1. Cumin seeds have traditionally been noted to be of benefit to the digestive system, and scientific research is beginning to bear out cumin’s age-old reputation. Research in animals has indicated that cumin may stimulate the secretion of pancreatic enzymes, important factors in proper digestion and nutrient assimilation. As with other carminative spices, cumin’s digestive stimulating effects are due to its content of volatile oils.
Cumin seeds may also have anti-cancer properties. In one study, cumin was shown to protect laboratory animals from developing stomach or liver tumors. This cancer-protective effect may be due to cumin’s potent free-radical scavenging abilities, as well as its ability to enhance the liver’s detoxification enzymes. (Dr. Michael T Murray)
2. The herb Peppermint is both a well known flavor for foods from candy to beverages, and an important herbal medicine. It is used world wide to relieve digestive discomforts. It eases the discomforts of flatulence, indigestion, colic, and similar complaints. It also stimulates the flow of digestive juices, aiding digestion and breaking down fats. The essential oil, the constituents with the characteristic aroma, acts as a mild pain reliever to the stomach wall, which helps reduce feelings of nausea and the desire to vomit. It also helps relieve such symptoms when related to pregnancy and motion sickness.
Peppermint oil, when taken in a special capsule that doesn’t dissolve until it gets past the stomach, (an enteric coated capsule) has been shown to significantly ease the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome.
It is a traditional treatment for fevers, colds, and flu. As an inhalation, the essential oil provides temporary relief of the discomforts of nasal inflammation. It may help with headaches associated with indigestion, as well as gently easing anxiety and tension. Applied to the skin, peppermint oil will soothe itching and reduce inflammation. The essential oil is used in combination with soothing and calming oils like lavender to treat headaches and migraines.
Therapeutically, Peppermint is widely used as a tea or a diluted tincture but is also a common ingredient in toothpaste and tooth powders. Peppermint is such a mild and gentle herb that it is wonderful picked directly from the garden to be chewed, added to savory dishes such as Tabouli, or as a leaf added to a favorite chocolate, berry, or ice cream dessert. (David Hoffmann)
3. The use of Ginger (Zingiber officinale) as both food and medicine in Asia goes back a millennium. It was introduced to Europe by the Roman Empire via India and became an important item of trade. Following the fall of the Roman Empire, ginger became very scarce in the west. It was not until the days of Marco Polo that it came back into trade and became a very valuable spice throughout the Western world.
Ginger is widely used in cooking and is a great compliment to many dishes, both sweet and savory, and is used widely in Asian cuisine.
Ginger has been used around the world to relieve gas and bloating and to stimulate the appetite. In hot and humid climates, ginger is eaten daily. It is popular not only for its flavor, but also because its antioxidant and antimicrobial properties help to preserve food, an essential action in such climates.
Not only has ginger has been used around the world as an aromatic herb and pungent appetite stimulant, but also as a well know remedy for nausea, and studies show it may help with motion sickness. Clinical studies have shown that ginger is as effective as over-the-counter drugs in dealing with motion sickness, and is a safer option than OTC drugs which cause drowsiness.
To achieve the best results, the ginger should be taken approximately 30 minutes before beginning the travel. Ginger may be taken in a number of ways, the choice is up to personal preference. As a tea drink one cup made from 1500mg of the herb before travel, and then one cup up to three times a day. Standardized extracts are taken at a dose of 500mg before travel and then every 4 hours.
Ginger has also been known to be helpful in easing morning sickness. Traditional herbalism considers Ginger to be helpful in improving circulation, in easing feverish conditions, and as a gargle to help relieve sore throats. Externally, it is the base of many treatments for muscle spasms and aches.
Ginger may be drunk as a tea and is best infused or steeped. It can be used in syrups, candies, and taken as a tea, tincture or capsule.