Herbs and spices have been used as remedies for centuries. Cloves for toothache… ginger for an upset stomach… parsley for bad breath. Many of these remedies are common knowledge.
But some other remedies hiding in your kitchen cabinets may surprise you. Some very common items have uncommon talents.
Take cinnamon, for instance. Lots of folks my age grew up with cinnamon toast – buttered toast sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar. But we had no idea that cinnamon has a powerful effect on sugar – blood sugar, to more precise.
German doctors gave cinnamon to a group of people with high blood sugar. After 4 months, the subjects’ blood sugar levels were 10.3% lower.1
But cinnamon may do more for you than just promote lower blood sugar levels. A research team in London found it supports healthy blood pressure levels, too. And the subjects in their study slimmed down noticeably… without making any other changes to their diet.2
Your spice rack may help support lower cholesterol, too. Just reach for the sage.
Sixty-seven people with high levels of cholesterol and other blood fats took either a sage extract or a look-alike pill for 2 months.
The sage group wound up with lower total cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Plus, their healthy HDL cholesterol went up. Meanwhile, the group taking the look-alike pills didn’t get any benefit.3
In another trial, Swiss doctors tested sage on women who’d been suffering from hot flashes for over a year.
Within 4 weeks, the women had only half as many episodes. Hot flashes were down by 2/3 after 8 weeks – and “very severe” flashes had disappeared altogether.4
For relief of another common problem, try tea bags.
Many people say placing cool, damp tea bags on their eyes relieves the itch and burning of pollen season. I haven’t found any studies to confirm this, but here’s why this remedy makes sense to me…
Tea leaves are high in a substance called tannic acid. And studies have found tannic acid promotes relief from itching.
For example, a Japanese study looked at subjects with itching caused by histamines – the same chemicals that make you itch in response to pollen. After spraying on a product with tannic acid, their itching was reduced. But the same spray without tannic acid had no effect.5
And here’s another way tea bags may help in a pinch… poison ivy relief.
Back in the early 1940’s, a pair of doctors tried tannic acid on 10 people with poison ivy, and it worked very well. Within a day or two, the itching had stopped completely for 9 of the 10.6
A damp tea bag might not be your first choice for this problem. But if the itching is keeping you awake at night, it may promote enough relief to let you get some well-needed rest.
Dr Kenneth Woliner, M.D.
Best Life Herbals
1 Mang, B, et al, “Effects of a cinnamon extract on plasma glucose, HbA, and serum lipids in diabetes mellitus type 2,” Eur J Clin Invest. May 2006;36(5):340-4.
2 Akilen, R., et al, “Glycated haemoglobin and blood pressure-lowering effect of cinnamon in multi-ethnic Type 2 diabetic patients in the UK: a randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind clinical trial,” Diabet Med. Oct 2010;27(10):1159-67.
3 Kianbakht, S., et al, “Antihyperlipidemic Effects of Salvia officinalis L. Leaf Extract in Patients with Hyperlipidemia: A Randomized Double-Blind Placebo-Controlled Clinical Trial,” Phytother Res. Apr 19, 2011; Epub ahead of print
4 Bommer, S., et al, “First time proof of sage’s tolerability and efficacy in menopausal women with hot flushes,” Adv Ther. Jun 2011;28(6):490-500
5 Shindo ,H., et al, “Efficacy of sweat-antigen-inactivating skin care products on itching of patients with atopic dermatitis,” Arerugi. Jan 2011;60(1):33-42
6 Schwartz, L. and Warren L. “Tannic Acid Treatment of Poison Ivy (Rhus Spp.) Dermatitis,” Public Health Reports. May 16, 1941;56(20):1039