There was a fascinating article today from CBC - "The Healing Power of Spices". I'm sure the link won't last forever, but here it is http://www.cbc.ca/news/background/health/spices.html
The timing of the article, I'm sure, is based on the recent publication regarding the proven benefits of turmeric for arthritis.
For those that know me, I'm all about spices..........mainly by the way of East Indian cuisine. I've recently been implementing a few of Mexican/Southwest dishes into the Market, which also use a lot of spice (ie. cumin, coriander, cinnamon, cayenne, chili powder, oregano)
Some of the interesting facts includes:
Cayenne: increased metabolism & the body's fat-burning ability, by up to 25%!!!
Cinnamon - a 2003 study apparently showed that ~1/2 tsp. lowered blood glucose, cholesterol and triglyceride levels
Mustard (of course I would mention this one, although I already knew this from my research on the subject) - remember those 'mustard plasters?' These have been used for hundreds of years to relieve respiratory problems. I recall that the mustard itself acts as an irritant to the skin, because of it's heat factor, which brings about an increase in circulation to the area of contact.
Rosemary - apparently both a stimulant and analgesic (you smell it & you know it must be powerful!), it's been used to treat headaches and poor circulation.
Saffron - a 2005 study found that it may (?) help cases of mild to moderate depression. However, the dent in you wallet, if you choose to use it regularly, may increase the depression (that part was not in the article)
Wasabi - now this is interesting. Remember when, before we knew that uclers were caused by bacteria, and people with them avoided spicy foods? Well, apparently wasabi may help prevent ulcers by killing some of bacteria that causes them.
So bring on the spices!! And please don't store your spices above your stove - to maximize their shelf life, keep them sealed in a dark, relatively cool place, and buy them in small quantities, unless you use them a lot. I tell people in my cooking classes to buy the bagged spice in the East Indian aisle, then divy them up with friends. :)
owner, wild serendipity foods