Medicinal Cures Found in Your Kitchen Cabinet

Spices and herbs do more than add taste to your meals—they work wonders for our health, too.

Spices and herbs found in your kitchen cabinet not only add flavor to meals, they also provide a wealth of health benefits. Photograph courtesy of Shutterstock.

We know fruits and vegetables have great healing powers, from reducing our risk of cancer to boosting mental health. But the spices and seasonings we add to them aren’t just there for flavor. These commonly used items each contain a wealth of medicinal properties, from treating acne to curing a pesky cough.

There’s a reason a glass of ginger ale seems to soothe any upset stomach. Ginger in general has historically been known for alleviating gastrointestinal problems, from menstrual cramps to motion sickness. It also has great anti-inflammatory properties and acts as a terrific detox for our immune systems. After one cup of ginger tea, you may even experience some healthy sweating, ridding your body of damaging radicals.

The peppery herb that gives Indian curry its yellow hue also works anti-inflammatory wonders. Studies show that turmeric can reduce symptoms of indigestion, including bloating and gas. Other studies have shown that its antioxidant effects eliminate free radicals, providing relief for those suffering from rheumatoid arthritis and achy joints.

The tried-and-true method of drinking honey to cure cough symptoms isn’t just an old wives’ tale. A study found that children suffering from upper respiratory tract infections experienced less cough frequency and severity and slept better overall after ingesting 2.5 milliliters of honey each night. Note: Children under one year should not have honey, since they’re at risk of botulism, a deadly disease. 

Got the chills? Cinnamon’s warming effects can help with that. Add a quarter teaspoon of the spice to a hot cup of tea when you feel stiff or weak. The cinnamon will gently increase sweating and circulation, according to the book Naturally Pain Free.

Who knew these tiny seeds packed such a big nutritional punch? Just one teaspoon of cumin is high in iron, which helps boost immunity. It’s also a good source of manganese, calcium, and magnesium. Previous studies have found that cumin may help control blood sugar, too.

Rosemary smells and tastes great, but it’s also beneficial for your skin. The herb is antibacterial and helps clear pores, control oil, and reduce blackheads. Thyme has also been proven an effective treatment for acne.