In this article alternative health guru Dr. Joseph Mercola explains how these ten commonly available herbs and spices can prevent disease and combat aging.
Doctor Mercola is very well respected in the world of alternative medicine – below are his top 10 choices of herbs and spices found in many kitchens that have been shown to combat aging and prevent disease. He recommends adding a selection of these herbs and spices to your regular diet in order to get their health benefits. Even 1 teaspoon a day will have a positive effect on your health.
Doctor Mercola suggests that if possible you should use fresh rather then dried herbs as they are more powerful. Also look out for very fragrant varieties because these usually have higher concentrations of healthy ingredients. If you do use dried herbs then make sure to keep them in a sealed container away from direct sunlight.
Damage to skin cells causes wrinkles and makes one look older. To combat this Dr. Mercola advises ading a blend of Italian spices to your cooking. This can provide all important protection against aging on a cellular level. Basil, a key ingredient of the so called Italian spices has a very high concentration of antioxidants that will protect your cells from the action of free radicals. These are molecules that causes skin to age and also cause heart disease, cancer, osteoporosis and Alzheimer’s disease.
Thyme has been shown to help the body heal from bacterial infections more quickly. Bacterial infections cause illnesses ranging from the common sore throat to potentially deadly diseases such as pneumonia. Studies have found that thyme can kill MSRA bacteria which cause staph infections. Thyme is also used in its concentrated form in mouth washes and cough drops in order to treat oral inflammation and throat infections.
A major cause of premature aging is inflammation on a cellular level. To combat this Dr. Mercola recommends ading sage to your diet. Sage has been shown to be effective in fighting inflammation caused by such common ailments as rheumatoid arthritis and also atherosclerosis which causes hardening of arteries and is a major cause of heart disease.
Marjoram is an excellent herb that can improve both your digestion and your sleep. Both of these play a major factor in looking after your overall health. Studies have shown that marjoram activates cells in the body that are responsible for improved digestion. In the form of concentrated oil or tincture the addition of marjoram to your bath in the evening relaxes body and mind and aids a good night’s sleep. It has also been found to be very good in combating the physical and psychological results of stress.
The antioxidant properties of oregano have been proven in numerous studies. This is due to the active agent in oregano – rosmarinic acid. Rosmarinic acid destroys the free radicals in the body that cause aging and disease. Oregano is also a broad-spectrum antibiotic and anti-fungal that can help kill candida as well as yeast and nail infections.
Ginger is an amazing herb when it comes to keeping you young and healthy and has been used in Eastern alternative herbal medicine for thousands of years. It helps keep the heart young and also the arteries clear. It also fights harmful bacteria and fungi. It boosts the immune system and lowers cholesterol thus protecting your circulatory system from the ravages of atherosclerosis. It does this by preventing the oxidation of LDL which is the worst form of cholesterol. As an added benefit, Ginger is also great for treating nausea.
Allspice is made from the fruit of the Pimenta Dioica plant. It has a rich peppery taste resembling a mix of cinnamon, cloves, juniper and nutmeg. To keep your gut healthy Dr. Mercola recommends rubbing allspice on your meat or adding it to vegetables and soup. It is also great at combating gas and aiding digestion. It has also been found to be effective in keeping blood sugar regulated which will help keep arteries healthy and prevent diabetes.
A common symptom of aging is muscle and joint pain caused by arthritis. Cinnamon is rich in anti-inflammatory compounds that help relieve these symptoms. Cinnamon also has antibiotic properties that will help prevent urinary tract infections as well as tooth decay and gum disease. It has even been shown to be effective in killing the very harmful bacteria E.coli.
Cloves are described by Doctor Mercola as cinnamon on steroids! They are good for just about anything imaginable. The help with muscle pain and arthritis and also have been found to have the highest Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity of any spice. This means it has the best anti-oxidant free radical neutralizing properties. It also has a high concentration of eugenol which has a mild anesthetic effect and is great for lessening the pain associated with toothaches, gum disease and throat infections. Cloves help relieve respiratory ailments such as asthma and bronchitis as well as getting rid of intestinal parasites, fungi and bacteria. Cloves are truly a wonder herb.
Turmeric has been a staple component of Ayurvedic traditional Indian medicine for centuries. In the west so many lives are ravaged by the effects of cancer – and yet in India where turmeric is widely used, the incidence of the most common forms of cancer is 10 times lower than it is in America. These properties are thought to be due to the compound curcumin which is found in high concentration in turmeric and which gives it its characteristic rich dark yellow colour. Studies have shown that curcumin is both an effective protection against cancer and can even cause colon cancer cells to die. Not only is turmeric effective in combating cancer but population studies in India have shown that elderly people in India have the lowest rate of Alzheimer’s disease worldwide.
Although aging can’t be stopped it can be slowed down and good health can be enjoyed well into your 70’s and 80’s. The best approach is to adopt a healthy lifestyle and get regular exercise, quality sleep and a diet full of the wonderful and tasty herbs and spices discussed above. What better way to live longer and better than by adding some delicious flavours to your food!