I’ve always believed that good health is a product of three things: loving yourself, focusing on the right thoughts, and focusing on the right food. For all the years that I have taught, spoken, and written about positive affirmations and loving yourself, I’ve also been studying and applying nutritional practices focusing on anti inflammatory foods and herbs and spices that support my health, energy, and vitality. When people ask me why my skin is so vibrant or how I can still travel, teach, and enjoy life to the fullest, I tell them that it has to do with the right thoughts AND the right food.
It is time to get back to the Earth, and nourish our bodies with what nature provides. Here is a list of common herbs and spices that you can add to your meals, many of which are flavor and anti-inflammatory super-stars in bone broth finishers, elixirs, and drink recipes in my new book, The Bone Broth Secret, which I wrote with my good friend, Heather Dane.
Salt & Pepper: Nature’s Power Team
Sea salt and black pepper or white pepper work with any healing herbs and spices. They tend to show up in just about every recipe, and for good reason!
Benefits of Sea Salt or Pink Himalayan Salt
These types of salt add flavor and enhance the flavors of the ingredients in a recipe (a little goes a long way). These natural salts add important trace minerals. If you study minerals, you’ll find that they’re the body’s spark plugs, giving us energy. Yet they also keep us anchored and rooted, helping us stay grounded and calm. This is helpful when making food with the sweet taste because it keeps the body in balance.
Benefits of Black Pepper
This was considered the “king of spices” in the Middle Ages, and that’s an appropriate title: Indian black pepper in particular is rich in nutrients that aid your digestion. All black pepper in fact aids digestion, helps prevent or treat constipation, has heart — and blood pressure — regulating properties, and aids memory and thyroid health. Black pepper is also a key partner with turmeric, which is a superfood that must be paired with black pepper in order for our bodies to access the healing properties of turmeric.
9 Healing Herbs For Greater Health
You can pretty much combine any of these herbs and you’ll get a great taste. Remember, if you’re just starting out using herbs and spices, start with a small amount (like 1 ⁄ 8 tsp.) and sample your dish after each addition.
Here are some common anti inflammatory herbs and their health benefits:
Benefits of Basil
— Basil is an herb that has been shown to have beneficial properties for type 2 diabetes, cholesterol, pain, stress, ulcers, and high triglycerides.
Benefits of Bay Leaf
— Bay leaf is great for joint pain, indigestion, ulcers, and arthritis; treating cancer; regulating cholesterol and triglycerides, as well as blood sugar; and can even repel mosquitoes for up to two hours.
Benefits of Dill
— Dill provides great flavor for fish, vegetable dishes, and dressings. It can support healthy digestion, aid in bone density, and create a calm energy.
Benefits of Lemongrass
— Lemongrass offers a hint of sour flavor to balance out a dish; we use it in pâtés, desserts, and other recipes. Lemongrass is an antianxiety remedy and has been shown to have beneficial effects for type 2 diabetes, epilepsy, insomnia, cancer, cholesterol, thrush (oral candida infection), high triglycerides, and vaginal yeast infection.
Benefits of Mint
— Mint is wonderful for digestion, anxiety, fatigue, nasal congestion, menopause, menstrual cramps, and allergies.
Benefits of Rosemary
— Rosemary has been shown to reduce anxiety, alleviate pain in arthritis, and help lower blood sugar. It also helps protect your skin from the sun’s UV radiation. Keep a sprig of rosemary within reach when you are studying or need to memorize a lot of information, as rosemary’s smell is said to be a memory enhancer.
Benefits of Sage
— Sage has been shown to support memory, the heart, and the skin. It also benefits herpes, cancer, ulcers, psoriasis, and eczema.
Benefits of Tarragon
— Tarragon is a good source of antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins A, B complex, and C. It can help with heart and eye health, and reducing blood sugar levels.
Thyme: Benefits of Thyme
— Thyme is a very flexible herb that we use almost daily in our kitchens. It’s been shown to be antiaging and good for the heart, colds, colitis, bacterial infections, and ulcers.
14 Healing Spices For Greater Health
Just like herbs, most spices go together. You almost can’t go wrong, and it’s the perfect way to use your intuition and your senses as you create your own recipes.
— Allspice is wonderful in just about any recipe, as it’s a flavorful and high-antioxidant spice. It’s helpful for menopause and high blood pressure and contains more than 24 healing compounds.
— Caraway seeds are great for digestion, constipation, acid reflux, and regulating cholesterol.
— Cardamom helps with asthma, constipation, bad breath, and indigestion, and has been shown to lower blood pressure and histamine.
— Cinnamon is anti-inflammatory, helps promote healthy bacteria in your gut (those good guys that help you digest and assimilate your food), and keeps your blood sugar stable (which helps give you willpower!). It can also help with heart health and can prevent diabetes.
— Clove is great for your teeth and gums, helps fight bad bacteria like H. pylori (responsible for ulcers), and can inhibit viruses like herpes and hepatitis C.
— Coriander helps regulate digestion, bloating, cholesterol levels, blood pressure, skin issues (such as rosacea or eczema), and vaginal yeast infections.
— Cumin has beneficial properties for cancer, epilepsy, type 2 diabetes, and bone health.
— Fennel can help with arthritis, calms cramps (including menstrual cramps) and colic, and is a powerful digestive aid and anti-inflammatory.
— Fenugreek has been found to help with weight loss, improved moods, blood sugar balance, cataracts, kidney stones, and gallstones. It can also help prevent or reverse non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.
— Ginger is an anti-inflammatory spice that can help with arthritis, nausea, morning sickness, and migraines. It is also amazing for your digestion.
— Nutmeg can protect your skin from wrinkles due to the breakdown of elastin in the skin and skin-damaging ultraviolet (UV) rays, provides anti-anxiety and anti-depression benefits, and inhibits the viral cause of diarrhea.
— Paprika helps with indigestion, cardiovascular health, and circulation; is antibacterial and anti-inflammatory; and contains vitamins A, E, K, and C.
— Saffron has been shown to help with mood issues (such as depression or anxiety), insomnia, blood pressure, menstrual cramps, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, memory issues, and erectile dysfunction.
— Turmeric is wonderful as an anti-inflammatory spice if you’re experiencing arthritis, swelling, or inflammation around your menstrual period, or any other autoimmune-type symptoms. Incidentally, it’s wonderful for your skin and a natural anti-wrinkle remedy. It can also protect against radiation from the sun or x-rays. Be sure to pair with black pepper to activate turmeric’s healing properties.
Treat yourself to some well-loved staple herbs and spices. Use your intuition. When you open your spice cabinet, allow your intuition to guide you to the herbs and spices you feel most drawn to. Sometimes, without even knowing why, you’ll pick spices with exactly the medicinal qualities your body needs. Use the herbs and spices in our recipes and notice how they taste. Start small. If you only put in a little of an herb or spice, like 1⁄8 tsp., you almost can’t go wrong. If you’re not sure, take 1⁄8 tsp. and put it in the food, mix it up, and taste. If you like it, add another 1⁄8 tsp. and go from there.
Try things out; experiment. Heather and I often found during the writing of The Bone Broth Secret that things we thought were big mistakes turned out to be the best-tasting recipes ever. If you’re afraid to make mistakes, you’ll miss out on all the fun you could have, and if you are new to bone broth recipes start out small with the basics from The Bone Broth Secret.