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21 Superfood Herbs and Spices

Free radicals and inflammation quietly damage your cells, aging you quickly.

Eat these super food herbs and spices to help protect your DNA and every single organ.

They will help you unleash an arsenal of super-nutrients that will stalk, sabotage, and assassinate your free radicals that age you and promote chronic disease. They are like undercover agents, holding nature’s secret sauce for healing from inflammation.

Each of these spices contain an arsenal of anti-inflammatory weapons. With these spices on your side, you will not only gain better health. You also will gain access to brilliantly delicious health food. And you will lose any power you once had for whining about how boring healthy food is. All of these benefits combine to make one irresistible YOU.

Super-Powered Spices

Herbs and spices are better when fresh, so purchase in quantities you can use within a few months.

  1. Cardamom – This sweet spice can be used to help you cut back the sugar in your food. It improves digestion, especially gastritis and dyspepsia. It reduces inflammation, and has even helped kill off colon cancer cells. It can kill the H. pylori bacteria that causes ulcers.Everyone loves cardamom. But only the sophisticated are aware of it. Stir in to yogurt, cereal, nut butters, desserts and smoothies. Boil crushed cardamom with black peppercorns and cinnamon to make chai tea. Use it in the spice blend I recommend in “Spices Your Oatmeal CRAVES”.
  2. Carob – You can substitute carob for chocolate – just don’t surprise anyone with it! It contains super-power antioxidants that will not let you down.
  3. Chocolate –  Processing damages a lot of chocolate’s antioxidants, so seek cocoa products that brag about its flavonols. Buy chocolate that is not processed with alkali. The darker, the better, and the more bitter. Try minimally processed cocoa nibs and add them to salads. Warning: Cocoa nibs are not sweet! =0)
  4. Cinnamon – Protects against heart disease, high blood pressure, high blood sugar in diabetes, and  pain in arthritis. Use alone, or try using in the blend I recommend in “Spices Your Oatmeal CRAVES”.
  5. Clove – Great for yeast infections, pain management, inflammation, and for reducing lung cancer growth. Cozy up to clove and learn much more about it’s benefits in my article here.
  6. Coffee – Caffeic acid is one of coffee’s many antioxidant phytochemicals that can help fight free radicals. Coffee has shown to reduce the risk of Parkinson’s disease (in men), improve heart health, protect the liver (especially if it’s free of pesticides/herbicides), improve memory in the elderly, and reduce your risk of developing type 2 Diabetes. Bottoms up!
  7. Cumin – An anti-carcinogenic superfood. It helps reduce inflammation, improve blood sugar and heart disease risk factors in diabetics, slow the formation of colon cancer cells, and can reduce stomach ulcers caused by H. pylori bacterium. Try eating it with savory spices, such sauteing with curry, basil, garlic and onion.
  8. Cranberries – These tart babies contribute to the fight in multiple cancers: leukemia, breast, lung, colon, and others. Improves blood cholesterol, may inhibit ulcers from H. pylori, and can help stop periodontal disease.
  9. Currant –  Black currant juice stopped tumor growth in mice in one study. As a home remedy, they have been used for sore throats, reducing fevers, and for hemorrhoids. Currents also appear to have a powerful, positive contribution on reducing mild hypertension. Drink the juice; add them to cooking rice, or create a sauce.
  10. Fennel – This appears to relieve colic symptoms, reduce cancer-signaling molecule called “tumor necrosis factor” (TNF), and relieve gas. Eat the bulb fresh, or season using fennel seeds. Try grilling fennel bulb, adding it to soups, or chewing on it plain. Try steeping the seeds in hot water for tea. Delicious in both sweet and savory dishes.
  11. Garlic – Anti-fungal, anti-microbial, anti-cancer, pro-heart health, reduces risk of pre-eclampsia. And it tastes better in everything. Almost everything. Heaps of Spice
  12. Ginger – Reduces morning sickness, motion sickness, pain from arthritis. Also contains potent anti-cancer chemicals, such as zingerones, gingerols, and shogaols. Consume it in teas, salad dressings, soups, smoothies, dried candies and homemade spritzers.
  13. Mint – Studies have shown mint contributes to better blood lipids, is anti-bacterial against E. coli, promotes digestive health, and contains anti-cancer and anti-tumor phytochemicals. Add chopped to salads, grain, ice cubes, lemonade and tea. Or chew on the leaves plain.
  14. Nutmeg – An anti-inflammatory and hugely anti-oxidant weapon. Enjoy in anything you sprinkle cinnamon into, such as coffee, baked yams, yogurt and oatmeal.
  15. Oregano – It has strong free radical scavenger phenolic acids, which helps prevent cancer formation and DNA damage. Also offers antibacterial, antifungal, and antiparasitic benefits. When combined with cranberry juice, it has potent strength to fight ulcers caused by H. Pylori. Chop it into salads. Blend it into soups and dressings.
  16. Parsley – Beneficial to inhibit tumor formation and benefits health in diabetics, primarily through better blood glucose and liver protection. Eat with any salad, grain, or throw into your next smoothie.
  17. Peppercorn – Contains anti-oxidant, anti-mutagenic, anti-bacterial and anti-carcinogenic properties. Basically, it’s indispensable.
  18. Rosemary – As an anti-mutagen, it protects us from cancer. Also protects us from bacterial growth in foods, esp. E. coli. And it reduces lung inflammation. Use with other culinary herbs, such as oregano, basil, and thyme.
  19. Sage – Used to help slow vegetable oils from turning rancid and to extend shelf life, thanks to its Jedi antioxidants.
  20. Tea – Polyphenols contained in tea are proven anti-cancer secret agents with their powerful antioxidants. If you’re sipping green tea, you can also feel good that tea has a lot of other benefits, including managing body fat. Sun tea, anyone?
  21. Turmeric


