Who doesn’t love a big Thanksgiving dinner? The scents and tastes are sure to conjure memories of Thanksgivings past and give us something to look forward to each autumn. In addition to the many wonderful food smells and flavors, our favorite Thanksgiving spices also offer a wide range of healing properties. Let’s explore some of the most therapeutic spices of the season:
What Thanksgiving meal would be complete without at least some garlic, probably in the form of stuffing or roasted and added to mashed potatoes? Garlic contains numerous healing compounds, but the most studied is allicin, found to be a natural broad-spectrum antiviral, antibacterial and antifungal remedy. At this time of year, who doesn’t want some ammunition against all the viruses going around? But, garlic is also a well-proven antioxidant that helps prevent cellular damage before it can cause disease. Studies even show that garlic helps to fight esophageal, stomach, and prostate cancers.
Perhaps there is no more spice reminiscent of Thanksgiving dinners than sage. It’s the signature flavor of stuffing that’s served in households across America. More and more studies are showcasing the herb’s memory boosting, brain health building and even Alzheimer’s treatment potential. In numerous studies, researchers found that sage helped boost performance on memory tests, particularly word recall scores and mood improvements. Sage seems to limit the breakdown of the brain hormone known as acetylcholine, which tends to decline as we age. This compound tends to be depleted in those suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, so sage may be helpful in the prevention or treatment of the condition.
One of my favorite herbs of all time, rosemary, lends its delightful fragrance and flavor to any Thanksgiving dinner, whether it’s used in stuffing, on Turkey, or along with roasted squash or other vegetables. Preliminary research finds that this versatile herb shows promise as a natural remedy for atherosclerosis—chronic inflammation and buildup of plaque in the blood vessels that leads to heart disease, heart attacks and stroke. It has also been found to boost blood flow to the brain.
Thyme is one of the main ingredients in poultry seasoning mixes and is often added to turkey, stuffing and makes a great flavor addition to almost any vegetable or potato dish. Research in the journal BMC Research Notes found that this savory herb is effective at inhibiting the proliferation of cancer cells, suggesting that thyme may hold potential in the natural treatment of cancer.
So, in addition to the feelings of gratitude, the time spent with family and friends, you can feel great about the many healing benefits your favorite Thanksgiving spices offer. Happy Thanksgiving!