by Kimberly Allen R.N.
These days you can walk into any local pharmacy or Walmart and find a variety of medicines that claim to treat various illnesses without a prescription. Medicine cabinets everywhere are filled with hundreds of dollars worth of OTC (over the counter) medicines. Most of them have side effects and can be dangerous if used with another OTC medicine or certain prescription medicines. Imagine not needing all those OTC medicines. Instead of walking into your bathroom walk into your kitchen. Your kitchen can double as your own personal pharmacy. Most of us have a spice rack, either one that came with a selection of spices already in it or one that we’ve filled with the spices we use regularly.
Herbs and spices have been used for healing since the beginning of time. they are felt to be the most natural way to heal all types of illnesses. Today many of the pharmaceutical medicines in the market contain herbs and /or spices or a synthetic version as the active ingredient.
The key to turning your kitchen into your own pharmacy is understanding the uses of the spices you use everyday to enhance the flavor of foods also include being able to help our bodies, for example knowing that it’s just as important to add basil or oregano to spaghetti sauce not only for flavor but as an aid for digestion. Anyone can use herbs and spices for healing as well as for cooking if you research and learn what the different herbs and spices in your kitchen were originally used for. Then put your new knowledge to work.
Some of the most common herbs and spices found in the average kitchen that can also double as part of your kitchen pharmacy are:
Basil – There are several varieties of basil and all are most commonly used to flavor Italian and tomato dishes, but it is also great with poultry and in sauces for fish. Basil has a history of use for the treatment of headaches, coughs, digestive and kidney problems. The oils of the plant also has antibacterial properties. Basil is also good for insect bites as it can draw out the poison injected by the insect. It can also be used as a mosquito repellent by placing a few sprigs on the BBQ.
Oregano – It is used in a variety of dishes including Greek, Turkish, Spanish and Italian. Oregano is also high in flavanoids as well as phenolic acid making it a great antioxident. The plant has numerous medicinal properties including as an antiseptic, antispasmodic and diaphoretic. It is also used to fight skin infections by adding to your bath.
Bay Leaf – The leaf has a stronger flavor when dry. It is used to flavor many dishes as well as soups and stews. Bay leafs have shown anti-oxident, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and antifungal properties. They have alos been used to treat high blood sugar in type II diabetes, migranes and digestive problems.
Black Pepper – It is one of the most common spices used and is almost always seen in the company of it’s partner, salt. black pepper is used to stimulate the senses and warm the body. It is also used in the treatment of poor cirrculation and low energy levels. It can be used as an emergency treatment for cuts to stop the bleeding.
Cinnamon – Has been one of the most valued spices since it began being imported from Sri Lanka. Cinnamon adds a unique flavor to many foods from cookies and cakes to curries and other Middle East and North African dishes as well as mulled wines, syrups and creams. It has significant antioxident properties and is used to help digestion and improve poor circulation. It is also reported to aid in the control of blood sugar levels in type II diabetes.
Garlic – It is used world wide to season many culinary dishes because of it’s seasoning versatility. Garlic is not only the herb of choice in the treatment of upper respiratory infections it also has very strong antibiotic, and antifungal properties. Garlic boosts the immune and circulatory systems and can lower cholesterol and high blood pressure. It is believed to be effective in preventing heart disease and atherosclerosis. It has also been used as a natural antiparasitic to treat worms.
These are only a few of the spices most commonly found in the average kitchen, there are many more. Some kitchens have more than others, look at your spice rack and then see what your spices can do to aid you in creating you own kitchen pharmacy and aid you in maintaining your optimal level of health.
Kimberly Allen is a registered nurse with an AND in nursing. She has worked in ACF, LCF and psychiatric facilities, although she spent most of her career as a home health expert. She is now a regular contributor to HealthAndFitnessTalk.com, dispensing advice and knowledge about medical issues and questions. You can reach her with any comments or questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.