Natural spices in the kitchen cabinet have been ingredients of home remedies for several generations, and in this post, I want to share some of these spices that I have grown to love and respect.

I am not a doctor and do not claim any of these can cure you of sicknesses. I have however, grown up using these spices as a part of home remedies for years. They work wonderfully to prevent several ailments and to perk up my spirits.

All of these spices are strong and potent. NEVER use more than a pinch or a few drops of any of them at a time.

1. Ginger

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Ginger (or ginger root) is one of my most favorite spices. It has been used in Asian cooking for years, and has a wonderfully distinct taste and smell — it’s been used over the years to disguise the taste and smell of medicines.

How I use it:

I often use fresh ginger in my cooking. Just a little ginger in tea (boil for few minutes) is extremely effective in reducing congestion.

Three to four drops of freshly-squeezed ginger mixed with a teaspoon of honey does wonders for an irritated throat.

I also regularly ate ginger candy to reduce nausea during both my pregnancies.

2. Garlic

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Garlic belongs to the onion family and is another root I use quite a bit in cooking. It has a strong taste when raw, but it gets mild and sweet on cooking.  Garlic is known for its antibiotic properties, and is also a powerful antioxidant. Garlic helps control cholesterol, too.

How I use it:

Due to the strong flavor of garlic, I tend to not use it directly. I do, however, cook with it regularly. Just a couple of cloves, chopped and gently fried in a little butter contains wonderful flavor and goodness.

3. Honey

The benefits of honey are known worldwide. It has been known to energize the body, boost immunity, help with cuts and bruises, and works wonderfully on coughs and colds.

How I use it:

I mostly use honey as a sweetener, replacing corn sugar with it whenever possible. I also use honey as the base for a number of cough and cold remedies. The kids love a teaspoon of honey with a pinch of ginger juice when they have a cough. Ground pepper mixed with honey also works well for my husband and me.

For years, I have had a tall glass of warm water with a teaspoon of honey and a teaspoon of lemon juice every morning. It is a great way to improve metabolism and maintain a healthy weight.

4. Turmeric

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Turmeric is a key ingredient for many Indian, Thai and Malay dishes. It is known to be a really effective antibiotic, due to its antiseptic properties.

How I use it:

I also regularly cook with turmeric, especially since all curries contain turmeric. A pinch of turmeric can be added to lentils while they boil in the pot. I also use a mixture of olive oil and a pinch of turmeric for face and body massages.

5. Pepper

Pepper is a widely available spice, and it is known to stimulate taste buds and improve digestion. As with garlic, it is hard to use pepper directly, so it is best to incorporate pepper into cooking.

How I use it:

I drink a few tablespoons of warm milk with a pinch of pepper and powdered turmeric when I have a cold and cough. It helps settle the irritation in the throat. Vocal artists and singers in India are known to do this every night to maintain oral health in general.

6. Cloves

Cloves are known for their antimicrobial, antifungal, antiseptic, antiviral, and even aphrodisiac properties. Traditionally, cloves were used to reduce bad breath.

How I use it:

In our home, cloves are the first remedy for a toothache — chewing a clove can be very effective. My mom carries a tiny box of cloves to use after strong lunches and dinners outside the home.

As with everything, spices should be used in moderation and with caution.

What natural remedies do you use? As always, I look forward to what you have to share!