Posts Tagged ‘easy bad bad remedies’

Folk Medicinal Spices–common cures and remedies

Thursday, February 5th, 2009

Common and everyday spices are well known to have healing effects and have been used in this way by virtually all of mankind at one time or another, from ancient times to present day. (see the spice history chart in for more information)

As we come full circle and begin turning away from the fast-food society and slowly return to the good old-fashioned home-cooking of yesteryear where using a variety of spices and herbs to flavour our everyday cooking and gourmet attempts regains popularity, it should be noted that even the most celebrated gourmet cook uses such small amounts in seasoning his palate delights, it is highly unlikely that any pronounced medicinal results are affected in our day to day cooking. However, it is a cumulative beginning and always advisable to make good use of our fresh herbs and spices to help keep our bodies healthy.

In order to achieve any effective healing properties of these herbs and spices, specific recipes, preparations and doses are required. (check the ‘category’ sections of for some suggested recipes and preparations. For everyday common uses, check out the blog on ‘Common & Popular Spices & Their Everyday Use’ .) It should also be noted that using herbs solely for their healing properties must always be with the full knowledge of your personal physician, and used as a supportive alternative remedy in conjunction with conventional western medicine.

Having said this, listed below are some interesting uses of common herbs and spices that have withstood the passage of time.

Sage, hyssop and ginger, for instance, are known to inhibit excessive sweating.

Other spices, such as red pepper, will help stimulate the heart, circulation and your metabolism.

Bay leaf, dill, hops, mints, poppy, rose, woodruff, and wormwood will relax your nervous system; whereas, nutmeg, mace and lemon balm are herbs that are beneficial to a sluggish nervous system.

Garlic and rue will help prevent arteiosclerosis; and garlic and hops help to reduce hypertension.

Ground ivy, hyssop, horehound, poppy, thyme and wild thyme preparations will act as expectorants and help relieve coughs.

Plants from the mint family—balm, mints, and wild marjoram– are said to affect the appetite and promote the gastric function; however, other herbs are also noteworthy: such as angelica, horseradish, licorice, mace and nutmeg, red pepper, woodruff, wormwood….

Spices such as anise, basil, coriander, cumin, fennel, ginger, lemon balm, mace and nutmeg, marjoram, mint, and savory are effective at relieving flatulence, helping to prevent the formation of gas, and in relieving intestinal spasms. (specific preparations available in the ‘Herbal Remedies’ category of

Diarrhea that is due to fatty foods, can be stopped with these herbs: garlic, ground ivy, hyssop, lemon balm, marjoram, mint, oregano, sage, sassafras, savory, and thyme.

It is always advisable to season heavy meals with herbs like horseradish, mustard, wormwood or mugwort to help the function of your gall bladder and other related organs, unless you have an inflamed gall bladder. In that case, avoid using those herbs and spices. All fatty meals should be seasoned with herbs like juniper berries, nasturtiums, mints, rosemary and turmeric in order to keep your gall bladder healthy and to help in the secretion of bile.

Other spices will also act as a diuretic by helping to rid your body of toxins. Borage, hops, juniper berries, lovage, mace and nutmeg, parsley, sassafras are all recommended for this. Savory will help to stimulate the healthy function of your pancreas.

Foul-smelling breath has been notably treated/prevented with herbs and spices such as allspice, anise, cloves, coriander, parsley, fresh rue (in small amounts), thyme, and wild thyme. These herbs are also effective in deodorant preparations. (check out the ‘Herbal Remedies’ category of for preparations using these herbs).

Wild herbs such as chives, English daisy leaves, garlic, nasturtium, nettle leaves, sorrel, violets and other green herbs will help prevent SAD –the sluggishness and tiredness that seems so prevalent in a great number of people during the long cold winter months.

No list would be complete without including the aphrodisiactic herbs and spices alluded to in folk medicine lore. These include the following: celery and celery leaves, parsley, pepper, peppermint, vanilla and savory.

Of course, on the opposite end, dill and hops, amoung others, are said to inhibit sexual arousal! So for those hoped-for romantic candlelight dinners, make sure you steer clear of both foods with dill and hops! (most notably, beer and pickles).

On a final note, recommended herbs to avoid during pregnancy are cinnamon, juniper, pepper, rosemary and rue. These are spices believed to have negative effects during this time.