Food is our first medicine
Ever wonder why they serve ginger with sushi? Not only does ginger warm the belly–a good balance for all that cold, raw fish about to go into the stomach–but it also helps prevent toxicity (in this case, seafood toxicity). Helpful, right? Knowing that before you head to the sushi restaurant might even be more helpful!
Spices are a universal gift to our health, as they taste great and are easy to obtain. Chinese medicine makes use of a number of them; meanwhile Western medicine continues to deepen their understanding of the vast benefits that come with choosing the right herb/spice for one’s constitution and condition.
A few years ago a book came out highlighting the hidden benefits of your spice rack, “Healing Spices: How to Use 50 Everyday and Exotic Spices to Boost Health and Beat Disease.” It’s quite beautiful and a nice addition to Paul Pitchford’s excellent book on nutrition and Chinese medicine, “Healing with Whole Foods.” Even better, the book is even available through the public library.
Get to know your herbs and spices
See below for a starter list of spices and their studied effects within Western medicine, as cited and published on Huffington Post. In Chinese medicine, we use a few of these regularly for additional health benefits; for these medicinals I’ve included the Chinese medicine name below the English.
As always, food is medicine; too much of one thing isn’t always a good thing. Before you start changing your diet, be sure to discuss your plan with a healthcare professional to avoid herb-drug interactions or other unwanted side effects.
Potential Health Benefits*
- may help combat prostate cancer
- lowers LDL (“bad”) cholesterol
- reduces proliferation of leukemia and lymphoma cancer cells
- may help to alleviate tremors and poor mobility in Parkinson’s disease
- relieves symptoms of depression
- high in antioxidants
- essential oil of oregano was found to kill drug-resistant strains of Staphylococcus aureus
- manganese and copper content supports metabolism and maintain bone health
- peperine was found to halt, and even reverse, fatty liver disease in mice
- carnosic acid content protects retinas from degeneration (may help to prevent or halt age-related macular degeneration)
- may increase cognitive performance in Alzheimer’s disease
- reduces tenderness and swelling in arthritic joints
* Studies cited on Huffington Post article, “8 Herbs And Spices That Fight Off Disease.” A reminder: The information presented on this web site is not intended to take the place of your personal physician’s advice and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.