“Herbs and other natural remedies can be as effective as traditional treatments, often without the same negative side effects,” says Roberta Lee, MD, medical director of the Continuum Center for Health and Healing at Beth Israel Medical Center in New York City.
Here are superhealers you’ll want to add to the all-natural section of your medicine cabinet—and even to your favorite recipes. Folding one or two of them into your cooking every day can yield big benefits.
A heaping helping of curry could relieve your pain. That’s because turmeric, a spice used in curry, contains curcumin, a powerful anti-inflammatory that works similarly to Cox-2 inhibitors, drugs that reduce the Cox-2 enzyme that causes the pain and swelling of arthritis, says Lee.
It might also: Prevent colon cancer and Alzheimer’s disease. According to a small clinical trial conducted by the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, curcumin can help shrink precancerous lesions known as colon polyps, when taken with a small amount of quercetin, a powerful antioxidant found in onions, apples, and cabbage.In a 2006 study published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, researchers at UCLA also found that curcumin helps clear the brain of the plaques that are characteristic of the disease.
Maximize the benefits: For general health, Lee recommends adding the spice to your cooking whenever possible. For a therapeutic dose, James A. Duke, PhD, author of The Green Pharmacy, suggests 400 mg of curcumin extract three times daily, right in line with what subjects in the colon polyp study took (480 mg of curcumin and 20 mg of quercetin, three times a day).