Let your spice cabinet be your medicine cabinet.

Certain spices have powerful antioxidant qualities. Here are some that you can add to your food to give your health a boost.

Garlic: Consuming half to one clove of garlic daily may reduce cholesterol by nearly ten percent. As an antibacterial, garlic is often used to treat minor infections.

Cinnamon: Many clinical studies have linked cinnamon consumption to lowered blood sugar as well as improvement in total LDL cholesterol. Cinnamon is also thought to detoxify the system and stimulate brain function. Its antiseptic properties give it the ability to help fight bladder infections.

Curry: Curry contains turmeric with an active component called curcumin. This substance is associated with anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and anti-tumor properties.

Star Anise: Star anise has been used in a tea as a remedy for rheumatism, and the seeds are sometimes chewed after meals to aid digestion.

Cardamom: Cardamom is the spice that gives chai tea its main flavor and is valued medicinally for its ability to increase circulation and improve energy. Considered an aphrodisiac in the Middle East, cardamom may also improve digestion, asthma, bronchitis, halitosis and even improve a bad mood.

Cloves: Clove has been used since ancient times in India to improve digestive function. You may chew on some to alleviate toothaches, sore throats, diarrhea, and stomach cramps.

Cumin: Cumin is thought to boost the immune system and also improve liver function, reduce flatulence, and aid digestion.

Fennel Seed: Fennel seeds help digestion in two ways: It stimulates the production of gastric juices and also soothes the nervous system, regulating the action of the muscles that line the intestine.

Ginger: Ginger may help relieve nausea, arthritis, headaches, menstual cramps and muscle soreness.

A word of warning: Always discuss with your physician before treating conditions with spices to avoid and adverse interactions and contr-indications.