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Holistic Health

6 Healing herbs and spices that can boost your wellness every day

Woman drinking tea with lemon and ginger.
Diana Kelley Levey
Diana Kelly Levey May, 29, 2019

Runner, dancer, baker, adopted dog mom, wisecracker (or jokester)

Ready to spice up your daily routine and boost your health? Before you raid the medicine aisle at your local drugstore, loot the spice rack in your kitchen! You're likely to find a number of natural ways to enhance your overall wellness from the inside out.

Herbs and spices have been used to improve health woes for thousands of years. They can help reduce inflammation, improve the appearance of skin — and, frankly, they smell pretty dang good while you're using them. That's a win-win situation in any book!

Healing Herbs and Spices to Use in Your Everyday Life

The best part about incorporating these natural ingredients into your daily routine? You probably already have them on hand. If you don't, chances are you can snatch them up at any grocery store without emptying your bank account.

This list includes six healing herbs and spices that would be great additions to your day-to-day life, but keep in mind that if these don't appeal to you, there are tons of other herbs and spices that can do your body good. You can learn more about them on the U.S. National Library of Medicine website.

1. Cinnamon

Whether you're adding this spice to your grandma's famous oatmeal cookie recipe or using a cinnamon stick to stir your hot toddy, this spice is a favorite kitchen staple! It's also been shown to help keep blood sugar levels stable by lowering fasting glucose levels. Add a dash or two of cinnamon to your morning coffee or hot cereal to prevent a blood sugar crash as you approach lunchtime.

2. Turmeric

This bright yellow spice has been trending recently, garnering attention for its anti-inflammatory properties and ability to reduce joint pain. Additionally, a component of turmeric, curcumin, has been found to improve brain function, memory and mood. Considering it's also delicious, what do you have to lose by adding it to your meals and snacks? Try mixing turmeric into rice, sprinkling it on meats or making a "golden milk" tea using turmeric, coconut (or nut) milk, ginger and nutmeg. Top it all off with your good friend cinnamon for a perfect finish!

3. Ginger

Ginger is so much more than the condiment you tend to ignore on your sushi tray. This spicy, funky-looking root can help with bloating and nausea — plus it may improve fasting blood sugar numbers in people with diabetes. You can make a tasty tea by combining fresh ginger and hot water when your stomach is feeling "off," or add fresh ginger slices to a cold pitcher of water for a flavorful beverage that can kick bloating to the curb.

4. Chamomile

Need a real-life chill pill? Look no further than a mug of chamomile tea! This plant can help improve sleep quality, and it has been shown to aid those who suffer from anxiety and depression. Chamomile has also been used for centuries as both a compress (to help with wound healing) and a remedy for skin inflammation. You can brew weak chamomile tea and use the slightly warm mixture to help clean scrapes and minor cuts.

5. Cloves

Even if your mom insists on burning her holiday-themed candles all year-round, it's hard to get tired of the scent of cloves. When you're looking for a fragrant ingredient with cancer-fighting properties, check out this tiny, microphone-shaped spice. It contains eugenol, which research shows may have antioxidizing and anti-cancer properties. Consider including cloves in your favorite tea or adding them to rice to enhance flavor and provide a wellness boost.

6. Valerian Root

If you find yourself tossing and turning at night, a tea made with the extract from the roots of this plant may induce sleep or improve sleep quality! In addition to enhancing your overall wellness, getting enough sleep each night can help keep your skin in good shape. You can choose to take it as a tea or supplement — but watch out for side effects like drowsiness, upset stomach and occasional headaches.

When in doubt, it's a good idea to discuss supplements and other dietary additions with your doctor before you start using them, even if they come from the spice rack instead of the pharmacy shelf. Your body is unique, and chatting about what's best for you will help you avoid uncomfortable side effects, ensure nothing interferes with your existing medications and see to it that whatever goes into your body properly supports your overall health and well-being.

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