Spices and Herbs for the Paleo Diet

Spices and herbs are a wonderful addition to any dish, making the food we eat more savory and tasty than it would be without. They are a terrific addition to any Paleo diet menu.

But were you aware that spices and herbs do more than season our food? They are a powerhouse of remedies and prevention, right there in your spice cupboard. Many of these remedies are well known: parsley to freshen your breath, cloves for an aching tooth, ginger for nausea and an upset stomach.

But there are other spices and herbs that provide remedies that are less well known.

Different varieties of cinnamon. Photo by FotoosVanRobin

Take cinnamon, for instance. Lots of folks my age grew up with cinnamon toast – buttered toast sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar. But we had no idea that cinnamon has a powerful effect on sugar – blood sugar, to more precise.

German doctors gave cinnamon to a group of people with high blood sugar. After 4 months, the subjects’ blood sugar levels were 10.3% lower.(1)

But cinnamon may do more for you than just promote lower blood sugar levels. A research team in London found it supports healthy blood pressure levels, too. And the subjects in their study slimmed down noticeably… without making any other changes to their diet.(2)

Sage, generally used to season poultry, may also help reduce hot flashes in menopausal women.  In a Swiss trial, women who had been suffering with hot flashes for over a year were given sage. Inside of four weeks the incidence was cut in half. After eight weeks they were down by 2/3. Also severe hot flashes were gone completely.

Tea bags are great for allergy inflamed eyes and for conjunctivitis (pink eye). To relieve itching eyes, put on a cold damp tea bag. It can help your eyes feel so much better. I recall when I had pink eye, that was the method I used for relief. I have since used tea bags for cooling my eyes when over stressed by computer usage.

Tea bags – good for itchy burning eyes and poison ivy relief. Photo by Naama ym

Tea leaves are high in a substance called tannic acid. And studies have found tannic acid promotes relief from itching.

For example, a Japanese study looked at subjects with itching caused by histamines – the same chemicals that make you itch in response to pollen. After spraying on a product with tannic acid, their itching was reduced. But the same spray without tannic acid had no effect.(5)

One more use for tea bags… poison ivy relief.

Back in the early 1940’s, a pair of doctors tried tannic acid on 10 people with poison ivy, and it worked very well. Within a day or two, the itching had stopped completely for 9 of the 10.6

A damp tea bag might not be your first choice for this problem. But if the itching is keeping you awake at night, it may promote enough relief to let you get some well-needed rest.  Read the full article here…

Another fantastic spice is turmeric. This one has so many benefits that you have to be creative to add it to your Paleo diet meal everyday.

Turmeric root. A spice powerhouse. Photo courtesy of Badagnani

The active ingredient in turmeric is curcumin. Tumeric has been used for over 2500 years in India, where it was most likely first used as a dye.

The medicinal properties of this spice have been slowly revealing themselves over the centuries. Long known for its anti-inflammatory properties, recent research has revealed that turmeric is a natural wonder, proving beneficial in the treatment of many different health conditions from cancer to Alzheimer’s disease.

Here are [some of the] 20 reasons to add turmeric to your diet:

  1. It is a natural antiseptic and antibacterial agent, useful in disinfecting cuts and burns.
  2. When combined with cauliflower, it has shown to prevent prostate cancer and stop the growth of existing prostate cancer.
  3. Prevented breast cancer from spreading to the lungs in mice.
  4. May prevent melanoma and cause existing melanoma cells to commit suicide.
  5. Reduces the risk of childhood leukemia.
  6. Is a natural liver detoxifier.
  7. May prevent and slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease by removing amyloyd plaque buildup in the brain.
  8. May prevent metastases from occurring in many different forms of cancer.
  9. It is a potent natural anti-inflammatory that works as well as many anti-inflammatory drugs but without the side effects.
  10. Has shown promise in slowing the progression of multiple sclerosis in mice…. Click here to read the full list

Time to open that spice cupboard to see what other treasures lie within. So not only can you improve your health simply by following a Paleo diet, you can boost that good health by consciously adding herbs and spices to the Paleo diet.


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