It helps improve mood, alleviate depressive symptoms, and provide relief from headaches or migraines.
Chamomile tea is a good way to consume chamomile. However, pregnant women or women trying to conceive should not use it. (13)
Thyme is very beneficial in healing respiratory illnesses such as bronchitis and asthma. It is a good source of vitamins C and A, antioxidants, and manganese. (14)
Adding thyme to food may be a good way to prevent food spoilage as it helps prevent bacterial growth.
Herbal medicine is probably one of the oldest forms of medicine known to mankind. Consuming these herbs regularly can help improve your health and quality of life exponentially.