Skin and Health Benefits from Spices
Diet, Natural Beauty

7 Immunity-Boosting Spices with Top Skin and Health Benefits

‘A different spice is the most interesting thing to me!’

— Nobu Matsuhisa

Ever wondered why a pumpkin spiced latte feels like TLC in a cup? Or what it is about that perfect apple pie that makes you feel all warm and fuzzy?

In India, this is called the magic of spices. Gourmands call it the play of delicate flavors on your palate. Science calls it the power of antioxidants. So not only do spices add that touch of exotic to your food, they’re incredible for your health—and for your skin.

Also, spices in India have long been used for their medicinal qualities. We’ve had home remedies for just about everything from common cold, cough, and nausea, to zits, dandruff, and dry skin.

Over the last few decades, modern science has backed many of these claims. According to researchers at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, spices are concentrated sources of antioxidants—those miracle compounds that fight off free radicals and counter all the damage they do to our systems, whether clogging our arteries or clogging our pores.

Spices also inhibit the growth of bacteria, virus, and fungi in our bodies, giving our immunity a boost. Just what the doctor ordered in the times of a pandemic!

The good news is, you don’t need to go all Masterchef and start baking apple pies by the dozen, nor do you have to break your bank at Starbucks. There are many simple ways to add some spice to your everyday foods.

And while giving your immunity a kick, don’t forget your skin immunity. Your skin is the largest organ in your body. It also protects your other organs from external factors. You need to look after it, and a dash of spices to your skincare routine is a great way to go about it.

At amaiaa, we have a special love for all things wholesome. We’ve got you 7 spices that are great for your health and your skin, with simple ways to use them. For true beauty lies in the simplest of things, and always works inside out!

Our Favorite Spices for a Healthy Skin Complexion and Immune System

Immune Boosting Spices for Healthy Skin and Immune System

Spice #1 – Turmeric

The golden spice is perhaps the most powerful ingredient in any Indian kitchen. Curcumin, which lends turmeric that beautiful yellow colour, is antiseptic, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory and has healing properties. It is effective in fighting off infections and in healing wounds, and has been a popular kitchen remedy for common ailments as well as for minor cuts and burns. It has even been shown to reduce risk of Alzheimer’s, and to improve the effects of chemotherapy. The great thing about turmeric is, you can never have too much of it, as it has no side-effects, although an overload may add some bitterness to your food.

Applying turmeric to your skin helps reverse sun damage. A skin brightener, it reduces pigmentation and sunspots, while giving your skin a healthy glow. It also delays wrinkles and is great for fighting off zits and to remove blackheads and whiteheads.

Turmeric Spice Has Many Health Benefits

Your Health Potion:

You don’t need to start binging on Indian curries to get your turmeric fix. Just add a pinch to your green smoothie or a dash to your roast marinade. Or, stir ¼ tsp of turmeric into a glass of warm water, to start your day right.

Your Skin Potion:

Mash 1 tbsp banana with ½ tsp turmeric, to make a smooth paste. Apply it on your skin and leave for 10 minutes. Rinse it off. Just a word of caution: The turmeric will leave a hint of yellow on your skin, which will go away in a couple of hours, so it’s not a good idea to use this mask just before you step out. And don’t tuck your face into your pillow right away. A bit of an ask, we know, but your skin’s going to thank you for it!

 

Spice #2 – Ginger

Ginger Spice for Healthy Skin and Immune System

Ginger is packed with as many as 40 different antioxidants, each with its unique benefit to your health and wellbeing. Gingerol, the most important active compound, is anti-inflammatory, making ginger an excellent remedy for sore throat, muscle soreness, and even period cramps. For many years, ginger has been used to treat nausea. Studies show 1 gram or more of ginger can help relieve morning sickness and even sea sickness. Ginger has also been effectively used in pain management for patients of osteoarthritis.

Ginger’s anti-inflammatory properties are also great for alleviating puffiness, bloating, rashes and itchiness. Gingerol also helps give you more even skin tone, lightens age spots and improves skin elasticity, while its antimicrobial properties help prevent acne and dandruff. Ginger is also a stimulant, improving blood circulation to the scalp, preventing hair loss, and promoting hair growth. It has been found to be exceptionally beneficial to those with skin conditions like rosacea, acne, eczema, and psoriasis.

Your Health Potion:

Crush an inch of ginger and boil it in 2 cups of water until the water reduces to half. Squeeze some lemon into this and drink it as a tonic. You can also add crushed or slivered ginger to your sauces, salad dressings, and marinades.

Your Skin Potion:

Blend together aloe vera and a small piece of ginger. This works great as a face mask as well as a hair mask. A very common way to use ginger on the skin is by simply rubbing a small piece all over the skin. But if your skin is sensitive, this could burn a bit, so avoid. You don’t have to apply ginger to reap its benefits. When you add it to your food, your skin gains from it too!

 

Spice #3 – Holy Basil

Popularly known as tulsi, in India, the holy basil is a powerful antiseptic. Studies have shown that it can inhibit the growth of a range of bacteria, yeasts, and molds. According to one study, it also powers up your immune system by increasing certain immune cells in the blood. It has been found helpful in controlling blood sugar levels and anxiety levels. It has also been used to treat coughs and sore throats and is very rich in vitamins and minerals, as well as electrolytes.

Holy basil is rich in phytonutrients that can help heal wounds, prevent skin infections, clear up acne, blackheads, pimples, and dandruff, and relieve flare-ups in skin conditions like acne, eczema, and psoriasis. It also stimulates hair growth. The antioxidants in tulsi help delay aging and sun damage too.

