When you think of herbs and spices, what comes to mind?
ou probably think of the diverse flavours and vitality they add to your favourite meals, but there’s more to these powerful plants than meets the mouth!
The difference between herbs and spices
A herb is the green, leafy part of a plant that bears seeds and has a fleshy stem, while a spice comes from the root, stem, seed, fruit, flower or bark of the plant. Herbs have a more delicate flavour and can be used fresh, while spices are much more robust in taste and are always used in their dried form.
A good example is Coriandrum sativum, a plant whose leaf is known as cilantro and whose seed is known as coriander. By the way, if you’ve ever wondered what herb in a smoothie is good for skin, cilantro and coriander are full of the antioxidants that destroy free radicals, minerals that are great for your complexion, and skin-nourishing vitamin C.
Here are 8 more healing herbs and spices for smoothies!
Herbs to add to smoothies
Dandelion is a powerful ingredient for vegan herb smoothies because it’s highly nutritious and supports healthy liver function. In addition to protecting liver tissue from toxic substances and oxidative stress, this herb is an excellent source of vitamins A, C and K, as well as vitamin E, folate and small amounts of other B vitamins.
Dandelion will also add several minerals, including iron, calcium, magnesium and potassium to your vegan herb smoothie, and it’s great for healthy skin, immune system support, and healthy eyes. Containing the prebiotic fibre, inulin, dandelion is one the best herbs to add to smoothies for a healthy digestive system and good gut health.
An effective anti-inflammatory, dandelion may also help maintain healthy blood sugar, cholesterol, and blood pressure levels.
Ginkgo’s anti-inflammatory effects also gives this powerful herb the potential to treat depression
Native to China, Ginkgo Biloba is the only surviving member of an ancient order of plants and is sometimes called a living fossil. As it increases blood flow by dilating blood vessels, Ginkgo Biloba was used in Traditional Chinese Medicine to open channels of energy throughout the different systems of our bodies.
This unique herb contains potent antioxidants that not only fight the damaging effects of free radicals, but may also help treat anxiety. Ginkgo biloba is one of the best herbs to add to smoothies because it can reduce the inflammation caused by conditions like asthma, and calm allergy-based reactions by reducing histamine.
Also known as eleuthero, Siberian ginseng is native to Northeastern Asia, and was first used as an herbal remedy in China over 2,000 years ago.
It’s an adaptogenic herb, meaning that it functions similarly to cortisol in the body. Adaptogens help to normalise bodily functions and strengthen the systems which have been impaired by excessive stress, but Siberian ginseng also prevents the adrenal glands from overreacting to stress in the first place.
In other words, Siberian ginseng is one of the best herbs to add to smoothies because it enhances your body’s ability to react and adapt. It’s both energising and calming, and has the power to delay the onset of the immediate stress response.
Containing many compounds that have a positive effect on the brain, immune system, and hormones, Siberian ginseng can reduce or eliminate symptoms of anxiety and nervousness when you add it to your vegan herb smoothies.
Like Siberian ginseng, liquorice root is also an adaptogenic herb that’s ideal for vegan herb smoothies. In addition to the usual immune-boosting and energising properties, however, liquorice root has another unique superpower.
Liquorice root strengthens your adrenals and kidneys while lowering the production of the Epstein Barr virus, which may be the root cause of many autoimmune diseases. This sweet herb also balances the body’s levels cortisol and cortisone, making it a very helpful ingredient in vegan herb smoothies for those recovering from adrenal fatigue.
Spices to add to smoothies
Ceylon ‘True’ Cinnamon
When it comes to the best herbs and spices for smoothies, cinnamon is one of the most popular spices. It contains calcium and iron, and adding this energising spice to your smoothies is a great way to add natural sweetness, while lowering your blood sugar levels and supporting your immune system.
Cinnamon has natural antimicrobial, antibiotic, anti-fungal and antiviral properties. However, be sure to use only Ceylon cinnamon, as this is the real cinnamon made from the true cinnamon bark. The more common cinnamon is also known as cassia cinnamon, and its coumarin content makes it potentially harmful to the liver.
High in antioxidants that can help relieve inflammation, boost brain function, and prevent cognitive decline, cinnamon also increases circulation and improves the body’s tissue repair processes. Ceylon cinnamon is clearly one of the most potent of all herbs and spices for smoothies!
Great for immune system support, ginger is a a well-known natural remedy for coughs, colds, sore throats and flus
Ginger is a powerful spice for your vegan herb smoothies, so a little goes a long way! The world’s most widely cultivated spice is a go-to tummy aid, but ginger also has a strong, spicy flavour, and a long history of use in Ayurvedic medicine, Chinese Medicine, and Unani. Great for immune system support, ginger is a a well-known natural remedy for coughs, colds, sore throats and flus.
Not only will adding ginger to your smoothie stoke your digestive fire, but it will also improve the assimilation and transportation of your smoothie’s nutrients to targeted tissues within your body! Ginger itself is high in potassium, manganese, chromium, magnesium and zinc, which are essential minerals for metabolism and a healthy heart.
Ginger clears the microcirculatory channels of the body, such as the sinuses, and can effectively relieve asthma symptoms. This smoothie spice is a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory that reduces joint pain and arthritis, but it can also reduce the inflammation and muscle soreness that comes after exercise - so it’s an ideal choice for athletes considering herbs and spices for smoothies!
Deliciously warming cardamom is an ancient remedy with many healing properties. Like ginger, cardamom is a potent Ayurvedic healing spice, so just use a little of this spice in your vegan herb smoothies.
As cardamom was traditionally used to heal digestive issues and promote healthy metabolism, why not turn your vegan herb smoothie into a healing Ayurvedic digestive tonic? Combine cardamom with coconut yogurt, coconut milk, some berries, ground flax, and some vanilla for a tummy-friendly treat.
Modern science shows that cardamom may help lower cholesterol, maintain healthy blood sugar levels, and promote a healthy heart. The antioxidant compounds in cardamom may also protect your cells from damage and reduce inflammation.
It’s also great for reducing mental stress, and it contains a flavonoid called quercitin, which has the potential to reduce Anxiety. Other compounds in cardamom may help stimulate better oxygen uptake by relaxing the airways and increasing airflow to your lungs.
This anti-inflammatory spice improves liver function and detoxification, while its antispasmodic properties reduce gut distress, relieve asthma symptoms, and stabilise blood pressure. Cardamom is also antibacterial, and has the power to freshen your breath and prevent cavities.
One of the most popular anti-inflammatory spices, turmeric is rich in antioxidants that not only neutralise free radicals but also stimulate the body to produce its own antioxidant enzymes.
Curcumin is the active compound in turmeric that helps strengthen the endocrine system and the central nervous system. This substance can aid your body in healing from the damaging effects of the Epstein Barr virus, and its anti-inflammatory properties are as powerful and effective as many pharmaceutical anti-inflammatories.
On top of keeping your heart and arteries in good shape, curcumin increases the growth of new neurons and fights degenerative processes in your brain. Studies show that curcumin can potentially be as effective as psychiatric medication in alleviating the symptoms of depression.
The best plant protein powder for vegan herb smoothies
Scientifically formulated to support an active lifestyle, the Lean Protein range is unlike any other plant protein on the market because it already contains each of the healing herbs and spices listed above!
As it contains this synergistic herb and spice blend, Tropeaka Lean Protein is the ideal plant protein powder for your vegan herb smoothies, helping you tick off a multitude of benefits all at once!