    Turmeric – One of the most studied spices of all, turmeric has shown its might. It benefits the brain after brain injury; it improves cognitive function in the elderly and in those with Alzheimer’s disease. It protects against many types of cancers. It improves blood cholesterol as well. Also known as “curcumin”. Enjoy it fresh, dried, or mixed in curry. Fresh is milder in flavor.  Add it to smoothies, soups, stir-fry, tea and grains.

    Try my easy curried butternut squash soup, featuring turmeric, here.

Which of these spices and herbs are your favorites? How do you use them?


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  • Amber

    I love spices, my husband and I are growing basil and oregano in our yard. What would be the neat use for indian mint? I am drying a few sprigs for tea, but would like other ideas. Also we have a ton if arugula and would like to know if drying it would be a good idea?

    • Frances Arnold

      Hi Amber! I did explore your idea for drying arugula. Unfortunately, arugula is delicate and doesn’t stay fresh for long. I suspect that you could dehydrate it, such as on screens in the sun. But drying it could prove to be a bit of a challenging task. It goes bad similar to spinach, where it turns slimy in just a few short days.

      Alternatively, I would suggest blanching it, then pureeing it, and freezing it in small freezer cubes. That way, you could add it to soups, pestos, and dips throughout the year.

      You could do the same thing with your basil and oregano. Just freeze in portions that are small enough to use without having to break apart a frozen block of herb to use.

      I hope that helps.

  • Maizy

    Thanks for great information all on one page! the only surprise I had was adding fennel to the chai, never even occurred to me. Cardamon is my all time favorite spice. I like to use an old pan and boil it in water with cloves, and cinnamon. BUT, cardamon is expensive not to mention that I am not sure if most of the cardamon out there is even harvested in just and sustainability way, and hopefully not sprayed with crap. Where do you suggest for me to get cardamon? Thank you and be well:)

    • Frances Arnold

      Hi Maizy,

      Great points! I purchase my cardamom from PCC, my neighborhood natural foods co-op. I find that this co-op is pretty reliable when it comes to sourcing excellent products at relatively fair prices to both producer and consumer. It’s hard to always find out exactly the source for each item we’re buying. I find that if I’m buying from a reputable store, generally speaking, they hold true to the promise for selecting the best ingredients they can. Thought it’s not always perfect.

      I find that cardamom holds its flavor when boiled a couple of times. As for price, I use small amounts of this spice at a time, so I’m less bothered about the cost. I think of it as medicine, which takes the sting out of forking over a couple of bucks for a few ounces of it. And as you know, when the product is organic or fair-trade, it is almost always more expensive.

      As for chemicals, it’s good to get organic whenever possible. But, don’t worry too much if you can’t get it. The amount of cardamom you are using is so small that it’s probably more worth your time and money to buy the bigger products, like spinach or kale, as organic. But if you can afford to buy these spices organically, more power to your efforts! =-)

      Thanks for the great comment!

  • Monika

    Great post! I’m gonna stock up on the above mentioned spices and will add a pinch to my herbal tea. Watch out inflammation!

  • samson allan

    I have used ginger but these other herbs im not familiar with but iwill check upon this herbs if they are good

  • Louise Behiel

    I’m going to have to try some of these spices. They all sound excellent.

  • Kelly

    Such great knowledge you have of something so simple… yet powerful to our well being!! I recently tried a ‘health” tea that had a few of these in them… glad to know i chose well!

  • Lilia Lee

    I am not very adventuresome with spices. You have a true arsenal of them listed here and will try incorporating some of these in my foods.
    Thanks for a very informative article.

    • Frances Arnold

      Start small, Lilia. Try one new sweet spice (perhaps cardamom), and then try one new savory spice. Fresh is best!

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