An ancient Chinese doctor in Tang Dynasty believed that most ailments were caused by bad diet or imbalance of nutrition.  So, he treated his patients by giving them a proper food plan instead of the medicine.

Herbs N Spice 1

When I was young, I got ringworm on my cheek.  Instead of taking me to a doctor, my grandmother went to the kitchen, got a clove of garlic, peeled the skin off (of the garlic – of course!) and smeared the garlic over the ringworm area. She did it twice a day for 3 days and the ringworm gradually disappeared.  So, garlic is the first kitchen medicine I know.  Another medicinal herb I know is shallot.  Yes, it is simply red shallots.  It worked very well for me when I had stuffed nose. My mother would lightly crushed the red shallots and dumped them into a bowl and poured boiled water into it.  Crushing shallots made the essential oil come out. I would, then, inhale the vapor of the red shallot oil, which helped to relieve the stuffed nose.  We also use the warm shallot oil to watch our hair in order to heal a cold.

There are many herbs that have quality in lowering and controlling blood pressure and sugar.  Some of them such as garlic, ginger, turmeric and basil leaves are basic ingredients in many Thai curry dishes. These herbs are not only taken as disease prevention, some of them can be used directly as a treatment. Chilli powder and paprika powder, for example, can be sprinkled onto the wound to stop bleeding. The capsaicin in chili reacts with the body to equalize the blood pressure, meaning an extra gushing of pressure will not be concentrated in the wound area as it normally is.

Variety of herbs and spices normally found in Thai kitchen

Variety of herbs and spices normally found in Thai kitchen

Many herbs and spices have quality in preventing indigestion. For those who always have a problem with digestion after a big meal.  You may try a tonic made from ginger and cinnamon.  I got this tonic formula from a Korean restaurant in Sukhumvit.  It is very easy to make… just boil the ginger and cinnamon together, add a little bit of brown sugar to taste…that’s it!  It  will spice up your stomach very well.

The other spice that has similar quality is ‘caraway’, which helps to stimulate your digestion. Lemon grass is another herb that is good for preventing dyspepsia or indigestion.  It is widely used in Thai kitchens as an essential ingredient for soups or making chilli paste.  You can also make a simple herbal drink from lemon grass by boiling a handful of washed and cleaned lemon grass, then add crystal sugar to taste (but not too sweet) and leave it to cool. You can put ice in the drink or keep it in  the refrigerator. Instead of having a glass of brandy after meals, next time you should try either ginger & cinnamon or lemon grass tonic.

Herbal tonic that good for digestion

Herbal tonic that good for digestion

Actually, all plants have other medicinal benefits for our body. As we all wish to have a healthy life, it is necessary to change your unhealthy life style. Cut down on processed food, eat freshly made food and maintain balanced diet are keys to good health (easier said than done but we should not give up to temptations!). Next time you become ill, go to the kitchen and you may find the best medicine there.