The Super Healing Powers of KITCHEN SPICES: 14 Medicinal Spices Your Kitchen Needs! (You Probably Already Have an Herbal Pharmacy!)
Did you know you have some powerful plant medicine right in your kitchen? And that when used daily as a tonic, or even for some acute situations, you can improve your health and wellness? I have a friend who faithfully makes his own blend of "Wellness Tea," and he drinks it every day. He uses commonly found kitchen herbs in his tea, and he is never sick! He's got the immune system of an ox...and I believe that's due to the herbs he uses! Over in Europe, it is very common for people to use herbs every day as tonics and also for acute situations---it's an every day thing!
These days in America, it's just too easy to reach for those expensive, chemical-laden, and potentially dangerous over-the-counter (OTC) drugs. Even though they are not prescribed, they often have side effects that can't be ignored! People have been brainwashed to run to the drugstore and buy some "pills" to help their problem, when using natural herbs and spices you already have will often actually work better!
When you start using herbs, you quickly find out how much power you have over your own health! And the absolutely amazing thing is that you probably already HAVE some of these herbs in your kitchen RIGHT NOW!
NOTE: This article contains affiliate links. This means that if you click through and make a purchase, I will earn a very small commission at no cost to you at all! Thank you so very much for supporting Healing Harvest Homestead! Heidi
14 Dual-Purpose Herbs Everyone Needs in Their Kitchen to Start Your Own Kitchen Pharmacy!
Anise (Pimpinella anisum):
Number one, Anise is beautiful! It's seed pods form a star shape, and for that reason alone, I love Anise. However, this lovely herb is warming and has stimulant properties...meaning that it enhances the actions of other medicinal herbs. It's a carminative, so it's great to use for stomach and digestive upsets. Anise also helps support the respiratory tract, has mild anti-cramping properties, and may help support lactation in women. In addition, Anise tastes pretty good too! It tastes a bit like licorice, only with a more smoky hint.
Here is a tea blend recipe for supporting the male reproductive system, including the prostate, that includes Anise. (My husband LOVES this tea!)
Black Pepper (Piper nigrum):
We are all used to using black pepper along with salt to spice up our foods, but did you know Black Pepper has some pretty strong medicinal qualities too? It's a very warming and stimulating herb, and is important for enhancing the abilities of other herbs, Turmeric especially! In India and China Black Pepper is considered one of the super herbs for daily tonic use. Black Pepper helps with circulation, to increase energy, and to help the body fight off colds.
I personally add Black Pepper to just about everything I cook!
Cardamom (Eletarria cardamomum):
Cardamom is a very strong-tasting spice, and most people either love it or dislike it. Cardamom is one of the main spices in Chai Tea blends, and adds a unique sweet-spicy flavor. Medicinally, Cardamom has carminative and stomachic properties, and is helpful for flatulence, indigestion, and nausea. Cardamom helps settle the stomach after eating a lot of acidic foods, too. For stomach upset or nausea, make a tea of Cardamom, Ginger, and a bit of honey. It's delicious cold too!
Here's a recipe for Chai Tea that my friends and family absolutely love! Cardamom is one of the spices.
Cayenne (Capsicum anuum):
No kitchen is complete without Cayenne Pepper. Besides adding that delicious hot, spicy taste to foods, Cayenne is a POWERFUL Herbal Super Hero! Cayenne is a strong promoter of the circulatory system, and it is thought to help speed up the metabolism as well. In fact, it is one of the ingredients in the Master Cleanse, and has been for many years. Cayenne is also a wonderful warming pain reliever, when used externally. You can make a great Cayenne Salve that soaks into the joints and helps arthritis when used over time. It also helps stop bleeding in wounds, as it is a strong hemostatic. You would think it would burn a deep cut, but in actuality, I have reports that it helps the pain and quickly stops bleeding. You can find out more about using to treat wounds in this article on how to stop bleeding quickly.
Cinnamon (Cinnamomum verum):
Yummy Cinnamon---This is one of my favorite spices. It's so delicious in lots of foods, and on top of that, it's an amazing medicinal herb!
It's been used for years to support the glucose levels in people who suffer from Type 2 diabetes. Just use a teaspoon a day! Try it in your coffee, add it to tea, or even toss some into your cereal or use in cooking. Cinnamon also helps keep triglyceride levels in check and may help lower the bad LDL Cholesterol.
For illnesses, Cinnamon is warming and stimulating, and it helps break up phlegm. Here is a recipe using Cinnamon to make a decongestant that REALLY works!
