There’s more to herbs and spices than the exciting flavours they give to food. Like fresh fruits and vegetables, tea and even coffee, they are rich in antioxidants, which can limit age-related damage in the cells of the body.
Researchers at the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) have shown that curry leaves have anti-oxidant properties and they are continuing work with the assessment of the antioxidant properties of ginger. The team also believes in the benefits of garlic in reducing cholesterol, and even in lowering the risk of cancer. A small amount each day may be all you need to get some benefit.
The next step is to find out how much you need of other herbs and spices to get a health bonus. As true scientists, the CSIRO researchers naturally want to discover the active ingredients in each individual herb and spice. But they admit that the whole may be greater than the sum of its parts – that is, the isolated active component may not be as effective as the whole plant. This, of course, is what traditional herbalists have always believed.
By Abigail Mellier