Reasons to adopt Herbal Lifestyle
Are you the kind of cook who uses a lot of spices and herbs in your daily dishes? Did you know there are so many health benefits if you use them daily? If your answer is no, then this is the right article for you. I have tried to explain why we need to use those herbs and spices more and more in our cooking. If you have not yet started using them, then it’s time to refill your kitchen cabinet with those items.
I know for sure most of you have been using basil leaves, turmeric, ginger, and many such herbs and spices daily. These have been an integral part of our culinary and medicinal use for many centuries. Don’t you remember your mother and grandmother telling you to use them daily? Though we didn’t know their hidden benefits, we still use them. Now researchers are trying to find their health merits and prove the medicinal value of them. People all around the world are understanding the advantages of using them. They are adopting the usage of herbs and spices in their daily life.
I am a strong advocate of herbal and Ayurvedic lifestyle. Hence, I am often asked many questions about the reason behind following this regime. I try to make them understand the points below.
- Taking care of body health is important to have a healthy mind.
- Herbs and few spices are great skin and hair care products (natural products).
- If you are a food lover, you might already know that they offer great flavors for our palate.
- They help in improving memory, cognition skills, and boost your brain.
- Have a very positive impact on the environment.
- Little or no side effects (important point) and very much cost-effective.
Health is wealth (at any point in life!!!):
A great man once said – “A healthy mind resides in a healthy body”, but having a healthy body is a tough task in today’s world. I know it’s easier said than done. But it’s never too late to be serious about your health and take care of it. Your daily lifestyle plays a major role in maintaining your body and mind. Eating and sleeping habits, exercises, hobbies, etc. play an important role in this. Since time immemorial, our ancestors have used a lot of herbs and spices in the food they prepared daily. Herbs were being used as a medicine for small babies. It helped to improve their immunity, memory, and strength. The antioxidant properties of herbs and spices are very well known. Several types of biomedical research are being done currently focusing on exploring the anti-inflammatory, cancer-fighting constituents of herbs and spices. The Ayurvedic medicinal system of India uses these herbs for many purposes. Few treatments include healing wounds, gastrointestinal issues, deworming, and rheumatic disorders. They also help increase detoxifying enzymes, decrease tumor formation, improve DNA repair, etc.
As a great cosmetic product:
Have you all seen the word “herbal” in front of beauty salons? It has been a common practice to use such words for beauty and cosmetic products for quite some time now. Herbs have been used in skin and hair care products by many companies for the last few decades. They help in enhancing the beauty and maintaining them. Indian women have been using sandalwood, turmeric, henna, and shikakai to take care of their skin and hair for a long time. Ayurveda uses herbs and oil extracts for massaging the body and beauty treatments. These products are generally known as “herbal cosmetics”. They help in beautifying the skin and prevent the occurrence of any skin diseases in the future. We all know that long-time exposure of skin to chemicals, pollutants, and heat can cause skin issues. Dehydrated skin, sunburns, pigmentation, early aging, wrinkles, freckles, are a few examples. You can avoid these issues by using herbal products regularly.
To make the food delicious:
Using spices in day-to-day cooking is a common practice in every Indian household. As you know a lot of our dishes end with a ‘tadka’ of basil leaves before serving them. Many people believe that spices are used to reduce the amount of salt in dishes, but that’s not true. Rather, spices add a unique flavor to your dish. They blend so well with almost all other ingredients, so it does not stand out as a single flavor. And as you think it’s not true, that spices are suitable only for non-sweet recipes. Certain sweet dishes also use these spices to give them that distinctive flavor. They are being used instead of less healthy ingredients like fats and salt. Herbs are used as a seasoning to certain dishes or there are many recipes prepared only by using herbs. They have proven to be successful both as a stand-alone dish or as a seasoning. We must be careful while using herbs and spices as an excess of either of them can ruin the original taste of the dish.
Helps improve your brain health:
How many times have you forgotten your wallet at home before leaving for office? Or do you look around for a calculator for calculating money at a grocery store? Most of us would answer yes to these questions. Our brain is a wonderful organ that works almost 24 hours a day. But it can perform well only when it is healthy and active. Many of the customs and traditions in India usually aim at improving the efficiency of our brains. We feed new-born babies with few medicinal extracts from herbs after six months of age. It helps in improving memory and immunity at a very young age. Extensive research is being conducted to prove the benefits of these ancient practices. Many of these herbs help improve reasoning skills. Also, they have a positive effect on diseases like Alzheimer’s (loss of memory). Using a few chunks of these herbs and spices in our daily food helps improve focus and control stress. Studies have shown that few elements present in spices like turmeric can help brain cells to self-repair. These were a few examples of uses of herbs in improving brain health. There are many such herbs that are not known yet to most people. Exploring them and studying them helps us and even our kids in the future.
Teaches us to coexist with nature: Herbs are a part of nature. The plants in your backyard, which you think are weeds, might help to improve the air quality in your neighborhood. They increase biodiversity in the ecosystem. Humans have been using herbs for their medicinal benefits for ages. Different parts of the world had their own way of using these herbs. This has resulted in cultural uniqueness amongst communities. Few studies have shown that pharmaceuticals are the reason for the accumulation of 4 million tonnes of carbon dioxide every year. In contrast to this herbal medicine contributes to better health of the planet. It helps increase the oxygen content in the atmosphere. They help to remove allergy causing germs from the air and hence very beneficial for allergy-prone kids or elders. Few types of herbs even prevent the growth of the unwanted weeds in your backyard. So next time you visit any medicinal plant nursery, get all those herbs, and grow them in your backyard. Even if you don’t end up using them for medicinal use, growing them won’t create any harm to you or your next generation.
Cost-effective and fewer side effects:
If you had visited any lavish skincare clinic or modern specialty hospital, you would have understood that one visit to them will create a hole in your pocket. And most of the medicines prescribed will have one or the other side effects. If you take medicine for body pain, you will get skin allergy and vice versa. Compared to the modern pharmaceutical industry, herbs and spices have very few or sometimes zero side effects. Most of these herbs are grown in the backyard and available all the time. This is one reason herbal products are available at reasonably lesser prices as compared to other cosmetic products. There might be few products which are a little expensive. But that is because they contain certain herbs which are rarely available in nature. But most of the products do not become a burden to our pocket.
So, are you ready to try out herbal products now? If yes, here is a list of herbs and spices available in our backyard or in our kitchen cabinet. Even if you are still not sure about moving to a herbal lifestyle, reading this list helps. You will be surprised to see that many of these items are very commonly used in our daily life.
- Basil leaves
This list has ten such herbs and spices. There are many more out there which I will explain in my next article – powerful herbs to boost the immune system.
Want to know the importance of herbals medicine in our lives? Check out this article on the introduction and importance of Medicinal Plants and Herbs.