Spice up your summer!

Spice up your summer!

Keep your body cool with some fantastic healing ingredients this summer, writes Preety Tyagi

Herbs have healing powers that can help you out this summer.

With the rising levels of pollution over the years and the kind of smog the city witnesses these days, it’s evident that the number of people suffering from asthma, bronchitis, breathing problems and allergies has gone up greatly. Add to that the intense heat of the summer and you only have problems on your hand.

Our diet plays a very important role in keeping us healthy with these ongoing seasonal changes. The food we eat has the power to be our own medicine and a preventive cure as well. There are certain components in our foods that are often ignored and not given much attention to while deciding a meal. They are called herbs and spices. Herbs have been known to have medicinal properties in our ayurvedic ways of healing. Here are a few herbs and spices that should go in your summer spice box: 

• Holy basil: Tulsi is an excellent herb with a lot of healing properties. It is known to help relieve the symptoms of allergies, breathing problems and bronchitis. You can just eat a couple of leaves or put them in your tea. Herbal supplements of tulsi are also available these days. However, only the natural ones are to go for.

• Garlic: Garlic has been used as a natural remedy to manage many diseases, particularly cardiovascular diseases, because of its anti-inflammatory properties. Since asthma and allergy is an inflammatory disease, garlic also helps relieve asthma symptoms.

• Ginger: Ginger is also used to decrease inflammation, and a recent study did show that oral ginger supplements were linked to improvement in asthma symptoms. It can also be taken as a detox drink, used in making ginger tea. It’s a great cure for throat infections as well. It can be had as a concoction of ginger and honey with a bit of black pepper. It’s perfect for relieving breathing-related allergies and also helps in clearing the nasal passage immensely.

• Turmeric: Turmeric powder is effective against allergic conjunctivitis. Turmeric can help reduce inflammation in the eyes. It has antibacterial properties that prevent any further infection in the eye. Soak a piece of cotton or cloth to a pot of boiled turmeric water. Use the soaked cloth piece as a warm compress to treat allergic conjunctivitis. Turmeric also has anti-inflammatory properties and helps in curing asthma and bronchitis as well.

• Butterbur: Butterbur is a type of herb that has a well-respected reputation as a natural remedy for migraines. And in numerous studies, it has also been shown to significantly improve unpleasant allergy symptoms. The researchers also concluded that butterbur is a smart choice for anyone looking to
improve their allergy symptoms while avoiding the sedative effects of antihistamines. However, this herb has some side effects associated with it as well. Over-consumption is not recommended in any case.

• Stinging nettle leaf: Stinging nettle is a perennial flowering plant that has been used
medicinally for ages, dating back as far as ancient Greece. Regarding seasonal allergies, stinging nettle has been shown to have excellent anti-inflammatory abilities. This is important because it is those inflammatory events that cause seasonal allergy symptoms.

• Rosemary: Fresh and dried rosemary are already popular additions to many culinary creations, and in recent years, research has shed light on rosemary’s ability to help fight allergy symptoms and provide relief to asthma sufferers. According to a study, this popular herb contains rosmarinic acid which has both anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects. The study also reveals that rosmarinic acid is a free radical scavenger that can suppress the inflammatory responses of certain white blood cells, as well as allergic antibodies.

• Oregano: Oregano is a well-known Italian herb that’s used in our kitchens these days. It’s also available in the form of supplements for certain health benefits. The supplements include oregano oil extract which are available as pill and soft gel capsules. These usually contain other ingredients to dilute oregano oil, since it’s very potent. The capsules can be taken orally, or cut open and applied to the skin, provided they’re not full strength. Oregano oil is also available as a highly concentrated essential oil.

(The author is lead health coach & founder, MY22BMI)