I have a wonderful book titled “Healing Spices” written by Bharat B. Aggarwal, Ph.D., an Indian scientist who has studied the healing power of spices. This book is a real eye-opener to an ol’ herb and root woman like me. I’ve always known that people have valued spices not only for their intense flavor, but because spices can preserve foods and they’re healthy. But I didn’t know why.

We’re fortunate these days because scientists are beginning to study spices and their effects on the human body. Turns out spices may be the healthiest treatments for disease we have—although you’ll never get the pharmaceutical/chemical industry to admit it.

Take cinnamon. This common spice can help regulate blood sugar—a huge bonus for the millions who suffer type 2 diabetes. Cinnamon can lower your “bad” cholesterol, the LDL variety. Pay no attention to the fact that your body needs cholesterol and makes it in the liver when you need more. Instead of taking dangerous cholesterol lowering drugs, take cinnamon. Cinnamon is another one of those wonder spices that can aid in a variety of chronic diseases—cancer, heart disease and arthritis. Cinnamon battles bacteria and other pathogens with its anti-infection properties. It can reduce pain, whiten your teeth and teach your dog to read.

Not only does cinnamon taste good, it smells good. Toss some cinnamon sticks and cloves into a small pot of boiling water on the stove and your house will smell like your grandmother has been baking Christmas cookies for hours. I do this when I’m feeling morose and it does wonders for my mood. I don’t know if it is supposed to work that way, but it does.

Take advantage of cinnamon and sprinkle some on toast with a bit of sugar. Sprinkle in your coffee and tea. Of course bake with it, but check out Moroccan recipes—a chicken stew with raisins, apricots and cinnamon. Doesn't that get your mouth watering? Now that you know how good it is, you’ll find ways of using it in your household, I’m sure.

PS Alert readers—of course I made that up.

Photo: By McCormick and company [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons