Spices for Health

Receiving more salt than is necessary and healthy is a bad habit that is in the Czech Republic unfortunately strongly spread. Excessive salting has a number of negative health effects. Organism retains larger quantities of salt, which also causes increased sodium levels in the body and high blood pressure, which increases the risk of cardiovascular diseases. Instead of using more salt in our dishes, it is possible to use to other types of spices, which are in have positive impact on our body.

To excess salt intake to our body

Excessive intake of salt acts in the body very irritant and prevents excretion of metabolic waste. Sodium chloride contained in the salt prevents the excretion of urea, worsens the symptoms of rheumatism, and eczema. The kidney disease typically manifests by swelling, which may also be a consequence of an excessive amount of salt in the organism. Salt raises blood pressure and stimulates the adrenal glands. The result of their increased activity is feeling of the warmness, of alertness and seeming feeling of good health. The amount of sodium chloride that people receive in table salt exceeds multiply the actual needs of the organism.

Salt has in small doses stimulating effects. In larger doses, however, the body tends to retain the salt which is then excessively concentrated in the blood. Such a phenomenon is called "hyperchloraemia". People suffering from this disease are feeling fine until there occurs greater loss of salts, for example due to perspiration. The consequences are different: osmotic balance of body fluids is disturbed and depression and other problems can appear.

Excessive salting of food is a very bad habit. The best treatment is prevention. Nature offers us the necessary substances in the stems, roots, and leaves of plants, in these cases do not occur excessive excretion of salt in sweat and urine. If you want to season a dish, it is much healthier option to use any other seasoning. Although even with seasoning the food you should be careful, in smaller quantities may seasonings have positive effect on health.

Cayenne (cayenne) pepper

Cayenne pepper is grounded dried Cayenne peppers. Designation pepper originated in the past thanks to erroneous translation of the word pepper, which means paprika and not pepper.

Cayenne pepper is recommended for use instead of the classic pepper. It is far healthier, and it is not irritating and it does no settles on the mucous membranes. This pepper can also use asthmatics, because it relaxes the airways and kills bacteria and viruses. Cayenne pepper is very finely ground, handle it with care, you could easily overdose your food. Its sharpness reaches 45,000 SHU, which is for the average consumer quite high. Therefore, we recommend to use cayenne pepper with caution.

Hot chili peppers, that form cayenne pepper, contain large amount of vitamin C and beta-carotene. They have their pungent flavour thanks to substance called capsaicin, which increases blood circulation and speeds up metabolism. In reasonable quantities, it has a positive impact on our digestive system. It promotes the secretion of digestive juices, making our body easier digestion, especially fatty and heavy foods. In addition, capsaicin helps reduce blood sugar levels, making it a perfect condiment for people who suffer from type 2 diabetes. Some not yet fully acknowledged medical research says that regular consumption of cayenne even can be prevention of cancer.

Internal use cayenne pepper is useful in the event of:

  • Bruises and hematomas
  • Varicose veins
  • Thrombosis
  • Cardiac arrhythmia - Capsaicin acts as a natural calcium blocker
  • Frostbite
  • Food poisoning - sharp chili peppers kill bacteria Vibrio vulnificus - begetter of poisoning, Escherichia coli, Shigella, Salmonella
  • Mucus in the lungs - a pinch of cayenne pepper in food helps to release mucus

Folk medicine says that the ideal treatment for a sore throat is gargling with warm water with a pinch of cayenne pepper.

External use of cayenne pepper is useful for:

  • Hypothermia - by ground chili peppers on foot
  • Cutting wounds - cayenne helps stop bleeding
  • Frostbite – in this occasion is prepared a weak decoction of red peppers. Half cup of red pepper is boiled seven minutes in two and a half litres of water, then strained and after reaching an acceptable temperature is used for washing affected areas of the skin.

Turmeric (curcuma)

Bright yellow turmeric (or Indian saffron) is one of the main components of traditional Indian spice mixtures, which are called curry. Turmeric is a bright yellow spice used in the form of finely ground powder of the dried rhizome tropical perennial plant called Turmeric, Curcuma longa. The specific colour of turmeric is caused by matter of curcumin, which has recently been the subject of numerous scientific studies. It shows that it has a very strong detoxifying and in some cases anticancer effects.

Spice turmeric grows mainly in India and Indonesia, where it is considered a sacred spice. The average Indian consumes daily allegedly up to 2 grams of turmeric.

In Europe are healing effects of turmeric still somewhat undervalued. Turmeric has been used and highly valued at a time when medical treatises were written in cuneiform on stone plates long before our era. In Indian medicine, turmeric is used for its ability to cleanse the body, for stopping fevers, in cases of indigestion, inflammation, arthritis, jaundice, and with liver problems. In Chinese medicine, turmeric is used for heling liver problems, hyperaemic and bleeding.

