5 Must-Know Herbs for Healing and Well-Being

Many healing herbs not only taste great, but also have major health benefits



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"Let food be thy medicine, and medicine be thy food." That famous quote comes from the ancient Greek physician, Hippocrates, generally regarded as the father of Western medicine. Many healing herbs not only taste great, but also have major health benefits that can prevent and cure disease. You may not know it, but you can find many of the best natural remedies in common spices sitting right in your kitchen already.


Found in many Asian and Indian recipes, ginger naturally relieves nausea, loss of appetite, motion sickness, and pain. The root of ginger comes in many forms such as fresh, pickled, powered, oil, dried as a spice, or as a juice. Try combining ginger, honey, and lemon in a tea to ease an upset stomach. It also adds a light peppery and slightly sweet flavor to stir fries, curries, or even sweets.

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Aside from adding a refreshing kick to any meal or beverage, mint boasts many impressive benefits such as promoting digestion and weight loss as well as providing relief from nausea, depression, fatigue, and headache. The mentha, or mint, family includes around 20 different plant species such as peppermint, spearmint, or apple mint. Prepare Morocco’s famous mint tea with green tea leaves mixed with lots of spearmint for a restorative drink or mix in mint for a healthy addition to any chopped salad. The crisp-tasting herb also compliments a fresh pitcher of lemonade.

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People have used this native-Mediterranean herb for over 2,000 years. In fact, Greek physicians described the healing properties of milk thistle as far back as 40 A.D. This natural remedy detoxifies the body, especially the liver, meaning it makes a great cure for hangovers. Milk thistle draws toxins from the body that can cause cancer, high cholesterol, diabetes, and skin damage. For more effective results, take a milk thistle supplement on an empty stomach at least 15 minutes before eating.

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For thousands of years, Indians have used turmeric as a spice and medicinal herb. Science now confirms the health benefits of this plant, and studies show that turmeric prevents heart disease, cancer, metabolic syndrome, Alzheimer’s, and various degenerative conditions. It also improves the body’s ability to digest fats, reduces bloating, eases arthritis, and treats skin conditions like psoriasis, acne, and eczema. The mild ingredient adds a colorful yellow hue to foods and goes especially well with Middle Eastern and Indian recipes.

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Ancient civilizations like the Egyptians, Babylonians, Greeks, Romans and the Chinese have all used garlic to treat a variety of medical conditions. Garlic boosts the immune system, making it very effective in fighting a cold.  Studies show that it actually reduces the average length of a cold by 70%. Garlic has a significant impact on reducing blood pressure as well which means it prevents cardiovascular diseases like heart attacks and strokes. As an added bonus, it improves cholesterol levels which lowers the risk of heart disease even more. Garlic may also prevent Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. This versatile herb adds pungent flavor to many types of cuisines especially in Mediterranean and Asian cooking. Raw garlic goes well with dressings while, cooked, it can make a great base for sauces or soups or to add flavor to meats.

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