Items in the spice rack, and common household plants and ingredients, can improve health and reduce environmental toxins.
From the Spice Rack and Herb Garden
Common household plants, roots, and herbs can provide many health benefits and can help to prevent diseases. Chili peppers, which contain capsaicin, can ward off prostate cancer and ulcers, as well as improve heart health and provide pain relief. Cinnamon works to manage blood sugar and cholesterol levels, and it can help keep arteries healthy. Parsley’s uses go beyond garnish and freshening breath. It may also help “pass kidney stones, battle deafness, and prevent buildup in the arteries”. Oregano could help fight infection, since it is a source of thymol and carvacol (antibacterial agents). It also contains antioxidants. Garlic is antiviral, antibacterial, and anti-fungal. It may even prevent blood clots. Thyme is not only antibacterial, but it is antiseptic, and “can kill MRSA infections”, according to recent studies. Turmeric and ginger may reduce inflammation in patients with arthritis. Black pepper is thought to help the body absorb turmeric.1 Turmeric contains curcumin, which is anti-inflammatory and may inhibit some breast, colon, and stomach cancers. Curry powder can be a great source of turmeric. Ginger may aid an upset stomach, and it could “lessen workout-induced soreness”. Ginger was also found, in a study, to improve attention span and memory in middle-aged women. Nutmeg can work for cavity prevention and may stifle tumor growth in cancer. Cumin contains iron and could “boost…brainpower”.2 Cilantro has vitamin K, which is good for blood clotting and bone strength. Anise seeds, with their black licorice flavor, may calm the stomach and “help with coughs and runny noses”. Anise has “estrogen-like properties” as well as fiber and calcium. Fennel aids digestion and may relieve bloating and heartburn. Ginseng is thought to be beneficial for blood sugar, immunity, and slowing colorectal cancer. To promote sleep and ease stress, lavender may be useful. Mint has been found to alleviate irritable bowel syndrome symptoms. Rosemary fights inflammation and may boost memory, and saffron could “tame PMS symptoms and help with…depression”.3
The kitchen also holds non-toxic cleaning ingredients, which can contribute to a healthier lifestyle. Baking soda scours, deodorizes, and cleans. Lemon has antibacterial properties. White vinegar removes odors and cuts grease. Cornstarch can clean windows, shampoo rugs, and polish furniture.4 Other great resources for cleaning are essential oils. Some of them can kill mold and bacteria. Eucalyptus, lavender, and tea tree oils can clean brushes and combs. Tea tree oil is also useful for treating scuffed floors and cleaning toilets. Shower doors can be treated with lemon oil. Orange oil could take care of “gum-encrusted items”. Lavender and lemongrass oils can “wipe grime off windows”. Depending on what needs to be cleaned, essential oils are often diluted into other solutions, such as water or white vinegar. Making home cleaning solutions could also be more cost-effective. White vinegar is especially helpful for cleaning the dishwasher, coffeemaker, drains, floors, glassware, showerheads, windows, and steam iron. Table salt can also clean glassware, as well as pots and pans, oven spills, and stained mugs. Vegetable oils are helpful in maintaining cast iron pans, leather shoes, wicker and wood furniture, stainless steel, and they may even remove paint from skin.5
Find out more ways to avoid environmental toxins.