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A Guide to using herbs and spices as tonics

16 Popular Herbal Teas or Infusions

12 of the Best Herbs for a Healthy Diet

5 of the Best Spices for a Healthy Diet


16 Popular Herbal Teas or Infusions
In recent years Herbal Teas or Infusions have become increasingly popular. They are now not only thought of as cures but increasingly as an aid to relieving the symptoms and effects of many everyday illnesses. Their high vitamin and mineral content makes them a popular alternative to pills and as this current popularity demonstrates they make very refreshing and tasty alternatives to ordinary tea and coffee.

There are a large variety of herbal teas that can be made at home or bought in health food shops and even supermarkets. Often sold as teabags these teas have to pass stringent safety and quality tests.
Below are some of the more popular varieties and their uses.

Camomile tea - A popular tea that has been used for many years to ease indigestion, reduce anxiety and calm nerves, also said to help with insomnia.

Elderflower tea - A comforting tea which is particularly helpful when suffering from colds, catarrh and flu. It is anti inflammatory and induces perspiration.

Ginger Tea - Ginger soothes the digestive system. It is also used for nausea and has been used for arthritis due to its anti-inflammatory effects. Ginger tea is easily made and can benefit from the addition of honey to taste.

Hyssop tea - The tea made from hyssop is useful as a strong expectorant and for treating colds and congestion. It has a light licorice taste which can be enhanced by adding honey, orange and/or lemon rind.

Lavender Flower tea – A relaxing tea often drunk as a bedtime drink to aid sleep.

Lemon Balm – Will ease tension without causing drowsiness, aids digestion and soothes feverish conditions brought on by heavy colds and flu.

Lime flower tea – Eases stress and headaches, reduces nervous tension, induces calm and helps with sleep. Can have a mild tranquillising affect. Very popular in France.

Nettle leaf tea – Popular as a tonic, it has a high mineral and vitamin content, particularly iron. Can relieve allergic reactions especially hay fever.

Peppermint tea – Often drunk after heavy meals as an aid to digestion and reduce flatulence. It reduces nausea and is particularly successful, when combined with elderflower, in relieving the symptoms of colds and flu.

Raspberry leaf tea – is mildly astringent which makes it popular as a mouthwash or gargle in treating throat infections. It is not recommended that it is used during early pregnancy.

Red Clover tea – Made from Red clover blossoms either fresh or dried. Benefits include helping women during menopause and also helping maintain consistent estrogen levels within the body it also helps reduce inflammation and help reduce prostate problems within men. Peppermint leaves or honey are often added to enhance the flavour.

Rosemary tea - Often drunk at the start of day or when energy levels are starting to fall because of its highly effective power as a pick-me-up. Also effective in easing headaches and indigestion.

Rosehip tea – Made from crushed rose hips it is very rich in Vitamin C which makes it popular in warding off colds and flu symptoms. It has a mild flavour that many users enhance by adding lemon juice.

Spearmint - Enjoyed for its light aroma as well as its refreshing minty and caffeine-free taste. It can be drunk hot or cold and is often enjoyed after meals as it aids the natural digestion of food and can help stop heartburn. It is also a good nausea and stomach ache soother and can relieve sore throats.

Sage tea – A mild tasting tea made from the infusion of dried sage leaves Often with lemon and sugar added).
It has many benefits including; treating inflammations of the mouth, throat and tonsils, fighting liver and kidney troubles, reducing mouth sores and mouth ulcers.

Thyme – This herb with its pleasant taste and delicate aroma makes a very popular herbal tea with many benefits. It helps ease rheumatic pain, cures headaches, treats coughs, colds, flu and bronchial ailments. Thyme tea is often used as a mouthwash to treat a sore throat or infected gums.

The above Herbal Teas can be considered safe as long as you don't drink too much of them (2-3 cups of tea per day on a regular basis is acceptable).
If you buy manufactured products always read the instructions carefully.
The UK does not require herbal teas to have any evidence concerning their efficiency, but they are technically treated as food products and therefore it is required that they are safe for consumption.
It is an accepted fact that during pregnancy care should be taken when using herbal products, so if you have any doubts it would be advisable to consult your Doctor.

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12 herbs that should be part of a healthy diet.

One of the easiest ways of using herbs for health is in your diet. Herbs not only make food more palatable, but they offer a wealth of nutritional benefits as well. Although the nutritional value of herbs we consume in our meals may be small, limited by the relatively small amounts involved, their therapeutic benefits are likely to be large by comparison. Most herbs we use in cooking today were first used medicinally, so including some herbs in your diet will give you the added benefit of their medicinal properties.
Here are 12 herbs that should be part of a healthy diet.

