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Introducing 4 Powerful Herbs into Your Daily Life

goldenmilkHerbs are often an afterthought; a way to add flavors to a dish, but rarely the star of the show.  However, there are some powerful herbs that have been used as medicine for hundreds of years. These 4 “super” herbs will be a great addition to your medicine cabinet and your favorite recipes!

Turmeric

How it works

Known for adding the bright yellow color to Indian cooking, turmeric is also an extremely powerful anti-inflammatory.  The active component is curcumin, which reduces inflammation by lowering histamine levels.

How to use it

Turmeric can be easily integrated into your cooking by adding a pinch to egg scrambles, rice or marinades.  It is available in supplement form at any local health food store.  Or you can make it into a delicious traditional drink called Golden Milk:

Traditional Golden Milk Recipe

  • 2 cups coconut milk
  • 1 tsp. Turmeric
  • 1 tsp. maple syrup or raw honey
  • 1 in. piece of peeled ginger root
  • 3 black peppercorns

Blend all ingredients, except the peppercorns, in a blender.  Pour into a small sauce pan, add peppercorns, and warm for 5 minutes.  Strain the peppercorns and enjoy immediately!

Garlic

How it works

The sulfer compound allicin, which gives garlic its bite, is also responsible for powerful cardiovascular benefits.  It has been shown to help reduce cholesterol as well as slow down the process of hardening arteries.  It can also be a powerful immune booster to fight the summer colds.

How to use it

Most of the health benefits of garlic come from fresh crushed raw garlic.  If you can tolerate it you can eat it raw!  Or it is also available in the less offensive supplement form.  Make sure that the supplement contains allicin to ensure you are getting the full health potential.  My favorite way to integrate garlic is to make a fresh pesto, which can be added to sandwiches or chicken and fish after it has been cooked.

Ashwagandha

How it works

Ashwangadha may not be found in the traditional American pantry, but perhaps it should be.  It is a powerful adaptogen.  Adaptogens are a unique class of medicinal herbs that don’t just act on one specific part of the body, but rather are able to provide assistance to where you are most stressed.  Ashwangadha is known for supporting adrenal function and is a powerful supplement when you are fighting adrenal fatigue or chronic stress.

How to use it

Ashwangadha is typically found in supplement form and can be taken in a powder, tablet or liquid extract.  Much like turmeric, many people integrate ashwangadha into their day through a nightly drink made by mixing powder, warm milk and raw honey.

Cinnamon

How it works

Properties found in the oil of cinnamon are thought to account for its medicinal effects.  It has been shown to lower cholesterol, but it is best known for its positive impact on blood sugar.

How to use it

As with the other herbs, it can be found in supplement form.  However, because of its pleasant taste it can be easily integrated into your everyday diet.  You can add a stick to your daily tea or sprinkle it on dishes to add a sweet taste.  Because of the positive impact on blood sugar, I like adding it to breakfast to help reduce cravings throughout the day.

Almond Butter and Cinnamon Oatmeal

  • 1/2 cup oats
  • water
  • 1 tbsp. Almond Butter (or any other nut butter)
  • pinch of cinnamon
  • shake of salt
  • blueberries (optional)

 

  1. Cover oatmeal with enough water so that it rises about 1/2 inch above the oatmeal.  Add a shake of salt.
  2. Microwave for one minute on high, stir, microwave 30 seconds, stir again. Continue to microwave in 15 second intervals, stirring after each 15 seconds, until oatmeal reaches the desired consistency. I usually go for about 2 minutes.
  3. Remove oatmeal and stir in almond butter. Sprinkle with ground cinnamon and fresh fruit if desired.

 

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