During this time of year, everyone heads into the kitchen to whip up their family’s favorite recipes, but did you know the spices you choose for those tasty treats can also have health benefits?
For centuries, Traditional Chinese Medicine has used herbs and spices to cure common illnesses and to increase immunity and energy.
For instance, a traditional Indian beauty trick was to spread turmeric paste on the skin to purify and prevent pimples. Chinese doctors have also used ginger since ancient times to cure aches and pains.
The next time you reach in your cabinet, remember that you might be adding more than just flavor to your meal.
A Garlic Clove A Day
The delicious ingredient that spices up Italian food does a lot more than whet your appetite. Studies indicate that allicin, the active ingredient in garlic, can prevent atherosclerosis and coronary blockage, lower cholesterol, reduce blood clot formation, stimulate the pituitary, regulate blood sugar, and prevent cancer. As an antibacterial, it is often used to treat minor infections. To balance out its pungency, eat some breath-freshening parsley.
Secrets Of The Evergreen
Best known in the west for its anti–nausea properties, ginger has probably been in the longest continuous use of any botanical remedy in the world. The Chinese use it for both medicinal and culinary purposes, frequently in cooking seafood, since it acts as a detoxifier to prevent seafood poisoning. Besides its popular applications for digestive distress, ginger has been found to contain geraniol, which may be a potent cancer fighter. It also possesses anti-inflammatory properties that help relieve pain, prevent blood clots, and inhibit the onset of migraine headaches. Since ancient times, Chinese physicians have regularly consumed ginger tea to keep their vitality fired up.
In ancient times, Taoists living in the mountains of China observed during snowy winters the only plants exhibiting vitality were evergreens such as pines. Through experimentation, they found a therapeutic use for every part of the pine tree: a physical and mental energy boost from pine needle tea and bark tea, antimicrobial properties in sap, and sustenance from pine nuts as a food.
Since then, the pine has become a symbol of longevity in Chinese culture. A potent antioxidant in pine called pycnogenol protects endothelial cells (which make up the lining of the blood vessels and heart) from free radical damage, severs as an anti-inflammatory, and preserves healthy skin structure. It is one of only a few antioxidants that cross the blood-brain barrier, protecting brain cells from the ravages of free radicals in the blood. Pycnogenol is available in dietary supplement form, but the same beneficial flavonoids can be obtained by eating pine nuts.
The Yellow Cure For Sluggish Blood
Did you know that the anticoagulant medication Coumadin was originally extracted from turmeric? This yellow-colored spice, perhaps best recognized for the taste, it adds to curry blends, has been used in Asia for its medicinal properties for many centuries. Turmeric is traditionally used as a blood activator, a pain reliever for joints, and a liver and gall bladder cleanser. Studies show its benefits for prevention of blood clots, reducing inflammation, increasing bile secretion, lowering cholesterol, and possibly preventing certain cancers. If you are taking Coumadin, also called warfarin, you should avoid turmeric so levels in your bloodstream will not get too high. But for the rest, keep the flow going by using turmeric in food or taking it as a supplement.
For more longevity tips and tricks, these are just a few of the hundreds of tips in Secrets of Longevity.
May you Live Long, Live Strong, and Live Happy!
Dr. Mao Shing Ni, best known as Dr. Mao is a bestselling author, doctor of Oriental Medicine, and board certified anti-aging expert. He has appeared regularly on “Dr. Oz,” “The Doctors,” and “EXTRA.” Dr. Mao practices acupuncture, nutrition, and Chinese medicine with his associates at the Tao of Wellness in Santa Monica and Newport Beach. Dr. Mao and his brother, Dr. Daoshing Ni founded Tao of Wellness more than 25 years ago in addition to also founding Yo San University in Marina del Rey. To make an appointment for evaluation and treatment please call 310.917.2200 or you can email Dr. Mao at [email protected] To subscribe to his tip-filled newsletter please visit www.taoofwellness.com.