When purchasing Cinnamon, be sure to buy the Ceylon Cinnamon. The kind you find in the grocery stores is generally a variety known as Cassia, and although it tastes like Cinnamon, it's not the same thing. (The link above is to Starwest Botanicals, which is where I purchase almost all of my
Cloves (Syzygium aromaticum):
Cloves are...Uh-Mazing! Cloves were prized and sought after during the days of the Spice Trade. Its powerful anti-microbial and anti-fungal properties make it a useful spice for supporting the immune system. and its essential oil is often used as a deodorizer and disinfectant. When used to soak your feet, clove oil may help alleviate athlete's foot and toenail fungus too!
Cloves are well known herbs for use in dental emergencies because of the health benefits they have on the gums as well as the numbing quality of the oil. In fact, I just had a crown come off---guess what I used for the pain until I could get to the dentist? Clove oil! Just dab a bit on the painful area, and it really helps relieve the pain!
Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare):
Fennel is an aromatic herb, and the whole plant is useful. Check out this article for more information on foraging and using Fennel. For cooking, fennel is great to use with fish, eggs, breads, and certain sauces. For using as medicine, Fennel is an absolute MUST to have around. In my opinion, Fennel is one of the strongest digestive aids you can use. So--if you experience flatulence, bloating, nausea, or other intestinal or stomach upset, drinking a Fennel Tea can really help a lot! Fennel helps clear phelgm and excess mucus from the body, too! So if you have allergies or are getting a cold, try using some of the delicious seeds in your cereal or other food.
Fennel is well-known for helping stimulate milk-production in nursing mothers, too! Taking the powdered herb is the best way to take Fennel for this use.
If you don't have any Fennel around, you can substitute its close relative, Dill.
Garlic (Allium sativum):
Garlic, like onion, is used worldwide for flavoring and is a traditional useful medicinal herb in most cultures too. Garlic is a powerful anti-microbial and anti-fungal, helping get rid of colds and boost the immune system. It's also thought to lower cholesterol and enhance metabolism, since it is a warming and stimulating herb.
Did you know taking garlic internally (often and a lot) can help rid the body of parasites and worms?
Garlic is absolutely an herb everyone should be using on their food liberally every single day. If you are worried about dreaded garlic breath, then simply chew some parsley or fennel seeds after eating!
Here is my recipe for Fire Cider, an extreme immune system booster, that uses fresh Garlic. Get started on it now, and always have it on hand---you won't be sorry if you start drinking a shot a day as a tonic!
Ginger (Zingiber officinale):
Ginger should seriously be in all households. It's not only delicious, being used in desserts, candies, curries, and all kinds of foods, but it packs a powerful medicinal punch too! I love to use Ginger in creating delicious ferments, too!
Medicinally, Ginger is a powerhouse herb. It's an immune-boosting herb (found above, in the Fire Cider Recipe) as well as the Decongestant Recipe. It helps clear out your sinuses, soothes a sore throat, is great for the respiratory system, is warming and stimulating. PLUS---Ginger is absolutely wonderful for nausea. Drink a nice Ginger tea with some honey---your tummy will feel better. If you don't have time for a tea, try making a tincture that's ready to go at any time! (That's what I do.) Because of its warming properties, it's great for treating fevers too. Try soaking in a bath of Ginger Water---just powder up the Ginger, or buy it that way, and sprinkle about a quarter cup into your bath water.
Ginger is a great addition to Cayenne in terms of helping soothe sore joints and muscles. I always add a bit of Ginger oil to my Cayenne Salve!
Marjoram (Origanum marjorana):
Marjoram is a much lesser known herb than say, Oregano or Thyme, to which it is close related. I am adding it here because of my experience using Marjoram essential oil: It has worked absolute WONDERS to lower my blood pressure and relax me throughout stressful days at work. Seriously. Try this. I honestly would NEVER have purchased this essential oil on my own, but I received a free bottle from doTerra, started using it, and have reaped the absolute rewards ever since! It's a staple in my medicine cupboard, and I have huge back up supplies too! :-)
Here's an article about Marjoram that you may enjoy!
Marjoram has many of the same properties as Oregano and Thyme: It's anti-microbial, expectorant (clears mucus), and helps boost the immune system. HOWEVER, Marjoram is an absolute master at mild sedation. It helps soothe and calm anxiety without putting you out! Isn't that great! It's just what I need! And I use this oil about three times a day on my chest. I can tell the difference when I don't. Yep.