Basil – A very mild flavour, slightly sweet. A good addition to pasta sauces, pesto etc.
A natural tranquiliser that improves digestion, acts a tonic, an antioxidant, relieves stomach cramps and calms the nervous system. Eases colds, flu, fever, constipation, vomiting and headaches.

– A mild flavour, slightly sweet. Used in soups casseroles and stews and an important ingredient in a bouquet garni.
Stimulates and aids digestion

Borage – Leaves often used in salads.
Aids respiratory infections

– Tastes slightly like parsley with a hint of aniseed.
Stimulates digestion. Chervil is a good source of antioxidant, treats headaches, sinusitis, peptic ulcers, and infections.

Chives – A member of the onion family but much smaller and milder. Popular in soups and stews and as a garnish to many dishes such as potatoes.
Used to stimulate the appetite and aid digestion

Coriander – Strong pungent flavour is suitable for curries, in sauces and dressing salads.
Leaves, when eaten raw, act as a tonic for the stomach and heart. Both seeds and leaves are used to treat the urinary tract and avoid infections.
Current research indicates, coriander may help to lower blood sugar levels and cholesterol.

Dill – Predominately used with fish, in soups and for pickling.
Has Antioxidant, antimicrobial and diuretic properties. Effective in the relief of gripes and flatulence.

Fennel – Has a strong aniseed flavour. Used widely in sauces and in stuffings, especially for fish dishes.
Aids digestion, helps prevent excessive flatulence, nausea, vomiting and insomnia. Fennel has antibacterial properties.

Oregano – Strong distinctive flavour, used extensively in cooking, in stuffings, sauces and is particularly popular in Italian dishes.
Aids digestion and aids relief of flu, colds and coughs. High levels of phytochemicals and antioxidants

Rosemary – Mild sweetish flavour. Good flavouring for many cooked meats, especially Lamb.
Stimulates the nervous and circulatory systems, helps relieve headaches, neuralgia and colds; can boost energy and improve memory. High in antioxidants, antimicrobials and beneficial in eliminating free radicals.

Sage – Particularly good with Pork and in stuffings for meat, chicken and fish.
Has antiseptic, anti-perspirant and antifungal properties, calms indigestion eases diarrhoea, excessive sweating, eases sore throats, coughs and colds.

Thyme – Has a strong aromatic flavour making it very popular in cooking.
An antioxidant, antiseptic and expectorant.

Herbs owe their flavours and medicinal properties to the essential oils they all contain. By eating a healthy diet containing herbs, we make use of their therapeutic properties and tap into the holistic approach of herbal therapy which seeks to maintain our health and wellbeing and not wait for the onset of illness before seeking a cure.

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5 Spices that should be part of a healthy diet.

One of the easiest ways of using spices for their health-giving properties is in your diet. Spices not only make food more palatable, but they offer a wealth of nutritional benefits as well. Although the nutritional value of spices we consume in our meals may be small, limited by the relatively small amounts involved, their therapeutic benefits are likely to be large by comparison.
5 Spices that should be part of a healthy diet.

Pepper – Widely used in cooking many dishes giving a spicy kick where required.
Strong anti-toxidant and anti-bacterial properties.
Boosts metabolism, decreases inflammation, improves digestion. Pepper will improve digestion, an aid to treating coughs, colds, sinusitis, heart problems, colic, diabetes, anaemia, and piles.

Turmeric - Taste is similar to mustard. Often sprinkled on salads to add flavour, or used in curry powder to make Indian dishes. Turmeric is rich in anti-toxidants and anti-carcinogenic properties. It reduces cholesterol levels, aids cough, cold and flatulence, it decreases inflammation and is antimicrobial, antiviral, antifungal.

Cinnamon - Cinnamon has a mild fragrant aroma and a warm, sweet flavour. It is often used as a flavouring agent when preparing many kinds of desserts, chocolate and spicy sweets and liqueurs.
Cinnamon has strong antibacterial qualities. It aids digestive problems and helps manage blood sugar levels.

Ginger - Use fresh ginger in stir-fries or home-made vegetable juices.
An antioxidant, decreases inflammation, boosts immunity, digestive aid.

Cumin - is an essential ingredient in every day’s cooking in the Indian kitchen. These brown aromatic small seeds give out more aroma when roasted or added to hot oil.
Cumin acts as a good source of iron that strengthens immunity it is also used for relieving dyspeptic headaches, nausea, pain and cramping in the abdomen and acts as an antispasmodic, flatulence and many problems of the digestive

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