Holy Basil Spice For a Great Immune System

Your Health Potion:

Holy basil works very well as a garnish in most dishes and as part of a green salad. For an immunity boost, steep a few leaves in hot water, and drink like an infused tea.

Your Skin Potion:

Simply muddle the leaves with a pestle and apply the paste to your face. Leave it on for 20 minutes and wash off. You can also dry the leaves and make them into a powder. Then mix the powder in a little water to make a paste and apply.

 

Spice #4 – Pepper

Pepper - Spice for Skin and Health Benefits

Also called the king of spices, this everyday spice stimulates the production of hydrochloric acid in the gut, making for better digestive health, and acting as a detoxifying agent. Piperine, the main compound found in pepper, works as an anti-inflammatory agent and is a powerful antioxidant. Piperine has been found to boost brain function and delay the onset of degenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. It also regulates sugar and cholesterol levels, offers pain relief, and boosts your body’s ability to absorb nutrients.

Since pepper is great for gut health, it helps cleanse your body, giving you clear, glowing skin. Piperine also counters oxidative damage, delaying aging and preventing wrinkles and fine lines.

Your Health Potion:

You can sprinkle ground pepper on just about any food, to reap its many benefits.

Your Skin Potion:

Soak peppercorns in hot water for 10 minutes. Drinking this water is excellent for the skin. You can also use this water to wash your face, to clean off the grime and bacteria after a long day outdoors.

 

Spice #5 – Cinnamon

Cinnamaldehyde, the core compound in cinnamon, helps boost your metabolism, regulate your blood sugar levels, and helps in tissue repair. It also helps fight inflammation and regulate cholesterol and triglyceride levels, making it a heart-healthy food. Cinnamon is rich in manganese, which helps maintain bone density, making it an important ingredient if you’re pregnant or going through menopause. This sweet-tasting spice also improves insulin sensitivity, making it a great addition to your diet if you’re diabetic. An added bonus: It cuts out your need for sugar!

Cinnamaldehyde promotes blood circulation, bringing the blood to your skin surface, helping you achieve that rosy glow, without any makeup! The increased circulation also helps your skin breathe better, unclogging pores and alleviating acne.

Cinnamon - Spice for Health Benefits

Your Health Potion:

Sprinkle some ground cinnamon onto your fruits and cereal. You can also add it to your soups and broths, for a warm flavor. And of course, onto those pies and lattes! A dash in your morning coffee works wonders, too.

Your Skin Potion:

Boil one or two cinnamon sticks in some water and drink it. The infused water cleanses your blood and makes your skin glow. And here’s a little secret: Adding a pinch of ground cinnamon to your lip balm will work as a natural lip plumper. The effect should last through your dinner date!

 

Spice #6 – Fennel

Fennel - Spice for an Immunity Boost

Fennel seeds are a great digestive. They have a cooling effect on your system, countering the effects of heavy, greasy food. Fennel seeds are also high on the nutrient density index, packing in high levels of fibers, vitamin C, calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese, and potassium. They have over 28 polyphenols, including anethol, fenchone, methyl chavicol, and limonene. These have been found to have antimicrobial, antiviral, anti-inflammatory, and even anti-cancer properties. They are great for heart health, improve memory and relieve symptoms of menopause. However, a word of caution: Fennel mimics oestrogen in the body, and it may be harmful in large doses if you’re pregnant.

Fennel seeds are excellent for sensitive skin. They work on your acne, cleansing out the bacteria and microorganisms that cause zits and pimples. They also help decrease redness and irritation, and reduce sun sensitivity, making them great for those with rosacea and freckles.

Your Health Potion:

One tsp taken straight up, after a meal, is great for your gut health, and gives you all the other benefits, too. If you don’t like the chewiness of the fennel seeds, you can steep them in room temperature water for 10 minutes and drink up.

Your Skin Potion:

Soak 1 tsp fennel seeds in 1 cup of water. Bottle it and use it as a toner, after cleansing, and before moisturizing.

 

Spice #7 – Cumin

The main antioxidants in cumin are apigenin and luteolin. These have been found to kill harmful bacteria that is trying to attack your immune system. Cumin has been found to be especially helpful in the prevention of colon cancer and in controlling symptoms of IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome). Cumin seeds are anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, and help regulate blood sugar levels. The spice stimulates your central nervous system, helping delay the onset of degenerative diseases like Parkinson’s. It is also great for your memory and metabolism. With its astringent, antacid, stimulant properties, cumin works like a miracle for the digestive system. It also has relaxing properties, helping you sleep better and lowering your stress levels. However, if you’re pregnant or suffer from bleeding disorders, make sure you have less than one tsp a day.

Rich in vitamin E, cumin seeds keep the skin soft, supple and youthful. Cuminaldehyde helps detoxify the body, preventing acne and treating boils and other microbe-related skin conditions. Cumin has a cooling effect on the body, giving relief from rashes, itchiness and inflammatory skin conditions like rosacea and eczema. Being a relaxant, it also fends off stress-related breakouts.

Your Health Potion:

Most Indian dishes use cumin as a ‘tadka’—seasoning prepared in oil. However, the best way to consume it is by just infusing it in water: Add one tbsp cumin to one glass of water and leave overnight. Drink first thing in the morning.

Your Skin Potion:

Grind cumin seeds and make a paste with a few drops of apple cider vinegar. Apply it as a mask, leave for 5-10 minutes and scrub it off. This is a great exfoliator and works very well for acne and boils.

Find that natural glamour inside out!

Inner radiance is the road to elegance!

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