Studies have shown that powerful nutraceuticals, derived from spices, not only regulate inflammation in a variety of ways throughout the body, but possess antimicrobial properties that signal the body to combat viral and bacterial pathogens.

Both clinical and preclinical study results suggest that spices and spice-derived nutraceuticals are associated with a decreased risk of diseases. Increasing the amount of spices in the daily diet will not only please your palate but may preserve or improve your health.

Here are a few well-studied herbs and spices to stock up on:

Known as the golden spice, turmeric is recognized for its anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antimicrobial, insecticidal, antifungal, and anticancer properties. Its potent compound, curcumin, is the most widely studied nutraceutical in both preclinical and clinical settings-- with over 120 clinical trials. It exhibits strong potential to treat viral infections by helping prevent entry of the virus into body cells via cell receptor interference and by slowing down the replication process of viral pathogens once inside.  

Cardamom possesses potent antimicrobial properties and is an excellent spice for the respiratory system since it works as a natural antitussive, or cough suppressant. Of all spices, cardamom is especially high in minerals like magnesium and zinc, which are key nutrients for immune system function.  

A 2016 study evaluated cinnamon as a principal constituent in the development of antiviral agents against highly pathogenic influenzas.  Cinnamon was noted as a promising approach to provide both protection and treatment against influenza virus infections.

Black Pepper
This commonly used spice is widely known for its antioxidant, anti-asthmatic, anticancer, anti-convulsant, anti-ulcer, anti-inflammatory, analgesic and immune system regulating effects. In traditional medicine, black pepper helps mitigate respiratory issues like sinus, cough, cold, labored breathing, and asthma. It works as an expectorant and helps prevent secondary bacterial infections.

Ginger is known for its antiviral and antibacterial properties. It is often used to prevent and decrease duration and severity of the common cold and flus. It also has a calming effect on the lining of the digestive tract, which can ease an upset stomach and nausea. Both dried and fresh ginger offer benefits.

In addition to adding great flavor to food, oregano protects against viruses (and bacteria) as one of the best known antiviral herbs available. 

Rosemary is one of the oldest known medicinal herbs. It possesses marked antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral properties. Rosemary may also help reverse headaches, reduce stress, and aid in asthma and bronchitis treatment.

Thyme contains thymol, which is one of the most scientifically- studied compounds and notable antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal agents.  Thymol acts not only as an expectorant, but also antiseptic. In fact, thymol is contained in many commercial mouthwashes.

The principle antiviral component in clove, eugeniin, proves to be a powerful antimicrobial agent for both bacteria and viruses. Scientific research deducted that one of the major targets of eugeniin is the DNA synthesis, which prevents replication of the microbe.  

Allicin, one of the active components in raw garlic, was found to exhibit antimicrobial activity against viruses as well as the major classes of bacteria (gram-negative and gram-positive) including multi-drug resistant strains.  But to get the benefits of allicin, you have to chop or crush the clove. Allicin is formed only after the cells in the garlic have been cut or crushed and exposed to air.  




These materials are provided to you by Blythedale Children’s Hospital and Kohl’s
Eat Well, Be Well Nutrition Outreach Program.
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Kohl's Eat Well, Be Well Program

Blythedale Children's Hospital, through the generosity of Kohl’s Department Stores, is proud to offer Blythedale and Kohl's Eat Well, Be Well, an innovative outreach program designed to bring health and nutrition education to schools throughout Westchester and Putnam counties. Through this program, Blythedale staff members teach healthy eating habits to children by providing curricula, training and educational tools to school districts throughout the area. The program provides general nutrition guidelines to students, parents and school faculty. Blythedale Children's Hospital offers experts in nutrition and health-education to speak with local parenting groups, PTAs and school personnel.

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