Western medicine is starting to pay attention to traditional healing herbs. “We’re now starting to see a scientific basis for why people have been using spices medicinally for thousands of years,” says Bharat Aggarwal, Ph.D., professor at the University of Texas Anderson Cancer Center. Although it’s difficult to say that spices can cure disease, they can be beneficial when fighting a variety of health conditions, from Alzheimer’s disease and cancer to the common cold.
Here are six of the healthiest spices from around the world, gathered by Eating Well.
Try it in: Turkey Tomato Soup
Sage may help preserve memory, a fitting benefit for its name. Some research suggests that it can help regulate enzymes in the brain to prevent the deterioration of acetylcholine, improving symptoms that lead to Alzheimer’s disease. Herbalists also recommend sipping on hot sage tea to sooth sore throats and upset stomachs.