It's also delicious in your cooking. It's not as strong as Oregano, but has similar flavors--just a bit softer. I recommend giving this amazing little leaf a try!
Peppermint (Menthe piperita):
Oh, I could SO smell Peppermint all the time! The essential oils in the leaves wake you right up! Besides being a cooling flavoring, it is very calming to the stomach and overall digestive tract. Some researchers believe it may even help with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and Crohn's Disease. It's that great for your gut!
Besides all this, Peppermint tastes GREAT. I love to use Peppermint when I get hot flashes or when I'm just plain hot. It really does help cool the body right down. It's also great for headaches, in my personal experience. I just dilute a bit in a carrier oil (like almond oil) and rub a small amount into my temples. Works like a charm!
NOTE: You do NOT want to get Peppermint oil too close to your eyes! Trust me! I've done this with undiluted Peppermint Oil, and paid the price with runny eyes for about an hour! Always dilute your essential oils first, until you get to know them and how your body reacts to them.
Peppermint is also one of the herbs I just love to add to my herbal tea blends--especially in the summer time. I get my medicine, tonic, and a soothing, cooling uplift all at once! Can't beat that, right?
Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis):
Oh, the evergreen, woodsy, spicy scent of Rosemary makes it a wonderful enhancement to so many strong tasting dishes--especially red meats. I love Rosemary for many reasons: It's lovely, smells so beautiful, chases bugs away, and it great for your mind!
Yep! Rosemary is one of the herbs that works wonders for your memory and alertness. In fact, I think you should never eat or use Rosemary oil too close to bedtime--you may not get to sleep. It works that well for alertness. But besides helping with being more alert, Rosemary, used over time, is wonderful for your brain function and memory!
Rosemary is uplifting and also helps your circulatory system! In fact, Rosemary essential oil is one of the ingredients in my Cellulite Oil!
Thyme (Thymus vulgaris):
According to Dr. Axe, Thyme is great for your throat, heart, and mood! Thyme helps lower blood pressure, improves circulation, and soothes a sore throat too. Just make a Thyme tea and gargle with it several times a day. That sore throat will be gone!
In addition, it is yet another immune boosting herb, thanks to its anti-microbial properties. Did you know you can infuse Thyme in Honey? Yes! Just add a few dried or fresh sprigs to your honey in a small jar. Let sit for about four weeks in a sunny window, and you will have the most delicious and medicinal honey to add to your teas!
Adding a few drops of Thyme oil to your cleaners will add an extra disinfecting power!
My neighbor and friend drinks his version of Wellness Tea daily. He grows all of his own herbs and Thyme is included in this tea! I need to get the recipe from him, and when I do, I will share it. I swear, that man is NEVER sick! :-) Thyme has expectorant properties and will help to relieve excel phlegm.
At any rate, I love Thyme. I love the tiny leaves, the pungent scent, and of course its culinary and medicinal benefits. You know what? It's also SUPER easy to grow! Thyme should be in everyone's kitchen window!
Turmeric (Curcuma longa):
Well, this bright yellow herb (when powdered) is just absolutely amazing! Besides being tasty and one of the main spices in Indian and Asian foods, Turmeric boasts anti-inflammation powers that are out of this world! It's also a great source of natural anti-oxidants and is thought to boost and enhance the body's use of these anti-oxidants for anti-aging and anti-inflammation.
A friend of mine began using Turmeric daily without any other supplementation, and she swears her inflammation decreased dramatically. I have heard that to increase and maximize the benefits of Turmeric, combine it with Black Pepper. This makes sense, since Black Pepper is stimulating.
I love the taste of Turmeric too. It stains your fingers and clothes, though, so watch out---unless you love bright yellow fingers! :-) Here is a delicious recipe for my Golden Beet & Turmeric Kvass! Give this a try for a drink jam-packed full of probiotics, nutrients, and anti-oxidants!
Wondering where I buy my essential oils? Well, I purchase my therapeutic grade oils (for use directly on the skin or even taken internally (although PLEASE be careful with this--I tend to discourage internal use of essential oils) from DoTerra because after trying so many different brands, I truly believe they are the best!
How do you use your kitchen herbs? I'd love to learn more from you! And if you have any questions or comments for me, I welcome them! :-)
Have a beautiful day! Hugs & Self-Reliance!
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DISCLAIMER: I am NOT a medical doctor. In no way, stated or implied is any statement in this article meant to imply any cure, diagnosis, treatment, or prevention of any illness. My statements are simply due to my years of study and experience. Please consult a medical professional for medical issues. These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. Please see my full disclosure.