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Natures Medicene Cabinet


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Everybody knows that ginger is fantastic for coughs and colds but there's a world of spices out there full of health benefits in fact, many are far higher in antioxidants than a lot of fruits.

While no one's suggesting that a sprinkling of cinnamon is a substitute for a visit to your doctor, scientific research is beginning to confirm what traditional medicine has known for centuries. So if you want to reap the benefits, here's how to make the most of nature's medicine cabinet. 

Fennel

What is it good for? Fennel seeds are a powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant. They also help with stomach complaints such as IBS.

How to use it:
Indian people chew fennel seeds after meals to aid digestion and avoid bloating. If you're experiencing bloating or an inflamed reaction to something, add a teaspoon of fennel seeds to boiling water in a cup. You will soon feel soothed.

Saffron
What is it good for? Saffron is said to be nature's version of Prozac but without the side effects.

How to use it:
Saffron is expensive because it is so labour-intensive to pick, but you only need a couple of strands to get a really good flavour. For a mood-lift in a mug, pour hot water over a few strands and add a teaspoon of honey.  It's like a cup of sunshine.

Cloves
What is it good for? Cloves have excellent antibacterial and antiseptic properties and, as grandma knew, they're brilliant for toothache.

How to use it:
Simply put a clove on the affected tooth and chew. It will numb the area in an instant.

Chilli
What is it good for? Fresh chillies are high in antioxidants and vitamins A, C and E. Chillies boost circulation and trigger the release of endorphins natural pain killers just like when we exercise. They also have anti-spasmodic properties and are used in some cough medicines to ease congestion.

How to use it:
Chop and fry fresh chilli with garlic and onion as a base for all sorts of dishes. Also try them dried, sliced, toasted and sprinkled on salad.

Cumin
What is it good for? This also has antiseptic qualities and it's really good for aiding digestion.

How to use it:
Oil some seeds in water, leave to cool, strain out the seeds and drink. It's not the tastiest beverage but it will settle your stomach. A few tablespoons of seeds fried and mixed with mashed banana can also help with insomnia.

Cinnamon
What is it good for? Cinnamon makes a great substitute for sugar, which is good for children and diabetics. And a study at Ohio University showed how it can help mental clarity a theory long held in the ancient practice of ayurvedic medicine, where cinnamon oil is dripped on to the forehead to 'open the inner eye'.

How to use it:
A warming cinnamon tea is a wonderful winter pick-me-up. Make a blend with whole cloves, a broken-up stick of cinnamon, some honey and slices of fresh ginger. Cinnamon porridge is brilliant, too. Mix one teaspoon with some grated apple and you won't need to add sugar at all.


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