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To spruce up any boring food and to make it more palatable, spices and herbs have been used for centuries. Be it vegetables or meat, adding spices make bland food more interesting. Anyone who has tasted garlic bread will agree how much of a difference a bit of butter and garlic can make on a boring old slice of bread. Turns out, spices offer not just aromatics and finger-licking goodness but they have a lot of medicinal properties. From antioxidant-rich benefits to immunity boosting, they have a lot to offer.  Read on to find out more. 

Ginger - Not just a root but a treasure trove of medicinal benefits

From ginger tea to ginger chicken, culinary experts can say without a difference that ginger is a must for almost all cuisines. Here are a few of the magic that a bit of ginger can do.  

Did you know that ginger is especially helpful for easing muscle aches?  This is no joke. Every time you decide to pop a pill to relieve your muscle aches after a workout or after a particularly busy weekend, Stop. Put that pill back. There is a herbal remedy for your ache.  Drum roll please … it’s ginger.

Ginger-herbal remedy for muscle pain

Apart from its most common use to relieve coughs and colds, ginger has powerful anti inflammatory effects.  This is what makes it an excellent muscle pain reliever. People went so far as to heat the ginger, believing that it would enhance its medicinal value. The researchers at the University of Georgia however, have a different story to tell. The studies conducted revealed that supplementing the diet daily with ginger did, in fact, reduce the exercise-induced pain by a whopping 25 percent!  Also on another note, the pain relieving effect was not enhanced by using ginger that was heat-treated.

Spicy food with ginger – A possible cancer cure

This is good news for all those who love spicy food. Chili peppers contain capsaicin that has harmful effects on the body. Capsaicin has been notorious for causing stomach cancer.  However, ginger, on the other hand, has the potential to reverse the negative cancer-causing effects of chili peppers.  This is a new revelation by the American Chemical Society.  The compound 6-gingerol present in ginger is responsible for this protective effect of ginger. 

Beat rheumatoid arthritis with ginger

Nature has the cures for almost all the diseases that affect us. This includes almost all diseases from a sniffle to even autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis. Probiotics, switching to a Mediterranean diet and refraining from alcohol and smoking are paramount for those with rheumatoid arthritis. In addition to making healthy diet choices that includes more of ginger and turmeric, it has been found to have positive effects on such people because it lowered the oxidative stress of the body. This helped to reverse the damage caused. 

Garlic- the unsung hero among the herbs

It is a well-known fact that the compound Allicin present in garlic has a lot of health benefits. Most people refrain from chewing on garlic for fear of the pungent breath after eating it. But we have a solution for that. Drinking a glass of milk, can help remove even traces of garlic from your breath. 

Boiled, cut or crushed - which is most effective?

Researchers at the US Department of Agriculture have revealed that of all the cooking methods, lightly cooked and crushed garlic provides most of the health benefits found in raw garlic. This is good news for those who find raw garlic unpalatable. The blood-thinning effects of garlic were not lost when lightly cooked, crushed garlic was eaten.  However, microwaving garlic, almost stripped it of its benefits.

The researchers at Penn State have a similar story to tell. They found that the anti-cancer properties of garlic were also reduced when it was microwaved. Chopping or crushing the garlic helped to bring out the anti-cancer properties easily to the cells. There is catch to heating garlic though.  It was found that if garlic was subject to heat immediately after chopping it or crushing it, the anti-cancer properties of Allicin could not be used by the body.

UTI? Garlic could help you

Those who have had a urinary tract infection can agree instantly that it is horrible. Some people find themselves continuously at risk for UTI’s. It just feels as if a few weeks after they are symptom-free they are hit by another UTI again. Turns out that even multi-drug resistant strains of pathogenic bacteria can be treated with garlic. This includes even antibiotic-resistant bacteria.  Did you know that about 150 million people are diagnosed each year with UTI!  We need more research to tap the goodness of garlic to treat these people.