The Secret Benefits of Herbs

Devon Kelley
Assistant Beauty Editor
A new study of fennel backs up its long-touted medicinal properties. (Photo: Getty Images)

For centuries, Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine and cooking have used herbs for their multitude of healing properties. Now studies continue to reinforce these beliefs and discover new uses and functions for herbs.

A recent study of fennel, a flowering perennial herb with a gentle anise flavor, finds that it is effective in managing postmenopausal symptoms ranging from hot flashes and sleeplessness to anxiety and vaginal dryness. Fennel was also previously known for its health benefits for a variety of issues, including digestive and premenstrual symptoms.

This isn’t the first study to confirm the power of herbs. Other studies have found that some of the most common herbs have potent medicinal properties. Cinnamon has been shown to fight inflammation and to lower blood sugar, cholesterol, and triglycerides. Garlic, too, has been used for centuries for its medicinal and antifungal, antiviral properties and is now proven to lower blood pressure as well as aid in the prevention of cancer and heart disease.

Some herbs, garlic and cinnamon included, are even proven to aid in weight loss, thanks to metabolism-boosting and fat-burning or thermogenic qualities. Others, including ginger, cayenne, cumin, turmeric, black pepper, dandelion, and cardamom, encourage weight loss thanks to effects ranging from de-bloating to prevention of fat-cell growth.

If you’re an herb skeptic, you may find that no matter your ailment, there’s a spicy natural remedy to help you.

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