The development of drugs in the past 100 years have revolutionized health care and the way we treat major diseases. However, there are still many countries that rely on herbal medicines and traditional practitioners for their primary care. 70% of the population in India and 40% in China depend on traditional medicines to help meet their health care needs.
It is increasing in popularity in the rest of the world too. According to stats Canada, in 2016, 21% of Canadians are using herbal remedies and the Fraser Institute reports that over $8 billion was spent on complementary and alternative medicine in the same year.
So, what herbs and spices are already in your kitchen that you can add to your meals for flavour and added health benefits?
Basil and Oregano – contain phytonutrients that act as antibacterial agents, and are loaded with antioxidants, preventing cellular damage
Dandelion - yes, those ‘weeds’ that we see at this time of year have antioxidant properties and can help reduce inflammation. Add the leaves to salads or sauté with other greens
Dill - packed with flavonoids, which has been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke and reduce levels of LDL (the ‘bad’ cholesterol)
Garlic and Chives - these are part of the allium family. Epidemiological studies have shown that the organosulfur compounds in allium products have been associated with a reduced risk of certain types of cancers
Ginger - may inhibit tumour cell growth and is useful in reducing nausea, a common side effect of some types of cancer treatments
Rosemary - has high antioxidant properties and is very helpful in reducing the carcinogenic effect of charred meat due to grilling
Dried herbs are great but why not start a fresh herb garden. You can enhance the flavour of your food by sprinkling them on veggies, mix them in your soups and stews, marinade meats before BBQing and make your own salad dressings. The possibilities are endless.
A note of caution: some herbal supplements can have contraindications with certain prescription drugs. Please check with your pharmacist before taking herbal supplements.
In good health,
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