Turmeric probably comes from the Arabic courcoum, which means saffron. Marco Polo commented about it in 1280 in the travelogue and he wrote about it that looks like saffron, smells like saffron, has the same colour as saffron, but it is not saffron.

Beneficial effects of turmeric

  • Lowers blood cholesterol
  • Reduces inflammation of the joints of the upper and lower limbs and pain caused by rheumatism
  • Stimulates the production of cortisone in the adrenal glands
  • Supports the production of bile, appetite and brain activity
  • It has beneficial effect on the digestive system and irregular menstruation
  • Helps prevent cramps and flatulence
  • In traditional Chinese medicine, in addition to the above, is turmeric used for treating rheumatoid arthritis with painful joints, gout, postpartum abdominal pain, or stopped menstruation.

Curcumin lowers cholesterol, has bigger anti-coagulative effect than known vitamin E. Curcumin prevents cancerous growths, possibly Alzheimer's disease, and supports the therapeutic treatment of cancer of various kinds, which has already developed, e.g. liver, stomach, skin, colon. Some studies suggest that it is able to deprive a tumour of nutrient supply. To exploit the potential of curcumin is needed another actually quite "ordinary" spice, pepper. Only one molecule of pepper, piperine, improves utilization of curcumin to 1000 times.

Warning: Excessive use of turmeric can cause for sensitive persons damage of the digestive tract and it can contribute to the formation of gastric ulcers. It is not recommended to use turmeric in a long-term, regularly and excessively. People suffering from blood coagulation disorders, pregnant women, women trying to get pregnant and young children, should avoid its consumption.

The recommended daily dose of turmeric or extract of rhizomes of Curcuma longa (containing 95% curcuminoids) should be in the range from 500 to 1000 mg.


As it is with the turmeric, ginger is spice obtained from plant rhizomes. From ancient India and China to Greece and Rome was ginger worshiped as a culinary spice. It is also very appreciated by traditional healers. Today it is quite common to use ginger for colds and indigestion. Spicy taste of ginger causes the compound gingerol, which is partially chemically similar to capsaicin in chili peppers. Probably the best-known medicinal use of ginger is when we catch flu and colds. Then it is recommended to drink hot ginger tea. Less well known is the fact that ginger also relieves nausea - for example during pregnancy or is suitable for patients who are undergoing chemotherapy.

The beneficial effects of ginger on human health

  • Activation of the cardiovascular system
  • Treatment of digestive disorders and stomach problems
  • Lowering of blood cholesterol
  • Counteracts bloating, flatulence, and nausea
  • Helps to heal colds and flu
  • Warms the body and has antibacterial effects
  • Helps against motion sickness, seasickness and other nausea
  • It has the ability to reduce inflammation and strengthen immunity
  • It has the ability to soothe the pain (Ginger helps especially for chronic diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, sciatica and fibromyalgia. Ginger is also effective in relieving occasional headaches, muscle aches, and colds.)
  • Ginger is a powerful antioxidant (Due to the content of antioxidants, ginger helps prevent and treat many diseases. Ginger also prevents the formation and it is even eliminating amyloid plaques in the brain that are associated with the development of Alzheimer's and other degenerative brain disorders)
  • Ginger is effective help for asthmatics
  • Ginger is also known as an aphrodisiac

Warning: Ginger is not suitable for small children, and for those who suffer from stomach ulcers.


Horseradish is a root vegetable, and it can also be grown as any other root vegetables. Interesting is that you can commonly find horseradish in nature. Horseradish has s quite significant and characteristic smell. Unfortunately, it is not very common vegetable, which you would be able to find in our gardens. We usually buy horseradish in shops and supermarkets.

Horseradish contains a lot of vitamin C, and so it is the ideal resource for enhancing the immune system, especially in autumn, the season of colds and flu. If the disease already has attacked you, then the horseradish may relieve your troubles. Essential oils from horseradish dissolve secretions sediment on mucosa of the nasal cavity, the lungs, and bronchi. In medieval Europe, it was used to purify the blood, to expel urinary stones from the body, against dropsy, gout, gastric spasms, rheumatism, cough, or scurvy. Modern studies have shown that in many cases were our ancestors right, because horseradish contains many substances, which are effective against those ailments.

Beneficial effects of horseradish on our health

  • High content of vitamin C
  • Contains substances that have strong antiseptic effects
  • Supports digestion and metabolism
  • Horseradish acts as a natural diuretic and tonic
  • Strengthens the cardiovascular system
  • Horseradish has antibacterial effects
  • Horseradish helps to eliminate toxins from the body
  • It also helps with headaches

Warning: Excessive consumption (more than 5 grams per day) can lead to stomach sickness, heartburn, diarrhoea, and cardiac disorders. If you are taking medication to reduce bleeding, on any heart diseases, or on stomach hyperacidity, or you are diabetic, then always consult with your doctor if you can use horseradish.

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