To understand the health benefits of herbs & spices, we must go back in time… Herbs & spices have been used for their therapeutic benefits for centuries in traditional healing practices around the world.
Whether it is the Greek, Arabic, Mayan or Indian civilizations, the beneficial properties of herbs & spices have long been harnessed for healthy living. It was the Arabians who developed techniques to distil and extract essential oils from aromatic plants – the beginnings of modern pharmacology. A quote from Charlemagne (Charles the Great) who reigned in medieval Europe in the 9th century states: “Herbs are the friend of the physician and the pride of cooks.”
In the 5,000-year-old science of Ayurveda, plant ingredients are revered for their therapeutic and nutritional values. Peppermint, Lemongrass and Curry Leaf are examples of herbs obtained from the leafy green parts of plants. Spices arise from the bark, stem, root, flower, fruit and seed – as in the case of Ceylon Cinnamon, Clove, Turmeric, Black Pepper and Ginger.
Modern science has now proven the remarkable health benefits of herbs & spices. Since the year 2000, clinical trials involving herbs & spices and their selected active ingredients has increased exponentially. And so has organic health supplements containing herbs & spices. The ancients were certainly on to something with herbs & spices being the original superfoods!
How do herbs & spices help your body?
As unassuming as these little seeds, leaves and roots are, they pack a powerful nutritional punch. Scientific studies have found that herbs & spices contain active plant compounds such as phenols, phytochemicals, flavonoids and antioxidants that have a host of health benefits. A number of herbs & spices also have strong anti-inflammatory properties.
Spices are an incredible source of antioxidants in comparison to other foods. What is the science behind antioxidants? To explain simply, antioxidants work to prevent some of the cellular damage that takes place naturally and from exposure to everyday toxins. A build-up of cellular damage and oxidative stress can lead to serious inflammation in the body. Over time, this can lead to developing chronic illnesses such as cardiovascular, cerebral, metabolic and digestive disorders. Therefore, consuming antioxidant-rich herbs & spices can help protect your health in the long term. Let’s take a look at five examples of science-backed benefits of herbs & spices.
Ceylon Cinnamon is known to have one of the highest levels of anti-inflammatory activity in food, living up to its reputation as a metabolic powerhouse. Harvested from the inner bark of the tree, Ceylon Cinnamon has been found to help moderate blood sugar levels after a meal. One research study found that the phenols in Ceylon Cinnamon act on a protein that affects lipid metabolism and cell growth changes. Further studies are being conducted on its potential impact in treating Type 2 Diabetes, Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome and cognitive functioning.
The ‘golden spice’ deserves a gold star for its anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, insecticidal and anti-cancer properties, largely thanks to its key compound Curcumin. Well over 10,000 studies have been reported about the biological activities of Curcumin in Turmeric, including more than 120 clinical trials. Turmeric supplements for muscle recovery and to combat inflammation and joint pain are now best-sellers online and in pharmacies. Research also suggests that Turmeric can support brain function and play a role against chronic diseases related to the heart and cancers.
Research indicates that the active ingredient Piperine in Black Pepper increases the bioavailability and effective absorption of medications and other nutrients, including Curcumin in Turmeric. In fact, Curcumin typically has poor bioavailability where it tends to pass through the digestive system without being absorbed. Black Pepper is believed to stimulate the secretion of digestive enzymes and ease food’s transit through the gastrointestinal tract, thereby enhancing the absorption of nutrients.
Research studies have found Curry Leaf to help regulate blood sugar and it does this in three ways. Curry Leaves contain active plant compounds known as carbazole alkaloids that slow down the breakdown from starch to glucose. This controls the amount of glucose entering the blood stream. Secondly, it improves insulin activity by the body (insulin is the hormone that helps breakdown sugar in the blood). When your body is better able to respond to insulin, your blood sugar levels would also be under control. Curry Leaves have anti-hyperglycaemic properties thereby helping to control blood sugar levels.
Research studies are being conducted on the remarkable health benefits of Ashwagandha, including enhancing athletic performance. One study found participants experienced increased speed and strength, while another observed greater muscle power and lower body fat percentage. Ashwagandha supplements are widely used to manage mental and physical stress, helping to calm the brain against anxiety.
The flavour that herbs & spices add to food can make healthy meals more creative and delicious. In fact, nutritionists note that adding flavourful herbs & spices to foods makes it easier to cut back on less healthy ingredients like salt, refined sugar and processed fats. Enjoyment and mindful eating are key to maintaining healthy habits for the long term.
Of note, herbs & spices don’t work their magic overnight. According to research studies, the best results come from consistent consumption over at least three months. BOTANISTRY Ayurvedic supplements make it easier to take your healthy dose of herbs & spices daily – simply add a teaspoon into your breakfast smoothie, oats or granola.
The care and credibility with sourcing is critical. It is recommended to purchase premium quality and organic herbs & spices. Having European Union organic certification means our plant ingredients are free from toxic chemicals such as artificial fertilisers, pesticides and weedicides. Although a New Zealand-owned company, BOTANISTRY is co-located in New Zealand and Sri Lanka to ensure the best quality product for our customers. One of the founders is on the ground, personally visiting the community farms and forest gardens that grow our ingredients using regenerative farming practices. We also meet the grower families to ensure ethical sourcing at fair prices.
It is said that dried herbs & spices are typically more concentrated, potent and bioavailable for the body (easily absorbed) than the equivalent fresh amount. In addition, chefs confirm that you can judge the freshness of spices by their rich earthy colour and strong aroma. Nutritionists also recommend taking herbs & spices with food, rather than in capsules, to ensure better digestion, absorption and utilisation by the body.
Herbs & spices in BOTANISTRY organic health supplements
Experience the health benefits of herbs & spices by taking the dietary supplement powders by BOTANISTRY. We work with Ayurvedic Practitioners, Medical Doctors and Food Technologists to create the 100% natural supplements to address four common health concerns of immunity, joint health, digestion and skin health. Each Blend is carefully formulated for both function and flavour. The versatile powders can be added into various drinks and dishes daily.
Learn more about our purposefully selected organic & premium plant ingredients here.