India has been the land of herbs and medicines since ancient ages. Herbs and spices were being used for their medicinal values before they found their way into our kitchens.

It’s not uncommon to use natural home remedies to treat a specific set of problems. Now, modern science also corroborates grandma’s/ sage wisdom that many herbs indeed carry health benefits.

Here are 12 important herbs with powerful health benefits for your body.

1. Turmeric

Turmeric, also known as golden spice, is India’s most famous anti-inflammatory herb.

It is dark yellow in colour and has various medicinal and biological properties. The most active ingredient in turmeric is “curcumin” which helps in increasing the antioxidant enzymes of the body.

Turmeric also works as a healing agent and is used to heal skin diseases, digestive problems, inflammation, arthritis pain, and wounds.

You can add turmeric/curcumin to your diet with curry, rice, soups, tea, milk or in the form of curcumin supplements.

2. Cinnamon

Cinnamon is known as a metabolism powerhouse.

Cinnamaldehyde in Cinnamon is known to increase the metabolism of the body, lower cholesterol levels, and fight inflammation in the body.

Cinnamon is particularly good for people suffering from type 2 diabetes because it may help in lowering the blood sugar level. Cinnamaldehyde lowers blood sugar levels by slowing the carbs break down and improving insulin sensitivity.

You can add a pinch of cinnamon powder in sandwich, curry, and tea.

3. Sage

Sage is a member of the mint family and has a strong reputation for its healing benefits.

Sage is known as a memory booster and helps in promoting mental functions.

Recent research suggests that sage contains a large array of active compounds that may enhance cognitive activity and provide protection against neurogenerative diseases.

Sage also works as an antimicrobial and is useful for oral health.

Other benefits of sage include reducing the menopause system, lowering the bad cholesterol and blood sugar levels, and alleviating plague and diarrhoea

You can add fresh sage leaves by sprinkling on soup or add in an egg omelette.

4. Cumin

Cumin or more commonly known as ‘Zeera’ is a popular dried herb of India and a main ingredient in many Indian cuisines.

Cumin is an antioxidant, anti-fungal, anti-bacterial and anti-viral herb.

Thymol, a compound in Zeera, is responsible for stimulating the enzymes and enabling better secretion of bile in the stomach.

Cumin seeds also contain vitamin E – an important antioxidant. It helps in keeping your skin tight and moist for young and healthy skin.

Cumin also helps fight skin inflammation and skin infections.

Add a pinch of cumin to your curry, bread or use cumin powder sprinkling on buttermilk.

5. Parsley

Parsley is the green leafy herb and generally used to garnish the food.

It is rich in antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins like A, C, and K.

Vitamin K is an essential nutrient for bone health. Parsley leaves provide up to 205% of Vitamin K RDI per 10g of fresh, chopped parsley. Vitamin K in parsley helps in blood clotting and activating certain proteins that increase bone mineral density.

Myricetin compound present in the parsley may also help diabetes patients. Recent research suggests that Myricetin may help in alleviating insulin resistance and lower the blood sugar levels in the body.

You can add parsley leaves to your smoothies, salad, tea or sprinkle it on the sandwich.

6. Rosemary

Rosemary is a member of the mint family and is an aromatic and powerful herb. The rosemary essential oil is a famous oil for aromatherapy and is known for its benefits for the skin.

Rosemary is high on antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial compounds. It is a also a good source of vitamins A, C, B, and D, calcium, iron, and fibre.

The presence of compounds like Rosmarinic acid and Carnosic acid provide rosemary its anti-inflammatory properties which help to enhance the immune system and blood circulation.

Rosemary leaves are also often used for indigestion.

Rosemary oil also has certain anti-aging properties that protect the skin against acne, inflammation, and infection.

Rosemary leaves can be used as fresh/dried leaves, liquid extracts, whole dried herb, or dried herb extract.

7. Basil

Basil is a leafy green herb member of the mint family and is widely used in Indian and Italian cuisines.

You might recognize it from its household Name – ‘Tulsi’ known for its multipurpose benefits.

It has antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.

Basil doesn’t only provide aroma to your curry and tea but helps the body with digestion and controlling inflammation.

Basil leaves may also help in controlling blood sugar levels in type 2 diabetes patients.

Basil essential oil is also known for mental wellbeing and controlling stress and depression.

8. Thyme

Thyme is a powerful medicinal herb. Its flowers, leaves, and oil are beneficial for overall health.

It has antibacterial, antifungal and insecticidal properties that can destroy and prevent harmful insects and organisms.

Thyme herb can be used to treat diarrhoea, arthritis pain, controlling blood pressure, stomach ache and sore throat.

Recent research indicates that, like cinnamon, thyme may be useful in treating breast and colon cancer. However, stronger research is required to establish the cancer prevention benefits of thyme.

9. Peppermint

Peppermint is an aromatic and healthy herb originating from the spearmint and water mint. It is known for its calming and cooling properties.

Peppermint can be used in the form of leaves, powder, oil and even capsules.

Peppermint is beneficial for skin, cold, flu, headache, migraine and can help in indigestion as well.

It can also be used to treat muscles and nerve pain, menstrual pain and depression.

10. Oregano

Don’t be surprised with the presence of Oregano, the all popular sprinkler on your cheesy pizza, pasta and sautéed vegetable salad, in this list.

More than just a condiment, Oregano is a medicinal herb and has antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties.

Oregano herb is helpful in treating respiratory disorders and urinary disorders. It may also be useful during menstrual cramps, treating skin problems like acne and dandruff.

11. Cayenne

Cayenne is also known as pepper in many parts of the world.

A type of red chili, this herb has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.

Capsaicin gives the pepper powder its spiciness and is used to treat aches and muscle joint pains.

Cayenne may help in boosting your metabolism and preventing indigestion.

It may also help reduce high blood pressure. However, more research is required to establish the beneficial effects of cayenne on blood pressure.

12. Coriander

Coriander leaves and dried coriander seeds, a popular addition to soups, curries, salads and other foods in Indian and international dishes, hold tremendous medicinal values as well.

Both leaves and dried seeds are rich in immunity boosting antioxidants.

Coriander is also helpful for curing indigestion and treating irritable bowel syndrome.

Research suggests that coriander may be a useful remedy against pain and inflammation.

Concluding Remarks

Not just for adding taste and aroma to your foods, herbs have powerful medicinal benefits.

They have antioxidants, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, anti-fungal, antimicrobial properties.

With the presence of diverse beneficial compounds, herbs find their presence in home remedies, medicines, cosmetics, and supplements.

Include herbs in your daily diet to reap the benefits of the grandma’s wisdom and the vast accumulated knowledge of our ancestors.

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