Cinnamon taken daily not only helps to control blood sugar levels by enhancing the ability of insulin to metabolise glucose, it also assists in the prevention of high blood pressure and heart disease. Evidence has shown that as little as quarter of a teaspoon of ordinary powdered cinnamon in your morning porridge or smoothie is enough to restore the ability of fat cells to respond to insulin, which in turn increases the removal of glucose.
Turmeric is useful in strengthening the digestive system (including the gut flora) and it also has what is known as a bitter principle. This means that it stimulates bile flow, in turn encouraging the production of digestive juices, making it useful in treating Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), indigestion, appetite loss, liver problems, and intestinal inflammation. It is also safe for use during pregnancy, and widely prescribed in Ayurvedic medicine to treat common pregnancy-related digestive disorders.
Ginger is commonly used to increase circulation, aid digestion, and ease stiff joints. It boosts the metabolism and is ideal for both travel and morning sickness to reduce nausea and vomiting. Both fresh and powdered ginger root are effective. Cloves have a well-earned reputation for easing toothache, and cardamom is useful in treating kidney disorders. Coriander, also known as Cilantro or Chinese Parsley, is a great tonic; the fruit can be used to treat dysentery, while juicing the leaves is said to improve the eyesight.
Other powerful kitchen spices include metabolism-boosting cayenne, mustard for respiratory complaints, caraway for headaches, horseradish to assist in digestion and relieve congested sinuses, and for gas and bloating make an infusion using fennel seeds. Everyday natural medicine can be found in most kitchen cupboards and gardens – honey, thyme, rosemary, onion, lemon, garlic, and even common parsley are all powerful healers – so before you head off to the pharmacy, take a look at ways in which you can use food as your medicine!